Airtime Blog

Oil Analysis Ensures TBM Owner Never Misses a Day of Flying

November 9, 2020 | Customers, Diagnostics, Maintenance, Prognostics | 3 min read
P&W’s Oil Analysis Technology supports proactive maintenance by providing actionable insights into engine health. A TBM customer’s recent experience shows how this innovative solution turns unscheduled events into scheduled ones.

Offering engine health insights to maintainers

As Director of Maintenance for AVEX-KBJC, Robert O’Connor uses all the tools at his disposal to keep his customers flying safely and on schedule. When he heard about Pratt & Whitney’s Oil Analysis Technology, he was immediately intrigued by the program.

“We’re the largest distributor of Daher TBMs in the world and maintain about 200 aircraft a year between our two locations,” he says. “Trending the oil analysis is extremely important on these engines.”

Driven by Robert’s enthusiasm, AVEX became an early adopter of our Oil Analysis Technology

AVEX samples the engine oil at every aircraft inspection and sends them to our laboratory. Our experts analyze trace particles from oil-wetted components and compare the findings to the signature for a healthy engine of that type. If the values exceed the thresholds established for that specific engine, we will provide actionable maintenance recommendations to the customer, enabling them to address issues long before they impact operation.

We’re able to inspect oil samples and gain valuable feedback on the health of the engines in our fleet. The more I learn and see of this technology, the more impressed I am with it.
Robert O’Connor, Director of Maintenance, AVEX
Robert O'Connor, Director of Maintenance, AVEX 
Photo Credit: AVEX, Inc.
“The objective of this technology is to keep it simple for the operator,” adds Pratt & Whitney’s Samuel Chabot, Engineering Operations Lead, Pratt & Whitney Oil Analysis Technology. “Everything is processed on our side, from the analysis to the maintenance recommendation and the coordination with the dealer.”

Collaborating with AVEX to deliver timely support

A recent case involving an AVEX customer showcases the key benefits of our Oil Analysis Technology when used with the advanced engine vibration analysis program developed by AVEX: enabling proactive maintenance and delivering peace of mind.

The customer in question is an owner-pilot who makes extensive use of his TBM aircraft, flying over 300 hours a year. With such a busy flying schedule, any unscheduled maintenance impacts the owner’s flight schedule.

In January 2020, during an annual inspection, AVEX took an oil sample and sent it off to Pratt & Whitney for analysis. The results combined with the findings from previous samples indicated action was advisable. 

AVEX, no stranger to the adoption of new technologies, was able to augment the findings of the Oil Analysis through its own engine diagnostic system.

Explains Robert: “AVEX performs a thorough vibration analysis of each aircraft inducted into our facility and compares these results against norms established with proprietary software, developed for TBM aircraft. The correlation between the oil samples and vibration survey findings allowed us to further refine what actions we needed to take.”

“On our side”, explains Samuel, “it all started the year before, when we noticed an unusual level of gear material in the oil sample. As a result, we recommended the collection of samples at shorter intervals to monitor the findings.”

Throughout the journey, the oil analysis team consulted with Robert and Pratt & Whitney’s Customer Support to decide the next steps. Together, they ultimately determined to schedule the removal of the engine at the most convenient time for the owner, in order to investigate the gearbox.

This is a great example of collaboration between Pratt & Whitney and the maintainer to come up with the best solution for the owner, taking into account his specific needs as a high-utilisation customer.
Frédérique Richard, Senior Manager P&W’s Oil Analysis.

The Pratt & Whitney Customer Support team collaborated with AVEX to proactively arrange for the TBM’s owner to obtain a rental engine to keep him flying during the engine repair.

The owner was extremely appreciative of the coordinated, proactive approach taken to the situation, recounts Robert.

I was concerned that the customer would be displeased about removing his engine, but he was very thankful that we discovered the issue before it impacted him with an unscheduled event. He felt incredibly supported by Pratt & Whitney and AVEX.
Robert O’Connor, Director of Maintenance, AVEX

Adding a level of confidence

As Robert notes, the Oil Analysis technology is very precise and instructive in identifying engine issues.  When combined with our advanced engine vibration program we can make informed decisions that benefit all parties.
Thanks to Pratt & Whitney’s Oil Analysis Technology, I have a level of confidence I didn’t have with other oil analysis programs. It’s very sophisticated and I think it will prove to be a great value-added service for the TBM community.
Robert O’Connor, Director of Maintenance, AVEX
Besides the TBMs serviced by AVEX, oil analysis is providing peace of mind to many other customers. Learn more about it in a previous Airtime post, 3 Key Benefits of Our Oil Analysis Technology.