All posts tagged 'Elliott'

Will You Pay More in the End?

By Adam Doyle – Paint and Interior Sales Manager
Elliott Aviation

Customers should shop around for the best deals, best customer service, and best quality of work. Sometimes when a customer has a particular need, they try to look for the specialty shop that does just that one thing instead of a shop were they execute more than one discipline. On certain products that may work, although when it comes to repainting an aircraft or getting an updated look to the interior, customers may see these people as experts since they focus solely on one discipline; the inverse, in fact, is true. Let’s take a look at some situations that would call for a one-stop shop compared to a single trade shop.

Elliott Paint PAINT

A quality paint job should last at least six years but can sometimes last longer. We recommend that customers look at paint as a maintenance event. Even if you don’t think you need new paint in six years, you should seriously consider it because paint is the first line of defense and you never know if there is corrosion underneath until you strip the paint completely. We have all heard stories about paint shops where it’s one guy and a paint gun on unfinished floors, not to mention zero controlled atmospheric conditions and absolutely no dedication to quality procedures. This example may be extreme, but there are qualities to look for in a paint shop while there are others you will want to avoid.

You want a facility that is adequately staffed to address an issue if something goes awry in the process. Items like flight controls and other critical elements to an aircraft, for example, can follow strict guidelines that may require maintenance manuals. If the shop where you take your aircraft does not have the manuals because they don’t generally deal with this type of aircraft, this could compromise the customer’s service. Paint that has been on an aircraft for years may be hiding some issues and, once you strip it, there is no going back and those issues must be dealt with.

When searching for a paint facility, look for one that will provide quality work and technicians who will pay attention to the details so that the aircraft is safe and will have a paint job that will withstand the years. Paying a little more now for a quality paint job that will last for many years, will, in the long run, save money because there wouldn’t be further downtime or paying for paint again in just a couple of years. Find a facility with a clean booth because even a speck of dusk landing in the paint can cause problems. As we stated, paint is the first line of defense and, when flying and changing altitudes, pressures and climate conditions at 500 miles an hour, the paint should hold up and not have any reason to crack.

If the aircraft is within a warranty period and the scope of work failed, understanding when and where the aircraft will be repaired along with verification of the warranty and knowing who exactly will be paying for it can be a cause of concern. Look for companies who will provide that information in the original contract. In some circumstances, a company that wants a satisfied customer who will return when work is needed will most likely make exceptions and see that the issues are resolved in a timely manner. If these paint and interior only shops do not have the adequate equipment and manpower or even the proper manuals for the specific airframe, it may potentially cost more downtime and more money out of pocket.

Quality takes time and a good facility is likely to be booked weeks in advance, which means it will be extremely difficult to take drop-ins. Planning ahead is the best option when needing quality work done.

INTERIOR

A quality shop understands it is more than just finishing and moving on to the next project. It is about knowing the product and its limitations. For example, how a part is prepped can make all the difference. Does the panel need to hold its flexibility or can we repair it to be more rigid? Is there a certain way to seam a panel or a seat to extend the wear and longevity of the panel or seat? That is precisely what a customer should look for in a shop: some place that is going to take the time to look at each section of the interior and determine how to make it last longer to increase the value they are putting into the aircraft.

When prep work is not done properly, the materials will not wear as well as they should. If you are unsure about the origin of the work or the quality a particular shop provides, beware of an aircraft advertised with "new interior." Some shops just re-dye seats and use pre-cut carpet kits that may not fit well and show loose surging/threads, possibly unfinished edges and those solutions won’t hold up as well. It will have the new carpet and new leather smell but time will tell how long either will stand. Some shops take shortcuts; for instance when seats are re-dyed and not done properly, they can become sticky and even pull layers of dye off when conditions are right.

While refurbishing an aircraft, a quality facility should have the solutions to every detail, no matter how small. For instance, if doing partial refurbishment, will all the hardware match? Will they make sure there is a full set of throw rugs? Will the shop go above and beyond to create an excellent customer experience? Even the smallest of things will go a long way.

It may seem complicated but we have said this time and time again when doing an interior refurbishment; even a small change to an aircraft interior can affect a lot more than you think. Find a shop that focuses on the smallest of details, one that takes the time to really look at an aircraft to figure out what is best for that specific aircraft and airframe.

Having a facility that can handle any issues that arise, mechanical or otherwise is critical when repainting or refurbishing an aircraft. A shop with one trade may not be capable to handling issues that arise that aren’t in their field. Also keep in mind a facility that can do everything will have adequate "specialists" already on hand for each specific situation. Quality work that will lasts over time will pay for itself in the long run.

Adam Doyle joined Elliott Aviation in 2000 as an interior technician after graduating from Wyoming Technical Institute. While at Elliott Aviation, Adam has earned many different promotions on the shop floor including Install Team Lead, Soft Goods Team Lead, Assistant Interior Shop Manager and Seat Shop Manager. Adam’s most recent promotion has been to Paint and Interior Sales Representative for Elliott Aviation. He uses his experience with various vendors, products and processes to educate our clients by providing direction and helping plan for future investment with realistic and accurate figures.

The 400E Program

By Meghan Welch – Interior Sales and Design Manager
Elliott Aviation

The 400E program is the next generation Beechjet 400A/Hawker 400XP upgrade. The program is a full Beechjet 400A/Hawker 400XP refurbishment including Garmin G5000 avionics with Lumatech LED master warning panel, Gogo WiFi with Gogo Vision (On-Demand-Movies), innovative exterior full paint design and a completely redesigned weight saving interior.

The Idea

As an Authorized Service Center with many Beechjet/Hawker 400XP customers, we have heard from various operators asking for an affordable update to their aircraft that also increases useful load. They also were in need of more headroom for their passengers along with entertainment options. Lastly, operators needed an avionics update to fulfill the 2020 ADS-B mandates. After much research, the 400E provides Beechjet/Hawker 400XP operators exactly what they were looking for.

Weight Saving Interior and Improved Functionality

The 400E program offers a completely redesigned interior that includes USB charging ports, redesigned cabinetry and variable color LED upwash and downwash cabin lighting all controlled through a mobile app. The newly designed shell kit is complete with a recessed headliner. The new shell kit creates a welcoming and more-open feel in the cabin with more headroom. The 400E program includes a redesigned arm ledge with LED accent lighting in the PSU’s, drink holders, window reveals, and toe-kick lighting. The electric window shades create the ease of light and comfort into the cabin. The variable LED lights add a multitude of atmospheres the user can create from a relaxing environment, to a cabin conference center, to a place to enjoy.

Other interior features include Gogo WiFi with Gogo Vision (On-Demand-Movies), allowing passengers the comfort of knowing they can have the option to continue their work while in flight or to kick back, relax and watch a movie or surf the web.

The Elliott team looked extensively into the weight savings options. By redesigning the forward baggage cabinet, we were able to use what was once unusable space. The redesign now allows useful storage and amenities while gaining a prep/serving area. With newly fabricated cabinetry, the team was able to lighten the front end.

Garmin G5000 Avionics

The Garmin G5000 avionics system is the latest system upgrade for Beechjet 400A and Hawker 400XP. With the new Garmin G5000 avionics system, there will not be a need for CASP or high yearly avionics maintenance cost. The system meets all ADS-B 2020 mandates and includes WAAS/LPV. Not only will it cut maintenance cost, but the system comes with touchscreen controls, synthetic vision, new LED displays, autopilot and XM weather. Lastly, the G5000 will cut weight of the aircraft as well.

The 400E program will allow Beechjet 400A and Hawker 400XP operators an affordable way to upgrade and will allow an increased usable payload, increased aircraft value, and increased comfort and interactive experience for passengers. After Elliott Aviation did the research, we are able to give Beechjet/Hawker 400XP operators what they asked for.

A completed Elliott Jets owned 400E will be available for viewing at the indoor static location of the annual NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition November 17th-19th in Las Vegas, NV.

Meghan Welch joined Elliott Aviation in 1998 as an Aircraft Sales Assistant and later helped build the paint and interior sales and design department in 2003. In 2007, she helped create the Design Center and was promoted to Interior Sales and Design Manager in 2015. Meghan has been successful in building a solid relationship with worldwide customers to personalize the interior of their aircraft to meet the customer’s functionality and style. Meghan has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration with a focus on Marketing and Finance from Augustana College.

Elliott Aviation is a second-generation, family-owned business aviation company offering a complete menu of high quality products and services including aircraft sales, avionics service & installations, aircraft maintenance, accessory repair & overhaul, paint and interior, charter and aircraft management. Serving the business aviation industry nationally and internationally, they have facilities in Moline, IL, Des Moines, IA, and Minneapolis, MN. The company is a member of the Pinnacle Air Network, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), National Air Transportation Association (NATA), and National Aircraft Resale Association (NARA).

Properly Maintaining Your Aircraft Interior for Longer Life

By Adam Doyle – Pant and Interior Sales Manager
Elliott Aviation

When an aircraft interior is new or newly refurbished, it is easy to take it for granted. However, to keep your interior looking new, you have to make sure it is properly maintained from the day you take delivery. Maintaining your aircraft interior from the early stages can help extend its life and reduce costs of future refurbishments.

Knowledge is Power

The first thing you need to consider is that you will need to be fully aware of the manufacturers of the materials in your aircraft and what they recommend for cleaning their products. The information about the material manufacturers should be readily available from whoever completed or refurbished the interior.

Knowing what you can and cannot use on a material is the most critical component of keeping your interior in the best shape possible. For instance, many dyes and chemicals in leathers can have adverse chemical reactions to certain products. Unfortunately, if you happen to accidentally use the wrong type of product and it doesn’t work, there is little that can be done to fix it.

Re-Dyed Seats

Take special precautions when attempting to clean a re-dyed seat. While a reputable shop will get to the bottom layer of the leather before dying a seat, you may run into seats that have been re-dyed multiple times that have a sticky or nappy feel. When attempting to clean a re-dyed seat, especially one that has been re-dyed many times, make sure to start in an inconspicuous area.

Stain Blocking

When undergoing a refurbishment, you can request a stain blocking treatment to be applied by the company that is applying fire retardant to your materials. This can help save you time and headaches down the road by making stains easier to remove.

Ink Marks

A common troublesome stain you might see, and one we are most commonly asked about, is ink marks. Ink marks are easier to treat on fabric as the porous materials can allow you to have multiple treatments to "push" the ink through the fabric. On non-porous materials like some ultra leathers, if you can’t get out the ink mark out with the first treatment, it will never come out.

Other Stains

Regardless of the stain, it is critically important to understand what kind of stain it is. The makeup of the stain will determine how it is treated. By knowing what kind of stain you are treating, you are able to choose the right type of cleaner. If the type of stain you are dealing with requires a chemical cleaner, let the chemical do all of the work when treating it. Otherwise you run the risk of making it worse.

Carpet

As with other components of your interior, when dealing with cleaning your carpet, consult your carpet manufacturer on what types of chemicals are safe in treating your carpet. Unapproved chemicals can interfere with the flammability characteristics in your carpet. For tough stains, carpet stain extractors are available. Just make sure whatever you are using is approved by your carpet manufacturer.

Woodwork

For woodwork, whatever cleaning component you use should be based on the material makeup of your top-coat. Generally, polyurethane will not need much cleaning but, if you are using a chemical, be very sure that it is approved by the manufacturer as there are different blends of polyurethane. If your aircraft woodwork is laminate, most household cleaners should be okay to use.

Overall

Properly maintaining your aircraft interior starts with knowing what you can use to clean your material. Get your information from the manufacturers as to what is approved for use and make yourself a "cheat sheet" to keep with your aircraft documents. Keeping your interior clean will ensure you get the most life possible with the least amount of headaches.

Adam Doyle joined Elliott Aviation in 2000 as an interior technician after graduating from Wyoming Technical Institute. While at Elliott Aviation, Adam has earned many different promotions on the shop floor including Install Team Lead, Soft Goods Team Lead, Assistant Interior Shop Manager and Seat Shop Manager. Adam’s most recent promotion has been to Paint and Interior Sales Representative for Elliott Aviation. He uses his experience with various vendors, products and processes to educate our clients by providing direction and helping plan for future investment with realistic and accurate figures.

Elliott Aviation is a second-generation, family-owned business aviation company offering a complete menu of high quality products and services including aircraft sales, avionics service & installations, aircraft maintenance, accessory repair & overhaul, paint and interior, charter and aircraft management. Serving the business aviation industry nationally and internationally, they have facilities in Moline, IL, Des Moines, IA, and Minneapolis, MN. The company is a member of the Pinnacle Air Network, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), National Air Transportation Association (NATA), and National Aircraft Resale Association (NARA). More information can be found at www.elliottaviation.com

The Hidden Costs of Maintaining Outdated Avionics

By Mark Wilken – Vice President of Avionics Programs and Operational Logistics
www.elliottaviation.com

King Air C90B

With many companies currently budgeting for 2016, it’s important to consider some of the hidden costs of maintaining outdated avionics, specifically old CRT (tube) EFIS displays. CRT display manufacturing is becoming obsolete and will inevitably become non-existent. This means that the pricing for these units is going to increase substantially and the availability is going to continually decrease. Let’s take King Airs as an example.

Avionics Maintenance Costs

By current market pricing, typical yearly costs just to maintain a Collins Pro Line 2 equipped King Air is about $20,000 per year. If you plan on keeping the aircraft for another five years under current market conditions and a traditional ADS-B mandate solution for about $75,000, you would be paying about $175,000 just to continue to maintain your current avionics package.

Traditional Upgrade

If you want to make additions to a Pro Line 2 avionics system, a WAAS/LPV upgrade would cost about $95,000 and RVSM would cost another $83,000. Combined with maintaining current avionics and ADS-B compliance, the total cost for five years of ownership with traditional upgrades is going to cost around $353,000. Not only are these costs high but these upgrades do not add value to your aircraft.

G1000 Upgrade

While an average base install of a Garmin G1000 in a King Air costs around $325,000, it adds an average value increase to your aircraft of around $275,000. In addition, it includes all of your upgrades like WAAS/LPV, ADS-B, RVSM and is safer, lighter, more reliable and can be completed in just 15 days.

Upgrade or Maintain

While some operators may choose to maintain their current avionics system, older avionics are becoming obsolete and will continue to increase in price and be less reliable. Your avionics system is critical to the operation and safety of your aircraft. An upgraded avionics system will ensure you are getting the most out of your aircraft.

Mark Wilken joined Elliott Aviation in 1989 as an Avionics Bench Technician. He was promoted to Avionics Manager in 1996 and joined the sales team in 2003. Mark has led many highly successful avionics programs such as the King Air Garmin G1000 avionics retrofit program. He recently led efforts for Wi-Fi solutions in Hawkers, King Airs and Phenom 300’s. Mark holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Aviation Management from Southern Illinois University and is a licensed Pilot.

Elliott Aviation is a second-generation, family-owned business aviation company offering a complete menu of high quality products and services including aircraft sales, avionics service & installations, aircraft maintenance, accessory repair & overhaul, paint and interior, charter and aircraft management. Serving the business aviation industry nationally and internationally, they have facilities in Moline, IL, Des Moines, IA, and Minneapolis, MN. The company is a member of the Pinnacle Air Network, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), National Air Transportation Association (NATA), and National Aircraft Resale Association (NARA).

Seventeen People In A King Air?

By Adam Doyle – Pant and Interior Sales Manager
Elliott Aviation

While it may seem impossible, you can fit seventeen people in a King Air 350 or 350i, by modifying it from an executive layout to a 15-passenger commuter plus crew. When making this change, you will lose about a fifth to a quarter of your aircraft range depending on the weight of the passengers and the luggage.

When transforming a 350 or 350i from an executive layout to a commuter style layout, there are many obstacles that will need to be taken into consideration. The first thing to consider would be to eliminate all cabinets mounted to the seat tracks aft of the forward dividers. Next, whether it’s a 350 or 350i you are retrofitting, relocation of the lavatory from the standard location, across from the entry door, to the left handed aft baggage area is the next step, similar to a King Air 90. Along with doing this, you will need to incorporate an "L"-shaped curtain to provide the user some type of privacy, although it will be minimal.

When retrofitting a 350i in this manner, there are obstacles that you wouldn’t face on a 350. The 350i’s redesign of the drink ledge and lower side panel area affect what seats can be placed in the aircraft. At all table locations, the table housings and side panels arch inboard. The arch will not allow a commuter style seat to be placed in the tracks since they do not track inboard on the frame. On a typical King Air 350, this would not be an issue as the drink ledge and side panel area are flat and non-intrusive.

The preferred seating option would be AvFab’s Traveler Seat. These seats are engineered to be lightweight, durable and affordable. The Traveler Seat’s enhanced design creates increased leg, knee and foot room as well as ease of getting in and out for passenger comfort. Since you lose some of your range in this modification, keeping the seating as lightweight as possible will be to your benefit.

Oxygen requirements will need to be evaluated unless the aircraft was previously outfitted with dual aft jump seats. Placarding now becomes mandatory since both aft dividers and stub wall will be removed to accommodate the seating.

Considering the floor plan change, opting for alternative flooring designed for heavy use may be necessary. If you intend to retrofit a 350i and still want the look, there are options available to consumers looking for this solution. One of the biggest benefits is upgrading to LED downwash lighting instead of the fluorescent bulb/power supply issue.

Other modifications to consider include options for baggage. You lose the interior baggage area by eliminating the left handed aft baggage area to accommodate the new toilet location. However, there are still alternatives available. By adding wing lockers, you would gain 34 cubic feet total of baggage area.

Another topic to discuss is aesthetics. Are you considering function or appeal? You can always have closeouts fabricated to cover up the structure where items have been removed, though taking the next step to make your aircraft appear as if it came from the factory may be appealing. You may choose to have the drink ledges and lower side panels added onto and recovered, or gain a unique and seamless look by choosing to have all new fabrications. Fabricating new may sound over the top but taking into consideration the fact you won’t have to strip, prep and recover, some of the labor will be absorbed.

Seventeen people in a King Air? It is possible and a good shop that works on a lot of King Airs can do it. Knowing all of your options is the first step to knowing what modifications will fit your needs.

Adam Doyle joined Elliott Aviation in 2000 as an interior technician after graduating from Wyoming Technical Institute. While at Elliott Aviation, Adam has earned many different promotions on the shop floor including Install Team Lead, Soft Goods Team Lead, Assistant Interior Shop Manager and Seat Shop Manager. Adam’s most recent promotion has been to Paint and Interior Sales Representative for Elliott Aviation. He uses his experience with various vendors, products and processes to educate our clients by providing direction and helping plan for future investment with realistic and accurate figures.

Elliott Aviation is a second-generation, family-owned business aviation company offering a complete menu of high quality products and services including aircraft sales, avionics service & installations, aircraft maintenance, accessory repair & overhaul, paint and interior, charter and aircraft management. Serving the business aviation industry nationally and internationally, they have facilities in Moline, IL, Des Moines, IA, and Minneapolis, MN. The company is a member of the Pinnacle Air Network, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), National Air Transportation Association (NATA), and National Aircraft Resale Association (NARA). More information can be found at www.elliottaviation.com

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