Turbines Inc. Breathes New Life into PT6A-20 Engines


            The PT6A-20 engine has stood the test of time. Frankie Williams Owns and Operates Souther Field Aviation in Americus, GA. He maintains 35 agricultural plances for othe operators and does between 85.000 to 100,000 sprays a year. Frankie brought his first -20 about 16 years ago and still flies it today in his Turbine Brave airplane. "It is pretty much a maintenance free engine. If you do the scheduled maintenance you don't have to do anything else," Williams said. 

Is the PT6A-20, an engine from the past, thriving, or on life support? Pratt and Whitney’s interest in supporting the -20 has waned over the years. Manuals and parts are no longer being supported. This presents a nightmare when it comes to keeping your engine running. Overhaul facilities like Turbines Inc. has been overhauling and repairing -20’s for more than 30 years. “We have the experienced staff who have been working on these engines and know them inside out,” Turbines Inc. General Manager Jim Peleck said. In addition, Turbines Inc. introduced the PT6A-20 to the Agricultural market with the first ever conversion of a round piston engine to a turbine powered spray plane, and still holds the STC for that conversion on an Ag Cat.

            When your hot section is due for inspection and you start to preplan your material needs, the problem will become obvious. There are no parts available. Pratt will still sell you the CT blades, 3023401, which are listed in the 2016 pricing guide at $717.00 a blade. Yes, almost $42,000 for a set of blades, which is equal to almost 25% of the value of your engine. The rest of the hot section parts become a logistical nightmare of cobbling together surplus material from multiple vendors. The individual vanes in the 20 are the 3019551 CL and they are not supported by Pratt and since they are a classed item finding one is hard enough, finding the correct class to produce your 12.0 average is monumental. “We still hold -20 parts in stock and continue performing hot section repairs as well as full overhauls on them. The PT6A-20 is alive at Turbines Inc. but we know the clock is ticking,” 35-year A&P Mechanic veteran Don Nichols said.

            So is there light at the end of the tunnel? There just may be, in the form of PMA parts. The alternative parts market just may be the answer to the continuation of the -20 engine. Shroud segments are available in the PMA market from a couple of vendors and if the list of available PMA parts continues to grow, it just may breathe life into this workhorse of an engine. If just a few parts are able to reach the market then the life of the PT6A-20 could be extended and provide alternatives to upgrading your power plants or in the worst case removing more functioning aircraft from the industry. “For the money I have invested in a -20, I have definitely gotten a return on it. The fuel consumption is 32 gallons an hour. It is a lot more economical to operate. I couldn’t be happier with the engine,” Williams said.

Photo Credits:

Frankie Williams’ Turbine Brave airplane

Don Nichols working on PT6A-20 engine at Turbines Inc.

Turbines Inc. Bolster's Its NDT Department

The ability to identify hidden defects in your engine parts is critical to safeguard you and your engine from major damage. NDT, (Non-Destructive Testing) is used to locate and identify defects/cracks within most of the parts in your PT6 engine. The process is broken down into two main categories. 

1) FBI, Florescent Particle Inspection

2) MPI, Magnetic Particle Inspection

In order to perform these tests and to properly evaluate the results takes years of training. Turbines Inc.  has just completed the training and certification of its third Level 2 NDT Technician within the facility. With the assistance of QC Technologies out of Indianpolis, our newest Inspector, Jordan, has completed over 600 hours of documented practical experience and two weeks of intense classroom training and testing to achieve this milestone. Quality and safety go hand in hand.

 Turbines Inc. Bolsters Its NDT Department

Turbines, Inc. Celebrates 35 Years

Owner, Jim Mills, announces that Turbines, Inc., an FAA Certified Repair Station for Pratt and Whitney PT6A engines, is celebrating their 35th year.

For more than three decades they have been performing total maintenance on the complete line of the PT6A series engines. Turbines, Inc. located in Terre Haute, Indiana, is well known for their quality, turn time, and conservative cost of all PT6A repairs and overhauls. On a daily basis, Turbines is completing repairs, overhauls, exchanges, and inspections of PT6A engines, modules and sub-assemblies.

Turbines’ customer base ranges from Air Taxi, Scheduled Cargo, Aerial Ag, Military, and Private Operators. Turbines’ customer base covers U.S. domestic operators and operators locates in up to 50 countries.

Turbines, Inc. Appoints New COO

Owner, Jim Mills, announced that Turbines, Inc., an FAA certified repair station for the Pratt and Whitney PT6A engines, has appointed James P. Peleck (Jim) to his staff as Chief Operating Officer.

“Jim is a very welcomes management addition to Turbines’ strong technical staff. His addition brings a needed and quality strength to our ever-changing regulatory environment,” Mills said.

Jim comes to Turbines with more than 30 years of technical, administrative and management experience within the turbine engine repair and overhaul industry. As a seasoned manager, Jim compliments Turbines strong management and quality control skills which he has acquired over the years filling these roles for such companies as Pratt and Whiney, Standard Aero, and Boeing Aerospace.