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It’s been 18 months since StandardAero began a strategic transition to optimize its operations. This transition has seen the company create two dedicated centers of excellence (COEs) to streamline its helicopter engine and airframe MRO services.
Now, with an eye trained on a heritage that stretches back over a century, StandardAero is positioned to enhance its long-standing reputation for service excellence and responsive customer support.
The company’s roots are at its new COE in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where its team of 300 highly trained technicians focus on helicopter turbine maintenance and overhaul.
No one has a better understanding of the Winnipeg operation–and the needs of StandardAero’s customers–than Brian Hughes, director of sales, marketing and business development for helicopter programs. Hughes has been with the company for nearly 40 years, having started on the shop floor as a technician.
“In Winnipeg, we have four engine lines for the Safran Arriel 1 and Arriel 2, the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6T, the Rolls-Royce M250, and Rolls-Royce RR300,” said Hughes. “To support those lines, there are engine test cells for each of these powerplants and component repair facilities.”
The Winnipeg COE can support more than 500 engines and engine components per year, driven by technicians and engineers who have a deep and dedicated understanding of the powerplants entrusted to them. Couple that with a personal connection to their customers, and it’s clear why StandardAero is an MRO leader.
“Our customers know our technicians by name,” said Hughes, “they’re [the] ones who have been supporting engines across all of these product lines for years. Customers can feel confident in knowing who is servicing their engine, and they trust the quality of the work they will receive, which is why they continue coming back to us.”
Meanwhile, 30 miles (48 kilometers) southeast of Vancouver, StandardAero’s facility in Langley, British Columbia, has been established as the COE for helicopter airframe MRO and STC development.
“Previously, we had four facilities at the Langley Airport,” said Elvis Moniz, vice-president of business development for avionics and airframe solutions, helicopter programs. “As part of the transition to StandardAero [from Vector Aerospace], we consolidated into a state-of-the-art 84,000-square-foot [7,804-square-meter] facility.
“From the airframe perspective, we’ve been servicing Airbus products since the Aerospatiale days. We have extensive experience and product knowledge on virtually all popular legacy helicopter types, including those produced by Bell and Sikorsky.”
The skilled engineering team at the new Langley COE has been carefully chosen from the helicopter industry, a sector that has a long history in British Columbia. The aerospace hub around Vancouver is also a key driver for StandardAero’s ability to attract skilled and innovative talent.
That spirit of innovation is apparent in the Langley COE’s projects.
“Just this year alone, we’ve been successful in developing a new Bell 212 glass cockpit and have added Transport Canada to our growing list of crash-resistant fuel tank regulatory approvals,” said Moniz. “One of our latest initiatives is to develop an advanced autopilot for Airbus H125/AS350 helicopters in partnership with Thales. It is another industry-leading occupant safety initiative that no one else has accomplished.”
By strategically aligning with helicopter airframe, engine and avionics OEMs, StandardAero benefits from the technology and experience of its partners. For example, these key partnerships led to the development of
StandardAero’s Safecraft portfolio of equipment solutions for the H125/AS350. They were directly driven by industry demand for cost-effective solutions that could enhance occupant safety in legacy helicopters.
“We’re continuing to do a lot of good out there in a concerted effort to make aviation safer in general,” said Moniz.
To add a layer of support to StandardAero’s COEs, a new 24,000-square-foot MRO facility was opened in November 2019 in the Metro Vancouver city of Richmond, British Columbia.
“After speaking with our customers, we felt it was a necessity to maintain a presence in Vancouver,” said Hughes.
The new shop supports machining, cleaning, painting and non-destructive testing for GE T700/CT7 engines, Rolls-Royce M250 engines and Airbus Helicopters dynamic components.
StandardAero’s European helicopter support network is focused on its two United Kingdom locations: Almondbank, Scotland, and its Fleetlands site in Gosport, England.
“We’re better leveraging their unique capabilities and tapping into the long history and experience they have in the region,” said Hughes. “For example, we’ve recently established an exchange pool of Airbus H125/AS350 components in Almondbank, taking advantage of their extensive repair abilities and convenient location.”
The 270,000-square-foot Fleetlands facility possesses vast engine and airframe MRO capabilities across civil and military rotary- and fixed-wing platforms. It focuses on helicopter MRO support for the Airbus Super Puma and Sikorsky S-76, and has now added Sikorsky S-92 capabilities, as well.
In Singapore, StandardAero’s operation was transformed by combining its helicopter and fixed-wing MRO services into one large facility at Seletar Airport. This location provides Rolls-Royce authorized M250 engine support.
Meanwhile, StandardAero’s facility in Concord, North Carolina, remains dedicated to Rolls-Royce M250 engine MRO.
That focus includes full service, parts support and annual U.S. Federal Aviation Administration/Transport Canada approved training courses.
As one of the world’s largest aviation MRO providers, StandardAero prides itself on its service excellence, a process that begins–and ends–by listening to its customers.