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zippinbye
06-28-2018, 03:36 PM
As the title implies, I'm trying to find resources to learn about setting up a jet operation. It would be Part 91, unless we get involved with a management company and put our plane on charter ops. Until some parameters are better refined, we could be looking at anything from a single turboprop up to a somewhat older large cabin jet. But as I ramble through this, you may get the sense that I would err on the side of conservatism and sensibility. My background is: single and twin recip owner/manager both sole and in partnership (30 years ago, so a lot is forgotten), pro pilot starting in 135 and corporate (mostly SIC in executive jets) followed by 121 regional/major domestic and international (current widebody PIC), FAR 142 simulator instructor, 121 check airman.

Here's the deal: my long-time friend is becoming a high net worth individual. This has been a hope of his for decades, following a speculative business venture. General aviation has been a planned reward for his work and risk, and it's long been discussed that I will be his director of aviation. I've stressed to him that my experience as a pilot and light aircraft owner does not really qualify me to set-up and manage a jet operation. His response is "****** it, money won't be an issue, and you can hire/consult with whoever you want. I just need somebody who I can trust to oversee everything and make sure it's safe, and that I"m not getting ripped off." I take that assignment of trust very seriously, and want to do right by this gentleman.

Given my belief in the Clint Eastwood/Dirty Harry quote " a man should know his limitations," I will proceed slowly and methodically and seek help when I believe it's required. I foresee myself as highly involved in the infancy stage, handing off most managerial tasks to a pro as time goes on. I'd like to fly when it makes sense, but I'm not hanging up my 121 pilot gig. With appropriate input and advice, I would be the decision maker on big ticket items and retain hire and fire authority. With that in mind, I need to build my baseline of jet ownership knowledge sufficiently to sit down at a table and talk seven digit hardware and big overhead commitments with the people who deal in such matters day in and day out. I'm currently structuring various proposals in my head, and everything is leaning toward the conservative side. The easy answer would be "buy a share in Netjets or Flight Options and call it good," but the owner probably wants more control and the 100% assurance that the plane is down the road in a hangar at all times. Although a fractional could be part of an overall package, to supplement the primary aircraft and/or offer mission capability outside of its scope. I am going to recommend some local charter or a jet card to get a feel for private jet travel, so the owner will be fully convinced that it's a mode of transit he will embrace. I took him on a BBJ trip a while back, and he was pretty well sold on the concept of private jet travel. But he understands that he won't be buying an airliner or the amenities that surrounded that plane. Plus, I want him to sample everything from ordering a flight to crawling into a four foot diameter tube to go flying. So I think a $120,000 or so investment in a jet card will help him to absorb the realities of a personal jet and put him in a better place to sit down with me and make some decisions. Good idea?

Obviously a stated mission is needed to decide on an aircraft, but this guy needs to savor his new-found fortune and do some traveling before I can pin him down on the important details. There's also a likelihood of some new business developments that would supplement his pleasure travel needs; destination unknown at this time. Home base will likely be KVGT (North Las Vegas). I foresee a lot of flying up and down the west coast with some Mexico and Gulf Coast. Trips to Florida would be regular, but infrequent enough, that I think one fuel stop would be acceptable. Would he want to fly transcons or overwater to Hawaii or Europe? I'm sure, but not regularly enough to mandate a plane with that capability. But that would be a fight between my frugal nature and my friend's money-be-damned attitude. Now, for argument's sake, let's say that most light jets could probably do the job, but a single turboprop might fulfill more than 50% of the flights envisioned.

As I look at specs on current production light jets, I am impressed by their capability and efficiency. The Phenom 300 and PC-24 are very attractive. But $8 or $9 million becomes steep when I compre to the used jet market. G-IVs for less than half that. For less than $1.5M, a 2000/2001 Astra SPX has caught my eye. Big bang for the buck it seems.

With a vague but substantial budget and little guidance from the owner, I am pretty overwhelmed by the body of research that lies ahead. It's pretty much up to me to formulate a plan and pitch it to the owner. While I do not fear a financial axe coming down on whatever ideas I put forth, a self-imposed, if not formal fiduciary duty is going to guide me down the path to organizing an aircraft operation.

At this early stage, I would appreciate advice or direction toward sources of information regarding:

Narrowing the field of aircraft options.

Organizational structure and key personnel to operate between one and three aircraft.

Operational manuals and guidelines (I gather most high-caliber Part 91 organizations utilize an operational structure and manuals that in essence emulate the those required by 135 and 121 operators).

Crew hiring/training/scheduling/compensation and retention.

Maintenance and field support.

Flight planning and aircraft handling

Insurance.

Any other need-to-know info about operating private jets.

Finally, a specific question regrading single pilot jets (or turboprops); is it common for operators to fly them with two pilots as a routine policy, with a provision for certain limited single pilots ops? I'd guess such variations could be company-imposed or an insurance mandate. For two pilot ops, what's the deal with SIC training, since only one pilot is required by FARs?

I know my post turned into a silly-long dissertation. Apologies for that.
But I would be so grateful for any advice offered. Thanks!


BoilerUP
06-28-2018, 04:05 PM
Mission, mission, mission.

An idea of a Marquis Card or straight-up charter is a good idea, per-hour cost will be stupid high for a card (less for charter, even 'good' charter) but will introduce him to the realities of ownership.

If the prospective new owner has never owned an airplane, they are going to have a major gut check the first time they get a big unplanned bill. As a former airplane owner, you probably know acquisition is one thing but operating is entirely different; something like a SPX for a first-time owner provides a lot of bang-for-buck but is going to hurt when stuff starts breaking and parts are hard (or crazy expensive) to acquire and service not easy to find.

Off the top of my head without a defined mission: Used CJ2+ or CJ3, on TAP and preferably on ProParts. Reasonable to acquire (8-10 year old airframes probably in the $3-4M ballpark), reasonable to operate, easy to fly, easy to maintain, parts relatively affordable, still in production.

Other airframes for possible consideration in no particular order, but within the scope of the described potential mission: Citation Encore/Encore+ (legacy airframe), Citation XLS/XLS+, Hawker 800/850/900XP with ProLine21 (legacy airframe), Lear 45 (still made as the 75), early Phenom 300s/CJ4s, maybe Falcon 50 and G150/200.

I would personally stay the hell away from airframes like 30-series Lears, Non-ProLine21 Hawkers, 650-series Citations, old Netjets Citation Xs, Gulfstream GII/III/IVs, Falcon 20 w/ 731 conversion, non-EX Falcon 50s, Premiers, Galaxys, and Astras perhaps excepting the G100.

My pedigree: 6.5 years as Chief Pilot of a Citation II and a CJ2+ prior to getting my current cargo airline job.

Good luck...

dera
06-28-2018, 06:27 PM
An unlucky year with a private jet for leisure travel can turn a high net worth individual into a low net worth individual pretty quickly.
A bad year in a cabin class jet can easily be seven figures in maintenance.
You really need to be in a parts program, or have a plane with lots of aftermarket parts support. The new part prices are astronomical. On our lowly PC12, the cabin pressure controller module is $114k. And maintenance very often is just throwing parts at the problem until it gets fixed. "This 50k didn't fix it, let's throw another 50k in it".
And when buying new parts, you're most of the time buying second hand parts that are just as bad as the old ones, just with a tag...


galaxy flyer
06-29-2018, 07:27 AM
There’s an awful lot to be said for owning a jet under warranty with parts and engine support programs from the start. A well-used G IV for $4 million might be the most expensive plane possible.

GF

zippinbye
06-29-2018, 10:16 AM
Mission, mission, mission.

An idea of a Marquis Card or straight-up charter is a good idea, per-hour cost will be stupid high for a card (less for charter, even 'good' charter) but will introduce him to the realities of ownership.

If the prospective new owner has never owned an airplane, they are going to have a major gut check the first time they get a big unplanned bill. As a former airplane owner, you probably know acquisition is one thing but operating is entirely different; something like a SPX for a first-time owner provides a lot of bang-for-buck but is going to hurt when stuff starts breaking and parts are hard (or crazy expensive) to acquire and service not easy to find.

Off the top of my head without a defined mission: Used CJ2+ or CJ3, on TAP and preferably on ProParts. Reasonable to acquire (8-10 year old airframes probably in the $3-4M ballpark), reasonable to operate, easy to fly, easy to maintain, parts relatively affordable, still in production.

Other airframes for possible consideration in no particular order, but within the scope of the described potential mission: Citation Encore/Encore+ (legacy airframe), Citation XLS/XLS+, Hawker 800/850/900XP with ProLine21 (legacy airframe), Lear 45 (still made as the 75), early Phenom 300s/CJ4s, maybe Falcon 50 and G150/200.

I would personally stay the hell away from airframes like 30-series Lears, Non-ProLine21 Hawkers, 650-series Citations, old Netjets Citation Xs, Gulfstream GII/III/IVs, Falcon 20 w/ 731 conversion, non-EX Falcon 50s, Premiers, Galaxys, and Astras perhaps excepting the G100.

My pedigree: 6.5 years as Chief Pilot of a Citation II and a CJ2+ prior to getting my current cargo airline job.

Good luck...

Boiler,

Thanks for the thoughtful response. Sounds like you have a background that would provide a solid foundation of the sort of knowledge I seek.

I'd like to probe a bit deeper into a few of your specifics. Why no love for the 30 series? I've had others say a well-updated 35A or 36/36A is a phenominal value. I flew 35A SIC for a bit, so I think I understand the general characteristics of the plane. Since an EFIS/FMS cockpit is a must for me, a late model 31A or 31ER is within the realm of possibilities. I assume your negativity for the type would be general maintenance costs? Since 20 and 30 series Lears were sort of the "small block Chevy" of the bizjet world, I'd think there'd be a decent worldwide knowledge base, parts and other support infrastructure. Not wanting to enter a debate on this, since my knowledge is very cursorsy; if you have the ammo to scare me away, please do so.

Similarly, how would an Astra SPX differ much from a G100/150 in terms of maintenance and support, aside from straight up age and use issues? Isn't the hard-to-find/crazy expensive parts concern neutralized by the Gulftstream type ownership?

Not that a Citation X has come on my radar, but why the stigma toward a Netjet X? Too thrashed with high cycles? I gather Netjets has disposed of their fleet, but I do not know why. Guess I need to learn about these birds in case a future temptation or opportunity develops.

Thanks again.

Mink
06-29-2018, 10:55 AM
Not that a Citation X has come on my radar, but why the stigma toward a Netjet X? Too thrashed with high cycles? I gather Netjets has disposed of their fleet, but I do not know why.

Yes.

We used to have a CX, used many NetJet guys as contract pilots. Every one of them talked about how thrashed their CX's were. Rode hard and put away wet.

Agree 100% with all that Boiler has offered. I flew CJ3 and CJ4 for several years, about 50/50 single pilot vs crew. Just depended on who we were flying, and where. The 3 sounds perfect for the mission and leg lengths you're describing. It's a great airplane.

Sliceback
06-29-2018, 05:41 PM
My knowledge is this area is close to zero except for random reading over the years - I think both pilots in a single pilot airframe can log time if the ops spec (135, 121?) require two pilots.