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Jan
24
2020

ABLE AEROSPACE SERVICES - EXPANSION SIGNALS BLUE SKIES AHEAD

Posted 33 days ago ago by jhadmin



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With its new high-tech expansion in Mesa, Arizona, Able Aerospace Services is ready and willing to take on a wider variety of component repairs – so more customers can save more money with repaired parts instead of buying new ones. 

The motto on its website says it all: “Save money. Save time. Keep flying. That’s the Able way.” Across more than three decades, Able has repaired millions of components without a single in-service failure. And its tradition of success continues to grow.

This year, Able added 60,000 square feet to now boast a 260,000 square-foot campus at the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. The $9 million investment includes $3 million in futuristic robots and digital equipment, such as a Hermle C 52 machining center that allows Able to repair larger-scale components at a new level of sophistication and complete the work in hours versus days. 

“New technologies improve our efficiencies and lower your costs,” Able Aerospace General Manager Michael Vercio tells customers. “We recognize you face a tough business climate every day you go to work. I want you to know that hundreds of Able employees come to work every day ready to tackle those challenges with you.”

Able leaders see huge growth opportunities in the rotor-wing and commercial fixed-wing aircraft businesses, Vercio said. 

“We’re just now really gaining our footing on some of the new and bigger markets we’re going to get into,” he said. “That includes our latest benchmark – the modification, upgrade and sale of our first-ever Boeing 737NG landing gear sets.”

Between both rotor-wing and fixed-wing, the company offers more than 10,000 FAA-approved, out-of-scope and proprietary repairs for civilian and military operators in more than 60 countries. It’s not unusual for customers to get component changes overnight and see their aircraft back to work the next day. This is, in part, because Able offers a wide variety of advanced exchanges. It is also the result of Able’s global network, which allows the company to pre-position assets in markets across the globe so they are nearby and ready to support customers’ maintenance needs. 

Able’s ability to work with well-known OEMs including Airbus, Leonardo, Sikorsky and Boeing (Able is the world’s leading resource for anything on the wing of a Boeing 747 and has the world’s largest exchange inventory for the Bell 407) means that it is often a one-stop shop for mixed fleets. In the process of serving such a wide client base, Able’s technical staff has developed more than 8,000 proprietary repairs for a huge variety of components available for installation on Bell, Sikorsky, Airbus and McDonnell-Douglas aircraft. In the last five years alone, this specialized service has saved operator clients more than $400 million. 

The backing of its parent company Textron Aviation brings plenty of business, too. A leading general aviation authority, Textron Aviation is home to the Beechcraft, Cessna and Hawker brands that account for more than half of all GA planes in the air. Bell also falls under the Textron umbrella.

Its newly expanded facility allows Able to grow into new products and services such as aftermarket support for large-scale rotor-wing and commercial fixed-wing components, including Boeing 737 landing gear and larger military aircraft components for platforms such as the V-22 Osprey and other oversized helicopters. 

“They are an exceptional business leader in aerospace maintenance, repair and overhaul for both military and civilian aircraft, and it has been exciting to watch their number of high-quality jobs grow since moving to the Gateway area in 2013,” Mesa Mayor John Giles said during Able’s September grand opening ceremony for the expansion. 

Because of the expansion, Able plans to hire as many as 100 new employees over the next two years to fill jobs including licensed airframe and powerplant (A and P) mechanics; machinists; plating and paint specialists; and positions in engineering, sales and supply chain. The company already employs more than 450 people. 

CUTTING COSTS IN HALF

Able can lower customers’ costs by as much as 50 percent by fixing parts compared to purchasing new parts, officials say. They offer the testimonial of PHI, a major oil and gas operator with the world’s largest Bell 407 fleet. PHI officials said they instantly saved 30 percent on B407 elastomeric bearings prices when they switched to Able. Add the fact that Able’s bearings have been inspected at 2.5 times longer than the competitors’ product life cycle and are still on-wing, and Able has already saved PHI several million dollars. “The reduced aircraft maintenance and downtime is an additional cost savings with commensurate increased aircraft availability for revenue,” PHI Director of Materials Bob DesRosiers added. 

Able’s proprietary repairs allow customers’ components to last longer so they can continue to fly safely and help stretch business dollars, Vercio said. 

CONTINUOUS FOCUS ON CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT 

More than 95 percent of Able’s repairs take place on site in Mesa. Services include fixed-wing repairs, rotor-wing repairs, electroplating and chemical processing, machining and grinding, paint stripping and cleaning, non-destructive testing, hydraulics, bearings, advanced robotic cold spray, and the Able Maintenance Center. With hangar space directly linked to a runway, this Maintenance Center features all aspects of helicopter completions including airframe repair and completion, avionics upgrades, and full paint services. It can retrofit entire diverse fleets with everything from matching paint schemes to flight decks. 

Able’s continuously expanding repair catalog allows it to repair component defects to an OEM’s standard specs. Its approved replacement part components are also designed, manufactured, tested and inspected to make sure they’re equivalent – and sometimes superior – to their OEM counterparts. And Able’s large exchange pool of components and assemblies enables it to ship critical parts overnight to customers while Able repairs the customer’s original parts, so aircraft can stay in the air. 

The company’s in-house engineering team, with team members averaging more than 20 years of experience, produces dozens of repair, overhaul and approved replacement parts solutions each month. 

In many cases, this involves reverse-engineering a part that is no longer available, so Able can then manufacture it. It also requires the talent of Able’s on-site Designated Engineering Representative (DER) team that ensures each new Able repair has FAA approval, a marker of premier design and development. 

A 24/7 AOG help desk further demonstrates Able’s commitment to keeping aircraft in the air. “We’re constantly looking at ways to do things faster and ways to do things at a lower cost – and more efficiently,” Able Vice President of Business Generation John Celigoy said. “We’re always trying to be better, and to exceed customer expectations.” 

GROWTH THROUGH THE YEARS AND INTO THE FUTURE

The definition of success for Able is, “Exceeding customer expectations while growing our business,” Celigoy said. Growth requires investment, and Able invests millions of dollars each year in technology that reduces costs and turnaround times to save operators tens of millions annually. 

That growth was taking place well before Able added its latest 60,000 square feet. Able began in 1982 as experts in processing turbine engine components for OEMs. In the 1990s, Able expanded to include FAA- approved parts, repairs, overhauls, exchanges and partnerships. 

Just since 2012, when it relocated from Phoenix to a new and expanded headquarters in Mesa, Able added more than 200 employees, a new paint facility, new mezzanine space, and the Maintenance Center. Able was acquired by Textron Aviation in 2015. 

In the process, Able has earned a long list of airworthiness authority and ISO certifications, denoting its commitment to providing the highest quality support to entities around the world. And now it also has earned the prestigious National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program (NADCAP) Global Certificates for NDT (non-destructive testing), Special Processes and Shot Peen. NADCAP is a global program denoting superior competency in aerospace-specific special processes and capabilities. These certificates open the door for new contracts, such as those for some military and commercial fixed-wing OEMs. 

Able’s latest growth is reflected not only in its expanded facility but also in its new markets including landing gear, the latest rotor-wing platforms, and propeller repair and overhaul; the latter aided by Able’s direct affiliation with McCauley Propeller Systems, a Textron Aviation company. Collectively, this positions Able as a broad and stable organization – ready to identify the industry’s most persistent aftermarket challenges and create solutions for the benefit of its customers.

“It’s blue skies for Able Aerospace,” Vercio said.


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