Wipaire’s Leesburg, Florida maintenance team has completed its first major Twin Otter project. Two Twin Otters were damaged in a ground incident at the Sebastian, Florida airport and are back in the air thanks to the efforts of the entire Leesburg staff.
The aircraft were damaged in February and Wipaire’s services team contacted the owner to offer our services to repair them. Wipaire had recently brought renowned Twin Otter expert Ted Delgado on board to develop the Leesburg team. Additionally, Bill Pike came to Wipaire to serve as the Leesburg facility’s general manager and to form the backbone of a great team.
Ted immediately traveled to Sebastian to assess the damage and create a plan of work, estimating hours and parts to complete the repairs. After many phone calls and emails, Wipaire was awarded the job in late March, less than a month after being appointed as a Viking Factory Endorsed Service Centre on February 28th.
Once the work was awarded, the real work began. Ted and Blake Dorris, another Wipaire A&P mechanic, travelled to Sebastian and began dismantling both aircraft. The damage was extensive on the right wings of both aircraft. Additional damage to the nacelles, leading edges, and flight control surfaces was also evaluated. Tooling had to be moved, housing arranged, and all the shop supplies and furnishings had to be built to accommodate two wings off the aircraft and the rebuilding of flight controls. Parts supply had to be rerouted so parts could be drop shipped to the site directly.
Keri Webb was tasked with handling the paperwork and issuing all purchase orders and tracking for receiving and certifications for parts. This was a complex process as the requests had to come in from Sebastian, then get translated into orders in Leesburg. When the parts arrived a few hours away, the requisite paperwork had to make the trip to Leesburg from Sebastian for proper filing and tracking. A solid parts flow and great technical support from Viking Air helped complete the work.
Bill Pike’s introduction to Wipaire included diving headlong into a large project that was happening hours away from the office with parts, people, paperwork, and tooling spread across several locations. Good decisions and communications had the right people on the job site to keep the project on track.
The initial projection was to complete the project by the end of May. However, the work scope expanded with the discovery of additional items that needed to be addressed. The expansion of work pushed delivery of the first aircraft to June 5th with the second airplane being delivered on June 15th.
Kudos to the Leesburg staff for a job well done. More Twin Otter work is now in the schedule as their work is being recognized in the industry.