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From the Desk of the Safety Office

FROM THE DESK OF THE SAFETY OFFICE

Michael May, Standards Officer WVFC mike@wvfc.org

 

Year End Maintenance Update

At the start of 2015 WVFC tasked the Safety Office with overseeing the maintenance department. As the fleet had steadily grown over the past several years it had become apparent that additional support and resources were needed in maintenance to keep up with the growing demand. Member surveys also had clearly indicated that we needed to improve the cosmetic condition of some of our airplanes. Over the past year we’ve made tremendous gains, and while some of them are (hopefully) obvious to our members, most of them have been done outside of the public eye. This newsletter article is dedicated to informing you, our members, of the changes that we’ve made and how they ultimately affect your experience.

Over the past year, we’ve established processes for just about everything that maintenance does, from performing 100 hour inspections to outsourcing avionics work. We’ve secured discounts with our primary parts suppliers, established relationships with outside maintenance facilities that do specialized work for us - avionics work in particular, and identified long-term projects that will either enhance the member experience, reduce costs to the owners, or both. One example is that we’ve strategically added some specific parts/avionics to our inventory to minimize the time an airplane is grounded when these parts are needed.

On addition, improving the cosmetic condition of our fleet became a top priority. We’ve worked with the airplane owners to repair or upgrade paint, interiors, and avionics on many of our planes. These are major enhancements that take a significant amount of time and money to complete, and our efforts in this area continue. Some of this work has already been completed, and much more is scheduled to be completed over the next several months. We’ve also become more selective when looking at airplanes to add to our fleet to ensure that our quality and appearance standards are met.

In the past, maintenance inspections were rarely planned more than a week ahead of time and had a tendency to “sneak up” on us, resulting in last minute cancellations and schedule changes. Now these are scheduled far enough in advance that they very rarely affect the flight schedule, and when a scheduled inspection does create a conflict we work closely with the Member Services Team to adjust the maintenance schedule when possible. Every morning when our maintenance team arrives, we review the maintenance status board to look for upcoming inspections and review new squawks. We predict 50 hour, 100 hour, and annual inspections up to a month in advance, schedule them accordingly, and adjust Schedule Master. When maintenance work has been completed we perform a final paperwork review to ensure that all logbook entries have been completed, Schedule Master is updated, and the key book is cleared of old squawks and observations. Only after this is done can an airplane be returned to service.

Our maintenance department is positioned to begin 2016 with a solid foundation to build upon. We’ve already begun to work on some of our long-term projects and we continue to focus on updating the cosmetic condition of some of our aircraft. Most of what happens in maintenance is done behind the scenes and may not be obvious to our members, but there is no question that it can affect your experience. After safety, our top priority will continue to be enhancing the experience of our members and aircraft owners. You can expect to hear more about our specific goals for 2016 in the near future, and in the meantime please feel free to email us at maintenance@wvfc.org with your thoughts and suggestions.

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