International Propeller Service
“Roger contacted me and helped me through the SAM (federal System for Award Management) registration process,” says Bob Finke, managing member of International Propeller Service in Lincoln. “He came down to our shop, sat right next to me and walked me through the process. His experience has been very helpful.”
Finke, who sells parts and overhauls airplane propellers for clients in 43 countries around the world, says he has also received assistance from NBDC Export Consultant and Market Research Analyst Josh Nichol-Caddy.
To help expand International Propeller Service’s overseas presence in select foreign markets, Nichol-Caddy conducted international market research through the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP), funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). STEP funds are awarded by the SBA and, in Nebraska, applied for and administered by the state’s Department of Economic Development.
“I provide reports based on a company’s specific interests,” Nichol-Caddy says. “It details what the market looks like and identifies potential leads.”
Finke says his services are complicated and time consuming. “It’s expensive to be in this business,” he says. “My shop has to be certified by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). Every part we use has to be traceable to an approved vendor and logged in software programs. Even my tooling has to be calibrated annually.”
He says airplane propellers have to be maintained at certain intervals, based either on length of time between maintenance or hours in flight. “An overhaul is a job that takes 40 hours, minimum,” he says. “There are only 30 shops in the country that do this kind of work.”
Finke began working at Duncan Aviation’s propeller shop in Lincoln in 1987. Because Duncan’s employees worked on all aspects of the propeller overhaul process, Finke learned a vast array of repair and maintenance tasks including pre-function testing of the propeller, disassembly, cleaning and inspecting all parts, blade grinding, paint and finish, installing deice boots, parts ordering, and reassembly of the sub components and the entire propeller.
He earned his repair certification from the FAA in 1989 and was a qualified inspector for Duncan, where he became team leader of the propeller shop in 1999. In 2012, Finke joined with a longtime friend and opened International Propeller Service’s Nebraska facility.
In January 2016, Scott Lau, a co-worker from Duncan Aviation became a partner in the Lincoln Facility and they opened the FAA Part 145 repair Station so they can repair and overhaul propellers for customers around the world.
Finke says he appreciates the guidance and knowledge McCullough and Nichol-Caddy supply. “If I have a question about numbers or proper procedures, like which countries I need an export license to ship to, I know I can contact them and they will get right back to me,” Finke says. “When you are as busy as I am, getting an answer right away really helps.”