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Saab Global
S-92 helicopter support in Stavanger

Empowered by a team

6 min read

The power of one can accomplish much. The power of a team can accomplish significantly more. Someone who knows what it means to have a team backing you up are the people working at Saab’s Support Center in Sola, Norway.

Saab provides support for rotary aircraft to customers around the world. Always with the goal of delivering maximum performance and efficiency with effective use of resources. At the Sola site focus is on support for the S-92 Sikorsky helicopter, as Saab is an authorized Customer Support Center for Sikorsky in Europe.

– An assignment can involve all types of maintenance work, including heavy maintenance and modifications, says Johnny Oscarsson, Maintenance Production Manager at the Sola site and continues:

– My role is to manage the production process, which means, amongst other things, to ensure that company procedures and standards are complied with. I also manage all maintenance planning and coordination between workshops regarding requirements for personnel, spare parts, equipment/tools and facilities in order to utilize the recourses in the most efficient way.

S-92 Stavanger technician's hands
S-92 Sikorsky above oil rig

Frequently on the move

A big challenge for Johnny Oscarsson in his manager role is of course that the team often are spread out on assignments around the world.

– To ensure that everything works out as it should, we always start out with a thorough review of the assignment to ensure that everyone involved are informed, that we have assigned the right skills, tools, spare parts and that the correct and complete work documents for the specific assignment are available, says Johnny Oscarsson.

The work itself is performed by a small team of six people, including engineers, technicians, avionics, mechanics and sheet metal workers. A tight and flexible group of specialists working with short decision paths which benefits the customer.

– Everyone in the team is extremely skilled, well educated, fully certified and have extensive experience. Some of our assignment are carried out on customer sites around Europe, and sometimes also overseas, so the team are used to travelling to where the assignments takes us, says Johnny Oscarsson.

Extreme demands

Since the job is to ensure the capability of flying platforms, the safety requirements are extremely high, there is simply no room for mistakes. This in turn places exceptionally high demands on the members of the Sola team, both in terms of education and experience.

– To qualify, you must have experience of heavy maintenance on Sikorsky S-92 helicopter and possess the right skills as a technician with certificates B1 & B2 for the Sikorsky S-92 type helicopter. Equally important is that our engineers have the ability to work independently and solve any problem that arise on the S-92 helicopter. You also must be quality conscious and always put flight safety first, says Johnny Oscarsson.

Saab hold almost 70 different certifications and approvals which ensures that our delivery always complies with current regulations.

Paves the way for more female engineers

The team is diversified with several different nationalitie

s and also includes one of the few women in this male-dominated industry. Her name is Fiona Keddie, she is Scottish, very experienced engineer and the team’s EASA B2 & C Aircraft Licensed Engineer.

We all have different skills and abilities but a common goal – to return the aircraft in the best possible condition to our customers. We are all happy to go that bit extra to show how much pride we take in our work.
Fiona Keddie

– My tasks include avionic modifications, repairs and rectification of wiring and systems and certification of Avionic systems. My role is to give my input to the team to help organize avionic tasks together with the Mechanical and Sheetmetal departments. It also includes daily talks to discuss progress or any additional requirements between all departments, says Fiona Keddie.

– If a modification of the original wiring and avionic system is to be carried out, I ensure everything needed is on site before commencing work on the aircraft. And when the assignment is completed, I ensure that the aircraft is returned to the customer in a safe and certified condition and on time, Fiona Keddie concludes.

Fiona Keddie
Fiona Keddie.

Taking an extra step

When asked what the best thing is about working at Saab, Fiona Keddie says:

– We all have different skills and abilities but a common goal – to return the aircraft in the best possible condition to our customers. We are all happy to go that bit extra to show how much pride we take in our work. There is no separation with us, we do it together, we help and learn from each other.

Communication is key

Another team member, also Scottish, is Franco Rhuma, an experienced Aircraft Engineer and the Base Maintenance Supervisor at the Sola workshop.

– As the team leader you have to keep your team focused and the line of communication constantly open. There is always a wide variety of tasks to be done and during the course of the work there are always questions that arise that needs to be answered. In addition, often directly! Good communication between everyone involved is therefore key to keep the team as well as the assignment on track, says Franco Rhuma and continues:

– Unity within the team is fundamental as it is the backbone of our success. And unity is built on cooperation. As supervisor I oversee the work being handled out to each specialist and then everyone involved in the project contributes with their experience. We believe that two pair of eyes are better than one and that looking over each other shoulders is a good and productive thing to do.

– Everyone is used to working independently, taking initiatives and being solution-oriented. But when it comes to engineering, it is safe to say that no one can and knows everything. Learning from each other and being there for each other is what develops us both as specialists and as a team, says Franco Rhuma.

Johnny Oscarsson and Franco Rhuma
Johnny Oscarsson and Franco Rhuma.

Knowing your customer

Understanding customer needs and to secure that knowledge and keep it up to date is vital for Saab’s Sola operation.

– Every customer is different, and each assignment creates its very own circumstances. Therefore, we always have direct communication with the customer, providing weekly updates personally, via phone or on-line meetings on how the project is going. It gives the customer peace of mind and they are prepared if issues or problems occur, says Franco Rhuma.

Keeping our customers flying

For decades Saab has provided effective support solutions worldwide for both rotary and fixed-wing aircraft. Our legacy has always been about providing maximum performance and efficiency with effective use of resources. The Sola-team manages and develops that heritage by meeting each customer’s specific need and make sure their S-92’s keeps on flying.