After the fanfare of celebrated expansions like opening a new MRO location, building additional maintenance hangars, or expanding authorizations, a second wave of quiet expansion occurs. Although it is not met with the same publicity, its presence is no less critical to every Duncan Aviation customer.
The demand for in-house accessory services multiplies as expansions increase the aircraft onsite for maintenance. Tony Curtis, Duncan Aviation’s Component Services Assistant Manager, says this is an excellent problem to have: “More aircraft in the hangars creates a growing need to have skilled accessory capabilities close by.”
As a company, we have invested heavily in supporting aircraft accessories, understanding full well the impact these units have on an aircraft’s operation. All of our full-service MROs (Battle Creek, Michigan; Lincoln, Nebraska; and Provo, Utah) have onsite accessory shops with a long list of capabilities and authorizations from multiple component and equipment manufacturers.
The following areas have recently expanded.
In 2019, the Lincoln facility more than doubled its battery service space to nearly 1,400-square-feet, adding a new battery cooler, twice as much bench space, and advanced test sets including 2400w programmable DC electronic load banks, lead-acid analyzers, and main NiCad charger analyzers.
With the recent completion of the Battle Creek and Provo battery areas, all shops have every test set, battery charger, and capacity gauge available to perform capacity checks, testing, and maintenance for every aircraft battery in service on today’s business aircraft, along with dedicated rooms for both lead-acid and NiCad battery services.
All of Duncan Aviation’s calibrations laboratories offer calibrations traceable to the SI (International System of Units) through NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology). And they use NIST traceable standards.
The Lincoln cal lab is accredited to ISO/IEC17025 (A2LA cert# 3908-01) and able to calibrate a variety of equipment, including radio-frequency test sets, electrical tools, dimensional tools, thermodynamic, pressure gauges, torque wrenches, crimpers, and master hydrometers.
Battle Creek’s cal lab is able to calibrate pressure gauges, crimpers, multimeters, torque wrenches, and thermodynamics. The lab supports measuring equipment owned by the company, employees, and on-site customers. It is also able to support customers at Kellogg Field and in the Battle Creek area.
The new lab in Provo began operations in the spring of 2021 with capabilities to calibrate torque wrenches, select digital multimeters, crimpers, and pressure gauges.
All three MRO locations share in supporting landing gear. They overhaul, inspect, and repair gear on Beechcraft, Cessna, Embraer, Bombardier Learjet, Bombardier Challenger, and Bombardier Global landing gear. The Lincoln gear shop has the largest footprint and works larger gear sets like those from Global, Challenger, and Embraer aircraft. Smaller gear like Learjet, Beech, and Cessna Oleos are sent to Battle Creek and Provo.
Business is booming, and there is no sign of it slowing. The Lincoln gear shop went through an expansion in 2016 and is already near capacity. It more than doubled the average annual number of gear sets completed to 77 and is forecasting more than 100 by the end of 2021.
You cannot add capabilities without adding people to support them. In two years, the accessories team grew by more than 25 with technicians, customer account reps, rotable managers, sales, and leadership.
Keye Kinnamon is the Sales & Service Representative dedicated to landing gear. He has taken the customer experience to the next level by keeping it real. “Customers appreciate direct communication, even when it isn’t exactly what they want to hear. I manage their expectations by being open and honest. Trust is built in small interactions. It’s not always a home run.” His phone doesn’t stop ringing.
Dustin Johnson, Components Shop Supervisor, oversees the day-to-day accessory operations enterprise-wide. He points to consistency as the reason his teams are successful.
“We operate under the same playbook.” When technicians are shuttled between locations as reinforcements during peak demand times, they hit the ground running without added training or oversight. They immediately step in, getting to work. When everyone is doing the same things, there is consistency in the service.”
Tim Fidler is the Accessories Manager of Business Development and is on the front lines visiting customers in their hangars. He hears first-hand what they think, and they are not afraid to tell it like it is. “Our accessories reputation in the industry is of trust, quality service, and reliability,” he says.
But he gives credit where it is due. “Our Customer Account Reps don’t get enough recognition. They are constantly on the phones, answering questions, handling complaints, and providing project updates. They handle it with grace, bridging the gap between the shop and the customer. They are amazing under pressure,” Tim says.
The Duncan Aviation Accessories team is well aware of how their performance impacts the customer experience. They have a personal interest in doing what’s necessary to deliver every time.
Accolades are unnecessary.