Aftermarket parts suppliers help extend the lives of legacy aircraft when parts supplies dry up

By John Keller
Posted by John Keller

THE MIL & AERO BLOG, 1 Aug. 2012. Modern commercial, military, and general-aviation aircraft have to stay in the air a long time -- particularly these days when operators want to get the most out of their investments.

Problems with legacy aircraft come up, however, when the supply of critical spare parts dries up. Parts manufacturers quit supporting their older product lines after a while, which can leave aircraft operators in a pinch.

That's where aftermarket suppliers for aircraft spare parts and subsystems come in. One of the largest and longest in business is Ontic Engineering and Manufacturing Inc., which has headquarters in Chatsworth, Calif., and has operations in Houston, as well as in Cheltenham and Slough, England.

Ontic's business model is straightforward: when original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) decide either to go out of business or quit producing legacy parts, Ontic can step in to take over inventory and manufacturing to extend product availability.

"We acquire the intellectual property rights from the OEM, they go out of the business, and we go into the business," explains Ontic President Peg Billson. "If the OEM no longer wants to provide the resources to support the product line, under their authority we can license the entire product line."

Ontic specializes in five major aviation product lines: electronics such as system controllers, radar systems, and cockpit interface units; engine components and accessories; electromechanical components such as motors and pumps; oxygen and environmental-control systems; and large structures such as landing gear assemblies.

The company either stocks OEM-manufactured parts, or takes over manufacturing the parts, if necessary. Most parts that Ontic supplies are for aircraft that are out of production, but does supply parts for aircraft still on the assembly line, such as the Boeing 777 widebody jetliner and the Airbus A320 single-aisle jetliner.

Ontic maintains the OEM as a partner, with assurances that Ontic will not compete with its OEM partners on supplying and manufacturing specific aviation components and subsystems. "When an OEM decides to partner with us, they know we won't complete with them on new platforms," Billson says. "We don't do new-product development."

Among the aircraft that Ontic supports, in addition to the 777 and A320, are the Eurofighter Typhoon, Hawk jet trainer, E-2C Hawkeye maritime patrol aircraft, F-15 jet fighter, AH-64 Apache attack helicopter, CH-53 Sea Stallion heavy-lift helicopter, as well as the 737, 757, and MD-80 passenger jets.

Ontic derives 50 percent of its revenue from supporting military aircraft, 35 percent from supporting commercial air transport aircraft, and 15 percent from supporting business jets and other general-aviation aircraft.

Electronics support accounts for 30 percent of Ontic revenue, Billson says. The company, for example, provides the fuel-measurement computers for the 777 and A320 passenger jets, as well as radar systems for 737s and MD-80s.

For more information contact Ontic online at www.ontic.com .


Follow Military & Aerospace Electronics and Avionics Intelligence news updates on Twitter

Easily post a comment below using your Linkedin, Twitter, Google or Facebook account.

Previous Blog Posts

Capital Hill budget deal could restore tens of billions of dollars to the Pentagon

Tue Dec 17 13:15:00 CST 2013

Hacker drone story a cautionary tale about the need for unmanned vehicle data security

Tue Dec 10 09:46:00 CST 2013

Lack of money for systems upgrades threatens to maintain wind-farm radar dead spots

Tue Dec 03 10:36:00 CST 2013

Engineering support contracts indicate the Pentagon is sinking into the Mothball Strategy

Tue Nov 26 06:57:00 CST 2013

The revenge of COTS: an ageing commercial technology base complicates military supply chain

Tue Nov 19 08:53:00 CST 2013

Navy's newest destroyers evolve to fill traditional battleship roles

Tue Nov 12 11:54:00 CST 2013

International suspicions of U.S. encryption technology putting defense companies in a bind

Tue Nov 05 11:24:00 CST 2013

Defense industry left guessing as Army struggles forward with an unclear mission

Tue Oct 29 09:45:00 CDT 2013

These are tough times for the combat vehicle and vetronics industries

Tue Oct 22 04:22:00 CDT 2013

Is the government shutdown a harbinger of more ominous things to come?

Tue Oct 15 11:21:00 CDT 2013

Government shutdown reduces military contracting, increasing pressure on U.S. defense industry

Mon Oct 07 12:17:00 CDT 2013

Potential good news: has U.S. defense spending finally bottomed-out?

Tue Oct 01 13:02:00 CDT 2013

Is robotics revolution the first glimpse of a fundamental change in human evolution?

Tue Sep 24 09:46:00 CDT 2013

Obsolescent parts: are we enhancing military readiness or creating a hollow force?

Tue Sep 17 15:46:00 CDT 2013

For the high-tech warfighter, the future of electronics-laden uniforms is here

Tue Sep 10 11:26:00 CDT 2013

New generation of embedded computing thermal management in development at GE

Tue Sep 03 09:44:00 CDT 2013

Trading bus stops for credit cards: how far embedded computing has come in three decades

Tue Aug 27 10:59:00 CDT 2013

Unmanned vehicle industry stands at the doorstep of a fundamental transformation

Tue Aug 20 11:09:00 CDT 2013

AUVSI 2013, one of the biggest unmanned vehicles shows in the world, opens this week in Washington

Tue Aug 13 05:35:00 CDT 2013

The Washington Post, under Jeff Bezos, could lead the way for media in the 21st Century

Tue Aug 06 09:47:00 CDT 2013

Are costs and vulnerabilities making military leaders nervous about satellite communications?

Tue Jul 30 11:07:00 CDT 2013

Unmanned aircraft carrier that travels beneath the waves may be in the Navy's future

Tue Jul 23 05:20:00 CDT 2013

Electronic warfare programs kick into high gear with a flurry of contract activity

Tue Jul 16 08:03:00 CDT 2013

How vulnerable are U.S. Navy vessels to advanced anti-ship cruise missiles?

Tue Jul 09 07:03:00 CDT 2013

First came VHSIC, then came MIMIC, and now comes ACE to push electronics technology

Tue Jul 02 09:16:00 CDT 2013

The Mil & Aero Bloggers

John Keller is editor-in-chief of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine, which provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronic and optoelectronic technologies in military, space, and commercial aviation applications. A member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since the magazine's founding in 1989, Mr. Keller took over as chief editor in 1995.

Ernesto Burden is the publisher of PennWell’s Aerospace & Defense Media Group, including Military & Aerospace Electronics, Avionics Intelligence and Avionics Europe.  He’s a father of four, a runner, and an avid digital media enthusiast with a deep background in the intersection of media publishing, digital technology, and social media. He can be reached at ernestob@pennwell.com and on Twitter @aero_ernesto.

Courtney E. Howard, as executive editor, enjoys writing about all things electronics and avionics in PennWell’s burgeoning Aerospace and Defense Group, which encompasses Military & Aerospace Electronics, Avionics Intelligence, the Avionics Europe conference, and much more. She’s also a self-proclaimed social-media maven, mil-aero nerd, and avid avionics geek. Connect with Courtney at Courtney@Pennwell.com, @coho on Twitter, and on LinkedIn.

Mil & Aero Magazine

December 2013
Volume 24, Issue 12
file

All Access Sponsors


Download Our Apps



iPhone

iPad

Android

Connect with Us



Newsletters

Military & Aerospace Electronics

Weekly newsletter covering technical content, breaking news and product information
SUBSCRIBE

Defense Executive

Monthly newsletter covering business news and strategic insights for executive managers
SUBSCRIBE

Embedded Computing Report

Monthly newsletter covering news on embedded computing in aerospace, defense and industrial-rugged applications
SUBSCRIBE

Unmanned Vehicles

Monthly newsletter covering news updates for designers of unmanned vehicles
SUBSCRIBE