Since acquiring the assets of Plane-Power, LTD in July 2014, Hartzell Engine Technologies recently completed the transfer of all Plane-Power’s aircraft alternator production from Granbury, Texas to its new home in a dedicated space at HET’s manufacturing campus in Montgomery, Alabama.
“After building inventory to support our customers during the transition, we strategically timed the move to coincide with HET receiving all the necessary PMAs (Parts Manufacturer Approvals) from the FAA, so we could get alternator production up and running quickly,” stated Rose Foster, VP of Operations at Hartzell Engine Technologies. “Now our people are trained. The PMAs are in hand. Production is underway. The entire transition has gone pretty seamlessly.”
While HET will continue to supply the same Plane-Power products and generator conversion kits as before, the transition has included a few key improvements.
Mike Disbrow, HET’s President explained that the company has configured the FAA-PMA approvals to allow current Plane-Power customers the ability to buy replacement alternators.
“The way Plane-Power had structured their original FAA certifications, they were unable to offer individual FAA-PMA approved replacement alternators to their customers,” he said. “If someone needed to replace a Plane-Power alternator they had to purchase an entire new kit. The company had been offering the option of rebuilding an owner’s alternator, but that was an inconvenient process.”
“We recognized this issue early on and have structured our certifications in a way that allows us to sell FAA-PMA approved new replacement aircraft alternators to our customers,” Disbrow said. “This will be much more convenient for current Plane-Power customers.”
Disbrow explained that another significant upgrade to the Plane-Power business is that in the past if an owner wanted to convert their aircraft to a Plane-Power unit, they had to go on the Plane-Power website and fill out a form requesting a copy of the appropriate FAA Supplemental Type Certificate (STC). A hard copy of the STC would then have been mailed to them.
“That was inconvenient and wasted a lot of time for the customer and/or their maintenance shop,” he said. “We’ve updated the Plane-Power website (planepower.aero) to make these STCs a simple download. Just select the one you need and you can get a copy immediately. It’s as simple as that.”
Another change that HET has initiated has been to include a signed, FAA 8130-3 Airworthiness Approval form with every unit at no charge to the customer.
“We’ve been able to make this change because our paperwork system is automated to recognize FAA-PMA approved items and generate a completed 8130 with each work order,” Disbrow said. “We also have an FAA DMIR (Designated Manufacturing Inspection Representative) on staff here to review the product and sign the form.”
“We’re very proud of the fact that both Hartzell Engine Technologies and Plane-Power have earned very high reputations for being customer friendly,” Disbrow said. “Our commitment is to continue to find ways to make the customer experience better and our reputation stronger.”