Developing a Flight Department Sustainability Plan with Kerri Russi, Adobe Aviation and John Hatfield, Cox Aviation
Registration is free and open to everyone, please save the date and join us!
NCBAA will be hosting a two part series on Sustainability to educate and exchange best practices for our members. Before attending our events, we highly recommend to read this guide.
Posted by Jennifer Pickerel on Sep 28, 2020
On October 1, we expect to see more furloughed airline pilots flocking to business aviation. That’s when the CARES Act funding expires for the commercial aviation sector.
That also means that our API Registered Professionals will have to contend with additional pilots in the job market.
As we’ve seen, the transition from commercial to business aviation can be a successful one. After all, very few pilots get their start in business aviation. Many earn their flight time at a regional carrier, major airline or in the military.
But there is a learning curve for “crossover” pilots.
As many of you know, airline and bizav piloting roles do not make for an apples-to-apples comparison.
“Flying is the easy part of the day, usually after you’ve finished your duties as ground crew, flight planner, dispatcher, load master, security officer and baggage handler,” Andre Fodor said in his article for AvBuyer.
It takes a special kind of pilot to fly in business aviation—successfully anyway.
As Fodor points out, many pilots—at least those on smaller teams—don’t simply show up to fly. They’re often expected to run the entire show. The necessary skill set requires a much broader perspective. It includes impeccable customer service, a strong team approach and a solid work ethic.
With the foregoing in mind, following is a list of traits and skills associated with business aviation pilots:
As we’ve shared over the years, a bizav pilot needs to cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset. Fodor says one needs a “do whatever it takes attitude.” This is well beyond a “show up and fly” role. For example, operators flying without cabin safety attendants are responsible for those duties. A pilot may need to manage the Wi-Fi, set out catering, make coffee, order newspapers and prepare the cabin before the flight. And, of course, clean up post-flight.
Corporate pilots typically know their co-pilot and crew on every trip. And they get to spend their downtime together when they’re at FBOs or traveling around the world. Most of API’s clientele try to create a culture that focuses on creating a “work family.” So, there’s a strong sense of comradery and loyalty, and lifelong friendships are made.
Bizav pilots have defined duty periods, but they can be long days. They’re expected show up well before the flight and not leave until the mission (and the plane) is fully put to bed. And now, with COVID, a crew might expect to do fewer overnights to reduce exposure on the road. Again, it makes for longer work days.
Depending upon the operation, schedules can be up in the air. If it’s a high-net-worth owner or charter operator, expect to fly on long weekends and holidays. One could very well miss out on family events and milestones. And many pilots, may be on-call in case a trip pops up.
Unlike the airlines, bizav pilots deal with problems head-on and face-to-face. If the cabin entertainment system goes down, the pilot becomes the IT support. It’s a role that requires the ability to maintain composure and to think on one’s feet. In this industry, there’s no such thing as showing up to sit behind a locked cockpit door.
Sure, we recruit for technically competent individuals. But we also seek out those with a wider focus on the entire customer service experience. And that means being mindful of a wide range of customer wants and needs from a service perspective. How can we best cater to their likes and dislikes and anticipate their wishes? Do they need anything out of the ordinary? Developing this mindset requires a certain empathic gene. It helps pilots put themselves in the shoes of their clientele.
Most bizav pilots live within driving distance of the hangar. There’s an expectation that the crew is a part of a team. That means they’ll be at the office to attend meetings, plan logistics and manage projects.
Many operators have smaller teams. Thus, pilots often do more of the logistical planning, accounting and budgeting. As we’ve pointed out, there’s definitely an “office” aspect to the role vs. showing up and flying.
“You are not only paying for fuel, but also creating budgets, negotiating contracts, managing people and expectations, arranging logistics, etc.,” explained Matthew Olafsen, an international captain. “There is more time spent in the office than flying the plane. The question isn’t: can the airline pilot fly the plane and pay for fuel at the FBO, the question is: can they handle the multitude of other jobs outside the cockpit that can occur any time of the day or night.”
It may seem attractive to recruit furloughed airline pilots. But both commercial pilots and bizav hiring managers should proceed with caution. Crossover pilots, in particular, need to understand the full complement of their would-be roles and responsibilities.
Meanwhile, hiring companies should go beyond listing the minimum technical requirements in their pilot job ads. They should also include some of the ancillary aspects of bizav flying. This might help “weed out” some applicants.
That said, there are likely airline pilots who genuinely want to return to business aviation. If someone has a relevant type-rating and are committed to the long haul, the investment might be worthwhile. That’s because former bizav pilots already know the territory. And they understand the lifestyle and customer-experience expectations.
Timing is always an issue in any industry, and, right now, aviation is no exception. Let’s consider the circumstances for anyone seeking a piloting job in bizav.
For example, we’ve had commercial pilots come to us in the past with an earnest desire to make the switch. They realized the airline world wasn’t for them, and we’ve honored those honest conversations. After all, they came to us with pure intent, independent of an airline furlough or other circumstantial events. Given the current situation, if commercial pilots reach out to us now, we’ll need to determine their motivations.
Military pilots have a lot of relevant experience that may mirror a private pilot (e.g., flying dignitaries, flight planning, fuel purchases, etc.). So be sure not to lump military pilots into the same category as commercial pilots. Many of our outstanding bizav pilots and leaders hail from the military.
But no matter the piloting experience, the old adage, “you have to work for it if you want it,” applies in spades here.
Case in point: one military pilot we know is doing some proactive networking to find a bizav pilot role. In the year before his expected military retirement, he signed up for NBAA’s mentorship program. He also drives hours to meet with his mentor in person, and to attend meetings with his new regional bizav group. Plus, he offered to establish a more local chapter of the regional group. The point is, this pilot is clearly going above and beyond to establish himself in our industry.
VAN NUYS AIRPORT COMPLETES $29.7 MILLION, 14-MONTH
TAXIWAY B REHABILITATION PROJECT
(Van Nuys, CA) Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) announces the successful completion of a $29.7 million, 14-month project to reconstruct Taxiway B at Van Nuys Airport (VNY). Completed on time and on budget, the work extends the taxiway’s pavement life by over two decades, increases safety and meets new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) design standards.
“Van Nuys Airport plays an integral role in our nation’s air transportation system and we are committed to delivering to a gold standard in every aspect of operations, safety and facilities – and the reconstruction of Taxiway B helps us do just that,” said Justin Erbacci, Interim Chief Executive Officer, Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA). “I want to thank our project team, who worked diligently with tenants and the FAA to coordinate project design, phasing and construction in a manner that would minimize operational impacts.”
Reconstruction of the 8,800-foot taxiway was accomplished in nine phases and included full-depth asphalt pavement reconstruction, including taxiway shoulder construction, new markings, installation of LED centerline and edge lights, upgraded signage, new jet blast resistant fencing, and grading and drainage improvements. The project was coordinated and carefully phased to maintain tenant access and to mitigate airfield impacts during the construction. The project required a 73-day shortening of the 8,000-foot Runway 16R/34L, along with a two extended closures of the 4,000-foot Runway 16L/34R (77- and 166-days).
The Taxiway B Rehabilitation Project was managed by LAWA’s internal Planning and Development Group with HNTB Corporation as the engineer of record and Griffith Company as the general contractor. Major challenges faced by the project team included maintaining access for airport tenants during construction, as well as scheduling the runway shortening outside of hot summer and wet winter weather months.
During the project, Runway 16R/34, was shortened for a brief period, but this was scheduled during cooler spring months which mitigated the impacts to the airport users. Closing the 4,000-foot Runway 16L/34R and utilizing it as a temporary taxiway during construction also enabled work to progress more rapidly and decreased aircraft waiting and taxiing times.
The Taxiway B Rehabilitation Project is the first of two federally-funded projects to reconstruct the main north-south taxiways at VNY over three years. The FAA Airport Improvement Program is funding 90% of the construction cost for both projects. Later this month, work will commence on a $35.4 million, 16-month project to rehabilitate Taxiway A, located on the west side of the runways. Overall, the work is needed to rehabilitate taxiway pavements that have deteriorated over time and improve taxiway intersections and shoulder pavement to meet current FAA standards. The project will provide increased airfield safety with major improvements to aircraft operating areas.
About Van Nuys Airport
VNY is one of two airports owned and operated by Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), a self-supporting branch of the City of Los Angeles, governed by a seven-member Board of Airport Commissioners who are appointed by the mayor and approved by the Los Angeles City Council. One of the world's busiest general aviation airports, VNY serves as a valued San Fernando Valley resource, providing ongoing leadership in general aviation, business and community service. Dedicated to non-commercial air travel, VNY had over 219,000 operations in 2019. More than 200 businesses are located on the 730-acre airport, including four major fixed-base operators and numerous aviation service companies. Annually, the airport contributes approximately $2 billion to the Southern California economy and supports over 10,000 jobs.
As a covered entity under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the City of Los Angeles does not discriminate on the basis of disability and, upon request, will provide reasonable accommodation to ensure equal access to its programs, services, and activities. Alternative formats in large print, braille, audio, and other forms (if possible) will be provided upon request.
ROSS AVIATION ACQUIRES SIGNATURE FLIGHT SUPPORT BASE IN THERMAL, CALIFORNIA.
(Denver, Colorado) – With the final stroke of a pen and handshakes with team members, Ross Aviation completed its planned acquisition of the Signature Flight Support facility at KTRM in Thermal, California.
The acquisition now gives Ross Aviation the largest ramp and hangar complex in the Coachella Valley and signals the organization’s growing presence in the region – as well as its appetite for expansion, system-wide.
“We see Thermal not only as a primary airport serving the Coachella Valley” said Brian Corbett, chief executive officer of Ross Aviation, “but also as an excellent alternative to other facilities in the region which are becoming increasingly congested. We anticipate hosting traffic from a variety of previously traditional destinations in the area, and now have the ramp space and hangar capacity – along with outstanding passenger and crew facilities – to accommodate them comfortably throughout the year.”
The Palm Springs / Coachella Valley region is particularly well-known for its numerous festivals and activities and for its regular influx of visitors and seasonal residents to the desert resort communities.
Ross Aviation has been a provider of FBO services at KTRM since 2016, and senior leadership of the company has actually had a service presence on the field for decades. The purchase of Signature Flight
Support’s operation in Thermal comes just over a year after Ross Aviation purchased other ramp space and hangar facilities at Thermal and allows the company the capability of handing additional heavy jet aircraft, as well as more capacity for base customers.
Staffing at the acquired facility is anticipated to remain virtually unchanged, as the incumbent team is already well-known at the airport for their high standards of service and safety – two key attributes of every Ross Aviation team member. “We’re very proud to welcome our newest team members in Thermal” said Mr. Corbett, “and to having them become an integral part of our operations as we continue to increase our footprint in the region.”
DUBAI / November 17, 2019 – Jet Aviation announces the opening of its new sustainably built FBO and hangar complex at Van Nuys Airport. The facility includes a brand-new 10,000 sq. ft. FBO terminal and 43,000 sq. ft. hangar that can accommodate the newer generation, large-body aircraft currently entering the market. The much-anticipated FBO and hangar project includes a brand-new 10,000 sq. ft. FBO terminal, a 43,000 sq. ft. hangar with 8,000 sq. ft. of office space and long, unobstructed ramp space. The hangar has a 30 ft. clearance, which can accommodate large aircraft, including the Gulfstream G700 and the Global 7500. “As part of one of the country’s busiest general aviation airports, we are proud to offer our customers a comprehensive solution for all of their aircraft service needs, including traditional FBO services like fueling, hangarage, aircraft cleaning, catering, and domestic and international handling, as well as full-service aircraft management, charter and on–demand maintenance,” said Michael McDaniel, Director & GM, Van Nuys FBO. “And, most excitingly, we did it using sustainable building practices and with an eye to conservation in the future.” Jet Aviation is the first supplier to offer sustainable fuel via a blended fuel option at Van Nuys Airport; it is also the first Jet Aviation site to carry blended fuel.
The site was built to LEED silver specifications and construction practices included using regional materials, installing energy efficient lighting and low-flow plumbing fixtures, and a commitment to divert the majority of construction waste from landfills. “The opening of Jet Aviation’s new complex is an important evolution in delivering exceptional facilities, services and guest experiences here at Van Nuys Airport,” Van Nuys Airport Manager Flora Margheritis said. “Most importantly, it advances environmental sustainability by offering an alternative fuel option on an ongoing basis.” Jet Aviation’s new facility in Van Nuys is the latest step in the company’s commitment to expand its footprint in the United States and broaden its global FBO network offering for customers worldwide. “We are committed to delivering industry-leading services where our customers need and want them,” explained David Best, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Regional Operations USA. “The enhancements throughout our FBO network are strategically designed to focus on exceeding customer expectations across our full range of business-aviation services while using cost- and energy-efficient construction practices.”
Construction and renovation is under way or pending in the U.S. and Caribbean at six of Jet Aviation’s 13 regional locations, including a new state-of-the-art hangar and renovated FBO in Teterboro, New Jersey, that opened October 2019. Hangar expansions in San Juan, Puerto Rico and West Palm Beach, Florida are ongoing and significant renovations are underway at the Dallas, Texas FBO. Finally, Jet Aviation is preparing to break ground on its newest FBO in Scottsdale, Arizona, where Jet Aviation recently announced it has acquired a stake in the Scottsdale Jet Center.
Jet Aviation and USW are exhibiting at Dubai Airshow from November 17 - 21, 2019. Please take the time to visit the Jet Aviation Chalet (#A11) and USW stand #1614 Jet Aviation, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), was founded in Switzerland in 1967 and is one of the leading business aviation services companies in the world. More than 4,600 employees cater to client needs from 50 facilities throughout Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, North America and the Caribbean.
The company provides maintenance, completions and refurbishment, engineering, FBO and fuel services, along with aircraft management, charter services and personnel services. Jet Aviation's European and U.S. aircraft management and charter divisions jointly manage a fleet of some 300 aircraft. Please visit www.jetaviation.com and follow us on twitter: http://twitter.com/jetaviation. More information about General Dynamics is available online at www.generaldynamics.com. Contact: Mary-Lou Murphy, Communications Manager EMEA, Jet Aviation +41 58 158 8891.
Dear Fellow SCAA’ers and Aviation enthusiasts, I beg your pardon, because I know that this group consists of more than just pilots.
But every so often I show my age by regressing into “hangar flying” otherwise known as babbling with other flight enthusiasts about flying but specifically in this article, about a flying career that I’ve been blessed with.
Today it’s about the passing of a dear, old friend. Many years ago we hooked up after 23 years of my searching for significance in my life. She even inspired me to title my book after our relationship, Fast Lane to Faith: A Jet Jockey’s Search for Significance.
Over the years, she gained a reputation, a mixed bag of feelings, amongst aviators because of her somewhat sordid past.
She came into my life when I had given up hope of attaining my dreams in a flying career that had those dreams and expectations dashed, sitting “side saddle” for the better part of 10 years in the Flight Engineers seat and another 13 in the First Officer’s seat of Boeing 707’s and Lockheed 1011’s before I met her and flew with her as a captain.
When I met her she challenged me and demanded things from me that, in my other relationships, I either failed to fulfill or figured I wouldn’t need to be successful in my flying career.
She came from Southern California, I think it was Long Beach. She loved to travel and we did so together often, covering the US numerous times; we even flew internationally on occasion. I don’t know how to say this other than that she was very popular with pilots; by 2002, over 45% of American Airline pilots alone had become intimate with her. I shudder to think of how many other pilots had relations with her.
She was the type of gal who, for those of who were privileged to fly with her were allowed to take “liberties;” she loved for us to put our hands on her.
When we flew together she was very quiet but often offended passengers in the back of the plane because she could be loud and boisterous; on occasion I had a chance to ride in the back when I wasn’t courting her and I can say for sure that was true; even the flight attendants who worked our flights had trouble talking over her.
She had quite a reputation among pilots and they gave her some pretty interesting and descriptive nick names like, “The Silver Bullet” not because of the color of her hair but because somehow she moved through life like that.
And maybe because of her attitude or temperament, or the way she liked to be handled she was often called “Mad Dog” or another really derogatory term, like the “Long Beach Sewer Pipe” maybe because of her reputation.
Another thing I could never figure; why some pilots who flew with her called her Harley, maybe because she had so many emotional and physical break downs.
She’s gone now but she’s left a lasting impression on me and many other pilots who had the privilege to be intimate with her.
I haven’t seen her for a long time but the last I heard she’s moved to the desert around Roswell, New Mexico where she retired.
I’ll never forget her, the love of my aviation life, the McDonnell Douglas/Boeing, MD80...
A Report on the Recent SCAA Conference on New Leadership Solutions for Today’s Biz Av Challenges.
Do you jump out of the sack at o’dark thirty and thank God for another day? Or, like me do you dread rolling out, feeling for and recoiling at the light? Ever since I retired from flying, I almost dread travel since the memories of stumbling around in the dark still haunt me! But once I hit the road, the old feeling of the magic of travel returns and I feel inspired once again to face the unknown with anticipation and a sense of awe at the inevitable mystery that happens on the road.
This journey started off with an early commute to SFO from my home in the North Bay of San Francisco, fearing the worst! Even on a good day SFO isn’t known for its speedy arrivals and departures so with one runway, 28L closed a few days ago for construction repairs, this was not a good omen..
No worries, all went well, my Alaska flight blocked out and took off right on schedule.
I even managed to squeeze in a great movie on the flight down, The SkidRow Marathon, which was perfectly timed to end right at touchdown in SAN. If you get a chance to watch it on Netflix, it’s a real powerhouse: www.skidrowmarathon.com
If you ever wondered what you were put on earth for, this might help clarify your mission! But I digress...
Tim Goulet, the General Manager of Ross Aviation at Thermal, CA and an SCAA mover and shaker, set up a fantastic car rental for me with Go Rentals. If you ever get a chance to rent from them, take it! I was treated like royalty and not because of any nepotism between Tim and the Go Rental management, they’re just that good, friendly and service-oriented. Contact Marshall B. Roberts at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The car that I had, a shiny, brand new Toyota RAV 4 did remind me of my last “modern” rental car experience where I had to call the rental company to learn how to start the thing!
After pushing buttons, and frantically scanning the owner’s manual on my previous rental I finally gave up and called the rental company; they gave me a very complex set of instructions; step on the brake and push the start button!
That’s another reason why I like my ’95 Toyota airport car, I can read the gauges, I twist a knob to turn on the air conditioner and I don’t have to wrestle the car for control when I press the wrong button on the steering wheel.
Also when I open the hood on my old beater, it actually looks like there’s an engine in there!
The conference was held at the Westin Resort and Spa, a very beautiful and well equipped location in the hills of Carlsbad, CA. Once I settled in, I took a look at the SCAA day’s agenda and my first impression when I saw the presenters bios was, “Man, the first speaker isn’t even a pilot! How will the attendees, many of whom were pilots, relate to this guy and his presentation?”
I couldn’t have been more wrong! Both speakers were great and the first one, Mark Howerton, a licensed marriage and family therapist, was a combination of stand-up comedian and a powerful teacher of the basic principles of high level emotional intelligence.
Mark’s presentation was almost like a follow-up to the SkidRow Marathon movie I told you about on my flight to SAN; Mark’s message was kind of a mission statement for life; I began to wonder, “Is this all a message of some sort for me?”
He talked about the “8 Components to a Full and Healthy Life” and their value for a balanced life. They are “inside-out” solutions to modern day stressors. Obviously there’s much more in-depth to each of these but I’ll list them here and if anyone wants more coverage, please feel free to contact me since they have great meaning.
The 8 components are: Professional Success, Financial Intentionality, Emotional Regulation, Physical Health, Relational Fitness, Intellectual Stimulation, Deeper Awareness, and Playful Engagement.
He also talked about the importance of The Leadership Mindset. A powerful component of this talk was his question: “How do I harness my life-defining events to serve others?”
There was much more but suffice it to say, it greatly transcended my initial reaction of “how‘s this guy going to be relatable to the pilot population” since it struck at the core of every human being, aviator or not.
Mark’s contact info is: email@example.com and 949-933-6275.
Craig Picken, a former Naval Aviator representing the NorthStar Group was the second speaker and his message was more aviation “nuts and bolts” than Mark’s but equally as informative and valuable. His focus was on leadership, pilot recruitment and knowing the culture of an organization.
He talked about the pilot shortage and the mentality of new, young pilots entering the industry and the need to make a piloting career and aviation in general, “cooler” and more attractive to the new generation.
You can contact Craig at: craig@NorthStar ESG.com or at 910-509-7129.
The sponsors of the conference were: The Dyer Group, Baldwin Aviation, Universal Weather & Aviation, and Collins Aerospace.
The next event will be the 5th annual SONO (Southern and Northern California) in Palm Springs, November 7th, 2019 (see below)
I encourage anyone who is interested in connecting with other aviation enthusiasts and adding your 2¢ worth to our beloved industry to attend the next SONO event described below. We need your input, your ideas and your help to make the next 10 years the best yet in Business Aviation because it sure isn’t going to happen without our help...
And here’s to the magic of flight, amidst delays surrounding my Alaska return flight, we snuck through from SAN to SFO, with nary a minute lost!
Business Aviation "Fat Cats” to the Rescue!
A lot of people think that Business Aviation private jet owners just swish around to their private islands in the Caribbean and swill champagne and eat caviar all day long. Sure, there's excess involved but when you're playing at that level it's bound to happen.
Having flown my share of "fat cats" when I was a pilot for Netjets, I can say my experience was 99% outstanding, friendly and pleasant. There's always that 1%, no matter what but many of the people I flew had a powerful "pay it forward" mentality complete with big donations to those less fortunate.
When I was a pilot for TWA my first captain rating was on the beautiful, well before it’s time Lockheed L1011. During that ride, I struggled with some of the maneuvers that were required to pass the FAA check ride scheduled for the end of my company training.
As I struggled and finally “got a handle” on one of the maneuvers that was giving me trouble, I think it was the dual engine failure, down to a single engine approach, my instructor’s favorite confidence-building, encouraging words to me were, “OK Botta, let’s get this done, the meter’s running!”
This meant that I was only allotted so many simulator hours before I would be “evaluated” by another company sim instructor to see if they wanted to spend more money on training me or my “meter would run out!”
I suppose this was his way of “motivating” me since he was a gritty old ex-military instructor but needless to say, his meter analogy didn’t do much to relax me and instill confidence.
In similar fashion, but without the intimidation factor, “the meter’s running” for our upcoming New Leadership Solutions for Today's BizAv Challenges this coming Monday, 9/9/19 at the Westin Resort, Carlsbad, CA (CRQ) and we want you there so we can address together our agenda items and also what seems to be a historically unprecedented BizAv accident rate.
Don’t let the meter run out on this one...
See you there...
If you can think back to a time when someone made a difference in your life, gave you encouragement and/or a sense of direction, that person was a mentor. It might have been a relative – for me it was my uncle Pete who took the time to just care about and acknowledge me at a time when my father and I disagreed on just about everything. Besides taking the time to care about who I was, Pete taught me how to ride a horse and drive a car on the open fields and dusty back roads of Fresno, California as a 12 year old kid. I never forgot him and often thought about how he was.
After not seeing Pete for many years, one day I decided to go see him; it meant driving from my home in Sonoma County up to Klamath Falls, Oregon where he was living with his daughter, my cousin. He was a frail 90 year old at the time but we both remembered our time together many years ago and how important it was to both of us. Shortly after my visit, Pete died; but I was so glad that I took the time to see him and thank him for how important he was in that 12 year old kids life.
Mentoring takes all forms, from someone who might have taught you something that you didn’t even know you had an interest in. Or like Pete, it might have been someone who just cared enough about you when maybe you were feeling distant and unappreciated by your parents or life in general.
One of the most important aspects of mentoring is the opportunity for us to recall how important and possibly life-changing a mentor was in our lives and for us to do the same for someone else. And it doesn’t have to be when we were kids either; I’ve been, and continue to be mentored by men and women who continue to love on and impact me and shape my beliefs and behavior.
If you can recall someone who’s shaped and influenced your life then that means there’s an implied responsibility for you to “pay it forward.” I hope that we have the opportunity to do that through the SCAA Mentoring Committee as we grow and develop.
Bert Botta, Writer SCAA
SoCal Aviation Association
Images provided by