Marsh Aviation began in 1961 as Marsh Aviation Company, Inc, before Marsh Aviation International, Inc was founded in 1989.
Marsh Aviation is an engineering company specialising in aircraft modification, engineering and systems design. The company is located at Falcon Field Airport in Mesa, Arizona in the Phoenix metropolitan area.
Marsh's main facility consists of one central building covering 18,000 square feet. Within this facility are 4,800 square feet of office space, a machine shop, an electronics shop, and aircraft repair/assembly areas. Marsh is presently in negotiations with the City of Mesa (owners of Falcon Field) for additional hangar space.
Marsh has seven major business areas or specialties: -
- major aircraft modifications
- aircraft systems design & installation
- piston-to-turboprop engine conversions
- flight test operations
- aerial fire fighting
- aircraft and engine maintenance & support
- test cell equipment fabrication
- electronic equipment fabrication
- Government of Brazil
- Brazilian Navy (Marinha do Brasil)
- Government of Argentina
- Argentine Navy (Armada de la República Argentina)
- Government of Chile
- Chilean Air Force (Fuerza Aérea de Chile)
- Government of Colombia
- Colombian Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Colombiana)
- Government of Ecuador
- Ecuadorian Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Ecuatoriana)
- Government of France
- French Ministry of the Interior
- Sécurité Civile (Direction de la Défense de la Sécurité Civile)
- Government of Peru
- Peruvian Air Force (Fuerza Aérea del Perú)
- Government of the Philippines
- Republic of Philippines Air Force
- Government of the United States (USG)
- United States Department of Defense
- United States Forest Service (USFS)
- United States Department of State
- Government of California
- CAL-FIRE (California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection - CDF)
- Government of Taiwan
- Republic of China Navy
- Air Asia
- AIDC (Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation)
- Turkish Aerospace Industries
- Antonov (Antonov Aeronautical Scientist/Technical Complex)
- United Kingdom
- BAe Systems
- Shorts Aviation Company
Marsh Aviation has completed ten of its own aircraft engineering modification programs: -
- North American Rockwell OV-10A/D/G Bronco airplane
- Grumman S-2F3AT Turbo Tracker, a re-engined Grumman S-2 Tracker, with Garrett TPE331 engines. Six converted for Argentine Navy.
- Grumman S-2F1AT Turbo Tracker airplane
- Rockwell/Ayres S2R-T Turbo Thrush airplane, a turboprop conversion of the Rockwell Thrush Commander, using a 600 hp (450 kW) Garrett TPE331-1-101 engine. Deliveries started in 1976. 75 conversions were completed by 1985.
- Grumman G164C Turbo Cat airplane, a turboprop conversion of the Grumman Super Ag Cat C/600. Six converted.
- Grumman G164B Turbo Cat airplane
- Grumman G164A Turbo Cat airplane
- Windecker Eagle II airplane
- Beechcraft T-34T airplane
- Sikorsky S-55T helicopter
Marsh's most recent S-2 modification sales were six S-2F3 Turbo Tracker conversion kits to the Armada Argentina, and twenty-three S-2F3AT Turbo Tracker initial attack air tankers for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF), now called CAL FIRE.
The CAL FIRE program was the largest contract in Marsh's history. The modifications resulted in a new FAA Type Certificate and included the following improvements : -
- Honeywell TPE331-14GR turboprop engines
- 1,200 US gallon (4,542 litre) retardant tank
- variable quantity/constant flow automated retardant delivery system
- new avionics and cockpit instruments
- new aircraft electrical system
- overhauled hydraulic and fuel systems
Deliveries to CAL FIRE began in December 1998 and were completed in June 2005. Overlapping with the CAL FIRE S-2F3AT Turbo Tracker air tanker program, Marsh subsequently completed a United States Air Force contract to modify and improve seven Colombian Air Force (CAF) OV-10A Bronco aircraft.
The CAF Bronco modification program included the following improvements: -
- Honeywell T-76 engines
- new Hartzell 4-blade propellers
- new propeller management systems
- service life extension program for the airframe and undercarriage
- upgraded avionics
Deliveries of the OV-10 to the CAF began in 2004, and the seventh and last aircraft was delivered in 2006. Total value of the contract was US$13.5M. Marsh is also upgrading T-76 engines and propeller systems for other OV-10 operators.
Marsh Aviation was selected by DynCorp International as the general contractor to modify the US State Department fleet of North American Rockwell OV-10D Bronco aircraft.
Among the modifications engineered and designed by Marsh for this DynCorp OV-10 program on behalf of the US State Department were: -
- modifications to incorporate the Hartzell 4-blade propeller
- new electrical system
- new avionics
- new aerial spray system used to eradicate drug crops
Marsh had completed and delivered two prototype aircraft to DynCorp and had four additional aircraft in process, when DynCorp decided to resume the program themselves for financial reasons in April 2007.
But without Marsh Aviation's engineering and manufacturing capability, the program has proven very difficult to progress, and it is believed that DynCorp will yet return the OV-10 Bronco modification program to Marsh for completion.
Maintenance & Repair Station
For more than 15 years, Marsh Aviation was one of only three companies fully accredited to be a designer, manufacturer and major supplier of Honeywell ground support and test equipment.
In June 2006, Honeywell chose to deal directly with its customers, but still commissions Marsh Aviation to fabricate many of the items with which Honeywell maintains and repairs its products, and to supply after-market support for Honeywell customers.
Marsh is also a fully accredited FAA repair station for the following aircraft: -
- North American Rockwell OV-10A (turbo-prop)
- S-2F3AT & S-2F1AT Turbo Tracker
- Grumman S-2 (piston-engine) Tracker (all models)
- HU-16 & G-111Albatross (piston-engine)
- Ayres S2RT Turbo Thrush
- Ayres S2R Thrush (piston-engine)
- Gulfstream Commander 681 (piston-engine)
- Cessna 185 (piston-engine)
Marsh Aviation is also a supplier of general maintenance services to all sectors of the aviation industry.
Marsh is an FAA-approved repair station for the following powerplants: -
- Turbo-Prop Engines
- Honeywell TPE331
- Honeywell T-76
- Reciprocating (or Piston) Engines
- Wright 1820 radial
Marsh supports CAL FIRE's fleet of S-2F3AT & S-2F1AT Turbo Tracker air tanker aircraft, as well as Taiwan's fleet of S-2T Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) aircraft, and the fleets of North American Rockwell OV-10As operating in Colombia and the Philippines.
Marsh also supplies the US State Department's fleet of OV-10D/G drug crop eradication aircraft with parts, technical expertise and engineering assistance, on a worldwide basis.
Current & Future Programs
Marsh is working on potential new programs (in addition to the G-111AT Wildfire program and new S-2 sales) that include:
The conversion of Grumman S-2E piston-engine Trackers to S-2T AEW Turbo Tracker standard for the Brazilian Navy, by the installation of Honeywell TPE-331 turbo-prop powerplants. Other modifications will include new or upgraded hydraulic, electrical and navigation sub-systems.
Engineering, technical, and manufacturing support for Ecuador's fleet of T-34T aircraft. Discussions have been started and are now well advanced.
Eco-Fuelled Electrical Generators
Preparing, adapting and installing T-76, TPE331 and other gas turbine engines into mobile electrical generation units. Proof-of-concept unit in development will be soon ready for the engines. The system will use agricultural products and waste products to produce the fuel to run the engines to generate electricity.
Amphibious Sport Aircraft
Assisting a major Asian aerospace firm in their efforts to manufacture and certify a four-to-six place, single-engine amphibious sport aircraft. Marsh's contribution will include engineering interface with the FAA certification process, and some manufacturing and assembly work. Current negotiations will determine the ultimate level of Marsh's involvement.
Marsh Aviation is the technical advisor and prime general contractor to Wildfire Aircraft Ltd for the G-111AT Wildfire Program. Piston-engined Grumman HU-16 and G-111 airframes will be converted turbo-prop, amphibious air tankers certificated in the Transport Category under FAR Part 25. Conversion will include the installation of new 1,400 US gallon (5,300 litre) retardant tank with an automated control system operating a variable quantity/constant flow release system, major titanium modifications to the load-bearing airframe, the installation of a quick-change cargo/passenger floor, new Honeywell TPE331-14GR/HR turbo-prop engines, new EFIS cockpit, new electrical system including new starter-generators, new hydraulic pumps and an upgraded hydraulic system, as well as such optional features as an APU.
- Michell 1994, p. 342.
- Taylor 1982, pp. 411–412.
- Taylor 1988, p. 422.
- Michell, Simon (1994). Jane's Civil and Military Upgrades 1994–95. Coulsdon, UK: Jane's Information Group. ISBN 0-7106-1208-7.
- Taylor, John W. R. (1982). Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1982–83. London: Jane's Yearbooks. ISBN 0-7106-0748-2.
- Taylor, John W. R. (1988). Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1988–89. Coulsdon, UK: Jane's Defence Data. ISBN 0-7106-0867-5.