When veteran airline captain Robert Spahr set up his business aviation maintenance company in 2007, he had not reckoned on the industry tanking within a year. The downturn of 2008-09 forced Boca Raton, Florida-based Precision Turbines to switch emphasis to the government and defence sector, a move that has proved successful.

Now - after recently extending aircraft support contracts with the Air National Guard and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration - Precision Turbines is turning its attention again to the business aviation aftermarket by exhibiting at NBAA.

"Our skill is programme management. We work with partners to reduce a customer's risk by using our knowledge of the industry to find the most efficient solution," said Spahr, who still flies part-time for American Airlines.

Spahr had originally intended to focus the firm on selling, leasing and maintaining business jet engines. "But when the market softened we looked to diversify," he said. "I had formerly worked for Northrop, so I felt qualified as a government contractor." Precision Turbines won its first contract with the NOAA, to maintain the agency's fleet of de Havilland Twin Otters, in 2008. Earlier this year, it was awarded a deal by the ANG to support two C-38 Couriers - a military version of the Astra SPX business jet - used for government and military VIP missions. Six of Precision Turbines' 15 staff are based at the ANG's Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.

The ANG's 201st Airlift Squadron, which operates the C-38s, has reported that the mission-capable rate of the aircraft improved by more than 100% in the three months after Precision Turbines took over the contract.

Source: Flight Daily News