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Expert answers: aftermarket modifications
About the expert
Jason Burdette has worked on several Textron Aviation product lines, including the Citation® CJ4® and Citation M2®, throughout his 12-year tenure. First an engineer for eight years, today he develops modifications as Textron Aviation’s manager of aftermarket business development.
What is the most common question customers ask you about aftermarket modifications?
“They want objective reasons to choose our bid over one from another shop, and I tell them it’s because we only work on our aircraft. Our facilities hold the same certifications as the other guys, but there are just some things you can’t test for—like knowing each model’s nuances and how they change over time throughout the product lines. That comes from the experience of years of only working on our aircraft and swapping information with co-workers who do the same. Having the intellectual property rights to the entire airplane is a similar advantage. If our service teams want to know how a change, say in the wiring, might affect certain systems, they can literally call the people who drew up the designs and talk it out. Other shops just can’t and don’t have that inside, intimate knowledge of the aircraft.”
What should your customers know about aftermarket modifications that few do?
“Right now, it’s the importance of timing on ADS-B upgrades. No matter what your plans are for the aircraft, you need to get the work scheduled as soon as possible. It’s a mandate for nearly every aircraft with hard deadlines—in the U.S., it’s December 31, 2019. If you get too close to the deadline, even a year or two out, shops will start to fill up. That means prices are likely to go up, and you’ll have a tough time scheduling the necessary downtime around days you’re not planning to fly.”
“Even if you plan to sell your aircraft before the deadline, you still want to schedule the upgrade now. When you compare aircraft with and without the upgrade, recent pre-owned aircraft sales prove your aircraft will sell at a higher price if it includes the ADS-B Out modifications. It will also sell faster if it’s compliant, which means lower holding costs at time of sale.”
What are the hallmarks of an industry-leading upgrade?
“The best modification accomplishes three goals: it functions in the manner intended, it increases performance and/or serviceability, and it improves resale value of the aircraft. Industry leaders accomplish these goals better than anyone else because they have intimate knowledge of the aircraft, including the research behind the model’s patented technology and understanding of how the aircraft was built and assembled.”