Phil Randell, MD, talks to MRO Management magazine about World Aero's current projects and recent growth

MRO for wheels and brakes is simple but it can generate high volumes of work. Ian Harbison at MRO Management Magazine speaks to World Aero about their approach.

Phil Randell, Managing Director of World Aero, based near London-Gatwick, says wheels and brakes from some of the newer aircraft types are beginning to make an appearance in the facility. Thanks to a contract with an international flag carrier, support is given for the Boeing 787 wheels. At present, the business has seen an increase in volumes as aircraft accumulate more hours, although most operators are large enough to have their own workshops. 

The company has a contract with a very large MRO to provide support on the 737NG Family aircraft, the OEM outsources work to World Aero to relieve capacity during the busy spring/summer seasons. It is also in discussion with a large European airline for Boeing 777 wheel overhauls. Again, he notes that the OEM wants to keep the brake work but is happy to delegate the manpower for intensive wheel overhaul work.

Airbus widebody work is more ad hoc but sees the potential for A330/340 work as aircraft drift down to lower tier operators. On the ATR 42/72 and Dornier 228, the company has been investing in inventory. He notes that the 228 is difficult to support this is particularly because there can be a 52 week lead time for factory new items.

The Embraer E-Jet family is an interesting case. It is one of the few that can use radial or bias tyres – most often, only one type is specified, such as bias with the 737NG. A wheel with a radial tyre can achieve approximately 800-850 landings between shop visits, where as a bias tyre has a shop visit approximately every 300 landings however the wheel will still require an overhaul every 1800 cycles, thus due to landings between shop visits a radial tyre will have an overhaul every other tyre change or 2 visits where a bias tyre will have on average an overhaul every 4-5  tyre changes.  Returning to the 737NG, he says for comparison typically the main wheel tyre life is approximately 200-250 cycles. 

As for the company, there have also been some recent developments. It is now certified as an FAA Part-145 Repair Station, which allows Form 1 dual release. The company also hold Transport Canada release. It is growing to meet demand, with 25% extra floor space in the last couple of years – from 2,729 units in 2013 to 3,723 units in 2015. At the same time, there has been extra training for staff and steps to improve processes. Ultrasonic testing is of increasing importance as some wheels have experienced technical problems and this capability can now be supported by a new sister company, Inspection Technologies.

MRO Management - September 2016 

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