Paul Armstrong is the founder and owner of Skywest Aviation, an aircraft sales and maintenance company that operates out of Midland, Texas, at KMAF Airport. Skywest began operations in February 2014 and has already grown to 14 employees. “We’re aircraft mechanics – if it comes in the door, we work on it,” states Armstrong, who is also a commercial pilot, and an integral part of the flying community. Skywest works on aircraft ranging from Cessna 150s up to King Airs, Citations and Commanders. In addition, it also services Embraers through its contract with Mesa Airlines.
Dynamic Balancing: SOP
Armstrong is an advocate of dynamic prop balancing, a practice he learned early in his aviation career when the company he worked for sent him out to small fields that didn’t have maintenance shops. He would arrive to find owners lined up, waiting to have their props balanced. Today, Armstrong uses a DynaVibe GX2 to dynamically balance props that come through Skywest Aviation. “We always require a dynamic balance when we install a propeller,” says Armstrong. “When I do a prop overhaul, or remove and reinstall a prop, we do a dynamic balance on the prop or both props, depending on what we’re working on. It seems to be a pretty good calling card for us.”
Balancing & Vibration Analysis
The DynaVibe GX2 is more than just a dynamic propeller balancing solution – it also does full spectrum vibration analysis, a capability that Skywest takes full advantage of. “It’s a really good piece of equipment,” Armstrong continues. “I have used these things and found alternator problems, broken brackets. That’s one reason I sell the tool. Just because there’s a vibration doesn’t mean it’s the prop. We can find a weak cylinder – it will show up at the ½ per.”
Armstrong had previously used another vendor’s prop balancer, so when he decided to purchase a balancing system for Skywest, he was of the mind to purchase the one he was familiar with from past usage. “The cost was so prohibitive, and I couldn’t get these people to call me back,” notes Armstrong. “I was in a real rush because I had two prop overhauls I had just done, and I was trying to contract a local prop shop to do the balance. What I was charged for that was through the roof, $400 a side. That’s when I went ahead with the purchase of the DynaVibe system.”
Balancing = Profits
Since purchasing his DynaVibe GX2 in October 2014, Armstrong estimates that Skywest has done between 15 and 20 balancing jobs. While Skywest does dynamic balancing as a service, most balancing jobs are part of his overhaul package. Including balancing in this package creates value for Skywest customers and profit for Armstrong. “There is definitely hidden profit from balancing work that can’t directly be accounted for,” states Armstrong. “That machine has absolutely paid for itself. It also gives us a little bit of status, because there is only one other shop in the area – a prop shop – that has this capability. Now that we have this capability, it makes us more competitive.”
The DynaVibe GX2 is helping Skywest deliver the highest quality maintenance services to its clients. “It’s a very good preventative maintenance tool, and it’s a good troubleshooting tool,” Armstrong concludes. You can pick up other problems. It’s good for more than just prop balancing. If a shop uses it, it can bring them other work.”
DynaVibe Benefits for Skywest Aviation
Contact RPX Technologies to learn how your service center can benefit from DynaVibe: firstname.lastname@example.org or 405.896.0026.