BAC has been working two projects with AEC. The oldest project is for a PMA’d alternative to the Beech landing gear shock cushions, PN 169-380003-7, as used in all three gear on the fixed-gear planes, and in the nose gear of the Sierras. These are currently priced at $642 from Beech-RAPID. The project is long overdue (in progress for at least two years now), for a number of reported reasons from AEC that I have been repeating in periodic updates.The latest project is for a replacement for the Hartwell H2532-13 exterior door handle and lock, as used on both main doors and the large baggage door on all models of the 19/23/24 (and I believe the Model 76 Duchess) as of late 1973. The Hartwell-Beech unit is chrome-plated plastic and costs a small fortune from Beech. While currently priced at $550 thanks to a price review that I badgered them into over a two-year period, it has been priced as high as $1,200 (during which time none were sold). The AEC handle will be made of aluminum and stainless steel, with a different locking system that is more durable than the Hartwell.
If these products ever make it to market as PMA parts, their price-point target is 60% of the price for the Beech-RAPID part. This can be highly variable, though, due to the pricing changes at RAPID (and AEC’s incurred costs). Having PMA-approved parts would be a huge advantage compared to other alternatives, as they have the same installation approval as original Beech parts.
Due to the lengthy delays in the AEC programs, we also have two members who are investigating the feasibility of low-volume production of these parts. If our members are successful, they will probably have to be sold as STC’d units (at best), due to the resources required to obtain a PMA. They may even have to be installed on Form 337 field approvals, if an STC proves too expensive or elusive. At any rate, hopefully we will someday have at least two options for these parts, and perhaps even three.
Here is the latest update from AEC.
I just received a quote on building the door handle assembly (this time with a lock assembly in it) from our potential supplier. It appears that we can go forward on this project and produce PMA’d assemblies. We will start putting together a certification package. I can not predict what kind of response time we’ll get from the FAA on an approval. In addition, their demands for testing and samples will determine what kind of certification costs we’ll incur. We will wait until we have a handle on that before setting prices, but pricing will substantially lower for our handle assembly (compared to the OEM) and ours will be made of aluminum and stainless steel, and they will have a decent lock assembly as well. The truly high security locks available in the market will simply not fit into the space we have to work with. If you are aware of anyone else having used/failed door handle assemblies removed from their aircraft, we would appreciate having at least two more. Also, please provide me with your aircraft N-number so I can document where the ones came from that you provided to us earlier.
On the shock discs, we’ve invested another $5,000-plus on new tooling and material analysis services, in an effort to produce discs that meet our requirements. We insist on these being correct before we sell them, but we are confident we can produce them.
Again, I will keep you advised of our progress on both projects. The door handles will certainly be much more straight-forward than the discs have been.