Many owners find enjoyment by “getting into the weeds” when it comes to technical issues and troubleshooting in maintenance on their aircraft. On the other hand, becoming as technically proficient as a shop or an A&P just to keep a level of understanding that may help control costs can be tough.
The operators in the commercial end of our business have a Director of Maintenance (DOM) because they are required to. Compliance issues are key to retaining their certificates. Sometimes the DOMs are indeed specialists in an aircraft type, but often they manage a wide spread of aircraft.
Owner-Operators simply can’t justify a full-time employee to look out for their aircraft and interests, and putting your aircraft on a 135 certificate to get these types of service just isn’t what it once was (financially or otherwise). Management companies will be happy to take you on board, but the fees aren’t structured to the King Air operator, and the actual knowledge of the aircraft can be seriously lacking.
Enter KingAirDOM LLC. My job is to provide you with the liaison between the technical aspect of inspection and repairs on your aircraft, while protecting you and your maintenance budget.
Example 1, Interface:
On your leg home, you develop some discrepancies. You call me, and I’ll be debriefing you in some detail, since I’ll be asking questions about your observations that someone less experienced doesn’t even know to ask. I’ll then interface with your shop, to recommend the most cost (and time) effective steps to determine the root cause of your problems. Any decisions to be made regarding down time, deferral, parts ordering, or future scheduling will be related back to you (by me) for us to discuss and plan. Let’s face it… some days schedule may be everything, other times saving some real cash would be awesome. Having to make those decisions when the only information you’re getting is from the vendor can miss some real opportunities. Realistically, we may have discussed options before the maintenance vendor has even been brought into the picture.
Example 2, Focused Troubleshooting:
How many times has a maintenance vendor changed parts (on your dime) only to find out that the problem is unresolved? This isn’t meant to belittle the providers, but much of aircraft maintenance for a vendor is “best guess”. They can’t afford to run the shop on only one family of aircraft, and by working on a wide variety they simply can’t become specialists. They feel the time crunch with each customer, so often the easy way out is to order or change what they feel is a likely part. Sometimes they get lucky, other times you pay. Extensive knowledge of the King Air’s systems can virtually eliminate wrong assumptions. You never again pay for “A swing and a miss”.
Example 3, Parts Pricing Protection:
It’s convenient to a maintenance provider to order a fairly high level “assembly” rather than troubleshoot to a deeper level or spend a bit more labor time. For instance, did you know that to replace your faulty landing gear “squat switch” the assembly typically purchased lists at about $1400 (plus the replacement labor)? That price includes the wheel well connector, so the replacement is “plug and play”. The same switch can be purchased and your connector re-used. Parts cost savings? $1000… Labor time increase = 1 hour… Any competent shop with a technician that has some electrical/avionics experience will treat this labor as a no-brainer, but they make a TON more money on the parts markup so why bother? That happens a LOT on King Air maintenance, and avoiding those alone will justify doing business with me.