Airtime Blog

Pratt & Whitney MRO facility talks “shop” in these ever-changing times

By PRATT & WHITNEY CUSTOMER SERVICE
March 2, 2022 | Cost Management, Maintenance, Overhauls | 4 min read
Pratt & Whitney’s maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility in West Virginia — a turbofan center of excellence — goes above and beyond to provide personalized service and solutions in ever-evolving times.

Support that makes a lasting impression

Some years ago, a customer flying an aircraft with twin PW306 engines was having a vibration issue. When he reached out to Pratt & Whitney Engine Services, P&W’s maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility in West Virginia for support, the field service representative stayed on the phone with him until 1 a.m., making sure the matter was resolved and the aircraft back in service.

Ten years later, the field service representative happened to meet that customer in person at an industry event. The customer remembered him by name and made a point of thanking him for his efforts.

For Pratt & Whitney’s Michael Patrick, staff engineer, this anecdote sums up the facility’s mission.

As a Pratt & Whitney turbofan centre of excellence, we’re committed to providing that level of personalized, above-and-beyond service every time.
Michael Patrick, Staff Engineer, Pratt & Whitney Engine Services.

Customer-focused service that prioritizes operators’ needs

Michael’s colleague Whitney Moore, repair & overhaul customer solutions manager, recounts a more recent example, involving a customer who needed work on some second-stage turbine blades. 

“Based on borescopes in the field, it needed to be done quickly. We adjusted our shop capacity by pulling resources from other lines and modifying our schedule to achieve a very expedited turnaround of seven to 10 days without compromising our other commitments,” Whitney said.

We recognized that one of our largest fleet customers needed immediate support with a strict turnaround time. Given the urgency of the situation, we focused on their needs ahead of our plan. The key was coordination between customer service and operations to find a way to get it done in a tight timeframe.
Whitney Moore, Repair & Overhaul Customer Solutions Manager, Pratt & Whitney Engine Services

Taking the unexpected in stride

The team further demonstrated its flexible, solution-driven approach to tackling challenges when a customer recently contacted the facility to borescope some engines in storage and possibly buy them from another customer. There were a number of administrative and logistical hurdles, including restrictions on visits due to COVID protocols.

“Within a few hours, we reached out to the end customer who was selling the engines, arranged for a rapid COVID test for the customer who wanted to purchase the engines and obtained expedited approval for visiting the storage site,” Whitney said.

Five decades of steady growth and improvement

Pratt & Whitney Engine Services is continuously evolving to enhance its capabilities and adapt to changes in the market. In the early years, it mainly serviced military helicopters, then became an engine testing facility before evolving the business model again in the late 1980s to become an MRO facility. 

While it has remained an MRO shop ever since, it has expanded the range of models it handles. It started by working on PT6A and PW100 engines, followed by PW300, PW500 and JT15D engines in the mid-1990s. 

More recently, it introduced PW800 capabilities in 2019, enabling it to service the next-generation PW814GA and PW815GA business aviation engines powering Gulfstream’s G500 and G600 jets, along with any future models in the product family. It’s already expanding again to include services for PW600 engines as it seeks to meet the needs of a wider range of operators. 

Besides the main facility in Bridgeport, West Virginia, it satellites in six locations: Clarksburg, West Virginia; Atlanta; South Burlington, Vermont; Cypress, California; Battle Creek, Michigan; and Luton, England. These mostly provide line maintenance services for specific engine models.

We’ve consistently improved and grown. The satellite network has expanded over the years to be able to handle more and more work. Our workforce has increased from 30 or 40 people in the 1970s to around 400 today. The building in Bridgeport has been significantly expanded.
Michael Patrick, Staff Engineer, Pratt & Whitney Engine Services

Leveraging new technologies and OEM expertise

There has also been a constant influx of new technology to keep up with the needs of the engine models the shop services. The likes of plasma capability electrical discharge machining for parts precision, magnetic particle inspection and a coordinate-measuring machine for automated parts measurement help the facility to perform tasks faster, more accurately and more efficiently, delivering greater value to customers.

Along with the facility’s commitment to quality and flexibility, customers also benefit from its OEM-backed technical expertise. Michael and his colleagues take considerable pride in being part of Pratt & Whitney’s industry-leading Global Service Network of over 50 owned and designated facilities.

Why do you take your car to the official dealer instead of Joe’s Garage? It’s the same with an aircraft engine. You might get cheaper services elsewhere, but you won’t get the quality, commitment and knowledge that you get from an OEM-approved facility. We have the Pratt & Whitney eagle on our building, and that means something in terms of quality and dependability.
Michael Patrick, Staff Engineer
Pratt & Whitney’s global service network offers personalized, local solutions to customers in all the market segments it serves. Read more about how the network is changing to better serve operators’ needs and minimize engine downtime in Designated Facilities Deliver Local Access to Line Maintenance.