Aircraft On Ground - Now What?
Sooner or later, every plane owner will be faced with an aircraft on the ground (AOG) event for unscheduled maintenance when something breaks on the plane. Have you had a frustrating repair experience that kept you grounded for longer than you expected? Did you feel like you spent too much money and too much time just getting back in the air? There are many challenges associated with getting unscheduled maintenance completed on your plane.
When you have an AOG event, the ability to get certified aircraft technicians to your plane in a timely manner can be problematic. Access to technicians within a reasonable time frame is never guaranteed, especially on short notice. And paying for travel to your location once you find technicians can be very costly. Qualified Service Center Capacity
Nearby service centers can’t always react quickly to the need for unscheduled diagnostics and repairs. Capacity can be limited, and wait times for service can range anywhere from days to weeks depending on your location and your relationship with the provider. Not all service centers are alike, so don’t assume that every repair shop is staffed with the qualified technicians needed to complete your repairs.
Parts Availability Finding specific parts to repair your aircraft can be very frustrating and take much longer than expected. Some parts are extremely hard to find and supply chain issues have made sourcing parts even harder than before. And even when you locate the parts needed to get you flying again, extended delivery times can cause even bigger delays.
Plan In Advance for Inevitable AOG Events
What can aircraft owners do now to be better prepared for aircraft on ground issues so they can get back in the air faster?
Find the Right Aircraft Maintenance Partner Now
Be sure that you have relationships in place to perform maintenance and repairs on your aircraft BEFORE you need them. Spending time upfront to evaluate which partner is right for your needs can pay big dividends later. When something unexpected happens, you should already know whom to call, what level of service and support your partner can provide, and at least a rough idea of costs.
Consider Engaging an Aircraft Management Company
A comprehensive way to eliminate the headaches associated with AOG events is to engage an aircraft management company to take care of your plane. These firms manage more than just a single plane, so they have lots of experience navigating AOG challenges. Plus they often have resources and relationships in place that an owner-operator or pilot may not have access to when navigating AOG events.
Why spend your time and energy dealing with repairs when a management company can leverage its network of technicians, service providers, and parts dealers to completely remove you from the equation? Look for companies that offer other valuable services like pilot and crew services and scheduled maintenance plans in addition to AOG services so you can always be ready to fly at a moment’s notice.
Be Sure To Do Your Homework
Whether you are evaluating a maintenance shop or a management company that provides repairs, be sure to ask lots of questions. Are they 145 certified to complete repairs on your specific aircraft? Can they coordinate and perform onsite or in-house repairs, or both with certified, experienced technicians? Besides contacting the manufacturer, what contacts and resources do they have to find parts for your plane? What are their typical response times for an AOG event and the required method of payment?
Determine in advance a solution that will work best for you both financially and from a risk management standpoint. Be sure you have a game plan in place well ahead of any inevitable AOG events that might prevent you from flying.