We retrofit, assemble, screw, install, test, repair and maintain smallest and wide-bodied aircraft such as the Airbus A380. "We" are a crew consisting of aircraft mechanics, aircraft electricians, saddlers, aircraft inspectors (Certifying Staff) as well as NDT inspectors. Together we are known as Mobile Aircraft Maintenance Crew (MAMC).
The ARTS MAMC is uniquely composed and a highly qualified team. Initially, our work was limited to structural assembly, mechanical and electrical equipment and repair work on the aircraft - but we quickly gained customer confidence and the project requirements went beyond the daily routine. Our crew got new colleagues on board and extended their know-how. In the meantime, retrofitting, non-destructive testing and the refurbishment of entire aircraft cabins have become part of our business area. I am also very proud of the fact that we have our own factory workshop in order to be able to outsource partial tasks, such as modification of aircraft seats or cutting aircraft cabin carpets.
Nevertheless, we are often on the road and long journeys are a regular part of our work - but our crew appreciates this independence of location. We are a multicultural team - in total we speak five languages, but we communicate with each other in English. The English exchange is an absolute must for team and customer communication because most service bulletins for aircraft are written in English.
Depending on the order, we may be larger or smaller groups. As Customer Program Manager, I usually travel to the service location in advance, in order to be able to plan the deployment with the most efficient amount of manpower and equipment. Our ordered projects often must be completed ad hoc, which means keeping calm for me, but still quickly organising the crew's journey, including the delivery of our tools.
As part of a C-check or other maintenance work, we reinforced the 16 passenger doors of some Lufthansa and Air France A380 aircraft at several customers, such as the MRO company Elbe Flugzeugwerke Dresden, for example. This is no easy task, and requires the highest levels of precision and compliance with all regulations. First, the door is removed from the A380 and placed in a jig. We then remove the door insulation and dismantle the cover plates, the mechanics and the seals. Once the door has been stripped, we remove the old structure on the doors and our NDT8 inspector, certified according to EN 4179 L2, carries out the Special Detailed Inspection (SDI) using High- frequency eddy current (HFEC). If the detailed inspection of the doors is carried out without any abnormalities, we continue with the cold deformation of the structural components (flap peening/cold working) - in the process we re-shape the surfaces and thus remove the symptoms of fatigue from the structural components. Finally, the reinforcement parts, provided by Airbus, are laid onto the doors and provisionally attached using fixation pins, all fasteners and reinforcing components are mounted. After approval from quality assurance, we finally install the cover plates, the mechanics, the seals, the door components and the door insulation.
In the meantime, retrofitting, non-destructive testing and the refurbishment of entire aircraft cabins have become part of our business area.
For a trouble-shooting of an ATR42-300 of the Buddha Air-Airline we travelled to Kathmandu. The aircraft had come to a standstill on the ground of the Kathmandu airport in Nepal for an unknown reason. Already during the travel preparations one of our Certifying Staff (CAT B2) checked the aircraft documentation to get a picture of the situation on site. As a specialist for ATR aircraft he travelled to Kathmandu with some MAMC colleagues to support the trouble-shooting on site. In Kathmandu, numerous measures were taken to identify the cause. However, after multiple tests on electrical lines, the source of the fault remained hidden. For this reason, the team of experts decided to replace some parts and equipment of the aircraft and to test others for functionality in order to find and eliminate the cause of the fault. After almost a week of root cause research, numerous tests and renewals, the team was able to identify and correct the cause. Together with the ATR expert on site, a final and successful flight test was carried out and our crew was able to travel home. But of course a highlight was not to be missed: Our customer Buddah Airlines was especially satisfied with our reaction time when finding a solution and wanted to thank us in particular: at the end of the project we enjoyed a mountain flight and saw the Everest mountains in a unique panorama.
For prototypes of the Pilatus PC 24 and Airbus 220 we examined the wing and the fuselage for our customer iABG in a non destructive test and examined them for damages (cracks, fractures etc.). However, before our five Non Destructive Testing (NDT) inspectors could go to work, our aircraft mechanics dismantled the wing into its structural parts. In iABG's testing laboratory, specific structural inspections and analyses had to be carried out using non-destructive testing methods - among other things, we tested for cracks; even microscopically small defects are noticeable to us through eddy current testing. We were also able to detect defects in the metallic components with the aid of ultrasonic testing, because we determined the size and position of the defects by measuring the transit time of the ultrasonic echo. Subsequently, we prepared extensive documentation for iABG on all anomalies. The task was a real challenge because we had to put our foot down in only 3.5 months and complete the work.