Saturday, 6 June 2009

Need spares?

Need spares for your aeroplane? You'd better hope that you don't have anything new! Some French friends flew their Diamond DA42 to Aero Friedrichshaffen this year. They had a great time, but on April 5th at 10,000' on the way back they had an engine failure and diverted into Troyes. This particular DA42 was equipped with the original Centurion 1.7 engines rather than the later Centurion 2.0 and had recently had new gearboxes fitted.

Another friend, the owner of a Columbia 400, recently took his two-year-old aeroplane to Germany to have a TKS system fited. The original owner had paid for the Evade option (Columbia's electric wing de-ice system), but when Cessna rescued Columbia they dumped the system, honoured the option and offered TKS instead. During this install the German maintenance company verified that the ADs and SBs were all up to date (and that's another story), and found that the rudder needed replacing. The new rudder should have arrived two weeks ago, but as of today it's still 'on the way'. The owner of the Diamond DA42 now has his aeroplane back, but it took the best part of two months to sort out, much of which was spent waiting for parts.

Contrast that with the easy availability of parts for many older aeroplanes and something doesn't seem quite right. Imagine the reaction if you were to pitch up at the garage with your new BMW only to be told that while parts for a Ford Cortina could be had with little difficulty, those for your new car could, and probably would, take ages.

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