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TOPIC: Minimum Mainteance Staffing

Minimum Mainteance Staffing 11 months 2 weeks ago #391

Does anyone have information regarding guidelines for minimum maintenance staffing? How many mechanics are required per helicopter? Not based on annual flight hours vs. number of helicopters, ideally, how many mechanics would an agency like to have per ship if they operated 4 Bell 407's or 4 Airbus H125's and with turboprop fixed winged assets?
Last Edit: 11 months 2 weeks ago by Brian Parsons.
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Minimum Mainteance Staffing 11 months 2 days ago #401

Obviously there is a relationship between the number of aircraft and the number of mechanics you have. That ratio in my opinion is more geared to how many of those aircraft at any time are actually flying, expected to be flight ready, or are viewed as spare aircraft due to budget or staffing limitations. Obviously if you have 4 helicopters and a fixed wing platform but can only staff 2 helicopters and the airplane you won't need as many people as if you were running them all at the same time. Most law enforcement operations are 24 hours and that also needs to be considered unless you and your maintenance team has no issue with waking a mechanic up at 02:30 to look at a chip detector in a remote location. Do your maintenance technicians have duty hour limitations? People don't do well if they work 10 hour days forever even though 2 hours of overtime on any given day is certainly not excessive. People get sick, get hurt, take vacation, childbirth leave and so on and many managers fail to take that into account.

I have always felt that for both EMS and LE applications that are 24 hours/ 7 days per week that 1.5 mechanics for each helicopter is a reasonable rule (for a single engine or light twin. Usually what you find in those situations is one mechanic who is usually doing OK, until things go south and then they are way overworked. It all depends on what your worst case scenario is imagined to be in terms of broken aircraft, scheduled maintenance, necessity to be in service and not pushing past reasonable duty hours for mechanics. People get tweaked when they think the maintenance folks aren't being kept busy but you can't have it both ways. You must decide what level of being out of service you are willing to accept, seasoned by what your budget looks like. I would venture a guess if you are like the LE agencies I have worked with that with 4 single engine helicopters and at least one turboprop (twin or single makes a difference, retractable gear or fixed also makes a difference) you would want a minimum of 5 EXPERIENCED people if you run a 24/7 operation. Depending on flight hours per aircraft and how many are in service at a time you could increase or possibly decrease( by 1, no fewer) the number of people. If you have additional "contract" or part time mechanics you can call on you would probably be protected from those situations where the above number isn't enough due to employee absences or unusual maintenance issues. Hope this helps, it is just my opinions and I do not know of any studies that have collected any real data on how the numbers work out. Call around and see what agencies of various sizes have for maintenance staffing (and how happy their staff is).
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