I cannot tell you how many times in the course of a year I hear that statement from a maintenance facility; many times from the same facility and same person within a period of a couple of months about different aircraft. That statement is not exactly true and should be completely understood by the seller and the buyer during a pre purchase inspection. I have also heard that MSP will only allow a visual inspection of the aft part of the engine to identify any irregularities and 5 point runs to determine the overall health of the engine and that if there is a problem, even from FOD, then this should be sufficient to identify the problem.
I can say from past experience that we have successfully accomplished those steps then complied with full boroscopes only to find internal issues with the engines that required disassembly. To address this issue MSP has published many letters to facilities (read that as Authorized Service Centers) and operators to completely state their position. What we do know and should all adhere to based on that information is as follows:
- MSP should be notified by the maintenance facility and the operator prior to any work taking place
- The facility should be an authorized service center or at the very least supported in writing by Honeywell
- MSP does state that a performance evaluation is not required for transfer of the contract to the buyer
- Per MSP should the buyer elect to go beyond that they recommend a visual inspection of the inlet and tail pipe areas (at buyers expense) only
- Should an operator (or buyer) elect to expand that further they will be responsible for all related “test” cost. These “tests” could include vibration surveys, 5-point performance runs, boroscope inspections, bearing cavity and accessory gearbox pressure checks, special SOAP samples and analysis and flight tests
- MSP is not obligated to pay for any repairs as a result of an owner or buyer electing to perform the above inspections
- Per MSP if a maintenance action is deemed necessary by the expanded inspections Honeywell will pay for said repairs under normal guidelines (excluding FOD) at a warranty level with a 5% handling fee on Honeywell parts only
- Per MSP in order for the above statement to be valid they must be formally notified of the location and date of any such expanded inspection (as we have already touched on). And, very important, they must be “given the opportunity to have a technical representative present during said inspection.” In the event the expanded inspections identify the need for engine repairs normally covered by MSP, Honeywell is “given the opportunity” to re-inspect the engine and direct the maintenance workscope to be followed
I can say from past experience that Honeywell and MSP want the customer to be happy with their experience and have a safe and operable engine. They will do all they can to support that. MSP understands that addressing a minor problem now means that we could be preventing what could lead to a more catastrophic event later on. If FOD damage is found it can be identified by the maintenance facility and addressed by the seller’s insurance as it should rightly be.
Hopefully these thoughts will help take away some of the scariness of the dreaded per purchase engine or APU boroscope and prevent starting into things on the wrong foot. I cannot reinforce enough that you need to “communicate!” with the facility and Honeywell MSP, follow the steps above and point them out to the facility if they tell you “MSP doesn’t allow us to boroscope the engines”.