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There are some appealing attenuate birds aerial in our airspace. These pilots are not professionals, but they strive for professionalism in commutual every mission. While best owner-pilots focus on carefully claimed transportation—or aloof artlessly accepting off the arena to adore the phenomenon of lift, some pilots await on aerial for business busline and acknowledging their company’s basal line. Maybe it’s not on every flight or alike best flights. But the owner-pilot aerial on business is a about odd breed; about amid the paid career aviator and the committed abecedarian enthusiast. The claiming is acquainted and acknowledging the borders amid those two.
Of course, every pilot, from ablaze action to ATP, strives for professionalism. It’s the gold accepted that is universally admired aural the all-around pilot culture. Professionalism agency commutual the mission calmly and commonly and never compromising affirmation standards that accept fabricated the access of air busline amid the safest and best reliable in animal history.
This abode is not meant to be a how-to for owner-pilots. Rather, it is meant to allegorize the advantages—and challenges—that the owner-pilot articulation faces. There is a abundance of assets accoutrement advice for single-pilot operations and issues specific to owner-pilots. This abode is meant to point the way.
So, what does an owner-pilot business flyer attending like? The assortment in that acceptance is key to a ample allotment of the challenge. The ambit of business owner-pilots starts with a clandestine pilot who occasionally uses a active aircraft for business transportation, either for an employer or as allotment of an absolute limited-liability corporation, such as a one-person consulting firm.
At the added end of the calibration is a pilot such as amateur John Travolta, who holds a dozen jet blazon ratings, including six as pilot-in-command (PIC). His accepted action is accomplishing PIC cachet on his afresh acquired Falcon 2000 and 900 intercontinental jets. That training will alpha afterwards logging 100 hours anniversary as second-in-command. In the meantime, Travolta will fly his Falcons with two added type-rated pilots on lath at all times. He additionally consistently flies his Eclipse very-light jet as its sole pilot. There will be added on how Travolta uses his airplanes afterwards in this report.
In amid are arrangement of pilots aerial aggregate from ablaze agent singles to jets, admitting best owners of two-pilot aircraft adopt to sit in the back—with some notable exceptions, including accompanist Jimmy Buffett (Falcon 7X) and Avfuel buyer and CEO Craig Sincock (Falcon 2000—a company-owned aircraft). So there absolutely is no “typical” contour of the business pilot aerial a claimed aircraft. One appropriate that is about accepted amid these pilots, however, is a affection for aerial and aerodynamics in general.
There are additionally some specific challenges that set this pilot articulation apart. For the pilot with a business meeting, sales presentation, or any added anatomy of action that brings home a paycheck or enhances revenue, the burden is altered than for a pilot who usually flies for claimed transportation. The change in the accident acceptance from claimed aerial to alive a cruise with a banking purpose cannot be understated. Blurring the two mission profiles unnecessarily increases risk.
Here are some of the differences amid amusement and business flying, and some of the means to advice ensure there is no access in risk:
There are a few means to ensure this agency does not access the accident of get-there-itis. The aboriginal is accepting a advancement plan—either airline anxiety for best trips or accepting up beforehand and alive for added bounded flights. The pilot could additionally align to fly a day aboriginal if acclimate looks capricious on the planned biking date.
There is no accessible acceptance to this, but the band-aid is simple. The firewall amid absorption on business and absorption on aerial charge be impenetrable. Avant-garde apps and internet-based programs do accomplish flight-planning a lot added streamlined.
Besides aloof apparent fatigue, this could be one of the best analytical areas for accepting specific banned laid out avant-garde of time in a able flight-risk appraisal apparatus or a accounting accumulating of accepted operating practices that has been compiled, reviewed, and vetted by all accessible stakeholders (which could accommodate spouses and children). Making allowance for affecting responses as allotment of a able certificate could be lifesaving. For example: “If the accord I’m casting exceeds X percent of abeyant business acquirement for the quarter, I, the pilot, hereby affiance I will delay X hours afore ablution the flight home.”
The “slippery slope” of boring accretion risk-acceptance over time in a accustomed ambiance is a absolute affair for any pilot. Randomly contacting a type-club friend, flight instructor, or pilot associate is a acceptable absoluteness assay for whether or not your accident appraisal ability accept become a little too lax over time.
These are aloof a few of the operational affirmation considerations that are not acceptable to appulse a paid, able pilot but are altered to pilots aerial claimed aircraft on business. There are additionally logistical and banking responsibilities that cede this operational articulation altered from both able flight crews on one duke and carefully claimed pilots on the other. There is some overlap from both ends, but this arrangement of business aerial is atypical in abounding ways.
Maximizing the account of aerial one’s own aeroplane on business and acclimation that accomplishment adjoin affirmation is a aggregation game. One way to attending at this aggregation accomplishment is to analyze a safe, able business flight with a absolute arresting inning of a baseball game. In such an inning, the aggregation works calm to accumulate the breach of the added aggregation from scoring. Admitting not anybody on the acreage is activity to blow the ball, anybody still plays a role in befitting bad things from happening. Further, the scouts and coaches accept additionally played their basic roles, advancing the aggregation by allegory abstracts and reviewing tapes of accomplished achievement by their own players, as able-bodied as those of the opposition.
The ideal aftereffect is an inning with no runs, no hits, and no errors. In added words, the best aftereffect for the arresting aggregation is…boring. But if you cord nine of those no-hit innings together, the consistent “perfect game” is one of the greatest achievements in sports. And that accomplishment is what we strive for with every flight operation, including those aureate by owner-pilots.
No pilot can accomplish accomplishment alone. Basic teammates accommodate flight-planning providers; airport/FBO operators; aliment and avionics shops; air cartage controllers; training institutions; aircraft manufacturers and blazon clubs; barter and user associations such as NBAA and AOPA; allowance underwriters; banking institutions; and aftermost but far from least, abutment and buy-in from passengers. That can appear in the anatomy of in-flight assistance, understanding, and accepting of “sterile cockpit” rules, or the acceptance that this cruise ability end up with an adventitious airline flight—or a continued drive home in a rental car.
Among the best important avant-garde technology, flight-planning apps are an ever-evolving apparatus that makes owner-flown business operations added applied and safe. Stephen Newman, controlling v-p of sales and business at ForeFlight, told AIN, “We’ve confused from calling ForeFlight an EFB [electronic flight bag] to an ‘integrated flight planning flight-deck app.’ It levels the arena field, giving [single-pilot operators] so abounding of the ample flight administration tools.”
ForeFlight’s Cruise Assistant estimates the time bare from abandonment point to destination, including arena time.
One apparatus of accurate absorption to pilots who fly on business is ForeFlight’s Cruise Assistant, he explained. “At ForeFlight, we accept a baby flight department, and we’re generally allurement ourselves, ‘What time do we accept to leave the appointment to get to a affair at a assertive breadth in mid-town Manhattan, on time?’” Cruise Assistant helps flight departments of any size, he said, to accept with a few clicks how continued a cruise is activity to booty door-to-door—and what ammunition stops they ability accept to make, if any.
The affairs uses filters to appraise the choices of accession airports based not alone on geographic proximity, but additionally weather, ammunition price, aerodrome length, approaches, and added programmable factors. It uses Google Maps to appraisal ground-travel time to the abandonment airport at the alpha of the cruise and from the accession airport to the ultimate destination address.
Other ForeFlight appearance that are abnormally advantageous accommodate 3D examination and assay functions, flight-risk appraisal tools, in-flight affirmation appearance such as chip customized checklists, and post-flight clue logging and review, agnate to added adult flight operational affection affirmation (FOQA) abstracts accumulating and analysis. The app additionally has an chip logbook.
Pilots can examination an arrival, departure, or access action with Flight Examination and see what surrounding breadth and added breadth appearance attending like.
ForeFlight offers an arrangement of abutment casework that can abetment a business flyer, including a library of videos, on-site seminars at aerodynamics events, and online webinars through its ForeFlight On Frequency and Pilot in Command series.
Aircraft manufacturers and blazon clubs are a amazing ability for business owner-pilots. Virtually all aircraft models accepted amid business-oriented aviators accept absolute blazon clubs, including those confined operators who fly Daher TBM, Pilatus, Piper, Beechcraft, Cirrus, Eclipse, and Embraer Phenom aircraft, amid others. They accommodate resources, advocacy, information, training, and a huge, underappreciated account for this pilot segment—networking.
Citation Jet Pilots, an affiliation for owner-operators of Cessna jets, is amid the best absolute and alive blazon clubs. With abutting to 1,300 assembly apery about 800 aircraft, the association’s mandate, according to CEO Andrew Broom, is “to actualize an ecosystem that can advice single-pilot operators accomplish like ample flight departments.”
In the accomplished three years, CJP has launched abundant affirmation initiatives, including the Affirmation and Education Foundation, a 501.C3 non-profit. The association’s affirmation committee, led by armchair Charlie Precourt—former fighter pilot, Amplitude Shuttle commander, and accepted CJ owner—has been alive with training providers and avionics companies, amid added outreach, and generated “huge dividends,” according to Broom. “The ambition is to save lives.”
In January, CJP sponsored a FOQA summit, accumulation “all the players in the Citation space,” said Broom, including Textron Aviation, avionics manufacturers Garmin and Collins, ForeFlight, and postflight assay providers CloudAhoy and Flight Abstracts Services. The ambition is to accommodate pilots with actual acknowledgment afterwards anniversary landing, reviewing achievement at specific segments—five afar out; three afar out; acme aloft threshold; aerodrome used; and more. “They can see a color-coded appraisement of their performance—red, yellow, or green,” said Broom, abacus that the program, still in beta testing, looks avant-garde to capturing and anonymously administration data. “The article is to actuate as a group, ‘Here’s 10 things we charge to assignment on.’”
At the anniversary Citation Jet Pilots convention, owner-operators apprentice and allotment advice about operating their jets cautiously and with a aerial amount of professionalism.
The CJP card of accessible resources, accident participation, and programs is cutting in its scope. Broom stresses that the accomplishment is not aloof for Citation pilots or affiliation assembly but is committed to the absolute pilot articulation they represent, and aggregate on the website is accessible to anyone. “Those operating single-pilot jets,” he said, “they’re at the pinnacle. They charge to authenticate the safest operations there are. If we can body this affirmation basement and clarify it down—even to the Cubs and abate airplanes—it would be great.”
AOPA’s Air Affirmation Convention (ASI), led by Richard McSpadden, a above U.S. Air Force Thunderbird pilot, is accession admired ability congenital aloft bristles principles. “If you booty abreast pilots, alternation them well, accumulate them proficient, with reliable equipment, and beleaguer them with a acceptable culture—they will fly safely,” McSpadden said. Acquainted that we all, abnormally the business pilot segment, accept active lives, McSpadden is committed to accouterment the best abutment through the institute, as able-bodied as AOPA’s all-encompassing resources.
Because a full-on academic affirmation administration arrangement (SMS) is not applied for best owner-pilots, one accomplishment involves developing a downloadable scalable affirmation framework through the ASI website, “like an SMS-lite.” Operators could ample in ambit that accomplish the best faculty for their operations.
Another key amateur in the affirmation game, NBAA acerb supports the owner-flown business pilot with all-encompassing assets accessible on its website. It additionally fields an anniversary Single-pilot Affirmation Standdown aloof afore the anniversary NBAA-BACE barter show. Attendance has developed to added than 100 participants, best actuality owner-pilots of high-performance aircraft. The barter affiliation additionally sponsors its Baby Operator Symposium (SOS). “It focuses on the authoritative accessory of aircraft operations for those afterwards the assets of a ample flight department,” said Brian Koester, NBAA administrator of flight operations and regulations and its small-operator specialist. NBAA additionally has an all-encompassing affirmation library and offers flight operations chiral templates and sample accepted operating procedures.
“For added than a decade,” added Mark Larsen, NBAA chief administrator of affirmation and flight operations, “we’ve had training guidelines for actual ablaze jets and technologically avant-garde aircraft. Loss of ascendancy in flight is additionally a key an affair for this articulation of the industry as it is to pilots aerial full-time as professionals. That’s accession breadth I would animate operators to focus on.”
It’s a attenuate pilot who came into business aerial afterwards antecedent absorption in aviation, carefully for its aggressive advantage. Tom Turner, controlling administrator of the American Bonanza Society’s Air Affirmation Foundation, already flew professionally for the arch of an earth-moving aggregation who did aloof that. “He got annoyed of spending all that time on the road,” Turner said, “so he abstruse to fly. The aggregation had two Beech Barons back I abutting them. He flew one and I flew the other. We’d fly out to appointment two assignment sites a day, usually artery development sites, demography off aboriginal in the morning and landing about 5 p.m.” Turner’s above employer now flies a Daher TBM turboprop single, aerial through the blast to advice move the earth.
A added archetypal archetype of a business pilot, Phil Straub is controlling v-p and managing administrator of aerodynamics for Garmin. He still owns the 1967 Cessna 150 his ancestor bought in 1968, forth with a T-tail Piper Lance—but best of his aerial these canicule involves business biking in Garmin’s King Air 350 and Citation CJ2. As a business pilot, Straub loves to allocution about how far technology has avant-garde back he began aerial in the 1980s. And how that makes it added achievable to fly oneself on business trips.
“I can sit in a affair and, during a break, I can assay to see how a advanced is developing and if there are flow-control issues I’ll charge to accede for my acceptance trip. In the old days, I’d accept to get up and leave the allowance to accomplish a buzz call.”
With Garmin’s acquirement of Fltplan, the company’s flight-planning assets accept taken a big footfall forward, and the aggregation is abacus new features, including an broadcast cruise planning affairs that incorporates abstracts on ground-time, contract-fuel availability, and more. The affairs additionally collates and deeply food claimed abstracts for Canada’s eAPIS U.S. Customs and Border Patrol data-exchange program.
Straub additionally acclaimed how avant-garde advances such as TCAS and TAWS accept badly bargain midair collisions and controlled flight into terrain, respectively. And airport affective maps, such as Garmin’s SafeTaxi, accept essentially bargain aerodrome incursions. He sees controller-pilot abstracts articulation communications—essentially texting with ATC—as one of the abutting advances hardly needed. Aviating and abyssal accept gotten abundant better, he said, but we’re still relying on aged articulation communications technology in the agenda age. “I’m acting as a apprentice inputting abstracts in the cockpit that I’m audition through a headset,” he said.
For the afterpiece of our acknowledged owner-pilots of note, let’s abutting with this month’s celebrity bedfellow star, John Travolta, who was affectionate abundant to absorb 45 account talking with AIN about how he uses his Falcon 2000 and 900. His fixation with aerodynamics is able-bodied known, but best bodies bethink him aerial his Qantas-liveried Boeing 707, which he kept anchored alfresco his abode on a Florida airpark. He donated it a few years ago to Australia’s Historic Aircraft Restoration Society and it’s now on affectation Down Under. Travolta is type-rated in the 707 and acclimated the ex-airliner on business, as able-bodied as aerial abatement missions, such as during calamity in Haiti and New Orleans.
Besides the Falcons, Travolta additionally operates an Eclipse 500, which he calls the best pilot-friendly aeroplane he’s anytime flown. “All my airplanes fly a lot,” he said, “about 600 to 700 hours a year, total. There are times back all three are in the air at the aforementioned time.” He estimated that 75 percent of the hours logged are aureate on business-related missions.
Why two Falcons? “The additional even is backup. I accouter my airplanes actual alone for my needs, and if one is in maintenance—for one month, or two months—I’d accept to resort to charter, which doesn’t absolutely assignment for me.”
Travolta explained, “Most of my obligations are global. I’ve done assignment for Breitling, Qantas, Bombardier, and Boeing. They ask you to be at assorted places about the globe—Dubai, Europe, South America, Australia. If you accept a best in activity of how to accomplish a living—and I do—[for me] it’s not aloof films, it’s accessory opportunities that appeal flight. If I didn’t adulation aerodynamics and travel, I wouldn’t assignment for those companies.”
He is currently type-rated as agent on the Falcons and will activate training for his PIC appraisement afterwards logging 100 hours in anniversary jet; an allowance stipulation. Travolta has a full-time pilot on agents and has a account of arrangement pilots. He’s in the action of hiring two added full-time pilots but will still use arrangement pilots to accomplish his needs. His policy, accustomed in 1992 back he bought a Gulfstream GII, is to consistently fly two-crew aircraft with at atomic two added pilots on board.
Besides accustomed Travolta, himself, all his airplanes generally fly missions to aces up audience and assembly for affairs at Travolta’s abode or at abeyant filming sites. The amateur consistently flies his Eclipse as a single-pilot, but he will additionally use a agents or arrangement pilot to fly the Eclipse to aces accession up for a meeting.
Asked how he handles the alteration from cine star/businessman/family man to the pilot role, Travolta said, “I handle it the aforementioned way a able pilot would. You accost the passengers, altercate what you charge to altercate with them, and again you go do your job in the cockpit. Anyone who campaign with me understands that back I’m in pilot mode, they account the bubble. I’ve never had an affair with that.”
Now 66, Travolta started aerial acquaint as a jailbait in 1970, “squandering” all the money he becoming from aboriginal TV commercials and summer banal theater. In accession to discussing his business flying, the circuitous blast chat with AIN covered a advanced ambit of pilot allocution and aerodynamics lore, including his admiration back told about Garmin’s new Autoland technology (“Oh, my God. That is unbelievable!”) and his musings on a documentary he had aloof watched on Amelia Earhart. It was a acceptable talk. Afore adage goodbye, he told me, “When I accept to your voice—and I apprehend my own voice—I feel like we’re both 12 years old.”
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