It’s been a few months since my last blog, and we are in the deep throes of the dog days of summer. Today, I want to touch on a subject which most Beechcraft King Air and Cessna Citation owners and operators feel is fairly important to them…their pocketbooks !!
Over the last year or so, many changes have occurred in the King Air and Citation maintenance manuals, especially in the area of the Chapter 5 phase inspection checklists. Regarding the Beechcraft inspection program, there have been many special inspection items, previously tracked either by aircraft hour or calendar month, included into one or more of the Beechcraft phase inspections. In addition to this, additional new inspection items have found their way into the body of their King Air phase inspections. Cessna is no different as their phase inspections and document inspections are constantly being added to and amended.
As an example of a new addition the the Beechcraft King Air Chapter 5 requirements, in the King Air 200 and 300 inspection programs, all King Air series aircraft utilizing auxiliary fuel tanks, it is now part of the Phase 1 Inspection that the auxiliary fuel tanks be opened, inspected, cleaned, and an inspection of the fuel probe be performed. Compliance with this task requires that the fuel tank be drained of fuel, the wing upper access cover be removed possibly requiring , based upon condition, replacement of the cover gaskets, removal of the fuel probe and replacement of gaskets and lock-o-seals, and finally, removal of the tank top cover to access the fuel tank internally which requires the removal of 36 bolts, flat washers, and lock washers per tank cover. And once opened, there is a good possibility that there will be corrosion issues with the fuel tank upper cover which will need to be addressed in addition to possible replacement of the attaching hardware, and in extreme corrosion cases, replacement of the upper wing cover itself might be needed. Once the tank is cleaned and inspected, and all of the discrepancies are remedied, the fuel tanks are put back together replacing the tank cover gaskets which are so highly priced from Beechcraft that is seems to be just short of extortion.
I gave you that example to say this. Most repair facilities flat rate their Beechcraft King Air and Cessna Citation inspections, and customers get used to seeing those rates. When a new requirement is added to an already flat rated inspection, especially like this one which might add an extra twenty labor hours to the inspection, common sense says the flat rated labor hours and parts costs should increase accordingly. Although at Advancetech, we make it a point to let our customers know the reason for an increase in our flat rate labor hours from their previous inspection, this is not the industry norm, and it is commonplace for other repair facilities who are not up to date with current requirements and/or technical data to both provide low estimates based upon incomplete data and, especially, perform incomplete work which might compromise the safety of your aircraft and its passengers.
In any event, let me conclude by saying that one of the most important things we can instill in our customers is confidence…confidence that the work performed on the aircraft we maintain is of the highest quality and confidence that there will be no surprises or hidden charges when the invoice is completed. That’s the way it’s been at Advancetech for the past thirty-four years. Common sense building confidence…it’s just that simple.