Where Sustainability Takes Flight

The meaningful work behind aerospace bearing reconditioning

Right now, thousands of commercial jets are transporting millions of passengers globally. Helicopters are fighting fires and promoting national security for countries around the world. All of them need reliable bearings to take off, fly and land — safely and sustainably.

Bearing Inspection, Inc., (Bii), a part of The Timken Company, keeps essential aircraft flying with world-class aerospace bearing inspection, reconditioning, and engineering services. Drew Learn, Bii’s general manager, shares how the meaningful work of bearing repair benefits aviation and the environment.

Safe flight: Trusted globally

In Los Alamitos, Calif., Learn leads a team of dedicated bearing experts who recondition main engine, gearbox and auxiliary power unit (APU) bearings for more than 80 different aviation platforms. Together, they operate the world’s largest and highest-quality independent bearing repair facility.

“Our people are very serious about their work,” says Learn. “Because aircraft safety is critical to everyone.”

A photo of an airplane flying above the clouds next to a photo of a woman repairing bearings.

Bii’s aerospace bearing reconditioning process is very hands-on, performed by employees highly trained in visual inspection and repair. Each time they touch a bearing, they know about the customer, the application and the impact their work has on each aircraft. One bearing may go back into a General Electric turbine engine for an international airliner. Another might return to service in a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter transmission.

Bii also supports commercial and cargo planes that transport people and goods globally. It reconditions bearings for agricultural aircraft that fertilize crops and maximize food output for a growing population. It enables search and rescue helicopters to stay response-ready for natural disasters and emergencies.

Demand is typically strong for Bii services, which works exclusively with customers who operate and maintain aircraft, but demand increased with recent supply chain and capacity constraints because long lead times aren’t an option for aircraft fleets doing essential work.

Sustainability: Saving time and resources

One reason OE lead times are stretched is because premium-quality raw materials for aerospace bearings are constrained. It can take months for an aircraft operator to get a new bearing. Bii can recondition existing bearings in a fraction of the time. It’s a practical solution for saving time, and it also reduces the aviation industry’s environmental footprint.

In fact, Bii currently is on track to divert thousands of used bearings away from landfills in 2023.

“Sustainability is at the core of our purpose and value proposition,” Learn noted. “We recondition as many components as possible and return almost all of the bearings we receive back into service.”

Any bearings or components that are too worn or damaged to be repurposed are scrapped and recycled. Melted down into new steel, they are remade into everything from renewable energy equipment to new bridges.

“Sustainability is at the core of our purpose and value proposition. We recondition as many components as possible and return almost all of the bearings we receive back into service.”

Drew Learn
General Manager, Bearing Inspection, Inc.

On those rare occasions, the Bii team collaborates with Timken’s aerospace bearing team to ensure customers get the new bearings they need.

Legacy of Leadership

Bii, which joined Timken by acquisition in 2005, started in 1955 as one of the industry’s first innovators in aftermarket bearing inspection and reconditioning. The company is considered the founder of the modern-day reconditioning process for turbine jet and other critical-use turbine engine bearings.

“At that time, it was a completely novel idea to repair bearings,” Learn said. “Today we’re certified with agencies around the world and trusted by customers globally who care about safety, quality and sustainability.”

And Bii is qualified to serve them all. The company is capable of inspecting and reconditioning more than 5,000 unique aerospace anti-friction ball and roller bearing part numbers thanks to the collective knowledge of team members who work well together.

“We’ve recently added many new team members who know someone else who works here,” he says. “Employees are so engaged that they recommend us to people they know. It helps maintain a culture of collaborative problem solving that will see us through our next 65 years.”

Timken work matters globally and across industries. Learn how Timken helps make vaccines safe and viable for patients and keeps grounded commercial planes airworthy with preventative maintenance for landing wheel bearings.

At a Glance: Bii Facility in Los Alamitos, Calif.

Photograph of a lab technician inspecting bearings at the Bii Facility in Los Alamitos, California.


  • Employees: 100+
  • World’s largest, highest-quality independent bearing repair facility (75,000 sq. ft)
  • Bearing inspection and reconditioning capabilities for 5,000 unique ball and roller bearing part numbers
  • Will return thousands of bearings back into service in 2023

Essential Industries / Applications:

  • Commercial airlines
  • Defense aircraft
  • Agricultural airplanes
  • Cargo and business aircraft
  • Helicopters used in firefighting, search and rescue

Bearing Inspection and Repair For:

  • Aviation gas turbine engines
  • Helicopter transmissions
  • Auxiliary power units
  • Accessory components

Photograph of the body of an jet airplane flying above clouds and mountains at dusk.

Key Certificates and Approvals:

  • FAA (U.S.)
  • EASA (Europe)
  • CAC (China)
  • DCA (Thailand)
  • ISO 9001