By Joy Finnegan, Editor
"Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler," Albert Einstein said. Einstein was quoted many times professing his appreciation of simplicity. On the cover of the magazine this month you will see an image of the demonstration of the EcoPower wash system by Pratt & Whitney. This system has the beauty of simplicity on its side. The system uses water and nothing else to clean engines. The "closed-loop" system collects and recycles the runoff water, keeping potentially contaminated water off of the flight line and from running off into the surrounding areas.
If there are areas you think we should be covering, please don't hesitate to let us know.
The effluent is collected during the wash process and the water is purified for re-use. The engine wash process is not limited to Pratt & Whitney engines; it can be adapted to any turbine engine. Fuel economy is also improved by as much as one percent, which is significant given the amount of fuel burned by turbine engines. Cleaner engines are better for the environment not only because they burn less fuel but they emit less exhaust pollutants.
According to an article in the Airlift Dispatch, a publication of the Charleston Air Force Base, the system has been in use for the C-17 since 2008. "C-17 engines washed using the EcoPower engine wash system have shown measurable improvements in fuel efficiency and cooler operating temperatures," said Master Sgt. Richard Fults, AMC C-17 propulsion superintendent. "The cooler exhaust gas temperatures also decrease heat stress on these engines, which benefits us in two ways. First, we see the engines are staying on the wing longer, and second, we are seeing gains in terms of preventive maintenance." Other clients include United, Southwest and recently El Al. For more on the EcoPower wash demo, see page 8.
Also in this issue we have many stories worth noting. The story on supply chain challenges on page 16 takes a look at how cost-cutting pressure is impacting the maintenance industry, especially in this period of economic uncertainty. Experts from around the world speak about the challenges they are facing and how they are dealing with them.
In a related story on page 22, RFID technology seems to have taken hold in the MRO industry. Read how FedEx, Delta, Japan Airlines and UPS are utilizing RFID to reduce delays and improve supply chain visibility during repair processes.
On page 28, a new contributor, Bill Maly, takes a look at the psychology of resisting change, especially technological change, on the hangar floor. Bill's experience as both military and civilian crew chief allows him to speak about this with firsthand knowledge and to offer real suggestions. This topic is something I can relate to as we, here at Aviation Maintenance, are expanding our offerings on the Internet. Before, we had two major responsibilities: putting this magazine and an e-mail newsletter together every month. Now, in addition to those things, we are tasked with posting news online daily, producing Webinars and podcasts, and taking video interviews, which requires editing and uploading them to the website. Believe me, I can relate to resisting change! However, our hope is that you will benefit from these information sources, as we become well versed in producing them.
We also have updates on two engines. First, on page 12, is the Snecma- General Electric LEAP-X open rotor and the use of composite materials by CFM Intl on the moving parts of the turbofan. Next is the Pratt & Whitney PurePower geared turbofan engine update on page 35. These next-generation engines may be in your hangar soon and we hope these stories will help you understand and prepare for them.
The last story I will mention is the story that David Schober has written about oversight, AD compliance and the challenges that cost several airlines large sums of money last year at a time when they could least afford it. That story is on page 32. Schober doesn't pull any punches and asks everyone in this business to re-examine their commitment to the safety of the flying public.
This issue is full of interesting, relevant information and we will continue to try to bring you the information about the maintenance world that other aviation publications, not targeted to maintenance, overlook. This is your magazine. If there are areas you think we should be covering, please don't hesitate to let us know.
[Copyright 2006 Access Intelligence, LLC. All rights reserved.]