News & Views
Keystone Aviation Renews WYVERN Wingman Certification
Salt Lake City, Utah – Keystone Aviation has once more secured its designation of WYVERN Wingman Certified Operator following a successful Audit, conducted by WYVERN in November 2020. The WYVERN Wingman Standard, the first air charter audit standard in the aviation industry, provides a safety benchmark that allows air charter customers to assess performance expectations against recognized industry best operating practices before purchasing air charter services.
“As private jet charter and management expand to meet market needs, it is our focus at Keystone Aviation to provide personalized, flexible and safe travel for individuals and corporations with the highest level of service and safety across every aspect of operating aircraft. Being a part of the Wingman certification for the past 18 years we are able to continually monitor and improve our safety culture to provide the best service available. Holding Wingman Certification lets our customers know we are part of the best in the business,” says Aaron Fish, Chief Operating Officer, Keystone Aviation.
WYVERN Wingman Operators are evaluated by the Wingman Standard criteria. The scope of the evaluation includes an evaluation of operational activities, review on the company operational history and safety records, Safety Management System (SMS), internal evaluation program, administrative compositions, technical documentation, pilot and aircraft records, training requirements, and maintenance operations including technician training and experience.
“The Keystone Aviation certification as a WYVERN Wingman Operator sets them apart from other operators in the air charter industry. This achievement validates their commitment to attaining and maintaining an enduring safety culture that elevates their performance above other operators who are just beginning to embrace the value of formal safety risk management,” says Sonnie Bates, WYVERN CEO.
About Keystone Aviation
Keystone Aviation, a TAC Air company, is the largest provider of private jet charter, aircraft management and aviation maintenance headquartered in the Intermountain West and serving customers of private aviation across the U.S. and globally. For 25 years, Keystone Aviation has provided personalized and adaptive travel solutions including private air charter, aircraft management and maintenance services along with aviation consultative solutions. Currently maintaining and operating a fleet of 20 luxury aircraft to fit any size travel request and budget, Keystone Aviation meets your business and personal travel needs. TAC Air is a division of TAC – The Arnold Companies, a Texas-based aviation services and energy marketing company. Find more information about the passion for great service TAC Air provides pilots, aircraft owners, airlines and government/military at www.TacAir.com. For more information about TAC – The Arnold Companies visit www.TheArnoldCos.com.
WYVERN Ltd is the leader in aviation safety risk management and training. Building on its 30-year reputation for delivering value to the aviation community, WYVERN ensures operational excellence through its flagship Wingman and Flight Leader Programs. WYVERN’s EXACT Program is a comprehensive and professional safety certification program for UAS end-users and operators. WYVERN’s Safety Leader Training Course™ provides the education and training that enables professionals to skillfully achieve operational excellence in any aviation organization.
How to Become a Charter Pilot
If you dream of flying a G650, but don’t exactly know how to get your foot in the door, below are a few tips to help your charter pilot career take flight:
1. Build Flight Hours
It is important to log as many flight hours as possible. But how many flight hours do you need? Commercial airlines prefer a minimum of 1,500 hours of flight time. However, most charter companies prefer about 3,000 flight hours.
2. Become a Flight Instructor
Flight instructors get paid to fly! In addition, they get to log their flight time as PIC (Pilot-In-Command). Because flying can be expensive, this is one of the most economical ways to accumulate flight time. Furthermore, being an instructor is an excellent way to increase your knowledge and flight skills.
3. Choose a Flight Path
Commercial airlines generally do not require new pilots to have as many hours as charter companies. Also, most charter companies prefer that new hires already have their Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate — because this is a requirement for commercial airlines, you might want to start with a commercial airline to increase your flight time and get your ATP.
4. Know What Flight Departments are Looking For
In addition to building your flight hours, customer service experience is also extremely important. Unlike commercial airline pilots, charter pilots work closely with their customers. They are responsible for coordinating ground transportation, catering and other special requests their customers might have. Charter companies realize this and look for potential pilots who have a strong customer service background. Excellent customer service can turn a one-time customer into a customer for life.
Once you obtain your commercial pilot license with 250 hours of flight time, there are a few other paths to consider for building your flight hours:
Skydiving Flights – Pilots can quickly earn hours flying a variety of aircraft for skydivers. The more experience you have, the better chance of flying a turbine-powered aircraft, such as a King Air, Beech 99, or a Cessna Caravan.
Towing – You can learn to become a tow pilot for sailplanes.
Scenic Flights – There are many scenic tour operators in the Western United States which provide opportunities for you to get paid to build your time.
Several of our pilots at Keystone Aviation have pursued their career opportunities through the above avenues.
So now that you know the steps to start building your pilot resume, get out there and fly!
DISCLAIMER: Statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, editors and publishers. While care has been taken in the compilation of this article to present up-to-date and accurate information, we cannot guarantee that inaccuracies will not occur. Keystone Aviation will not be held responsible for any claim, loss, damage or inconvenience caused as a result of any information within this article.
Keystone Aviation Has Mastered Welcoming New Charter Customers
Keystone Aviation has always known the extensive benefits of flying private. It seems the rest of the world is starting to notice as well. In fact, Keystone Aviation has experienced a progressive uptick in both returning and new clients requesting private jet charter services since the pandemic began.
The value of private air travel is now more than ever apparent, and Keystone Aviation has adapted quickly to welcome first time private jet charter customers to the market. New clients want to know exactly what it means to fly private and what chartering an aircraft entails. As stated in the article “Will new customers shape the industry?” by the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), customers new to the charter industry want to know they are flying with a reputable and safe operation. One way to discern safety is to look at the operations safety record, and certification with third party auditors like those Keystone Aviation holds including, ARGUS Platinum and Wyvern. Keystone Aviation Chief Operating Officer, Aaron Fish, shared “The Keystone Aviation team of seasoned experts are here to help our clients every step of the way, including answering any and all questions that come with chartering for the first time.”
It starts with communication such as a phone a call or email to our sales team to share your travel plans and needs. Once the team understands the travel mission they prepare a quote with suggested (or requested) aircraft type and all of the necessary steps to get the travelers to their destination. Following the confirmation of trip details, the trip planning and scheduling passes onto the flight coordination team to arrange catering, ground transportation and any other details requested to make the trip flow from arrival at the departing airport until they arrive at their destination. On the day of departure, the travelers arrive at their specified time driving straight to the aircraft for loading and a breezy departure.
Charter customers are seeking ways to better protect their families and business associates while maintaining the freedom to travel when and where needed. In order to provide the highest level of sanitization and protect the health of passengers and crew each aircraft at Keystone Aviation is deeply sanitized after every flight. When flying private travelers can also rest easy as they circumvent crowded commercial terminals without transfers and layovers getting them to their specific destinations with less points of contact. All these factors make flying private invaluable.
Navigating the ever-changing pandemic environment has not been without challenges for charter companies. What was once a routine task of flying anywhere in the world now requires significant research and time planning the most efficient route and points of contact to mitigate risk and meet local, state and federal guidelines set as a part of the health management programs. Augmented vetting of travel destinations: researching the local health environment, city health visitation requirements and implementing appropriate safety protocols to mitigate risk add steps into the planning and travel for private jet charters.
Travel environments change rapidly and although each day comes with its own set of challenges, the pandemic has ultimately made private aviation operations safer and more appealing. With these changes come the need for expertise and knowledge to navigate the requirements, and help new private jet charter passengers get where they want, as safe as possible.
“Our number one responsibility is the safety and protection of crew and passengers,” said Dan Govatos, Keystone Aviation Director of Operations. “We take it very seriously and do everything we can to make sure we limit potential exposure contact points. Masks, gloves and enhanced aircraft cleaning are now part of our everyday procedures.” If you are thinking about trying a private charter service and want the assurance that comes with a 25 year old private jet charter company, that continues to define new standards to meet changing requirements in air travel.
How Keystone Aviation Maintains Clean and Sanitized Charter Aircraft
Keystone Aviation is committed to making sure all aircraft are sanitized before and after trips. Amid the current situation, we have enhanced aircraft sanitation and cleanliness to keep customers and associates safe while continuing to provide private air charter services. Here is an article written by Nathan Hawkinson, Owner of Detail Aircraft Cleaning LLC, a company Keystone Aviation partners with for aircraft cleaning and sanitizing between each flight.
Now, more than ever, it is important to have the interior of an aircraft cleaned and sanitized properly prior to every flight. With the uncertainty of how the current pandemic is shaping the world, it is important to keep customers traveling via private jet healthy and to provide safe travel environments so they may get to their destinations worry free.
As a company focusing on the thorough cleaning of aircraft, and serving clients like Keystone Aviation, Detail Aircraft Cleaning has invested a lot of money into sanitizing and disinfecting products, equipment, specialty tools and new techniques to provide the best possible environment for safe flying. These products include sanitizing wipes, sprays and even a new portable mister machine.
The process begins with a post flight aircraft cleaning with enhanced sanitization measures more intensive than most other detail companies providing services. The ”Standard” sanitization technique is applied to interior aircraft surfaces more commonly requiring quick-turn servicing, or for aircraft used to fly the same persons regularly. The “Premium” service requires more time allowing for a deep sanitization and disinfection of the aircraft using a portable fogger/mister machine to apply the disinfectant over the interior surfaces.
Passengers and flight crews spend a lot of time in the aircraft they own, charter, or operate to travel for business to meetings, take family and friends for vacation and generally get to important, sometimes out-of-the-way and hard to reach destinations. An aircraft is a valuable investment. Detail cleaning allows it to function in a safe and healthy manner protecting those that travel inside while protecting the plane itself.
At Detail Aircraft Cleaning LLC, we know the details matter, especially when it comes to the health and safety of our customers and their business. From small, single-seat aircraft, to aircraft as large as the Boeing 737 and 757, we have aircraft sanitization programs tailored to each aircraft. Working with companies like Keystone Aviation we are able to deliver on our promise to keep private flying safe, healthy and beautiful.
The Traveler’s Guide to Empty Leg Flights
If you are looking for a way to save on a private jet charter, then you should consider Empty Leg flights.
WHAT IS AN EMPTY LEG FLIGHT?
Air charter operators usually fly customers round-trip. However, there are instances when a client doesn’t need to use both legs of the round-trip charter flight. These one-way scenarios create a situation where one leg of the original client’s flight is empty.
Charter companies often make these one-way empty flights available for other clients at a discounted price, resulting in a win-win situation for both the air charter companies and would-be clients.
HOW MUCH CAN YOU SAVE WITH AN EMPTY LEG FLIGHT?
Things to note: You must be flexible with your flight schedule to fully benefit from an available Empty Leg. Because Empty Leg flights originate through another customer, if the original customer changes or cancels their flight, your empty leg will also be changed or even cancelled. Be aware, while air charter operators will generally give refunds for a cancelled flight, they usually do not offer a replacement flight in cases when the original flight is cancelled or changed.
Availability of Empty Leg flights varies considerably. It may be easier to find one if you are flying to a popular destination. Customers who fly to a destination frequently for either business or pleasure may also benefit because the routine nature of the travel may create the flexibility to take advantage of the savings. Also, air charter peak times, such as the holidays, may mean more availability of Empty Leg deals.
HOW DO I FIND AVAILABLE EMPTY LEG FLIGHTS?
Many air charter operators will post available Empty Legs on their websites.
For example, you can visit the Keystone Aviation website regularly to monitor available Empty Legs in hopes of finding one that fits your schedule. To keep customers informed when Empty Legs become available, Keystone Aviation sends direct email alerts. You can let us know you are interested by signing up to receive Empty Legs email notifications.
Empty leg flights are an efficient way to save on air charter expenses. If you cannot be flexible with your dates or times, then you may be better off booking a traditional private air charter flight instead. Visit the Keystone Aviation website to learn more about chartering from our fleet. However, with flexibility comes real savings for a fantastic private aviation experience.
Questions? Call 888-900-6070 or email email@example.com.
Keystone Aviation Explains How To Identify A Reputable Air Charter Provider
Convenience, safety and productivity are important, so you’ve decided to charter a private aircraft. Your online search has identified a few different charter operators and brokers, but not all are created equally. Here are five questions to ask so you can identify a reputable private air charter provider.
NOTE: Amid the current COVID-19 situation, make sure to check with air charter operators on their cleaning standards and how they mitigate operational risks. Keystone Aviation has implemented rigorous safety protocols to keep customers and associates safe. Click here to view the Keystone Aviation COVID-19 Safety Protocols.
1. ARE YOU AN AIRCRAFT OPERATOR OR A BROKER?
This is an important but often confusing distinction. The aircraft operator flies the charter flight. A broker often acts as a middleman between the consumer and the operator. Brokers can assist with the selection of an aircraft operator for your flight, but they usually charge a markup on the operator’s invoice in exchange for this service. The confusion lies in brokers who appear to be operators, especially in their advertisements. It’s important to know who you are dealing with when booking a flight, so ask the question. And if they won’t give you a clear answer, call someone else.
2. WHAT IS THE FAA AIR CARRIER CERTIFICATE NAME & NUMBER?
Ask to see the operator’s air carrier certificate, which will include the operator’s name and certificate number. Also ask for verification that the aircraft you will be flying on is listed on that certificate. Making sure your aircraft operator is a legal, FAA-certificated operator is an important safety and insurance consideration, so be sure your operator has an Air Carrier Certificate. Learn about illegal charter from the National Air Transportation Association (NATA).
3. WHAT ARE THE INSURANCE LIMITS FOR THE AIRCRAFT TO BE CHARTERED
According to the Aircraft Charter Consumer Guide by the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), Hope Aviation Insurance has indicated that “many prospective jet charter clients look for a minimum limit of $50 million ($50,000,000.00) combined single limit, bodily injury to passengers and property damage liability.” Depending on the number of passengers, the aircraft size, etc., insurance needs may change. Contact your insurance broker to discuss the details of insuring aircraft charters and your specific insurance needs.
4. WHAT IS THE CREWMEMBER EXPERIENCE LEVEL?
Pilots for a legal charter operator must have at least 1,200 hours of total flight time. You should know the total flight hours of the crew and, perhaps more importantly, how many hours each crewmember has in the make/model of the aircraft to be chartered. Industry auditors have recommendations about experience levels to look for with an aircraft crew. In addition, it’s helpful to know crew experience when comparing one operator to another.
5. IS THE OPERATOR INDEPENDENTLY AUDITED?
Ask about the audit history and ratings for the operator. Independent auditors typically review the operator’s standards, procedures and training. This type of independent verification is useful in identifying quality operators and in comparing operators to each other. Some of the most widely used independent auditors are:
The Air Charter Safety Foundation (ACSF) Industry Audit Standard is a revolutionary audit program that provides a comprehensive, independent review of an operator’s adherence to safety and security regulations. The ACSF Industry Audit Standard is the only audit that specifically evaluates compliance with Federal Aviation Administration Part 135 (and/or 91 Subpart K) regulations. A company that successfully completes the Industry Audit Standard gains a listing on the ACSF Industry Audit Standard Operator Registry.
ARG/US (Aviation Research Group/US) rates air charter providers as follows: DNQ (Does Not Qualify), Gold, Gold Plus and Platinum. According to their website, “this rate-based scoring method is designed to provide a general peer to peer comparison of the relative safety histories of like-sized operators based on available data.”
Wyvern publishes the Pilot and Aircraft Safety Survey (PASS) report on request that indicates whether the operator, aircraft and crew for your flight meet either an industry safety standard or meet The Wyvern Standard. Operators who pass become Wyvern recommended and are listed on the Wyvern website directory.
The International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO) is a code of best practices designed to provide an international benchmark for safety and efficiency in business aircraft operations. Certificates of Registration from the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) are issued to flight departments that have completed a third-party industry audit by an IBAC Accredited Auditor.
There are many other factors to consider when booking a charter flight. Additional resources include:
Check with air charter operators on their cleaning standards and how they mitigate operational risks, especially amid the recent COVID-19 situation. Keystone Aviation has implemented the rigorous procedures to keep customers and associates safe while continuing to provide regular operations. Click here to view the Keystone Aviation COVID-19 Safety Protocols.
NBAA published an Aircraft Charter Consumer Guide with further questions to ask pertaining to your flight.