With more than 3,500 Rolls-Royce powered business jets in service worldwide, the company is the leading business aviation engine supplier. Its top priority is to provide an extraordinary level of service that exceeds their customers’ expectations.
“What’s unique about Rolls-Royce is that we have a separate Business Aviation unit,” says Andy Robinson, SVP Customer & Services, Business Aviation. This unit includes its own services organization; purposely set up to assist the special needs of business aviation clients, which differ from those in commercial aviation.
The spearhead of this organization for quick responses and special missions is the Rolls-Royce On-Wing Services team. It is composed of 50 highly qualified technicians which are strategically placed around the globe with supporting teams of quality and logistics professionals and is led by Tim Wyckoff, Director of On-Wing Services.
More than half of Rolls-Royce’s Business Aviation clients have a fleet of one aircraft, which means they typically do not have a comprehensive maintenance department to perform maintenance on the engines themselves. While this no problem for predictable, routine tasks, which can be done in one of more than 75 Authorised Service Centres, it can prove to be difficult if you need help somewhere remote. Fortunately, Rolls-Royce created the On-Wing Services team to solve this problem for their unique clientele. These technicians, who rank in the best in their profession, travel to the respective aircraft to perform special maintenance tasks, often to rescue customers from an aircraft-on-ground situation and ensure our clients make their next planned flight.
When a new product is about to be introduced to the market, the team works directly with the airframer, often at their facility or testing location. They support the airframer during the rigorous flight test phase of aircraft/engine development. This opportunity to be the first to work on state-of-the-art Rolls-Royce products positions the On-Wing Services technicians to be the hands-down experts once the engine is in service.
Finally, the On-Wing Services team oversees all extensive maintenance and lease engine service. These services take place out of Rolls-Royce’s Indianapolis facility.
It goes without saying that the On-Wing Services team is a vital part of Rolls-Royce’s dedicated global service network. All moving parts – from the 24/7 Business Aviation Availability Centre, logistics and spare parts to On-Wing services – have to work like a perfectly tuned machine. This ensures faster response times and reduces AOG downtime wherever their customers are in the world.
Before COVID-19 interrupted our lives there were over 350,000 business aviation flights per month. While that number has understandably decreased, business aviation operators are utilizing their time machines for repatriation flights, medical missions or to transport urgently required personal protective equipment for front-line medical personnel.
Even during the pandemic, the On-Wing Services team is supporting customers around the clock. This allows the team to maintain its award-winning response time to an AOG.
But it is not business as usual….Not exactly.
In order to respond to the pandemic, Rolls-Royce has kept their employees and customers safe by providing N95 masks and wipes for tools, following local guidelines as essential workers to ensure that whether working from an airport hangar or the Indianapolis shop the team is well protected. Also, before traveling to a customer’s facility we provided a required questionnaire to understand potential exposure scenarios. “Although we’re still working at full steam, we spend a lot of time cleaning all surfaces between shifts. It’s added a burden; it’s made it more difficult to get the job done but safety is the priority” commented Tim when asked about the recent measures taken.
While the On-Wing Services team has a wide network, it doesn’t always have an on-site technician where an aircraft is down. Typically the team would take a commercial flight to resolve an AOG, however, Tim has had to find other ways. Recently, a team of mechanics had to drive ten hours for a three-hour job. What mattered most is that the job was completed on time and the customer was satisfied.
Outstanding service is a major differentiator for business aviation customers. It is clear that despite the difficulties presented Rolls-Royce’s On-Wing Services Team has remained committed to the mission and united by a sense of purpose. For this reason, Rolls-Royce continues to show why they are the number one service provider in business aviation.
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