Dec. 12, 2011

For nearly two hours on Dec. 7, 2011, five U.S. leaders in aircraft maintenance contributed insights and answered questions from NBAA Members in a live webinar about outsourced maintenance, another of NBAA’s popular On Demand Education (ODE) offerings.

“Why outsource your aircraft maintenance?” asked Jim Sparks of Richardson Aviation and vice chair of the NBAA Maintenance Committee, launching the session. He said work could be outside the capability of an individual flight department and beyond internal workload constraints, because of contractual obligations or because of the level of expertise available. “In any event, it’s always a good idea to get a second set of eyes on the aircraft at regular intervals.”

Titled “Outsourcing Maintenance Best Practices,” the webinar provided a multi-dimensional look at working with an outside organization for a major project or maintenance on a business aircraft. Moderated by Sparks, the event included consultant and broker views from Jim Donath of Donath Aircraft Services, maintenance and repair organization (MRO) considerations from Debi Cunningham of West Star Aviation, regulatory perspectives from Len Beauchemin of AeroTechna Solutions, and manufacturer insights from Marsha Grebe of Gulfstream Aerospace.

The webinar focused on goals and objectives for flight departments using outside MROs for major inspections, repairs or upgrades. Areas of emphasis included definition of the scope of work, considerations for selecting the provider or MRO, careful definition of project completion and what the group called “aircraft input,” or work, specifications and required paperwork for that particular aircraft.

“A failure to plan is a plan to fail,” quipped Sparks, advocating meticulous pre-planning on all major projects involving outsourcing.

Jo Damato, NBAA’s director of operations and educational development, said the multi-dimensional look at paths and pitfalls to outside maintenance was developed by the NBAA Maintenance Committee. “It’s such a great resource to aviation managers that many of the concepts introduced in this webinar will be incorporated in the NBAA Maintenance Management Conference in Nashville, from May 1 to 3, 2012,” she said.

Some 200 total educational offerings on the ODE site include both webinar recordings and sessions recorded at past NBAA conferences. All are categorized in one or more of nine educational tracks, which include:

  • Aircraft and Flight Operations
  • Airspace and Airport Access
  • Aviation Management and Aircraft Ownership
  • Career and Leadership Development
  • Maintenance and Technical Issues
  • Safety and Risk Management

A few offerings are free and the rest have discounted pricing for NBAA Members.

NBAA has this year kept a focus on maintenance issues for NBAA Member flight departments. A major article in the July/August issue of NBAA’s Business Aviation Insider explains “How Owner-Operators Can Find the Right Maintenance Partners.” More recently, the November/December edition of the publication asks and answers the question, “Is It Time to Hire a Dedicated Maintenance Person?”