American Eurocopter: New Repair and Overhaul Services

American Eurocopter (AEC) is significantly expanding its maintenance, repair and overhaul capabilities (MRO) for gearboxes, rotor blades and airframes—enabling the subsidiary to offer improved service and shorter turnaround times to customers while generating new business opportunities.

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AEC has made major investments in material, equipment and technical personnel at its headquarters in Grand Prairie, Texas, which includes upgrading one of its multi-function dynamic component test benches to perform EC135 main gear box overhauls, enhancing the blade shop’s capacity to accommodate EC135/EC145 main rotor blades, and adding an all-new heavy maintenance, repair and inspection activity for airframes.
With the introduction of EC135 main gear box overhaul and repair, AEC is now able to service all EC135 dynamic components. The EC135 is a particular focus for AEC, as there are more than 200 EC135s flying in the United States. Previously, only the main gear box’s manufacturer, ZF Luftfahrttechnik (ZFL), could work on its product in Germany—creating a single-source repair situation that was a point of concern for the US operator base.
To accommodate AEC’s EC135 main gear box maintenance and overhaul activity, the company made heavy investments to upgrade the largest of its multi-purpose dynamic rotor component test benches. In addition, it acquired additional tooling, stocked up on the equivalent of spares for 20 gear boxes and had its personnel trained in Germany.
Another AEC initiative is the growth of its alreadyextensive blade repair capabilities, adding the EC135 and EC145 main rotor blades to its portfolio. The repair capacity will be important for the already-substantial US EC135 fleet, and will position the subsidiary to support the U.S. Army’s 345 UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopters being phased into service through 2016.
The third element of its MRO expansion is new airframe inspection, maintenance, heavy repair and conversion activity. AEC invested in a highly sophisticated airframe jig that allows this work to be performed in Texas for the AS350, AS355 and EC130—and which includes rebuilds for aircraft involved in hard landings and accidents.
AEC’s strategy to grow its MRO activity is the result of close cooperation with Eurocopter in Germany and France. The common goal is to increase Eurocopter’s U.S. market share for MRO while also offering more reactive services to its customers. “American Eurocopter is now better able to respond to the needs of customers throughout the United States—and is also positioned to help support the global Eurocopter fleet,” explains Gilbert Sales, the company’s senior director of repair and overhaul.