In Autumn 2017, Satair Group’s UK facility near London’s Heathrow Airport, became the first aircraft battery maintenance organisation in the United Kingdom to meet the requirements of the new AS9110C-2016 and AS9120B-2016 quality management standards for the aviation industry.
This followed a four-day audit by the British Standards Institute (BSI) which confirmed that Satair Group UK was the first to be assessed and approved for both of these quality standards out of the more than 3,200 registered companies in the approvals database.
These approvals are the internationally recognised quality management standards for the aviation, defence and space industries and are operated by the International Aerospace Quality Group (AQG).
But quality control and safety goes further as battery maintenance and servicing comes under EASA Part 145 repair station approvals. Within the UK, regulation is done by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) who approve and audit repair centres on an annual basis to ensure that rigorous safety standards are maintained.
Jon Ravenhall, Head of Operations Repair Europe for Satair Group explained: “Batteries are covered by some of the most stringent test and certification requirements in the aerospace industry. As a result new battery charging can take anything from six to 29 hours and for servicing the normal quoted turnaround time is between three and five working days.
“After servicing or repair the battery is issued with an EASA Form 1 safety certificate confirming that for 90 days from the date issued the battery is fit for use: the term EASA uses is “Continued Airworthiness” – so Satair Group UK is confirming that the battery is safe to use. Therefore, we perform a critical role in the overall safety record of our industry.Without a doubt what Satair Group sells is safety.”
So why are aircraft batteries so important?For main batteries there are a number of safety-related answers. If there is an unscheduled engine shut down in flight the only way to restart the engines is to use the batteries to heat the ignitors to effectively start the engines. So batteries have to be in top class condition to achieve this critical role.
Furthermore, if an aircraft is on the ramp and the main batteries are inoperative then the aircraft will not be allowed to take off. Also, if in-flight a battery warning signal comes on then the strong advice given is to land at the earliest opportunity.
In 2017 Satair Group UK serviced and charged in excess of 5000 batteries for over 100 different customers. The new AS9110/AS9120 approvals mean that highest possible quality & therefore safety is paramount in all batteries that are released to service.
Jon Ravenhall added: “Part of the reason we wished to obtain these approvals ahead of the September 2018 compliance date was our move into a brand new and much larger facility for aircraft battery maintenance and warehousing. This new facility will allow expansion into adjacent Airbus electrical proprietary parts warehousing/distribution and servicing.
“Transitioning to the new standards before the move to the new site made sense, especially as the EASA Part 145 and FAA Repair Station approvals needed to run concurrently at both locations to enable us to continue to provide the levels of service desired and expected by our customers.”