As 2019 draws to a close, Rotorcorp is busily working with owners, operators and maintainers of Robinson R22, R44 and R66 helicopters approaching critical 2,200 hour and 12-year maintenance milestones. Purchasing major components such as main rotor blades or gearboxes and complete overhaul kits is not a simple process, but through dozens of transactions each year, Rotorcorp has accumulated knowledge and experience that makes the process less painful. Along with your organization’s maintenance budget considerations, other factors like factory lead times, annual price increases, group order dates and tax year expensing can play an important role in optimizing major purchases.
Robinson Lead Times
The 4th quarter is typically Robinson’s busiest season, and overhaul kit lead times tend to increase at that time of year. Due to manufacturing issues and other factors, in late 2018 and early 2019 those lead times crept into the 16-20 week range. The good news is that Robinson has worked tirelessly throughout 2019 to drastically reduce lead times for overhaul kits and major components. While we expect to see an increase in demand for main rotor blades as operators rush to comply with Airworthiness Directive 2014-23-16 prior to the mandated deadline, we anticipate that lead times should remain reasonable this year, around the 10 week mark.
It is important to keep in mind lead times are subject to change due to demand, and Robinson’s annual winter factory shutdown may impact production times. If you are planning to replace major components or overhaul your aircraft in the next six months, it is better to order earlier than wait till the last minute.
Annual Price Increase
While prices are always subject to change, Robinson Helicopter Company publishes their annual retail price list in mid-January of each year. For the past decade, the annual price increase for overhaul kits has averaged 2.3% with an effective date around January 15th. Therefore, when the factory opens again at the beginning of January, there is a small window to utilize your new maintenance budget yet purchase at 2019 prices and before the 2020 price list goes into effect. If you are looking to recognize the expense of a major component or overhaul in 2020, let us work with you to maximize your savings and budget by purchasing while 2019 prices are still available.
As one of the largest buyers of Robinson parts, Rotorcorp routinely places large scheduled orders consisting of multiple large customer orders. These scheduled group orders create opportunities for us to provide an even larger discount to our customers who participate in each one. Considering the longer lead times and planning required, electing to participate in one of Rotorcorp’s scheduled Group orders is a great way to save significantly over our everyday low prices.
Our remaining Scheduled Group Order dates are as follows: