A technician inspects a wing while secured by a body harness connected to the remote-controlled crane.

AAR Corp. provides major inspections and complete commercial aircraft refurbishments at its Duluth, Minnesota, maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) facilities. The company recently added a third TC/American crane to operate the length of the 90,000ft2 hangar. The 1-ton capacity TC/American crane with 85ft span features a bridge beam construction and a 10ft, 8" wheelbase with end-truck ties and side rollers to prevent racking during crane travel. Equipped with dual 1/2hp motors operated by remote pendant, the crane has a travel rate up to 100fpm.

The new crane handles flight controls and engine components while the two larger cranes handle larger components including entire engines, avionics, airframe modifications, structural repair, and refurbished cabin assemblies. Safety systems ensure transfer, maneuvering, and positioning components without contact between aircraft.

“We’ve been operating at capacity the four years since AAR acquired and expanded operations here in Duluth,” says Mark Ketterer, AAR vice president operations. “Our current contracts are for work on narrow-body aircraft in the Airbus 320 family. We continue to operate at capacity, with 375 to 400 highly trained workers, servicing up to four of these aircraft at a time in this facility. We have completed service on more than 250 aircraft owing to the efficiency of our skilled workers and the modern facilities here, including our newly expanded crane systems.” www.aarcorp.com; www.tcamerican.com

Western Aero Repair certified as woman business enterprise

Six-time FAA Diamond Award recipient Western Aero Repair Inc. – a provider of repair, maintenance, and restoration of military, commercial, and cargo aircraft – has been certified as a business owned and controlled by a woman by the National Women Business Owners Corp. (NWBOC).

“Certification provides a marketing opportunity for women business enterprises to participate in outreach programs,” says Kim Balfanz, president of Western Aero Repair. “In addition, this program will enable us to develop relationships with larger companies and create opportunities for future partnerships with them and public and private companies.”

The goal of the certification program is to streamline the certification process and increase the ability of women business owners to compete for contracts at a national level.

“NWBOC seeks to increase the ability of women business owners to compete for corporate and government contracts,” says Janet Harris-Lange, president of NWBOC. At the same time, the national, not-for-profit organization hopes to decrease the number of front operations participating in corporate and government outreach programs.

Located near Denver, Colorado, Western Aero Repair’s 110,000ft2 FAA/EASA-approved airframe repair facility provides large contract and legacy tooling capabilities, as well as a paint booth and blast booth. www.westernaerorepair.com; www.nwboc.org

Port Allen aviation lubricants

Exxon Mobil Corp.’s Port Allen aviation lubricants blending, packaging, and distribution facility began shipments of Mobil Jet engine lubricants in August.

The 90,000ft2 facility is part of a $200 million investment to expand ExxonMobil’s integrated chemical and lubricants complex in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

“We anticipate that demand for advanced aviation fuels and lubricants will increase 55% by 2040,” says Nancy Carlson, vice president of aviation and marine at ExxonMobil Fuels and Lubricants. “The Port Allen plant will position ExxonMobil for growth, enabling the company to meet the emerging needs of the industry while integrating modern technologies to manufacture aviation engine oils for many years to come.” www.exxonmobil.com/aviation