Anatomy of an International R22 Helicopter Overhaul

October 29, 2019

How Rotorcorp  Helicopter Services has established itself as a global Robinson service provider

Rotorcorp has long established itself as a trusted parts provider, maintaining the largest in-
stock inventory of Robinson helicopter parts in the world. But thanks to the creation of
Rotorcorp Helicopter Services (a joint venture with MAK Heliservices LLC), the company
also excels in aircraft overhauls — specifically 2200-hour overhauls for R22, R44, and R66
helicopters.

With Authorized Robinson Service Centers in Atlanta, Georgia, and Baton Rouge,
Louisiana, the company sets itself apart through its commitment to customers on a global
scale. “Our entire business is set up to connect and engage with customers, no matter
where they are located in the world,” says Sean Casey, president of Rotorcorp.
When Rotorcorp received an inquiry from YM Aviation, an operator based in Tel Aviv, Israel,
the team was ready for the challenge. YM Aviation needed an R22 for flight instruction. This
would be the group’s first helicopter, and with no Authorized Robinson Service Centers
located in Israel, they turned to Rotorcorp.

Rotorcorp coordinated closely with YM Aviation to develop the ideal solution for their needs.
The Rotorcorp staff identified the stages that would need to be performed: first, it would
need to acquire an aircraft that was in acceptable condition to be overhauled; second, the
aircraft would need to be transported to its service center in Baton Rouge; third, an overhaul
would need to be performed to meet standards in Israel; and last, the finished aircraft would
need to be shipped to Israel.

A Trusted Network

Between the volume of parts that Rotorcorp sells and the high-quality maintenance that is
provided in Baton Rouge, the company maintains a large network that frequently enables it
to play “matchmaker.”

“Our clients all have different needs,” says Casey. “If we have one client who is looking to
overhaul their aircraft to sell, and we have another client who is looking to buy an
overhauled aircraft, that’s a perfect match.”

Cost was an important factor in acquiring an aircraft for YM Aviation, and Rotorcorp was
able to deliver a helicopter that met their expectations. With the expertise of Co-Owner Mike
Krulac on the maintenance side, Rotorcorp Helicopter Services started the search for an
aircraft within its network. “We have people come to us who want to get into the helicopter
world and need someone to help them,” says Krulac. “Sometimes they can’t afford a brand-
new helicopter, but we can provide them an overhauled, like-new helicopter for a much
lower price.”

Rotorcorp always strives to set realistic expectations when it comes to cost and project
outcomes. “Our goal is to provide the most accurate information as possible up front so our
customers can make informed decisions,” says Casey. “We want to avoid any surprises for
the customer.”

That’s why Rotorcorp’s process starts with a comprehensive quote and scope of work. Any
project can be customized. The R22 that Rotorcorp found for YM Aviation in Texas wasn’t
initially airworthy, so the aircraft was transported to Baton Rouge by aircraft trailer. Finding
an aircraft that is in flyable condition is ideal, but Rotorcorp can handle any request. For
international customers requesting an overhaul of their current aircraft, they can
containerize and ship it directly to Rotorcorp. All these factors are taken into consideration
at the beginning of a project.

Customization is Standard

While not all service centers are set up for overhauls, Rotorcorp Helicopter Services has
staff who are specifically trained to perform complex overhauls (all staff have completed
Robinson maintenance school, RR3300 engine training, and Lycoming engine training),
which is their sole focus. This focus allows the team to provide a quick and efficient
turnaround. “Having a service center just dedicated to overhauls allows us to deliver
consistent, quality results across all projects,” says Casey. “And we’re constantly looking for
ways to improve the process.”

Another unique feature of the service center is its custom paint shop. With an adverse
operating environment in Israel, YM Aviation needed something that would protect the
aircraft from the harsh effects of sand and dirt. Rotorcorp was able to provide a specialized
ceramic coating to help extend the life of the new paint. Additionally, thanks to the use of
Robinson paint codes, the team is also able to match the new paint job to an operator’s
current fleet.

Due to the high level of customization customers routinely request, Casey says an overhaul
is a great opportunity to evaluate the aircraft and see what else needs to be done outside
the regular scope of work. In the case of YM Aviation, that meant accounting for gas and
heat. Although low-lead aviation fuel is easily found in the United States, it is less common
in countries such as Israel. Rotorcorp provided an Auto Fuel STC, which allows the
helicopter to run on automobile gasoline, a much more common fuel in Israel. Wind scoops
were also installed to vent air into the cabin and cool it down — a necessity when operating
in a hot, humid climate without air conditioning.

Commitment to Quality

After an overhaul for an international customer is completed, Rotorcorp helps navigate the
export airworthiness process on behalf of the customer. In order to receive an Export
Airworthiness Certification, an FAA inspector provides a Certificate of Airworthiness that goes
with the aircraft to the foreign owner. The certificate is then accepted by the country’s Civil Air
Authority and Rotorcorp ensures the aircraft conforms with any regulations specific to that
country. Because Rotorcorp has customers in more than 45 countries, the company’s
experience makes it a credible expert when navigating the process.
Once an aircraft has met all inspection qualifications, it’s time to ship the product back to the
customer (or fly or truck it, depending on the customer’s needs). YM Aviation’s R22 had to first
be disassembled in order to fit inside a shipping container. Luckily, this only involved removing
the rotor blades and landing gear. Once received in Israel, YM Aviation technicians
reassembled the helicopter, but Rotorcorp can fill any gaps a customer may have when it
comes to reassembly.

“If needed, I can fly to our customer to meet the aircraft and provide assistance with
reassembly,” Krulac says. This is more common in the case of complicated disassemblies, like
for an R66.

Rotorcorp’s track record as a trusted and credible source of parts, paired with Krulac’s
experience on the maintenance side ensures that there is no gap between services. As former
military officers, Casey and Krulac are both committed to doing whatever it takes to complete
the mission and get the job done. This means working tirelessly around the clock to ensure the
best quality result.

“In the end, it’s all about providing reliable service, no matter where the customer is,” says
Casey. “Our customers place a high degree of trust in us to complete their project sight unseen,
and we will always work hard to continuously earn that trust.”

For more information about overhauls and other Rotorcorp services, visit the Rotorcorp website.
The Rotorcorp staff is also available to answer any questions you may have.

Jenna Scafuri is a freelance writer/editor based in the Washington, D.C., area. Her work has
included coverage of the aviation industry, including helicopters, UAS and UAM.

Further Reading

Strategic Partnership Targets Global Robinson Helicopter Overhaul Market