SAS designs and builds custom aircraft maintenance stands and industrial platforms. You won’t find a warehouse full of pre-manufactured stands at SAS because our products are built one-at-a-time, unique to every client’s needs. Our goal is offering full solutions versus selling products that “kind of” do the job. As we work with customers to create unique stands, we add to an arsenal of products that can be further tailored for different aircraft, and differing maintenance practices. Our engineers have scores and scores of designs on file, but we wanted to showcase a few of them in what we call our 2024 Product Catalog. Please take a look. This is only a sampling of products we offer (for example, we’re not showing the many defense related products we’ve done) but it does show the variety and scope of equipment SAS offers. Let us help you provide safe, ergonomic, long lasting equipment that can add efficiency to your ground servicing operations.
Growth, loss, and new opportunities marked 2023 for Simpson Aerospace Services (SAS) and as the year ends, we feel profound gratitude to our staff, our suppliers, and our customers. You made it happen. We opened the year in San Francisco and before it ended had crisscrossed this country with installs, relocations, and refits. Along the way, we met scores of new faces and deepened our relationship with those we already knew. Our work involves pieces of metal, but our business is really helping people solve problems and meet new challenges.
Moving a nose dock and wing stand set for United Airlines (San Francisco to Houston} is no small order. It involves detailed disassembling and labeling, packing, and shipping and unpacking thousands of parts to assure they arrive, then putting them all together again in a new home. Our crew was more than up to the task, getting the work done accurately and ahead of schedule. On top of that, SAS installed Wi-Fi stands for Delta at LAX and DFW, just a hint of things to come.
We’re back in Atlanta to deliver and install dual wide body Wi-Fi stands for Delta Airlines. Our innovative Wi-Fi stand might be product of the year for SAS. Ground operations crews certainly feel good about the safety and utility it offers. Marcus Kembel’s design provides for a self-functioning stand that eliminates the need for other equipment like cranes and bucket lifts and tethering. Ground crew members smile when they’re on it. We close the month with a Wi-Fi installation at JFK.
Growth in business and new opportunities on the horizon have us “noodling” both more space and more staff. Plans are moving forward on a 12,000 ft addition to our production facility.
Four general access stands are delivered to PSA Airlines, an American subsidiary that operates an all-jet American Eagle fleet. While we do build stands for the largest aircraft, we also serve the regional carriers, and are glad to do so.
It was a month for gains and a terrible loss. In early May we welcomed Design Engineer Gary Adkins to SAS, glad to add his experience in troubleshooting and finding solutions. Then, we suffered a deep loss when crew member and skilled welder Gary Graf passed away in a motorcycle accident on May 25. We miss Gary to this day and will always remember his contributions and good spirit.
We’re back in San Francisco disassembling and moving a United narrow body tail-dock which is being purchased by another airline. SAS will manage the move and relocation – on time
SAS celebrated the 4th of July completing a narrow body Wi-Fi in Pittsburg then moved on to Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love, which beckoned us for a 7017 Wide Body Wi-Fi stand. We chomped into a Philly or two and were off again to Chicago for another Wi-Fi installation.
Stops in Los Angeles, and Miami for Wi-Fi installations. Plus, construction is underway on the shop expansion. Let’s just say it was a busy month. Our team is gathering experience and Randy Ball has stepped up to be a great leader on these installs. We can’t say enough about Amber, Gary Adkins and all the crew back at home who keep things moving while we’re away.
SAS stepped out in Las Vegas where we participated in our first major aircraft industry trade show, the GSE Expo. We confess to being “oddballs”. While most have their eyes on the new Sphere or the casinos, we’re talking lift capacity, towing, and minimal footprint. Thanks Antonello Davi of American Airlines for dropping by our booth and giving us a good word. Not to forget, we also placed a widebody WI-Fi stand in Minneapolis.
The shop expansion is well under roof, and we receive our Mazak tube laser which adds to our metal cutting and shaping capabilities. Laser cutting has revolutionized tube and structural processing, and SAS now offer those services.
There’s always transition in this business, so moving into our new space and taking on new projects, like stands for our military partner become the order of the day. Being a smaller and growing company, SAS must keep open to new opportunities, even when they’re a bit unknown and challenging. But that keeps us fresh and on our toes.
Goodness, where did it go? Just 12 months ago, we were scrambling through the Detroit airport trying to beat a blizzard home for Christmas. Now we’re past Christmas again and grinding hard to complete a Wi-Fi order for Feb. delivery (the fastest we’ve ever done) because that’s what our client needs.
SAS has experienced a record year, and we owe thanks to our staff members for their commitment and to our customers for their trust in us. The projects and people mentioned here are but a snapshot of activity we saw in ’23. We look forward to seeing a lot more in 2024. Happy New Year.
SAS introduces Model 7111, an Extended Cabin Entry Stand for servicing 737NG and 737Max, that offers safety and reliability. Click below to see all the details.
SAS now offers tube laser services.
Steel and other metals formed and cut to precise specifications.
SAS is now offering tube laser cutting services that provide custom sizes or shapes required for your specific metal applications. That means you save time and money developing your material.
Any way you want it, need it.
These lasers have revolutionized tube and structural processing by offering an endless variety of applications and design freedom. Tube laser cutting is an excellent choice for processing round tube or pipe, square tube, rectangular tube, and structural shapes including channel, angle, beams, and T’s.
SAS can help your businesses meet its demands.
- SAS can perform angle cuts, coping, mitering, slots, holes, and any pattern or feature your part requires.
- We can process carbon steel, stainless steel, and aluminum.
- And handle materials up to 26’ in length (in and out).
- Tube laser cut parts can be designed to eliminate or reduce weld fixturing by precutting bend lines and implementing male and female tabs to hold parts together in downstream manufacturing.
- Tube lasers also provide angle cuts, coping, mitering, slots, holes, and any pattern or feature that your part requires. The possibilities are almost endless.
CALL FOR DETAILS AND QUOTES ON YOUR MATERIAL (812) 969-2766
OR CONTACT Sales@Simpson-Services.com
GSE Expo helps match needs with solutions.
Everyone has business challenges. They walk around with them on their shoulders but often conceal them from others, until someone shows an interest.
That, friends, is the essence of a trade show.
At our booth at the GSE Expo in Las Vegas, we spent 3 days opening conversations and came home with a list of folks we can potentially provide business solutions. Now, our effort requires initiating deeper lines of communications, working through timing and budgets, establishing greater definition on projects, and involving others.
There’s a lot of work to be done but we left Las Vegas feeling good about raising our company profile, establishing new business contacts, and showing visitors what SAS offers.
The amazing thing about a trade show, particularly one for the aircraft industry, is the global nature of the audience. Aircraft maintenance stands are as needed in Abu Dhabi as they are in Atlanta. It also helps that Boeing and Airbus are an international language because everyone worldwide flies their aircraft. Your visitor may hail from Israel or Japan but you both know what a B787 or A350 needs.
That’s not to forget the U.S. is still the center of aviation and our conversations spanned from 100 miles upriver in Hebron, KY to San Diego, Seattle, San Antonio, Minneapolis, Miami, Baton Rouge, Boca Raton, and smaller places like Ludington, MI, Seymour, MO and across the northern line in Montreal. Go to an aircraft trade show and go everywhere.
We cannot discount the presence of our defense partners either. We enjoyed meeting a large contingent from Robins AFB in GA and others. While winning defense contracts is a bid process, those who purchase have still got to get out and “kick the tires” so to speak. We enjoy talking with them and are always wowed by the competence and class they demonstrate.
A strong element of any presentation, or exhibition of your product, is whether your customers speak well about it. We were delighted to have Antonello Davi, GSE Sr. Specialist, of American Airlines join us in the booth on Wednesday to talk about our Wi-Fi Access Stand. American was an instrumental partner in its development and has installed several stands already. Antonello told others that our stand has met and even exceeded American’s expectations. We appreciate those words and value the relationship even more.
For our first major show, the GSE Expo was a success for SAS. We’re still a new company to the greater aviation industry and we’re learning. We’re meeting potential customers; discussing potential new business alliances; and discovering processes and technologies that are unfolding.
Walking the show opened our minds to possibilities, things you haven’t seen before, new approaches, fresh conversations, products we use. That sponge time is icing on the cake for four days in Las Vegas, never needing to see a roulette wheel.
The current issue of Aviation Maintenance magazine points to two daily concerns around aircraft maintenance. By far, the biggest issue is an impending shortage of qualified and skilled technicians for MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul). Some believe that shortage begins to hit home this year when the industry could see between 12-18 thousand positions short of demand.
The second issue the magazine probes are challenges around APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) maintenance, a strategic aircraft system that demands detailed maintenance while trying
to keep air fleets in operation. While SAS is hardly at the forefront of these issues, they do impact our business and maybe, we can have a small part in the solutions.
The shortage of skilled technicians (which some suggest could grow to 27% of the workforce) comes about for 3 key reasons.
- Retirements of baby-boomers
- Expansion in the airline industry (fleets and schedules are growing)
- Lack of both the “mindset” and capacity for training technicians.
According to the Aviation Technician Education Council, skilled technicians have grown old and about 30% are close to retirement age. They say aircraft mechanics are 51 years old on average and more than a quarter of them are already 64.
There is a strong demand, with promising opportunities for young people willing to come into the aircraft maintenance field. But as authors point out, some of the positives of that have been discounted by the cultural fixation on a college degree vs. technical training. Fighting that bias, and building the schools needed to train those future technicians will be a challenge.
As for retaining aging mechanics on the job, one of the major solutions airlines can provide is creating the best possible workplace conditions. That means technical and other tools that make job easier, reduce strain and lifting, and eliminate wear and tear on mechanics.
SAS has a role in that solution by engineering and providing work stands that are ergonomically designed, with high attention to safety and functionality. A good example of that is our new line of Wi-FI access stands which maximize safety and minimize “lifting”.
The second issue Aviation Maintenance highlights in their publication is the ongoing demand for APU repair and overhaul. This important equipment requires regular and routinely scheduled maintenance that is essential for airlines to keep their planes in service. SAS recently designed and delivered new APU access stands for a customer to help its mechanics do just that.
We’re glad to be even a small part of creating solutions that help address big concerns
We’re getting ready to attend the International Ground Support Expo show in Las Vegas, Sept. 26-28. Hundreds of other firms, domestic and international, who provide the resources needed to keep everyone flying will be there. More than 3,000 representatives from airlines, airports, contract service providers, ground handlers and military will be on hand. We’re excited about showcasing our new Wi-Fi Access Stands and other products and look forward to being there.
Among the top hazards of working on aircraft are shape, height, rotating parts, dangerous tools, presence around dangerous chemicals and finally, “complacency”. We can’t attack all of those, but at SAS, we certainly have the Top 2 dangers (irregular shape of aircraft and height off the ground) in mind when we design and build every stand and work platform used by mechanics in ground service operations. By designing right, we remove some of the dangers in this hazardous field and protect those who work in an industry that can be as exciting and fun as other parts of aviation.
Here are the problems and how we tackle them:
- The Irregular Shape of the Aircraft
Hazard: Due to the non-linear shape of aircraft, it is not easy to provide completely safe access to the aircraft. The rounded shape of some parts of a plane can create gaps between the working platform (suspended work platforms, scaffoldings, steps, etc.) and the aircraft body.
To resolve that: We create safety sliders with non-slip surfaces. These sliders are metal collars that extend to the curve of the plane, fitting tightly, eliminating those gaps. They are locked into place, providing a safe way for mechanics to step onto the curved surface of the aircraft.
- The Height of the Aircraft.
Hazard: No one wants to fall 25 feet or more from the top of an aircraft. Even lessor falls – 8 feet for example, can create broken bones and debilitating injuries. But falls aren’t the only hazard for those working in line maintenance jobs. There are also risks to crew on the ground from potentially falling objects, like a wrench dropped from above. These hazards are accentuated because the height of aircraft often makes it hard to see people on the ground.
To resolve that: We create stands with surrounded work “cages” or “pens”, preventing a crewman from falling from the plane. This protection gives mechanics much more confidence than working from a tether. It also gives them more range to do the job safely. SAS stands also include “fence guards” that prevent a dropped tool or part from falling from the aircraft.
Unlike “Wiley Coyote” or “Mr. Magoo”, a falling bolt dropped on your head doesn’t spawn a great idea. It only creates an injury we want to avoid.
As enormous challenges continue in the airline industry, maybe those involved should take heart in the words of Tom Hanks as Coach Jimmy Dugan in the movie League of our Own.
“If it were easy, everybody would do it.”
Dugan’s reference to playing baseball applies to leaders in this business faced with keeping “lift” in the continuing recovery of the air travel industry since Covid. If forecasts come true, airlines will find a profit in 2023, but it won’t come easily because factors including high fuel costs, labor shortages (including pilots) and financial anxiety of travelers continue to suppress what would otherwise be a booming market.
Those factors considered, other experts (let’s call them coaches) remind their teams they still have a very hands-on role in this recovery. How they deliver the Product, how they Perform, and at what Price, will win the game. You can throw all of those P’s into the word “experience”, and remember what the customer experiences is always the bottom line.
Then there’s the old curve ball of ever-changing conditions and expectations. For example, one airline CEO points to the new hybrid or remote workforce (many more people working from home or other spots). He notes increased business for air carriers, especially around off-peak travel periods because of that mobile workforce. Short, 3 or 4 day weekend trips are more possible because business travelers can stay connected, and work from the air. It might also impact high travel periods, like upcoming Memorial Day, because travelers can add a day to their weekend without missing work.
Just as in baseball, new trends eventually work their way into every aspect and level of the game. Wi-Fi connection from the air has meant opportunity at SAS. We’re capturing it with our narrow and wide-body Wi-Fi stands which give Ground Support crews necessary equipment to safely install and maintain satellite communications.
We’re now placing multiple orders for those stands with American and Delta Airlines and we aim to do more, and with more carriers. It’s still the early innings.
Ol’ Coach Dugan knew keeping all his players in the game was vital to success. At SAS, we design aircraft maintenance stands thinking about perils and ways to avoid having your team on injured reserve.
For example, our Wi-Fi stands have fully enclosed work areas with full aprons to prevent falling tools. They can be moved into place by crew members versus electronic tugs, preventing runaway accidents. “Non-slip sliders” allow a stand to fit snug to the aircraft, protecting crew from a misstep.
“If it were easy, everybody would do it.”
Not everybody is building safe, reliable aircraft maintenance stands. But we like the game.
At SAS-INC, we believe in running a trusted business that is family-owned and delivers corporate quality services. We pride ourselves on offering custom solutions, prompt delivery, and personal care to each and every one of our clients. We’ve specialized in the fields of aerospace maintenance, ground support equipment, and heat treat services since 1992 and have no plans to stop.