Find out the results of our 2020 Helicopter & Engine Manufacturers Survey; learn about Airbus’s non-pilot emergency landing training course; heli-safaris at Kenya’s Tropic Air; TracPlus & the MD 500’s origins.
It’s a given, if you fly helicopters or fixed-wing aircraft, you’re going to need parts. The biggest question is OEM or PMA?
Thanks to companies like EXTEX, more operators are now choosing and benefitting from PMA (parts manufacturer approval) options.
For EXTEX, the aftermarket’s growing embrace of its offerings comes from its foundation of quality, agility, cost, support and innovation. Its PMA parts have proven themselves to be as reliable as OEM (original equipment manufacturer) selections. They are also well supported, more cost-effective and, particularly in the case of legacy and hard-to-find parts, more readily available.
What’s EXTEX’s secret?
“All our engineers have significant aerospace experience,” said Reid Selover, EXTEX’s sales and business development manager. “They’ve worked for OEMs, MRO [maintenance, repair and overhaul] facilities and several well-known manufacturers.”
That first-hand experience is not only a vital strength, it’s a company tradition.
“EXTEX’s founders also had an aviation background, and they recognized an opportunity,” said Selover. “They knew that if they could manufacture their own parts for Allison Model 250 engines, they could help reduce each customer’s direct operating costs by supplying less expensive, more durable parts with comparable or improved reliability.”
As EXTEX grew, it continued that focus on quality, cost and innovation. Even as the number of platforms it supported expanded to include the PT6, T53 and T56 engine series, auxiliary power units for Airbus and Boeing commercial aircraft, and airframe parts for Airbus, Bell and MD helicopter models, the company maintained its foundational strengths.
As Selover explained, this came from having experienced people and being a small, streamlined organization.
“When you’re as small as we are–and your products serve such a critical role–you have to know what you’re doing. You don’t get to work here without a lot of experience and an excellent reputation with proven successes.
“Plus, when you’re a small business unit, you’re able to focus on what’s important and can be more agile and react quicker.”
Those abilities led to a license agreement with a major engine OEM to support their product on older, legacy fleets.
As Selover explained: “They didn’t have the available resources to support out-of-production engines in a timely fashion. But, in six months, we received a PMA via a license agreement and were making the same parts it would have taken them years to produce.
“It was a win-win for all parties. The customer received their parts quickly. The engine OEM could focus on newer programs. And EXTEX’s business grew. Plus, our performance led to additional license agreements on other product lines.”
Being smaller and more streamlined also means EXTEX’s personnel are closer to its customers and partners. That may be why its support is some of the best in the industry.
“We align ourselves with our customers and join forces with our MRO partners,” explained Selover, a former United States Army Ranger who brings a got-your-back dedication to supporting partners and customers. “If a customer chooses one of our channel partners, they get the personal cell phone number of a dedicated support person so they can call them anytime.”
Those MRO and engine shop partners are an area where EXTEX has leveraged a unique strength.
“One of our goals is having tip-to-tail helicopter solutions,” said Selover. “We can’t create and manufacture every part, but we have channel partners with capabilities beyond ours. By working together in a committed aftermarket network, we can provide a complete, one-stop solution for operators.”
For MROs and engine shops, the network provides them with growth opportunities, backed by EXTEX’s proven parts and support. For EXTEX, it offers more help for its customers worldwide and more markets for its parts.
“It’s a symbiotic approach to keeping each operator’s aircraft flying cost-effectively while growing all our businesses organically together.”
The idea has been so popular with operators that EXTEX had to step back and reinforce its infrastructure and supply chain to keep up with demand.
The network itself is almost limitless in its scalability. “We’re already looking for other complementary organizations to add greater value to each operator.”
This special insert features six current network members; future Insight issues will introduce other key partners.
Meanwhile, EXTEX will use its Heli-Expo booth to showcase new products. Currently, it has PMA approvals from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on over 1,600 parts (covering commercial, military and general aviation). Several of these were created under OEM license agreements; the remainder were achieved through the rigorous test and computation method. In each case, EXTEX designed them to withstand the most extreme conditions in any sector or mission.
EXTEX’s parts are manufactured by a trusted network of suppliers, many of whom produce OEM parts on the same lines. Each vendor adheres to EXTEX’s extensive list of supplier requirements, which come from its ISO 9001:2015 and AS9100D certifications.
“We have a very close relationship with our vendors,” said Selover. “We’re in their facilities regularly to support technical information and audit our fixed processes, ensuring they’re maintained and adhered to without deviation.
“After a part is manufactured, we do several tests and inspections–and then obtain independent testing as a final check and balance.”
That kind of dedication to quality and reliability is why EXTEX’s aftermarket parts have logged several billion flight-hours and have an impeccable safety record.
Combine that with 30-to-50-percent cost savings, and you have the reason why so many operators trust EXTEX’s PMA parts to keep their helicopter and fixed-wing fleets flying–and why so many MROs and engine shops want to become EXTEX network partners.