Field Service Representatives (FSRs) are a key element of Dowty Propellers’ commitment to keeping its customers’ aircraft flying. They provide customers with a seamless connection to the broader Dowty Propellers team of engineers and support staff to help manage the full range of propeller systems throughout their operational lifetimes. Their skills and dedication are being highlighted in a series of stories that focus on the FSRs that work with military and civilian operators at locations around the world.
North American airlines flying with propeller systems designed and manufactured by Dowty Propellers rely on Field Service Representative Matthew Lusty. Working primarily out of the Bombardier Commercial Aircraft facility in Toronto, Canada, Lusty provides a wide range of logistics and technical support for Dowty Propellers’ six-blade R408 propeller system used on the Bombardier Q400 Dash 8 turboprop regional airliner.
While onsite at the Toronto/Downsview Airport location – home to the Q400 final assembly line – Lusty is available to provide guidance and support for the Canadian airframe manufacturer’s production flow, along with its pre-flight acceptance activity and delivery to customers. He also serves as point-of-contact in North America for the full range of propeller systems from Dowty Propellers utilized by civil operators, with his coverage area extending out to Hawaii and down to the Caribbean.
Lusty began working on the Dash-8 platform in 2001, when Canada’s Jazz Airlines hired him as an in-service engineer. He strengthened his expertise when transitioning to another Canadian carrier operating the twin-engine Bombardier aircraft, Porter Airlines, in 2009.
Today, Lusty integrates his insight for the end-user, leveraging his expertise in working with Dowty Propellers as the propeller system OEM (original equipment manufacturer) to implement or manage a wide range of repairs and offer support for customers.
“As a Field Service Representative, I combine the shared resources of Dowty Propellers’ FSR network – experts located in 25 sites around the world – with my experience working for operators in the region, to ensure our propellers are flight-ready,” he explained. “This includes expert guidance from maintenance, repair and logistics support to resource tracking, performance monitoring and troubleshooting.”
On-site support includes repairs or replacement of the leading-edge guard (the nickel-aluminum component that protects the propeller blade’s leading edge) from foreign object damage, and maintenance of the de-icing boot (the electrically-heated device that prevents ice accumulation on the propeller).
Such repair functionality is made possible by the field service representatives’ full release and certification approval, backed by Dowty Propellers’ role as the propeller system design authority and type certificate holder.
As the propeller systems made by Dowty Propellers undergo normal wear and tear during flight operations – or receive accelerated damage due to FOD (foreign object damage) – the company’s proprietary polyurethane coating that protects the blades can wear away. Lusty makes minor repairs on site and ships blades requiring more intensive treatment to the Dowty Propellers U.K. facility where they are recoated with good-as-new protection.
“I combine the shared resources of Dowty Propellers’ Field Service Representative network – experts located in 25 sites around the world – with my experience working for operators in the region, to ensure our propellers are flight-ready.”
He also can arrange Dowty Propellers’ repairs to the propeller’s cuff – an area of expanded hard foam at the root of the blade that contributes to its aerodynamic shape. This avoids having to scrap a blade, and is performed only by Dowty Propellers.
With his significant hands-on experience and the close relationships at Bombardier, Lusty continually brings best practice and global operational expertise to help customers determine the most efficient approach to propeller maintenance. This benefits customers by expediting turn-around times (TAT) and ensuring the most efficient repair at every step of the process.
After spending nearly a decade working for Dowty Propellers with civil operators in North America, Lusty knows first-hand that customers also want around-the-clock access to the best-possible support – whether they are established carriers or part of the new generation of low-cost airlines.
This commitment to customer care was demonstrated during a Lusty family holiday in Florida. As his vacation was concluding, Lusty received a call from an airline with an urgent request: With a Q400 requiring repair to its R408 propeller system for return to operation, the carrier needed help – and quickly. Four hours later, Lusty was overseeing the repair process, avoiding the time-consuming, expensive process of shipping components out for repair.
The work was performed overnight when the regional airliner had no scheduled flights; Lusty had the aircraft ready for a prompt return to service the next morning, technically avoiding an AOG – aircraft on ground – situation.
It’s just one example of Dowty Propellers’ comprehensive support network that returns customers’ aircraft to the air as soon as possible.
“An FSR’s on-site availability, along with the outreach to Dowty Propellers’ OEM experts in design, engineering and production, is crucial for customers operating any type of aircraft,” Lusty explained. “Our team of care professionals is what really sets us apart: we’re always ready to work side-by-side with the customer.”