Why Upgrade to the ATR Starter Generator 8260-124?

Older starter generator models on your ATR 42 or 72 aircraft require frequent maintenance, driving up maintenance costs. Upgrading to the starter generator 8260-124 from Thales Avionics Electrical Systems offers advantages, such as longer maintenance intervals resulting in significant cost savings, for operators looking to maintain their aircraft for the next several years. By learning about the benefits of the 8260-124 and how it compares to older models, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about whether upgrading is the right choice for your operation.

Why Upgrade to the ATR Starter Generator 8260-124?

Evolution of the Thales Starter Generator 8260-120/-121/-123

Changes to the Thales starter generator 8260-123 addressed previous issues with the 8260-120 and 8260-121. Through a series of service bulletins (SBs) and amendments, the Thales starter generator has evolved, primarily fixing problems with the speed sensor flange and upgrading the commutator and bearings.

The 8260-120 required modifications, including a grease change in the bearings, a new baffle, and a bearing replacement. It evolved into the 8260-121 after changes were made to the quad-mounted flange and damper disk. Improvements to the 8260-121 were made to the speed sensor flange, commutator end bell, armature, terminal block, and insulator. The 8260-121 was replaced with the 8260-123 after new carbon brushes were added. 

These improvements to the 8260-123 increased reliability, reduced on-wing failure, and resulted in longer maintenance intervals, producing cost savings compared to the 8260-120 and 8260-121 models. However, the 8260-123 still remained maintenance-intensive, requiring frequent replacement of the brushes and bearings.

The Thales Starter Generator 8260-124

The redesigned 8260-124 sought to ease downtime and maintenance costs unaddressed in the 8260-123. The 8260-124 increased maintenance intervals by aligning brush and bearing changes, rather than being separate maintenance events. This was achieved due to longer brushes made from an improved carbon material that does not wear down as quickly.

The 8260-124 also has an adapted spring design and a new cover band with bosses and a locating pin to accommodate the longer carbon brushes. Further, it features new commutator technology to improve the reliability and lengthen the life of the commutator.

See the figure below for the changes between the 8260-123 and 8260-124 starter generators.

ATR Starter Generator

Benefits of Thales Starter Generator 8260-124

Fewer Maintenance Intervals

Carbon brushes can wear down over time, requiring frequent replacements. The Thales starter generator 8260-123 requires 6 maintenance events during 3600 flight hours – 3 of which are brush replacements – while the 8260-124 only requires 3 maintenance events for the same number of flight hours, reducing the amount of aircraft downtime. 

ATR Starter Generator Maintenance

Cost Savings

Longer intervals between removals also mean significant savings in maintenance costs. Operators can expect a 26% decrease in shop costs for 3600 flight hours per starter generator. This translates to $3000 for each generator or $6000 per aircraft in cost benefits over a 5 year period, based on 800 flight hours per year.

Who Benefits from Upgrading to the Thales 8260-124?

Any ATR operator can upgrade because the starter generator can be installed on any ATR aircraft variant. However, long-term ATR operators will benefit more than operators on short-term leases or who are planning to retire aircraft in their fleet within the next few years. To benefit from cost-savings and reduced downtimes, operators would need to keep an aircraft in service for approximately 5 years.

Thales Starter Generator 8260-124 Modification Kit

Modifications are required to the airframe when upgrading to the 8260-124 on the ATR 72 and ATR 42-500/-600 series. The ATR 42-300 series aircraft do not require modification.

Modifications are made to the fuel drainpipe on each engine to accommodate the new generator cover. One modification kit includes the necessary components for modifying both sides of the aircraft for the two starter generators.

Modification kits can be obtained through the original equipment manufacturer (OEM), ATR, or spare parts supplier. To avoid additional downtime and costs, modifications can be made during the next starter generator removal.

How to Upgrade to the 8260-124

You can send your 8260-120, -121, or -123 to Thales to be modified to a 8260-124. Currently, Thales is the only shop approved to make modifications to these starter generator models. 

Alternatively, you could exchange your older starter generator with a repair vendor or parts distributor to help reduce turnaround time. The 8260-120, -121, and -123 are acceptable core units for 8260-124 upgrades.

Aircraft with Thales Starter Generator 8260-124

ATR 72 aircraft from the manufacturer’s serial number (MSN) 1238 and ATR 42 aircraft from MSN 1201 already have the 8260-124 installed during production.

Why Should You Upgrade?

To summarize, the Thales starter generator 8260-124 offers improvements over older models that may be costing you time and money. Depending on your operation, upgrading to the 8260-124 can be beneficial, offering increased reliability, decreased maintenance, and long-term financial savings.

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