Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company, announces several key initiatives to strengthen the aftermarket support for its growing customer base in China. The announcements were made as part of Bell Helicopter’s participation in Airshow China in Zhuhai.
Mr. Dean Ashton joined the Bell Helicopter team in China as a customer service engineer. Based in Shanghai, Ashton will be responsible for representing Bell Helicopter to its customers across China and developing and enhancing customer satisfaction by providing a direct, personal link between Bell Helicopter and its customers.
Ashton worked as an aircraft maintenance engineer in Canada and accumulated vast maintenance experience with various aircraft, including Bell helicopters. While studying in China in 2011, Ashton was offered a position at Chongqing General Aviation Company and served there for two years as the vice general manager. In this role, Ashton was responsible for green field design of the maintenance facility, recruiting a growing team of experienced mechanics and designing and implementing the Aircraft Maintenance Program. A native Canadian, Ashton holds a Diploma of Aircraft Maintenance Technology from Southern Alberta Institute of Technology Alberta and a bachelor’s degree of Arts Honors with Distinction in Asian Studies from the University of Victoria, British Columbia.
Ashton was introduced to the regional customers at this week’s Maintainers and Operators’ (M&O) conference held in Zhuhai on Monday, November 10. The ninth one of its kind this year, Bell Helicopter has held similar conferences in Bogota, Columbia; Santiago, Chile; and Istanbul, Turkey. The M&O conferences serve as an opportunity for customers in the region to meet with Bell Helicopter customer support representatives and other industry experts.
More than 70 attendees from the region attended the M&O conference, where they were briefed on Bell Helicopter’s Customer Support and Services offerings, including the online spares ordering system, warranty administration, key maintenance issues and an update on the Bell 505 Jet Ranger X. Representatives from Rolls Royce, Garmin and Turbomeca were also on hand to answer questions about their products.
“Bell Helicopter’s M&O conferences are unique in our industry,” says Steve Woolston, director, Product Support for Bell Helicopter’s Customer Support and Services organization. “They provide an opportunity for Bell Helicopter to routinely update and train our customers on changes in our products and enhancements in safety procedures, training advancements or technology updates.”
Training continues to be a key aspect of Bell Helicopter’s growing presence in China. This year, the Bell Helicopter Training Academy (BTA) received Part 147 facility organizational approval from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). This authorization allows the BTA to conduct theory and practical training in China for the Bell 206, Bell 407, Bell 412 and Bell 429 product lines.
The BTA, in collaboration with Guangzhou Civil Aviation College (GCAC) and Suilian General Aviation, conducted Bell 206 maintenance training in October. The course was conducted at Suilian General Aviation and included theory and practical training completed on a Bell 206 aircraft maintenance trainer. GCAC instructor staff participated in the training alongside a BTA qualified instructor. Upon successful completion of the exam, the students received their CAAC certifications for the Bell 206 series aircraft.
“The demand for qualified pilots and mechanics continues to grow in China,” says Ray Lamas, general manager, Global Customer Training for the BTA. “Bell Helicopter is working to meet that demand and to bring training directly to our Chinese customers.”
Additional maintenance courses will be added in 2015 for the Bell 206 and Bell 407 product lines.