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June 27, 2023

Birds of a feather: Phoenix operation chooses Gannet

“They are very competent and very helpful – we are all a family!” implementation consultant Karsten Palt’s verdict on customer support for Lundin’s Gannet 3 maintenance software.

When DRF Luftrettung Group acquired the offshore helicopter company Wiking Helikopter at the end of 2022, an inevitable process of synchronising operations and seeking efficiencies began.

Central to these efforts have been Northern Helicopter (NHC) and the MRO Organisation, DRF Maintenance, both part of DRF. DRF Maintenance performs maintenance for Northern Helicopter and will extend its services to commercial customers from 2024.

A fleet of Airbus BK117, H145, and EC155 helicopters is deployed in the offshore wind sector, for Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS), and for sea-pilot transfer by NHC, and all are maintained by DRF Maintenance. In 2023, a project was underway to align the maintenance software used by both companies, with Lundin’s Gannet 3 system being the chosen solution.

Karsten Palt, head of the aviation consultancy KaPAirCo, has played a key role in the implementation.“I started working with Northern Helicopter in 2018 and additionally with DRF Maintenance from May 2023,” he explains. Following the acquisition of Wiking’s assets, Northern Helicopter assumed flight operations, while maintenance was initially taken over by DRF Maintenance. “The goal was to make DRF Maintenance independent with Gannet in a short time,” Palt elaborates.

Mathias Steinberg, CEO & Accountable Manager of DRF Maintenance, emphasises the importance of a modern maintenance management system: “We were looking for a user-friendly, state-of-the-art maintenance management system that could also offer services to third-party customers.”

Personnel who moved from Wiking to DRF Maintenance were already familiar with Gannet. “Northern Helicopter was using a different system, but the logical choice was to standardise. They were very impressed and surprised because Gannet can do so much more than the legacy system,” says Palt.

By October 2023, Palt and his team at DRF Maintenance had completed Phase 1 of the Gannet reimplementation, with Phase 2 underway. “We are 75 per cent there,” says Palt. “However, to optimise everything across the two organisations, we have had to create some new interfaces. We are starting work at Northern Helicopter now, and the goal is to have them ‘go-live’ in less than a year.”

It’s a lengthy and complex project, but Palt knows he can rely on the constant support of the team at Lundin. “They are very competent and very helpful – we are all a family!”