Aircraft Engines Built to Last? You Bet

By Pratt & Whitney Customer Service

In April of this year, P&WC celebrated the delivery of its 100,000th engine. With nearly 60,000 of those engines still in service today, P&WC remains unfalteringly committed to service.

Every second of every day, an aircraft powered by a P&WC engine takes off.

That fact is always top-of-mind for P&WC’s John Lewis, General Manager, Global Front Line. It’s an apt title because John’s team is indeed on the front lines in the effort to keep customers dependably in flight.

The team consists of 108 Field Support Representatives (FSRs) located in 30 countries, 28 engine specialists in the company’s CFirst customer response centres in Longueuil, Quebec, and Singapore, 8 regional managers and 6 employees who support the field team and manage P&WC’s relationship with Flight Safety International. FSI has 12 facilities around the world providing training on P&WC’s engines.

“There aren’t many companies that can claim six out of every 10 products they have made in the past 50-plus years are still in operation,” John told Airtime. “Finding ways to service those products requires ingenuity, passion and an understanding of customers’ needs.”


Infrastructure, People and Technologies Working Together

Information systems, field experts and the technology that power them across our global service network are all critical to our service. Front-line employees need instant access to customer information wherever they may be. “We rely on four pillars to achieve our customer service mission,” John explained:

  • Our Global Service Network - the infrastructure we have in place includes appointed facilities with trained professionals to support the maintenance, repair and overhaul of our engines.
  • Our network of Field Support Representatives (FSRs) - these experts have instant, mobile, access to customer information, to provide the best support in the industry.
  • Maintenance accessibility - we build tools to guide maintenance right into our engines.
  • Innovative maintenance tools - we are constantly finding new ways to ensure better prediction of maintenance schedules.

John explained that because the system is fully integrated, there is only one story when it comes to a specific customer.

That means everyone works from the same page - the four pillars touch on quality of service across the organization.

Service Delivered on Wing, Remotely and Using Innovative Analysis Technology

P&WC has historically built engines with a clear view to their maintenance requirements. The design of the PT6 engine remains relevant today for the engine’s ease of maintenance. Many maintenance tasks – such as hot section inspection – can be conducted on wing and the engine itself can be split in two while on wing to give technicians best access.


Exposed PT6 Engine on Socata TBM 930

“If you look at our newest engine, the PW800, the ease-of-maintenance capabilities we’ve developed set new standards,” John says. “For example, the engine has large access panels that open fully to expose the maximum number of parts. Technicians will also find retractable steps and a work platform that are built right into the nacelle.”

As with most companies, technology is the great enabler for P&WC allowing it to maintain service levels even as the number of engines flying increases every year.

With a new tool called Onsight a technician in the field can use a smartphone to open a video session with an FSR hundreds or thousands of miles away. The FSR sees what the technician sees and can often resolve the issue remotely. Onsight can also be used to share borescope or other video feeds in real time with experts located on the other side of the world.

The company has also made major breakthroughs in the development of diagnostic, prognostic and health management (DPH&M) technologies including its FAST™ product and its industry leading Oil Analysis Technology.

“These and other tools have allowed us to develop a suite of Digital Engine Services, including a recently announced ‘proactive help desk’ as a next step in providing preventative, data-driven maintenance management and ‘consulting services’ support to customers,” says John. “The help desk is now available to customers of P&WC’s PW300 engines covered under the company’s Eagle Service™ Plan (ESP® Program) pay-per-hour maintenance program.

Field Support Reps Have an Average of More Than 20 Years Experience

“We also have multiple tools in place to ensure our FSRs have access to the information they need since many works on all engine models,” says John. “We have a ‘follow the sun’ strategy in our CFirst centres with seamless handoff capabilities making us a customer service organization that never sleeps.

The scope of P&WC’s FSR network is a competitive advantage for customers. The number of FSRs has increased recently to accommodate P&WC’s growing Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) portfolio. The average FSR working for the company has well in excess of 20 years of aviation experience and there is very low turnover.

“Our FSRs are the intellectual capital that elevates our understanding of our engines’ performance and helps resolve issues quickly and thoroughly,” says John. “They have various backgrounds but all share a common focus on customer needs and a certain type of technical agility that allows them to work on a turbofan engine in the morning, a helicopter engine in the afternoon and maybe an APU in the evening. It’s a job that’s always challenging and never routine.”


Daniel Bigras goes the extra mile to service an Airbus H175 civil helicopter

Read How Daniel Bigras, Field Support Rep, Saved the Day by Going the Extra Mile

Photo courtesy of Pratt & Whitney Canada and Daniel Bigras.