Airtime Blog

New video provides handy rigging tips for Cessna Grand Caravan EX operators

June 10, 2020 | Mechanics, Performance, PT6A | 3 min read
Originally published August 2, 2019 – Updated June 10, 2020

Following positive feedback on our first PT6A rigging video in 2018, we decided to produce a series featuring various aircraft. This latest installment is meant for Cessna Grand Caravan EX operators.

Improving the customer experience with online resources

In the past two years, Pratt & Whitney has provided Beechcraft King Air and Cessna Caravan operators with videos that shed light on the complex art of rigging – the process of hooking up engines to the aircraft so they’re perfectly balanced and perform optimally.

Following the success of these videos, which provide practical, easy-to-follow technical tips, we’ve produced new content for Cessna Grand Caravan EX mechanics that helps make rigging more transparent for PT6A operators.

“We continue to innovate so our customers can easily access the support and information they need, when and where they need it. Our Airtime blog and social media channels are great tools for doing that, as these videos demonstrate,” says Rob Winchcomb, Manager, PT6 Turboprop, Owner Pilot, at Pratt & Whitney, who has played a key role in producing the various videos.

For the Cessna Caravan videos, the production team travelled to Belize, where Pratt & Whitney customer Tropic Air generously agreed to let us use a PT6A-114A-powered Caravan and a PT6A-140-powered Grand Caravan EX. With the help of their maintenance technicians, the team shot footage of the rigging process, including engine adjustments in the run bay, over five days.

Clarifying the subtleties of rigging PT6A engines

Rigging is an important – and often underappreciated – aspect of aircraft performance, notes Rob. Properly rigged engines have many benefits for customers:

  • Reduced pilot workload thanks to improved engine handling
  • More time on wing due to fewer unscheduled maintenance events
  • Improved passenger and crew comfort
  • Lower direct operating costs
  • Less time spent on initial engine and accessory installation time
  • Reduced environmental footprint because of fuel savings relating to more efficient performance
  • While the rigging process is broadly similar from one engine to the next, each model has its own intricacies and subtleties. Explaining these in writing might require several pages of detailed description.

A video, on the other hand, can condense the explanation into 10 or 20 seconds bits and is much more effective, since customers can see exactly what to do on an engine identical to their own.

They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, in which case a video is like an entire book. These videos take what’s written in our engine manuals and bring it to life. You can see the instructions being applied in practice.
Rob Winchcomb, Manager, PT6 Turboprop, Owner Pilot

Lessons learned lead to improved content

Like the Beechcraft King Air and Cessna Caravan rigging videos before it, the new Cessna Grand Caravan EX video demonstrates the basics of setting up the control system, rigging the engines and making final adjustments.

But as Rob points out, thanks to the lessons learned from producing the first round of videos, the newer ones provide viewers with an improved experience.

“We’ve taken it up a few levels,” he says with satisfaction. “The content is cleaner and flows more smoothly.”

By analyzing how people were watching the Beechcraft King Air videos – such as where they would stop, go back and rewatch a particular section – the team also identified which information delivered the most value. The Cessna Caravan videos take this into account.

Focusing on details that customers appreciate

The videos contain what Rob calls “a-ha moments,” where the visual demonstration of a particularly tricky point immediately clarifies it for the customer. One example is serrated washers.
We knew customers were struggling with adjusting the serrated washers. In the video, we really break down why we want them to adjust it and why it’s important. When they see it on screen, it suddenly makes sense.
Rob Winchcomb, Manager, PT6 Turboprop, Owner Pilot
Likewise, the visual explanation of how to rig the condition lever makes it much easier to understand. The videos also share handy, practical tricks, such as how to use a folded piece of paper for measuring angles that help pilots, owners and maintainers avoid the need for special tooling.
The goal with these rigging videos is three engine runs and you’re done. This will save our customers time and fuel by ensuring proper, consistent rigging, whether for a single aircraft or an entire fleet. The videos supplement our maintenance manuals by taking what’s written there and bringing it to life.
Rob Winchcomb, Manager, PT6 Turboprop, Owner Pilot
You can view the new Cessna Grand Caravan EX video here. The previous Cessna Caravan video and the Beechcraft King Air videos are available here.