Fast 5: How AAC Gains First 787 Limited Airframe Rating

Mark McDonald, Associated Air Center’s deputy chief inspector, talks about how the MRO obtain the first FAA Boeing 787 series limited airframe rating approval.

1. How long did it take to receive the 787 limited airframe rating from the FAA?

McDonald: Associated Air Center received the initial 787-8 limited rating for composite repair in May 2015; however, this rating was limited to minor composite repairs.  Based on the experience we obtained during the 787-8 head of state VVIP interior completion project that we delivered in February 2016, and interest expressed from our customers for additional modification/alteration capability, we began the process of amending the initial 787-8 limited rating in early 2016.  On Aug. 15, Associated Air Center received additional capabilities expanding the initial 787-8 limited rating into a 787 series limited rating that includes authorization to perform maintenance and composite bolted major repairs and alterations.   

2. What investment was required to obtain the 787 limited airframe rating?

McDonald: Associated Air Center’s total investment for the addition of the 787 limited rating is approximately $325,000. This investment includes capital expenditures for equipment such as specialized drilling equipment and additional inspection tools, and extensive training for our personnel that was provided through multiple training sources. One of the key elements required to obtain this rating was specific training for the performance of composite bolted repairs.  To satisfy this requirement, Associated Air Center personnel received 46 hours of training in 787 Advanced Composite Bolted Repairs from Boeing.

3. Is Associated Air Center pursuing other 787 approvals?

McDonald: Associated Air Center is always looking to expand its capabilities to meet our customers’ needs. The experience we will receive from performing composite bolted major repairs and alterations will allow us to pursue further capabilities in the future, and continue to meet the needs of our customers.

Additionally, Associated Air Center is beginning to include these additional 787 ratings into our foreign AMO authorizations.

4. Why is AAC only pursuing bolted repairs and not pre-impregnated or wet layup repairs?

McDonald: Associated Air Center’s pursuit of additional 787 ratings will encompass task related ratings to continue to build our overall capabilities based on the needs of our customers.  Associated Air Center believes that this additional capability is the next logical step in the expansion of our 787 capabilities, and this approach will continue to build confidence with customers and regulators both here and abroad. 

5. How much additional 787 MRO work do you expect to receive this year?

McDonald: The new limited airframe rating authorizes AAC to support MRO services for all Boeing 787 operators, including both VVIP completion and airline customers. AAC is continuing to bid on additional 787 VVIP completion contracts and is aggressively pursuing heavy maintenance contracts on more than half a dozen foreign operated 787s.

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