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Rogerson Kratos Huge Repair Cost – Again!

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Rogerson Kratos Huge Repair Cost – Again!

Old 5th Mar 2015, 23:25
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Rogerson Kratos Huge Repair Cost – Again!

Readers of this site will no doubt remember my posting of 2007 in relation to having a repair done on my Rogerson Kratos Attitude Indicator from my Agusta A109E helicopter - the display part number is 160E015-3.

Well, I have now had another fault in my unit and I was told by Rogerson Kratos that the repair cost could be anything from USD26,700 (AUD 34,300) to USD53,400 (AUD68,600).

Initially they insisted we pay USD3,500 (AUD4,500) up front for the evaluation charge. They have now come back and quoted me USD44,500 (AUD57,000) for the repair - and they have pointed out that the warranty will only be twelve months!

I have four of these displays in the helicopter and the helicopter is now over ten years old but has only done 850 hours. If the other three displays develop problems in the next twelve months, I could be up for over USD120,000 (AUD154,000) in repairs!

These stupendous costs are totally beyond my comprehension. How could it cost such a large amount of money to repair such a small device? If I had the Garmin IFR-approved 600 display, the quoted overhaul cost is USD1,200 (AUD1,540). How can the Rogerson Kratos price be up to 37 times more than Garmin? Even the large Garmin 1000 has a repair cost of around just USD1,500 (AUD1,900).

Can anyone advise if there is any alternative to having this unit repaired at a reasonable price? Or does anyone know if there is a supplier of second-hand units?

Another alternative will be to change my Agusta to Garmin displays – it would almost be economic to do this now. Does anyone know if there is a service bulletin for doing this?

In closing, surely U.S. law does not allow Rogerson Kratos to have a monopoly on this servicing where they will not give service information to anyone else and then charge incredibly high prices?

I look forward to any helpful advice.
Dick Smith is offline  
Old 6th Mar 2015, 04:54
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Dick - I've found from extensive purchasing and repair experience in another field, that businesses who pull this stunt, have only about 3 things in mind when they quote outrageous prices ...

1. They're not really interested in the repair, so they quote high, on the basis they care not a whit, whether they get the job or not ..
2. The item is obsolete or becoming obsolete, so they charge excessively to ensure you buy the replacement product ..
3. They think you are a captive customer and they think you can't go anywhere else ..

I would investigate other instrument repairers who have the capability to do the repair, or change the indicator to another brand.

You could also investigate the possibility of acquiring a complete replacement unit from an aviation spares supplier. There are 7 x 160E105-3's listed below, try an RFQ and see if the quotes are sensible.

Avspares.com - parts search
onetrack is offline  
Old 6th Mar 2015, 05:13
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In closing, surely U.S. law does not allow Rogerson Kratos to have a monopoly on this servicing where they will not give service information to anyone else and then charge incredibly high prices?
Sounds a lot like Robinson Helicopters so I guess US law does allow it.
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Old 6th Mar 2015, 05:36
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Those screens are rubbish anyway. I have not seen a Garmin fit in an E but could you revert to the more mecahncial fit (upper mechanical ai and lower ehsi). Or the newer pfd and combination with bezel keys? Or does that hit the modification level with attendant authority fees?
 
Old 6th Mar 2015, 11:32
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I think you are lucky to have had only 2 failures in 7 years! I know an operator with a fleet of these screens who had so many failures that they bought most of the stock to use as replacements as an insurance policy for them being superseded.

They have never been known for their reliability. If you are going to keep the aircraft, I would look at a refit, or sell it and get a newer aircraft?
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Old 7th Mar 2015, 21:52
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To each according to his means

Hey Dick I once purchased a good used R22 for about the same as RK want for that repair! Very egalitarian of the helicopter industry to attempt to keep us all broke, rich & poor alike.

Heliflite have exchange EFIS in stock just swap the dud out & go flying man, we're not getting any younger!
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Old 8th Mar 2015, 03:42
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Dick,

Have you spoken to these codgers - Avincorp
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Old 8th Mar 2015, 22:52
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Thanks everyone for the advice. I am chasing all up
By the way. Are Rogerson Kratos units fitted to any current production aircraft?

Also who would be best to assist with certification of the Garmin 600 system in the 109E ? Only real difficulty I see is the autopilot coupling.

I have asked R K for a breakdown cost re parts and labor to no avail. Does anyone have contact details for someone who has worked there in the past?
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Old 9th Mar 2015, 00:37
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Dick,

By the way. Are Rogerson Kratos units fitted to any current production aircraft?
Apparently: Bell 412, Bell 427, Bell 430, Agusta A109E Helicopter, USAF C-18, Zeppelin NT, Boeing 727, 727 Simulators, Gulfstream 62, S-60, AS332, Erickson Air-Crane, Zeppelin LZ-07

I think you are chasing things the wrong way - go back to your friendly Agusta dealer and get Standard Exchange and suck it up.

RK probably have no connection or interest in the "end user".

I deal with Thales gear all the time and just do "standard exchange".

Fixed price - move on.

Getting your own gear fixed is the old way of doing things - we just change black boxes these days.

Plus it will be at the latest mod status.
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Old 9th Mar 2015, 01:18
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RVDT. Have you any idea what the standard exchange price is? Last time I checked it was over $50,000 Aus .

I don't think agusta use RK anymore in their current production 109e.

Do you pay personally these costs ? Or do you work for someone who pays? Possibly that's why you have a different view?
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Old 9th Mar 2015, 04:12
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surely U.S. law does not allow Rogerson Kratos to have a monopoly on this servicing where they will not give service information to anyone else and then charge incredibly high prices?
You could fight this one for a long time Dick, before you won. Manufacturers will claim that their manufacturing/repair information is "commercially sensitive", and to hand out such information freely would be giving commercial advantage to others at the companies expense.

It took the vehicle smash repair industry in the U.S. a long time in the courts, and a lot of money, to force major vehicle manufacturers to release electronic repair information relating to vehicles, that the manufacturers had deemed "commercially sensitive".

The smash repairers declared it was costing them money to have to send vehicles under repair to dealerships, merely to deal with the likes of airbag disabling, and other extensive electronics in vehicles, that could have been done by the smash repairer.
As a result of the courts decision, the manufacturers were obliged to release a raft of electronics repair information - but not all it - because the courts did agree that some info was commercially sensitive.

Judging by the following employee reports, Rogerson Kratos can't justify their pricing on what they pay their employees - and it appears that the company is highly resistant to change. We all know what happens to organisations that resist change.

Rogerson-Kratos employee reviews

Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and throw out a component that is not only unreliable, but unrealistically priced as far as repairs go. It appears you have plenty of choices for replacement of the Rogerson-Kratos unit, and most of them would appear to be an upgrade, anyway.
Never forget that electronics development is an area that advances extremely rapidly, and 5 to 7 yrs in the age of a component can often mean your "state of the art" component, is effectively obsolete.

Sarasota Avionics - category - EFIS-glass-cockpit
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Old 9th Mar 2015, 10:14
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Don't forget that if you do upgrade, you may be able to sell your 3 working units for exorbitant prices...
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Old 9th Mar 2015, 13:57
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Dick, AW don't use RK anymore due to reliability issues and costs!

Astronautics in the 109E/S and Cobham in the 109SP.

The Astronautics screens are plug and play for alter 109E's, but you would have to replace all four and they aren't really any cheaper than the RK screens. Slightly better perhaps, but with different issues!

As far as hooking up the autopilot to the Garmin. Don't. Just leave the autopilot with all its standard gyros and run the Garmin system separately. Much simpler and cheaper to STC.

I've gone down this road already with the G500H system and nearly managed to get an owner to do it, but he chickened out and replaced 3 RK screens instead! Could have done the whole STC just about for that money.

I can put you in touch with someone in North America who wants to do the G500H in the 109E, but I don't know how much help they would be to you from so far away.
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Old 9th Mar 2015, 22:44
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Noooby. Can you PM me this organisations details. I have also contacted Garmin to see if they are interested in an upgrade . That would spread the certification over many aircraft.

Does anyone have an email for International Defence Systems? They have a display for sale but we can not find a way of communicating with them!
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Old 10th Mar 2015, 00:09
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Dick - Here's the link to their "contact" page. As with many large organisations and companies, they do not advertise an email contact address to ensure corporate security.

IDS contact page
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Old 10th Mar 2015, 05:58
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I sent an email to Tom Alloway, Director of Customer Service at Rogerson Aircraft asking quite simply,

“You mention that it is up to the technician to define the repair category. Surely you would be able to find out for me what parts are actually faulty and what has to be replaced? I simply cannot fathom how the cost can be so staggering”.
Tom Alloway sent me the following reply:

“The information included on the quotation and the details provided in the earlier email represent the extent of the information available to share
Can you imagine such a lack of ethics? They want to get more than AUD55,000 from me but they are not even prepared to tell me what they are doing for this amount of money! I wonder how Tom Alloway sleeps at night.

It’s interesting … in my business career I have had very few occasions of dealing with companies that lack basic ethics. Possibly I have been fortunate.
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Old 10th Mar 2015, 11:45
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Dick
Feel for you but this is what a few of us have been saying for years we are being taken for a ride, & the costs are escalating to a ludicrous extent.
RVDT
Your comment is what every manufacturer loves to hear, put in over priced new or refurbished equipment, a lot that was poor value to start with.
If the cost of these parts come out of your pocket, would you be so happy to spend $50K
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Old 10th Mar 2015, 15:07
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Dick, you've been PM'd.

Let me know if there is anything further I can help with.
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Old 13th Mar 2015, 00:27
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Re the Garmin cockpit: I would love a whole thread on aspects of what I am about to post, but thought that you may find this interesting Dick - especially with the passion you bring to change. I would like to have had the time to write a paper on the topic.... but time is something I don't have.

Given that the vast majority of our accidents are CFIT and so very few are engine failure related; AND
Given that CFIT almost never happens when pilots can see the ground...

then WHY are we so obsessed with the UK offshore's fixation on PC1 and not on bringing virtual or actual (NVG and IR) terrain displays to the cockpit?????

The reason I mention this to you Dick is that the Garmin cockpit has a very smart, very intuitive and very usable CFIT avoidance display and has been available since at least 2009 BUT it cannot be certified into transport category helicopters because Garmin and the FAA don't think there is a market there. It can be certified into the Class B machines and there is already an IFR Bo-105 that has been flying in Australia with the Garmin cockpit for several years - but I cannot fit it to our BK117! You should be able to get it for the A109...

But my question / point is: Why on earth does CASA not make sure this sort of tool gets certified instead of pursuing things like the PC1/PC2 requirement when we KNOW that this is not what is killing us?

Why are 3D terrain displays not mandated in all helicopters, including and especially transport category helicopters? Particularly those involved in night/IFR and EMS?

Why are the manufacturers still releasing cockpits that are not anywhere near the Garmin outcomes - B429, AW189, AW169, 412EPi, EC175, etc etc.
Why cannot I not retrofit our AW139 Airline Cockpit with a display that stops me hitting the ground because I can see it?- even after 3 CFIT in that acft type with another undetected descent below LSALT (all two pilot ops!)

You are somewhat blessed in the A109 that you could fit the Garmin cockpit but you may want to check it does not alter your operational category. For the rest us are too busy trying to ensure we have enough single engine power and correct HLS dimensions to worry about CFIT.

On second thoughts, I will start that other thread
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Old 15th Mar 2015, 23:27
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I have just heard that there is one Agusta operator who has three of the Rogerson Kratos screens that are faulty – a potential cost of more than USD150,000 to get them serviced. He is now planning to get out of helicopters!
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