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Challenges of change

Cabin modifications often throw up unexpected challenges, says Keith Purslow, Head of Design at Monarch Design Services

Monarch Design Services (MDS), an EASA Part 21 Subpart J approved Design Organisation (DOA), is part of Monarch Aircraft Engineering Limited (MAEL), which has base maintenance facilities at London Luton and Birmingham airports in the UK. As a stand-alone company, MAEL was not directly affected by the recent demise of Monarch Airlines and continues to support third party maintenance and Boeing as part of their Global Fleet Care (formerly GoldCare).

The primary aim of MDS is to thoroughly understand its customers’ needs, in order to provide a first time solution to their requirements. In order to ensure this, the customer needs to be concise in expressing their requirements for timeframe and budget whilst the DOA needs to fully understand the expected end result.

In particular, the DOA needs to know exact part numbers, specification, quantities and exact locations, as alternatives or lack of detail can cause confusion in regard to such things as weights and installation methods (weight and balance and stress calculations).

An example of a typical customer request involved the introduction of a Boeing 737-800 to the Monarch Airlines (MAL) fleet in May 2017. The new aircraft was to provide crew training and familiarity with the aircraft type, in readiness for the replacement of the then current Airbus A320/321 fleet with 45 Boeing 737 MAX 8s, to enter service from 1Q18.

The subject aircraft was built in 2010 and had been in service with a Turkish airline since build, so there was a need to liaise with MAL’s Continuing Airworthiness Management Organisation, as well as for a review of the aircraft specification document, the aircraft build standard, any post-delivery third party changes and any other relevant document that was available.

There were some initial concerns as, although the Boeing 737-800 is an aircraft covered by their scope of approval, (EASA CS-25, Large Aeroplanes (maximum certified take-off weight in excess of 5,700kg)), the aircraft type is one that MDS staff were not overly familiar with. In addition to this, the customer’s timeframe meant that the concept had to become reality in just seven weeks.

Throughout the project, the MDS team were required to coordinate with the various areas of the MAEL business, such as logistics for part supply, maintenance planning in order to schedule the tasks, as well as the management of subcontracted tasks such as stress analysis and liaison with the test houses as required for tasks such as flammability testing.

The greatest challenge involved a change to the Layout of Passenger Arrangement, a 186-seat all economy layout reflecting the airline’s predominantly leisure operations. As much as the repositioning of the passenger seating (ensuring compliance with emergency egress), this change required the inevitable relocation of the associated Passenger Service Units. Carpets were replaced to match the MAL brand, whilst specific operational requirements necessitated the introduction of various emergency equipment, such as a defibrillator, first aid kit and doctor’s box.

Other operational requirements introduced included flight deck eyewash and fire bag placards (galley waste is disposed of in fireproof bags and stowed in the lavatory modules prior to landing). Within the galleys, changes involved deactivation of the hot cup assemblies and, in order to reduce the need for security checks, the sealing of waste disposal flaps. >>


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