For many travelers, flying privately seems like a hassle-free, comfortable form of travel. Not only is the experience of flying charter comfortable and personalized, but you can also dictate your own schedule, avoid long security lines, lost baggage, and other traditional airport difficulties.
The the decision to charter a flight, however, is not so simple. There are many charter companies and private aviation options available, yet few make critical safety information readily available to charter customers. While a website featuring fancy jets, claims of high safety standards and gold-standard certifications add peace of mind, there are some key questions you should ask in order to feel comfort in the decision you make.
Asking these four simple questions will give you the information you need to make the safest choice.
1. How long has this company been in operation?
It is important to find a company with experienced employees who have an unblemished safety record in the private air charter industry. Ask whether the charter company is incident and accident free. If there has been an incident in the past, find out what has been done to remedy it. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is a good resource for these types of records.
For newer companies, make sure to inquire about their key employees backgrounds. Ask how long the owner and officers have been in the aviation industry. Many companies also offer pilot biographies that give information about their past experience.
2. What is the total time and type of training for both pilots?
Confirm that you are flying with experienced pilots who have completed appropriate training and aircraft proficiency. Ask for the pilots total flight time as well as total flight hours in the aircraft you are considering chartering.
Also ask about company training that goes above and beyond FAA requirements. Company mandated supplemental training programs reinforce pilots’ skills and decision-making processes, as well as the entire company’s safety culture.
3. Can the company provide other companies or individuals for referrals?
This is a very important question to ask. A conversation with others who have used the charter company in question is the best way to find out what type of service and overall experience you can expect.
Did they trust the crew? Enjoy the overall experience? Would they put their family on one of the company’s jets again? Answers to these questions from a third party are very telling and are a valuable resource for any potential charter passenger.
4. What is the company’s safety culture?
Ask the charter company which is more important to them – always pleasing the customer, or making the safest decisions? While many companies rely on the mantra “the customer is always right,” this solution is not necessarily black or white in aviation. While, of course, comfort and convenience are a priority, safety must come first.
Pilots are trained to make appropriate safety calls, and responsible charter companies support their pilots’ decisions. Most often, discrepancies between the pilots and passengers center around weather issues – visibility, wind, and freezing temperatures, among others. Even though you may feel like the weather doesn’t seem too extreme, the pilot is the ultimate decision maker when it comes to determining whether it’s safe for an aircraft to land or depart.
Please do not hesitate to ask us any questions you may have when planning a private charter flight with Schubach Aviation. We are happy to share any information you may be looking for about our flawless safety record, experienced pilots, and personalized service.