Castle Aviation has completed its WinAir Version 7 implementation and is now live with the aviation management software. After kicking off its software implementation amid the COVID-19 pandemic using fully remote processes and procedures, Castle recently concluded a transition to the software this past March. With implementation complete, it is excited to boost efficiencies across all facets of its operation and is anticipating ongoing business growth with the product.
Castle Aviation is a private passenger airline and cargo operation that specialises in priority freight. The company was established in 1986 in North Canton, Ohio, by current CEO and owner Michael Grossman. It operates and maintains a fleet of eight Cessna 208B Super Cargomasters, four Piper Aerostars, one Swearingen Metroliner and six Saab 340Bs. It also offers maintenance services to support private aircraft, corporate aircraft and flight schools.
Over the years, the company has experienced tremendous growth, which resulted in a move from a 3,600 sq ft hangar to a 30,000 sq ft hangar at the Akron Canton airport in 2000. After a brief stint at another maintenance facility in 2007, Castle Aviation returned to KCAK in 2008, where it operated out of four hangars around the airfield. It would ultimately add a fifth hangar space years later. In 2017, the company continued to forecast exponential growth, so it began planning for the construction of a new larger facility that could house its entire operation.
In early 2020, plans for a new home for Castle came to fruition as the company finalised the details for an August move to a new 61,000 sq ft hangar and offices at KCAK. Upon doing so, its team identified that it had outgrown its current maintenance and inventory control software, which it was only able to access from within its local network. To accommodate its rapid growth, Castle realised that it needed robust and scalable aviation management software that was web browser-based and had a proven track record for assisting aviation operations with improving efficiencies. This software would also need to be incorporated into the company's work environment to play a leading role in ensuring a smooth transition at the new maintenance facility.
In June of 2020, Castle Aviation reached out to WinAir to learn more about WinAir Version 7. At this stage, the company had clearly defined its software needs, determining that the new system would require the ability to handle tracking and managing aircraft maintenance, inventory, parts and labour, along with generating work orders and overseeing planning and forecasting. It also needed a solution that could integrate with its Quickbooks accounting system. Concerning the COVID-19 pandemic, Castle Aviation noted that having an online solution would benefit the operation significantly by providing the ability to continue to facilitate maintenance activities remotely if staff had to quarantine.
After reviewing several products available on the market, Castle Aviation concluded that WinAir was the perfect fit for the operation. The company proceeded to implement WinAir Version 7 in a fully remote environment. It began with WinAir fundamentals training and the initial software setup, which involved completing the aircraft compliance data loading and inventory import. Afterwards, the company proceeded with comprehensive inventory, programmes, records, planning and production training in a live sandbox. Once it was confident in its team's ability to utilise the software, Castle Aviation entered the go-live stage of the implementation with the support of the WinAir team. Now that the company has completed its software implementation and is using WinAir daily, its team envisions ongoing success with the product.
“The smooth transition to the WinAir software system has shown to be extremely beneficial for us,” says Dave Scheufler, Castle Aviation VP and director of maintenance. “The software provides us with a way for collaborating both the maintenance and parts departments into one mainstream software platform. This collaboration will result in both departments becoming more efficient in their ability to accurately track and report the cost and materials for each aircraft on the line.”
WinAir business development representative Jason Street adds: “We are pleased to partner with Castle Aviation by providing it access to WinAir Version 7 to manage its daily maintenance activities. As it settles into its new facility, WinAir will continue to assist it in increasing efficiencies in all departments, improving stores room management, accelerating maintenance work steps and most importantly providing a reliable way to prove and maintain airworthiness. We look forward to strengthening this partnership and assisting it in achieving operational success.”