28.03.18 Dowty Propellers

The Award to Industry winner, Dowty Propellers, re-establishes composite blade production


The manufacture of composite blades for Dowty Propellers’ civil and military propeller systems has been re-established, marking the company’s recovery from a fire that destroyed its original production site in south west England in 2015.
Operating from an interim facility at Mitcheldean in Gloucestershire, 2018 Award to Industry winner Dowty Propellers has re-created the complete blade manufacturing capability for its propeller system product lines – with the highest output in company history.
“In re-establishing the blade production, we benefitted from the devotion of our employees, and the backing of our parent company,” said Oliver Towers, President of Dowty Propellers. “During this period, we appreciated the support and encouragement from our aircraft manufacturer customers, as well as the worldwide base of operators who fly with our propeller systems.”
Dowty Propellers supplies propeller systems for a range of applications, including regional aircraft, military airlifters, amphibious aircraft and marine hovercraft.
In creating the interim Mitcheldean operation, Dowty used the opportunity to implement new production layouts and processes, and introduce new equipment to improve its performance.
The company is also developing a purpose-built replacement site near Gloucester, which is expected to be operational in 2019 – housing the headquarters and production facility, along side its repair and overhaul operation and R&D centre.
Supporting the current Mitcheldean production site is a 13,500ft2 centre for propeller system assembly and deliveries, located adjacent to Dowty Propellers’ previous headquarters at Anson Business Park in Gloucester.
During the post-fire recovery, the company maintained its full repair and overhaul capabilities through Dowty Propellers’ Repair and Overhaul (DPRO) centre nearby, which was unaffected by the fire. Completing the network is the US-based Dowty Propellers Americas repair and overhaul operation at Sterling, Virginia; the Australian maintenance, repair and overhaul facility at Brisbane Airport; along with more than 50 local repair sites around the world.
The company also relied on its global resources – including field service representatives across the world who worked closely with aircraft manufacturers and operators to conduct repairs at customer sites and locate temporary replacements while production was restored.