Continuing our Recommended Service Facility (RSF) spotlight series, we swing from the far north to the sunny south and visit our friends at Palm Beach Aircraft Propeller to see what sets their prop shop apart, making it a member of our elite team of Recommended Service Facilities.
To get the inside story, we spoke with Bob O’Neil, Process Control Manager for Palm Beach Aircraft Propeller.
Palm Beach Aircraft Propeller was founded in 1982 by the O’Neil family. Early on, according to Bob O’Neil, the family decided that if they were going to do the job, they were going to do it right. “If you don’t have time to do it right,” O’Neil said, “you’re never going to find time to do it over.”
Over the years, the company earned their certifications from the FAA and EASA and built up their company to serve customers across the region – including the Caribbean. Today, they do their own non-destructive testing, and have their machine shop, blasting center, and paint center on site. Additionally, they have an environmentally-friendly processing plant on site which takes in all the waste water generated during their operations.
The company takes great pride in the fact that they are a family-owned shop. “At Palm Beach Aircraft Propeller,” O’Neill said, “everybody who talks to Mom calls her ‘Mom.’ It’s not Mrs. O’Neil. It’s just like that. It’s a family team. When someone gets critically ill we take care of them. We take care of our people and we take care of our customers.”
Bob O’Neil joined his family at the company three years ago in anticipation of getting the shop into shape to meet the Hartzell approvals. “There were a couple of tools that I needed to build,” he said, “a couple of things that we wanted to add to our arsenal that we would normally farm out. We sharpened some of our processes. We do our own in-house plating. We have a complete plating shop that handles all of the necessary surface preparation and surface finishing for aluminum as well as steel.”
When asked about the details of the certification process itself, O’Neil said, “To become a Hartzell service center there were 50, 60 different bullet points that you had to deal with. We went through that list very carefully and looked at all of the things that we knew we had no problem with and we then looked at some of the things that we did want to improve on. The plating shop needed some tightening up. Everything has to be done just a certain way. We have to deal with making sure that there are procedures in place, make sure that all those things are dealt with the same way every single day.”
All that hard work paid off, and Palm Beach Aircraft Propeller became a Hartzell RSF in June of 2014. The Hartzell approval, O’Neill said, made their relationship with Hartzell that much stronger. It also helped solidify what O’Neill and his family have been hearing from customers for years – that they are one of the best prop shops in the region.
To learn more about the high standards of Hartzell’s Recommended Service Facilities, or to find one near you, click here.