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TO SCRAP OR NOT TO SCRAP

A major commuter airline facing ever increasing operating costs turned to the scrap heap to look for treasure. Ground support equipment, although not the glamorous side of flying, is by far the most essential ingredient to satisfying the flying public. Maintaining a comfortable environment inside the aircraft during ground time goes a long way in keeping passengers happy.

The treasures found were mobile heating and air conditioning carts needing a little TLC to get them back into service. The only question was “Was it cost effective?”

After refurbishing 2 of the carts, the answer was a resounding YES!

The carts are self-contained incorporating a diesel generator set, twin 10 ton air conditioners, a 30 kilowatt heater bank, integrated control system, and a high-pressure fan to deliver conditioned air to the aircraft. The high-pressure fan assures positive airflow through the flexible hose connection between the cart and the aircraft’s internal duct system.

The compact size along with ample heating and cooling capacities make for an ideal match to the smaller regional jet and commuter aircraft. The carts also provide the additional advantage of not having to run the aircraft’s auxiliary power unit (APU) thereby adding additional cost savings.

The following walks through the rebuild sequence.

Offloading units: After many seasons of service, the wear and tear is apparent. Although the basic frame is in good shape, the exterior sheet metal had taken quite a beating.

Repair of frame and running gear: The carts are stripped down with frame alignment and straightening beginning the process. New metal doors and panels are fabricated, running gear is rebuilt with new bearings and tires.

Fan repair: In addition, the diesel generator set is serviced and checked, air conditioner condensing units and heater banks are inspected and repaired as necessary. The fan condition is critical to insure delivery of clean air to the aircraft. These are before and after pictures of the typical condition of these fans and the result after rebuilding.

Upgrade generator set controls: Replacement of user unfriendly controls with an updated simplified system to control temperature and also to monitor diesel engine operation, makes life easier for both operators and maintenance personnel.

Final inspection and run test: Every unit undergoes a thorough final checklist of cooling, heating, and electrical inspections as well as exterior finish and appearance inspections.

Ready for shipment and return to service: The result is a better than new piece of ground support equipment ready for many years of reliable operation at less than one half the cost of a new unit.