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TRAVELS AND CHANGES Aero Fabricators was sold in early 2004 and Snodgrass spent the next several months bouncing between short-term assignments as a consultant, first with Lufthansa Technic Composites in Tulsa, OK, then Munich, and then as a con- sultant with Aviation Capital Group and ILFC. The move from Lufthansa Technic to ACG didn’t require relocation. In fact, he went to work one day for Lufthansa, and the next for ACG in the exact same hangar in Germany, doing much of the same thing — working on the composite thrust reversers and other composite parts associated with the IAE V2500 engine. ACG then moved him to Prestwick to work on Goodrich Rohr products. He worked on composite thrust reversers and engine nacelle pods for IAEA, GE, CFM and Rolls Royce engines. A short assignment in Por- tugal, assisting TAP Air Portugal’s mechanics, was followed by one in El Salvador for TACA Airlines. By the fall of 2004, Snodgrass had had enough of living out of a suitcase. “My whole job throughout that time was teaching, essentially — teaching composite repairs and helping customers understand the depth of their composite components, and helping the (aircraft) leasing companies understand the costs of doing that work on the planes they owned and leased to airlines and corporate users,” says Snodgrass. “You see, before the early 2000s, the repair world mentality for big damage (to planes) was always ‘return it to the OEMs.’ That started to change in the early 2000s,

around 2003-2004. Owner-operators, corporate fleet operators and airlines, they were all starting to re-think the reasons for sending big repairs to the OEMs. They were mostly concerned about long turnaround times, about the quality of repairs and the prices being charged. “I thought I could help them through that re-thinking

process, so I started DAS as a consulting company. I advised a lot of companies in my first year. Most of them were overseas, really big Asian carriers like JAL, All Nippon and others, all the way to the big U.S. companies like United, Northwest and even American. I helped them find fixes for problems they were having, mostly with composites, and finding repair shops that could handle that work for them. I also worked with the aircraft manufacturing companies, finding ways to refine the manufacturing process. “I had one customer during that time who’d been

involved with an old 707 elevator tab job for about a year. They couldn’t get the problem solved.” But, he adds, within 30 days of his arrival, the customer had created and gotten approval for the tooling and parts needed to begin production work. It was during those post-9/11 days when airlines and other aircraft owners and operators were scrambling to reduce costs any way they could without compromising safety that they began searching for composite repair companies that could think outside the box and help them develop procedures to help with the repair process.

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