With the aging of the GV fleet, operators are looking around for alternatives to factory service. Some turn inward—a few large flight departments are comfortable with performing some inspections themselves. Others are seeking a new service home for the care of their valuable asset.
One of the largest inspections looming for many GV operators is the 96-month inspection. This 580-man-hour event opens up areas of the aircraft that have not been seen during earlier inspections, including wing internal inspections and under-floorboard inspections. Most of the interior comes out for the job and just handling the removal and reinstallation of the large interior can take a great deal of time without an experienced team.
Gulfstream operators know that time is one of the most valuable assets in a flight department, and having your aircraft down for two months to perform this complex inspection is not a good use of time. An experienced service center can perform this inspection in three weeks.
But three weeks is still a chunk of time out of the life of your aircraft. How do you make the most of it? At eight years old, the aircraft is overdue for paint and interior if it has not been refurbished previously. Paint and interior refurbishment will add downtime, but one downtime is better than two or three separate events. Some things that can be accomplished in the three-week downtime are avionics items such as phone system and cabin entertainment upgrades. With proper planning, some minor interior items can also be addressed such as carpet replacement and minor repairs.
Perhaps the best use of the time is to find a home for your aircraft that can perform the inspection quickly and at the same time take care of all of your other requests, all under one roof. The downtime will be shorter and time will be saved by not having to coordinate work with multiple service providers.
Most of all, you want to feel confident in your choice—confident that your new service home is a place where you feel welcome and where the people working on your aircraft are knowledgeable and happy. Once you find such a place, you may never look around again.