Going the Extra Mile
As a P&WC Field Support Representative (FSR), Daniel Bigras goes the extra mile to support customers, even driving through the night to deliver an engine part so a helicopter could make it to a very important celebration
“My job is to solve problems and make people happy. I love it.” In his 21 years of service at Pratt & Whitney Canada, Daniel Bigras has used his lifelong passion for the technical aspects of flying to solve problems and get customers the best efficiency from their engines.
As a Field Support Representative based in Marseille, France, Daniel provides on-site technical expertise to Airbus Helicopters. He also helps P&WC’s customers throughout southern France to enhance their engine’s availability and reliability, ultimately improving their bottom line.
Expect the unexpected
“There is no typical day and urgent things come up.” Such was the case when Daniel received a call with news that the first VIP customer of an Airbus H175 civil helicopter equipped with PT6C-67E engines was on the ground at Bourges Airport with a no-start.
The operator had planned to continue on to the UK to receive registration and permits for the aircraft the next day before heading to Cyprus. The private owner was waiting there on one of the world’s largest yachts and preparations were in place to celebrate the helicopter’s arrival in grand style.
Despite completing rigorous testing and 20 hours of flying time before the helicopter left with the operator, one engine would not start. The operator’s mechanics were traveling with the aircraft and described the symptoms to Daniel over the phone.
“Upon an engine start request, the engine would start to spool up, but very rapidly everything would shut down and trigger a breaker in the cockpit. A warning message would then display in the cockpit MFD screen, indicating an issue” Daniel recalled. Working with an engineer at Airbus Helicopter, Daniel knew it was one of three things: an Airbus relay box or harness, or the engine’s ignition box.
“The quickest and easiest thing to do was to have the mechanics swap the ignition box from the right hand to the left hand engine to see if the problem followed the box. It did! And we had our answer in half an hour.”
A late night drive
It was now 8 p.m. and Daniel advised the customers that the replacement part would take 24 hours to arrive. With that schedule, they would miss their crucial appointment in the UK.
Fortunately, Daniel had the part in his consignment stock in Marseille for his work with Airbus. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find transportation to get it to Bourges overnight. So he decided to drive it there himself.
After a 6-hour, 640 km drive, Daniel arrived with the igniter box at Bourges Airport at 3:30 a.m. The part was installed by 6 a.m., the engine started and the helicopter made it to the UK appointment for registration and permits. The owner was very happy when the new helicopter arrived at the yacht in Cyprus on time for the celebration.
“My favorite part of this job is being with the customers, solving their issues and making them happy. I like finding the root cause of a problem and solving it, and then making sure the issue doesn’t come back again for any customer. Being an FSR is really demanding, but it’s an amazing job.” Read more about P&WC’s FSR network.