Photo Info

StandardAero: Over a century of world-class service

Graham Chandler | May 1, 2024

Estimated reading time 8 minutes, 10 seconds.

This article was created by Insight magazine, the sponsored content division of MHM Publishing, on behalf of StandardAero.

StandardAero has a lot to offer. As one of the largest independent maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) providers in the world, it delivers a full suite of rotary-wing services through its global helicopter division. The company prides itself on providing a customer-centric service, which has long been the hallmark of everything its nearly 7,000 employees do in more than 50 major facilities worldwide.

Now, there’s even more to be proud of: The addition of a long-awaited world’s first — a full four-axis digital autopilot for light helicopters that StandardAero developed in partnership with Thales Group.

StableLight is a robust and feature-packed autopilot in a compact, lightweight package that’s perfectly suited to light rotorcraft.

“A solution for four-axis autopilot for light helicopters — the first of its kind,” described Neena Gill, vice president and general manager of helicopter programs at StandardAero. ​

The system recently received a supplemental type certificate (STC)  from the Federal Aviation Administration for Airbus AS350 helicopters. StableLight transforms the pilot’s flight control experience with transparent stability augmentation that works precisely and without feedback to the control sticks.​ Features include stabilized climb, flight attitude recovery, auto hover, and more, in a system that drastically decreases pilot workload.

“It brings transport category capabilities to an autopilot system for light helicopters,” Gill explained. And most importantly, it improves flight safety. “That’s really the target of what we wanted to do. A lot of our customers are air medical and law enforcement users and it will help them complete their missions.” The built-in safety features will go a long way to help reduce instances of spatial disorientation and controlled flight into terrain (CFIT). StandardAero has partnered with Thales Group for the past two years, working together to develop the product and come up with the best solution.

“It’s a really cool product that will be revolutionary,” Gill said. “It essentially takes out much of the manual control, allowing concentration on the mission — and greatly reducing pilot workload and fatigue. We think it will really shape the light helicopter market going forward.”

But revolutionary products like StableLight won’t detract from StandardAero’s vast group of world-class helicopter services. Partnerships with approved original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) worldwide allow it to cover a helicopter’s full life cycle, including airframe assembly, engine MRO upgrades, and custom solutions. The company is committed to providing the highest standards of quality, reliability, and service to more than 3,000 military, commercial and private operators in over 85 nations. For over a century, customers have relied on StandardAero as the industry experts.

“We offer complete engine accessory overhaul among four shops located around the U.S. and U.K. for nearly all engines,” Gill said. “And in our helicopter portfolio, we have a shop in Langley, B.C., that also does airframe work. We have full capability on various Airbus and Bell models that includes not just airframe inspections but also avionics and structural repairs, and various dynamic components. When
we say ‘tip-to-tail,’ it means that we do everything from aircraft modifications and STCs, to maintenance and overhaul on a lot of airframes and almost every engine type.”

Specifically, StandardAero is the largest provider of Rolls-Royce M250 MRO services, with shops located around the world, including Winnipeg, Manitoba; Concord, North Carolina; Vancouver, British Columbia; Singapore, and the U.K.

“We have been servicing the M250 engine since 1964,” Gill said. “Our team has over 600 years of combined experience on that engine line with an average of over 18 years’ experience per technician.” 

StandardAero is also authorized to service the Pratt & Whitney PW200 engine, now bringing it from the Dallas shop into the Winnipeg Center of Excellence — a move scheduled to be completed this year. The company also received Transport Canada approval
in December 2023 to get the PW200 on its ticket.

“We are also setting up a new test cell in Winnipeg. We are really going all in to support the PW200 product here in Winnipeg,” Gill said. “It is an engine line that continues to grow so we are ramping up to support that market [with] new tooling and more.”

With over 100 engines in its fleet deployed either as rentals or offered to customers as exchanges, the company is helping the market with its heavy investment in these engine pools.

“One of the things we are really proud of is the unparalleled level of service we provide,” Gill said. “Our team works hard for our customers. We listen to them. We work to increase the reliability of their engines. We ensure the quality is always above par, and that is something we stress. Through our engineering-heavy focus, we work on customizing solutions for our customers’ specific needs — not just providing cookie-cutter answers. Given current supply conditions in the world, we are focusing more on making sure we have alternative solutions.”

And that new autopilot? “We are really excited to bring the StableLight to market this year and show the world what it can do,” Gill enthused.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Celebrating 50 Years of the Airbus H125 Helicopter

Notice a spelling mistake or typo?

Click on the button below to send an email to our team and we will get to it as soon as possible.

Report an error or typo

Have a story idea you would like to suggest?

Click on the button below to send an email to our team and we will get to it as soon as possible.

Suggest a story