Time for an Engine Overhaul? What Are Your Options?

As consumer demands shift, business aircraft owners and operators are looking at all of their options regarding their engine overhauls, says Elliott Aviation’s Mike Saathoff. But what exactly are the options…?

Mike Saathoff  |  14th July 2020
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Mike Saathoff
Mike Saathoff

Mike Saathoff is the director of sales operations & Engine and Accessory sales at Elliott Aviation....

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Business jet engine with nacelle removed

At some point during the life of an aircraft an operator will be faced with major decisions regarding overhauling or upgrading their engines. Unfortunately, engines are likely to be the most expensive parts to maintain. There may be options, however...

Depending on the make and model of your aircraft, there may be options you can explore that can save money and time, or even increase the performance of your aircraft. Here are a few…

Parts Options

New Exchange Parts: There are many parts options (dependent on engine make/model) that may make sense to some operators. One option operators consider is new exchange parts for an engine.

This involves exchanging your part for a manufacturer’s readily available part. The manufacturer will then overhaul your part and bill you back the difference in cost over and above the standard parts. While this is never a cost-saving option, the primary benefit of exchange parts is that you may save time on your overhaul. 

Parts Repair: From a cost-saving perspective, an operator may choose to have their part repaired. While this is generally a more time-consuming option, the savings can be significant.

Parts Overhaul: In some instances a repaired part is not an option and an operator is required to overhaul the part. What’s the difference? Repaired parts are brought to within serviceable limits whereas an overhauled part is brought to new standards.

Used or Serviceable Parts: These may also be an option, depending on the components that need to be changed.

PMA Parts: Some operators consider non-OEM (or PMA) parts. These are built to the correct standard, but they don’t have the endorsement or the warranty of factory authorized parts.

Engine Exchanges and the Used Market

Another option available for operators is exchange engines. Much like the concept of exchange parts, exchange engines can be available from the manufacturer as either a new engine, or from a group of previously overhauled engines that can be removed from a pool of engines in stock. Generally an operator will have two options:

Flat Rate Exchange: This option means no bill-backs for the repairs on an operator’s exchange engines. An operator exchanges their engine for a flat fee. The benefit is that there are no surprises on the bill-back amount.

Overhaul Exchange: This option would charge an operator repairs that would bring the engine back to overhaul status.

A further engine option that may make sense to some operators is that of used engines. There are many brokers in the industry that can provide many options from engines with just a few hundred hours on them, through to engines with less than 200 hours remaining.

Upgrades and Other Enhancements

Depending on the type of aircraft, an engine overhaul can prompt the discussion of engine upgrades and other enhancements. For instance, in the King Air market, there are upgrades that are available providing substantial performance improvements over the standard engine model variants.

  • For the King Air 90 series, these could include the Blackhawk XP135A, which installs two new Pratt & Whitney PT6-135A engines.
  • For a King Air 200 series, this includes the PT6A-42, PT6A-52, and PT6A-61.
  • For the King Air 350, this includes the Blackhawk XP67A.

All of these options provide numerous performance enhancements and may increase the overall value of the aircraft. 

As you can see, there are numerous options available when it comes to engine overhaul. Plan early with your MRO provider, discussing all options applicable to you to ensure you get the most value (time, cost and performance) from your overhaul.

More information from www.elliottaviation.com

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