Air Transport Publications
Login   |   Register
jobs Jobs
events Events
My bookmarks

Easy jet

As Widerøe’s Flyveselskap of Norway continues the first season of Embraer E-Jet E2 operations, Ian Goold considers recent industry experience with the E-Jet E1 and notes planned differences in maintenance requirements for the new sibling

Brazilian manufacturer Embraer is preparing to reduce the frequency of its E170/175 and E190/195 E-Jet 1 (E1) intermediate maintenance checks in a step towards the longer intervals recently approved for the new E-Jet 2 (E2) variant. Scheduled to meet at Air Canada facilities in Montreal (Canada) on June 18, the E-Jets Optimization General Working Group (GWG) and Industry Steering Committee (ISC) expect to trigger reassessment of field data for further optimisation of E1 inspections. An earlier intermediatecheck interval escalation, from 600 flight hours (FH) to the current 750 FH (and its multiples), was introduced six years ago.

This month's 17th GWG/ISC meeting is expected also to consider regular topics such as continuous airworthiness, cost-reduction projects, maintenance review board (MRB) regulations, and product modification, according to Embraer Maintenance Engineering Manager Ramon Roque. The agenda also includes "topics prioritised and selected by the airlines through the customer-inputs ranking process".

Major talking points among congregated E-Jet E1 owners, operators, and maintainers, however, are likely to include initial in-service experience with the E2, which started flying with Widerøe’s Flyveselskap of Norway, Scandinavia's largest regional airline, on 24 April.

But Widerøe is not the first company to fly the E2 in what the manufacturer calls an 'airline-like environment'. Services & Support President Johann Bordais says that Embraer "created the Pioneer Airline during the flight-test campaign". This exercise permitted it to reach "a higher degree of maturity before [entry-into-service] EIS, thus ensuring that the E2 will behave as predicted".

The E190-E2 will have "the longest maintenance intervals among single-aisle aircraft, with 10,000 FH for basic checks, and no calendar limit for typical utilisation. This means an additional 15 days of [operational use] over ten years, compared to current E-Jet [E1s]," says Embraer.

"Another key gain is with pilot transition-training time. [E1] pilots will need only 2.5 days of training and no full-flight simulator [training] to be qualified to fly an E2."

What reduction in direct maintenance cost (DMC) can be expected by operators replacing mature E-Jets with the new aircraft? "The E2 brings lessons learned from 23,000,000 FH captured into more than 1,000 requirements from our E1 operations," reports Bordais. "It also incorporates technologies and lessons from two cutting-edge programmes – the KC-390 military transport aircraft and Legacy 500 business jet.

"All this translates into longer maintenance intervals, shorter stops, [fewer] unexpected tasks, higher reliability of systems and components, and an easier-to-troubleshoot aircraft. The final result means a DMC/trip up to 20% lower for the E2 Family [than for] the E1, and this [reduction] can reach up to 25% in terms of DMC/seat," claims Bordais.

The initial E2 MRB Report (MRBR) – Revision 0 – was approved by the European Aviation Safety Agency in February, five weeks ahead of delivery of the first Widerøe aircraft. "It introduces scheduled maintenance intervals that are [an] industry benchmark," according to Roque.

Maintenance planning for the new aircraft takes account of E1 field experience, E2 design goals, and use of improved interval-analysis methodology. Roque describes the latter as "reliability tools delivering an accurate and optimum range of intervals, avoiding too-conservative approaches".

Collective experience is gathered following agreed industry procedures (International MRB/Maintenance Type Board Process Standard Issue Paper 44), under which Embraer "collects and analyses field data and presents [E-Jet] maintenance programme evolution proposals based on statistical and reliability methodologies along with a robust engineering expertise," says Bordais.

Compared with the E1 schedule, E2 MRB inspection intervals for Intermediate and Basic checks have been increased by a third, to 1,000 FH ("with no labour intensive task") and 10,000 FH (and multiples), respectively. Structures tasks, subject to a range of intervals, are required at a minimum frequency of 7,500 flight-cycles (FC), up from 6,250 FC.

The thresholds for corrosion-protection and control programme (CPCP) inspections are set at eight and 16 years, while complete interior removal occurs at Basic 2 (and multiples) checks; there is no Basic 3 package, says Roque.

The E1 series comprises four E170 and E175 (certificated as ERJ 170-100 and -200) models and eight E190 and E195 (ERJ 190-100 and -200) variants. Likewise, the new E2 family members are the certificated ERJ 190-300, and planned -400 and -500 siblings.

Embraer has two GWG/ISC meetings a year, with mutual development of any "maintenance evolutions" by the manufacturer and operator community "to maximise the benefits", says Bordais. "We provide to all customers direct support in maintenance programme customisation to facilitate [incorporation of] changes in their fleet. Changes to build standard are introduced as soon as approved (by local [airworthiness] authority) and become available to the next possible [E-Jet] MSN (manufacturer serial number)."

The main topics for the last November's 16th GWG/ISC were the airworthiness-limitation items (ALI) reassessment and CPCP optimisation.

The manufacturer's Maintenance Plan Evolution Programme (MPEP) aims to continuously evolve the MRBR and maintenance-planning document (MPD) taking into account field data, in compliance with regulatory optimisation requirements. "Our revision process runs every six months, [but] to anticipate any relevant change, a Temporary Revision (TR) can be issued at any time," says Bordais.

The latest TR, to introduce reassessment of structural ALI tasks that will increase about 140 task intervals, was planned for last month [May]. A full MRBR/MPD revision, expected by August, addresses escalation of major costimpacting tasks – for example, landing-gear overhaul and flap-/slat-components restorations – among other changes, such as deletion of relevant discard tasks.

Roque sees robustness of the MPEP process as having been key to the recent overall escalation of E-Jet Intermediate and Basic check intervals. >>


To download the PDF file for this article, you have to pay the amount by pressing the PayPal button below!

Filename: Easy jet.pdf
Price: £10

Contact our team for more information!


You must be logged in to post a comment.

Please login or sign up for a free account.

Disclaimer text: The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily express the views of Air Transport Publications Ltd. or any of its publications.