One of Air Marshall Islands Dornier aircraft suffered an engine problem at Aur Atoll requiring an engine change. In just three days, AMI engineers had the problem diagnosed, an engine dispatched and installed on Aur, and the plane back in the air.
AMI’s ability to get the Dornier back into service despite its grounding on an outer atoll drew praise from President Hilda Heine, who represents Aur in Nitijela.
She praised AMI for its “exceptional work” of returning the aircraft to service quickly. “From diagnosis to completion of the repairs, not to mention the lack of the necessary equipment, unfavorable seas and bad weather, the timely turn-around resulted in AMI’s resuming its regular flight schedule without further delay,” Heine told AMI General Manager Drauna Waqasokolala. The President called the AMI crew’s dedication and poise under pressure as “exemplary.”
After arriving at Aur, the plane had what is known in airline parlance as an AOG event — “aircraft on the ground.” AOG means the plane cannot fly until it is repaired and designates the need to rush delivery of parts so repairs can be initiated quickly.
The AOG event happened May 1. At midnight the same day, an AMI crew departed from Majuro on Sea Patrol’s Lomor for Aur to diagnose the problem. They arrived early in the morning and determined the plane needed an engine change. The AMI team returned to Majuro the evening of May 2. The next evening, May 3, a bigger AMI team was dispatched along with equipment and parts to effect the engine change.
The AMI engineers and support staff arrived Saturday morning May 4 and went to work on the engine change. By 6pm, the plane was ready to return to Majuro.The AMI report described the work as a team effort. “Like carrying the engine off the small boat to the mainland and loading it in the pick up, then drive down to the runway and unloading it,” it said. “This was purely done with manpower.”
Poor weather conditions — including rough seas getting to Aur, and heavy rains on the island — complicated the picture.
Read more about this in the May 17, 2019 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.