Wi-Fi now available in flight on select Keystone Aviation Charter Aircraft

Gulfstream G200 Charter

Gulftstream G200. One Keystone Aviation’s aircraft equipped with Wi-Fi

Did you know? Keystone Aviation now offers free domestic Wi-Fi onboard its Gulfstream G200 Charter Aircraft.  Whether traveling for business or leisure, this new modification allows Keystone Aviation’s charter clients to stay connected.

“We are working hard towards getting free Wi-Fi in all 12 of our charter aircraft by next year,” says Charlie Chamberlain, Flight Ops Sales and Business Development for Keystone Aviation.

With the ever increasing need for internet accessibility individuals and businesses need to stay connected at all times. Keystone Aviation recognizes the value of having Wi-Fi as an option, “Many of our charter clients view corporate aircraft as a business tool.  The addition of Wi-Fi makes that tool even more effective,” says Mike Parker, VP of Aircraft Sales for Keystone Aviation.

The Gulfstream G200 is in the top of its class in the Super mid-size jet category. With a range of 3,800 nautical miles, and a cruise speed of 530 mph, the Gulfstream G200 has the ability to fly up to 10 passengers comfortably anywhere in the world.  With the addition of Wifi in Keystone Aviation’s Gulfstream G200, flight time becomes productive time.

For additional information on chartering the G200 or information on the complete Keystone Aviation charter fleet, visit keystoneaviation.com or call 888.600.1070

When Is It Best to Charter a Private Jet?


2013-05-21-18-07-43-2-300x300Private jet charter is a fantastic way to travel – it can enhance your business and elevate your personal life. So when is it best to charter a private jet or other type of aircraft, instead of a commercial flight?

You’re Planning a Short Trip to a Destination and Back – Private jet charter works really well for short (1-3 day) trips to a destination and then back.  These quick trips allow the charter company to get the most out of its fleet and allow you to get the most value for your charter dollar.

You Need to Go to a Remote Destination – For many businesses, getting to remote locations is a real challenge.  Frequently, business people who need to go to a meeting at a remote destination will spend the day before the meeting and the day after the meeting just on travel.    A charter flight can often land at smaller airports situated closer to these far-away places saving time and, thereby, money.  A business that can cut days of travel out of a work week, will gain not only more productive employees, but also more loyal employees.

You Need to Meet with Your Team – Have you ever tried to have a private conversation on a commercial flight?  It’s basically impossible.  On a charter flight, you can meet with your colleagues en-route to your destination and then de-brief on the way home, all without the fear of being overheard by the people in the next aisle.  Not only does this privacy protect a company’s valuable information, but it also allows for more productive travel time.

You’re Traveling with Multiple Team or Family Members – If you need to take multiple people to a destination, a private jet charter becomes a more economic choice.  The price of the charter flight generally doesn’t change with the number of passengers, so if you put more passengers on the plane, the cost per passenger goes down.  Arriving for a presentation with multiple people representing each of their respective disciplines can be very impactful.  By the same token, having quality time with your entire family, as opposed to just the family member sitting next to you is an advantage as well.

You’d Like to Stop at Multiple Destinations in a Short Amount of Time – Private jet charters can get you to two and three cities in a day, something you could never do on a commercial flight.  Again, saving a business time, saves money and improves the personal lives of employees who are able to spend less time on the road.

Hopefully we’ve given you some food for thought and the next time you plan a trip using commercial flights, you’ll give private jet charter a try.  It can literally change your life and business for the better.

The World’s Top Fishing Destinations Accessible Best by Plane

Fishing is a fantastic hobby. The thrill of having a big catch on your line and the excitement of trying to reel it in is surely a great experience. One challenge of fishing is that you can’t always do it on a whim – sometimes you need to make the necessary preparations in order to get to your fishing destinations, especially considering that many fishing destinations are only accessible by plane.

Some of the world’s best fishing spots are unfortunately also some of the toughest places to get to. Thankfully, planning a fishing trip to these destinations is possible by way of private flight. Enjoying a safe, convenient and often direct charter flight in anticipation of experiencing some of the best fishing spots will surely excite any fishing enthusiast.

Here are some of the top fishing destinations that you can get to almost exclusively by plane.

The World's Top Fishing Destinations Accessible Best by Plane

  • Iliamna Lake and Rainbow Bay Resort, Alaska – Alaska is well known for its great fishing spots, but it does come with some challenges in getting there. Rainbow Bay Resort, which is located in Iliamna Lake, has become increasingly popular as a rich and diverse fishing spot where you can find all five species of pacific salmon, arctic char and northern pike, among others. You can only get to Lake Iliamna by plane because the one-lane road in that does exist is not for general purpose use.
  • Silsby Lake Lodge, Canada – Located 450 miles north of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Silsby Lake Lodge is another world-class fishing destination that you can only get to by plane. It is well known for its trophy pike and walleye fishing. The lodge is filled with fishermen who want to experience hooking these huge fish, and chances are they won’t have to wait very long until they have a chance to do so. The lodge offers great amenities and accommodations which will surely make your stay a memorable one.
  • North Spirit Lake, Canada – Another Canadian fishing destination that you can only get to by plane is North Spirit Lake. Made popular because of the large population of huge walleye, North Spirit Lake will certainly give you an experience that you will never forget. You can fish for some of the biggest walleye you’ve ever seen, some of which grow to trophy size. North Spirit Lake definitely is a top fishing spot that you can only get to by plane.
  • El Salto Lake, Mexico – If you are searching for an exotic fishing trip, then taking a private jet charter to Mexico to go to El Salto Lake is something that you should definitely try. With the backdrop of the scenic Sierra Madre, fishermen are treated to some of the best trophy bass fishing in Mexico.
  • San Cristobal Island, Galapagos – Galapagos was made popular by Charles Darwin, but it has also become a hotspot for fishermen looking for a big catch. Darwin was indeed right in choosing the Galapagos Islands for his studies as it is very rich in wildlife and the fish you can find there help make it a great fishing spot too. You would need to book a private jet charter to San Cristobal Island in the Galapagos to experience some of the best black and blue marlin fishing in the world. It may be a long way from home, but it certainly is worth it once you have a huge marlin on your line.

The World's Top Fishing Destinations Accessible Best by Plane

  • Grand Bahama, Bahamas – Though a little closer to the United States than some of the international fishing destinations on this list, you would still need to take a plane in order to reach Grand Bahama, which is the northernmost island of the Bahamas. Here you can find Pelican Bay which is a great spot for bonefishing. A seasonal population of permit and tarpon can also be found around this beautiful fishing island making it a great place to go to for some serious fishing.
  • Punta Burica, Panama – Yet another international destination that you can only get to by way of a plane is Punta Burica, Panama. Here you can find a very rich variety of fish for you to take on, such as black marlin, blue marlin, amberjack, sailfish, yellow fin tuna, cubera snapper and many more. You just have to choose the right season for your fish of choice and you’ll surely have a great time on your great fishing vacation in Punta Burica.

So there you have it, a list of some top fishing destinations best accessible by plane.  Of course, when you consider the remote nature of these destinations along with all of the gear you’ll need, we think a private jet charter is the best way to go, but regardless of how you fly there, you should go!


An Interview with An Air Charter Pilot – Part 1

Air Charter Pilot

Photo by Prayitno

Ever wonder what it’s like being a charter pilot?  We’ve got some answers.  We interviewed one of our pilots and here’s what we found:

Q:  What do you like best about being an air charter pilot?

A:  The variety is great.  Every day is a different destination, a different customer, a different challenge.  I’ve also really enjoyed the relationships I’ve built with not only my co-workers, but with customers too.  After years of flying certain customers, I’ve really appreciated the chance to get to know them, their companies and their families.  And, of course, I love to fly.

Q:  Who are private jet charter customers?

A:  Everyone.  I’ve flown business people, charitable organizations, families, vacationers, celebrities, you name it.

Q:  Are celebrities more difficult to fly than other customers?

A:  Not really.  We try to take care of every customer’s needs and we certainly try to protect every customer’s privacy.  Celebrities sometimes have slightly different needs, like needing space to work with publicists and to hang out with the kids, but there isn’t anything particularly difficult.

Q:  What are the greatest challenges of being a charter pilot?

A:  One of the things I love about being a pilot is there are constant challenges, from weather, to customers, to aircraft performance, no two flights are alike.  Flight planning for international trips is particularly challenging with visa requirements, customs, security, regulations, handling, etc. there are a ton of things to consider.

Q:  International flying must be exciting, what’s it like?

A:  I love exploring different countries and cultures, so I really enjoy the international trips.  Like I said, the planning is a challenge especially since all of the plans don’t always come to fruition because international trips tend to change as we go along.  But the best part is the journey itself, not the destination.

Q:  Where have you flown internationally as a pilot with Keystone Aviation?

A:  Europe and Asia mostly.   I’ve flown a lot of business people to Japan and China as well as to cities throughout Europe.

Q:  Would you encourage other pilots to explore a career as a private jet charter pilot?

A:  Yes.  I’ve enjoyed how my career has progressed as a charter pilot and I think it’s a great path for pilots to consider.  Ultimately, I would encourage anyone who wants to fly to go out and do it; doing what you love is the best part of being a pilot!

Well, now you know a little more about life as a charter pilot.  If you have other questions for our pilots, let us know!


Chartering An Aircraft

A Consumer Guide to Help You Fly Smarter

What is charter?

Chartering an aircraft is probably one of the best-kept travel secrets around. In fact, our research shows that only a small percentage of frequent business travelers have considered chartering an airplane. But now, the secret is out.

Each year, thousands of people all over the United States discover the benefits of air charter. And every day, more travelers are discovering just how smart charter can be.

Charter is about saving you time and, often, money on your business trips. Safety, security, convenience and productivity are key reasons why individuals and companies choose charter air travel.

Charter is the convenience of traveling on your schedule rather than the airlines’ schedule and flying to airports closer to your final ground destination. With the ability to fly in and out of more than 5,500 public use airports in the United States, air charter provides convenient access to your final destination. Selecting a charter operator is not difficult, nor does it require a vast knowledge of the industry or federal air carrier regulations.

Best of all, charter is having complete control over your travel environment, while enjoying the comfort, safety and security of a private aircraft. Charter aircraft operators are often referred to as on-demand or air taxi operators. The synonymous terms convey
the key attribute of charter service – we’re there when you call, ready to conform to your unique schedule and needs.

But, to help you form your own opinion of what charter is – and what it can do for you or your business – let’s answer a few of the most common questions asked about charter to help you select an operator that can meet your needs.

Charter is more than just passenger air transportation. Charter aircraft serve many critical niche markets such as just-in-time air cargo delivery, scenic air tours, and emergency medical transportation to name just a few. More information about these industry services is provided at the conclusion of this guide.

When does it make sense to charter?

Charter is smarter only under certain circumstances. The airlines are very competitive

when it comes to carrying a lot of people, for long distances, to a limited number of destinations. So when you are traveling between two very distant, major cities, like Los Angeles and New York, or traveling overseas, it may make sense to travel on the airlines.

But, there are times when charter makes a lot more sense. When you have several places to go but very little time, if there are multiple passengers traveling, if your destination is not a major airline hub, or when the airlines’ schedules just don’t fit into your business schedule, charter is the better choice.

So, before you compare the costs of airline travel to air charter, consider the time and money you’ll save on overnight expenses – motels, meals and car rental – and factor in the inconveniences you often face with the scheduled airlines: lost/delayed baggage, missed connections, cramped seating and oversold flights, to name a few.

Finally, what is it worth to be home with your family at night? When you charter your own aircraft, it’s possible for you to get back home to your family.

Many times it’s smarter to charter.

How much does a charter flight cost?

It will depend on your particular flight and really can’t be determined until you call a charter operator with specific trip plans. But, generally speaking, charter rates will be hourly or by the mile, and will vary according to the size of the aircraft.

What information should I have when calling a charter operator?

You’ve decided to charter an airplane. Good choice. So what’s your next step?
First of all, lay out your travel plans. Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What city do I want to depart from and where am I going?
  2. Will there be any intermediate stops?
  3. What is my return date?
  4. How many people will be traveling with me?
  5. Will I need ground transportation arranged?
  6. Will I need any special catering for my flight?

This way, you’ll have the necessary information ready when you call your local charter operator.

Chartering An AircraftWhat Information should I ask the charter operator?

Ask about the fee structure.

Some charter operators will charge by the mile and some will charge by the hour.

Hourly rates are determined based upon the type of aircraft chartered, and normally include the cost of the aircraft, pilot(s), and standard catering.

Operators will sometimes charge by the mile rather than by the hour, and their mileage rate will also include those items mentioned in the hourly rate method.

Because the services offered are customized to fit your specific desires, it is difficult to give general price estimates. Keep in mind that the charter operator may need to adjust the final cost of your charter due to changes in logistics or en route deviations. If there is a potential for variations from a quoted price, this should be clearly noted at the time an agreement is reached with the operator.

Ask about any extra charges to the quoted price.

Extra charges may include landing fees, deicing, hangar storage, and federal and state taxes where applicable.

A common extra fee is the pilot(s) waiting fee and overnight crew charges (if your trip requires an overnight stay for the crew at your destination.)

If your visit is a long one, your pilot(s) may have to drop you off, fly back to base and then come back later to get you. This doubles the flight time and possibly your fare. Ask your charter operator about this before the flight, so you can create a plan that best suits your needs and budget.

If it’s only a short visit, you’ll probably be better off paying the pilot(s) to wait. Typically, the hourly wait fee is based on the number of pilots, with a maximum charge per day. If the crew is to remain overnight, an overnight charge will be imposed to cover the crew’s overnight expenses.

Chartering An AircraftAsk about the aircraft.

Normally, charter operators have a variety of aircraft types in their charter fleet, each designed for different missions. You should ask the charter operator about what aircraft they would recommend for meeting the mission of your flight. Then determine whether that aircraft will meet your needs for speed, comfort, range and price.

Generally, there are four classes of charter aircraft, with different models within each class. These four general classes of aircraft are:

  • Single- and multi-engine piston
  • Single- and multi-engine turboprop
  • Jet (small, medium and large)
  • Helicopter

There are approximately 2,000 air charter operators in the United States that have met the comprehensive criteria required to qualify for a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Air Carrier Operating Certificate.

Are these aircraft safe?

Yes.  Just like the airlines’ passengers, nearly every charter flight passenger who leaves an airport in the United States this year will land at his or her destination safely. The FAA has rules that address crew rest and physical examinations and that mandate a stringent anti-drug/alcohol program for operators. The FAA closely monitors operators to make sure that they conform to the established standards of performance.

The high standards for training, maintenance and operators required by the FAA, and the devotion to safety of the charter operators themselves, assure you of the safest possible flight environment. Couple this attitude towards safety with technology
improvements in the cockpit over recent years and you have the safest mode of transportation available.

Am I secure?

Global security concerns have led to significant security enhancements within the entire aviation industry, and charter operators are no exception. In fact, enhanced security is often one of the primary reasons for chartering, because when you charter an aircraft, you are in control.

You decide who is permitted on your flight. There are no strangers to overhear your confidential business conversations or to threaten your personal security.

When traveling via charter, you dictate the departure time and location as well as the destination. Your flight itinerary is private, not published for the world to see, as is the case with airline schedules.

Recently, the federal government has mandated security programs for most charter operators.

In addition, most charter operators, and several airports, have also instituted security precautions for charter passengers that may include a verification of identification, checks of baggage for dangerous items, screening with a metal detector and other measures, even when not required by federal regulations. Your charter operator is dedicated to ensuring your safety and security and will be willing to answer any of your questions.

What about weather?

Weather can affect your flight plans when chartering just as it can affect airline schedules.

The FAA has many regulations concerning weather, types of aircraft, and pilot capabilities. Some aircraft are equipped with various optional equipment that allow operation in complex weather, such as icing conditions or heavy rain showers.

The operator you select can explain the limitations of the aircraft and the company’s authorizations. The pilot will not fly an aircraft if the weather conditions do not meet safety standards. Always trust the decision of your professional pilot when it comes to weather and flight safety.

Chartering An AircraftHow can I avoid any problems?

Do some checking. Every charter operator must have a certificate from the FAA showing that his or her operation meets or exceeds the agency’s standards for aircraft maintenance, management control and oversight of its crew’s training, flight time and health. Your safety depends on flying with a legally certified air taxi operator; never fly with an operator who does not appear to hold proper FAA certification. You may also wish to ask for verification of the type and limits of insurance coverage carried by the operator.

Your pilot must hold either a Commercial Pilot Certificate or an Air Transport Pilot Certificate issued by the FAA, just as his or her airline counterpart does. Every six months he or she undergoes a mandatory proficiency check-ride with an FAA inspector, who also verifies the pilot’s knowledge of standard operating procedures and the aircraft he or she is flying – just like the airlines.

But before you charter an airplane, you may wish to exercise your right to contact your regional FAA office and request verification that the charter operation is certified for the trip you’re planning. The telephone number is easily found on the FAA’s Web page at http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/field_offices/fsdo/.  Or, just ask your selected charter operator. Most are pleased to deal with an educated consumer and are proud of their safety record. They can provide you with their certificate number and the phone number of the FAA inspector responsible for overseeing their operations.

If a charter operator is unwilling or reluctant to provide answers to questions about their certificate and authorized operations, or does not want you to contact the FAA for verification, you would be wise to consider another operator to fill your travel requirements.

What about the ground facilities?

They will vary from airport to airport.  The smaller airports will often have many of the accommodations of major airports – waiting areas, restrooms and telephones to name a few. Many of these facilities, known as fixed base operators (FBOs), provide complimentary airport-to-town transportation. Also, it is very likely that your charter operator can prearrange ground transportation to be waiting for you upon your arrival. Charter operators are also excellent resources for obtaining your preferred lodging if your trip necessitates hotel accommodations.

What these smaller facilities may lack in size, they make up for in warm hospitality. With few exceptions, people in aviation are there by choice: They like what they’re doing and their enthusiasm sparks a cordial atmosphere.

There are two primary benefits to choosing a smaller airport: avoiding the delays and hassles so often found at the major airline hubs and landing at an airport close to your ground destination.

Can I make my connections with airlines if necessary?

Occasionally, passengers in towns without airline service decide to charter an aircraft to connect more easily with an airline flight. This is possible. However, due to security, airports and airline service are divided into separate general aviation (including charter) and airline areas. But at most of these airports, courtesy cars are provided to drive you to the airline terminal. Inform your charter operator that you will be making an airline connection, and they can make the necessary arrangements.

How do I find a charter operator?

NATA recommends that you pre-screen charter operators. Ask questions about their experience, safety, security, maintenance and insurance. You should also ask if the operator has undergone an independent third-party safety audit, such as the Air Charter Safety Foundation’s Industry Audit Standard, which sets the standard for the independent evaluation of an air charter operator’s safety and regulatory compliance. You can view the full list of operators that have been audited by the Air Charter Safety Foundation and meet its standards at www.acsf.aero/registry. There are also other companies that provide audits for air charter that may be useful as well.

Take that familiar finger-stroll through your local Yellow Pages, and look for the heading “Aircraft” and the sub-heading “Aircraft Charter, Rental & Leasing Service.” Under this heading, you will find the charter operators servicing your area.

Another popular resource is the Air Charter Guide. This publication is like the Yellow Pages of the air charter industry. Air Charter Guide offers a free search engine available at www.aircharterguide.com.

It is possible that your local travel agent may be familiar with the charter operators in your area and you can book your trip through him or her.

Keep in mind that you are not limited to only those charter operators in your immediate area. It’s possible that other operators in your region can serve your needs without large cost increases.

So what makes charter smarter?

The advantages:

The advantage of saved time.

You can fly in or leave whenever you like – without having to depend on the airlines’ schedules or without the long hours on the road. You can go where you need to, get your business done and come back when you want. This means saving money on food, lodging and car rental. It could also mean spending more valuable time with your client or your family.

The advantage of convenience.

Over half of all airline flights connect with only the 20 busiest airports in the U.S. With charter, you have direct access to all of these major airports – plus some 5,500 airports in small communities that the airlines don’t reach.

With a chartered aircraft, you can often land whenever and wherever you want – usually much closer to your destination. You can avoid the large, crowded airline hubs. You can even have a car waiting for you when you land.

You can choose your traveling companions. This means converting wasted travel time into useful study or preparation time. Just think of what you could accomplish with everyone together in your own private work area. And, you can take along extra people and equipment – at no extra cost.

Article content courtesy of National Air Transportation Association (NATA).  NATA is the voice of aviation business, representing the legislative, regulatory and business interests of its more than 2,000 members. NATA also provides education, services and benefits to strengthen the economic success of its members.  For more information, visit http://www.nata.aero.

To download a PDF of this article, click here.

How to Become a Charter Pilot

If you dream of flying a G550, 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:

Charter Pilot 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).  Since 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 – since this is not a requirement for commercial airlines, you might want to start with a commercial airline to increase your flight time and get your ATP.

Charter Pilot4. 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:

  • Traffic Watch – You can gain 2-3 flight hours per day flying traffic watch.
  • Sky Diving Flights – Pilots can quickly earn hours flying a variety of aircraft for sky divers.  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.

Which aircraft is right for you?

So, you have thought about it long enough. You’re tired of taking three days to accomplish what could be done in one. Perhaps you have had enough of long lines and pat downs.  Maybe you’ve chartered or flown on a friend’s aircraft a time or two and realized the cost-benefit analysis makes sense.  Whatever your reason, you have decided it’s time to purchase your own aircraft. With that big decision made, now comes that task of deciding which aircraft is right for you.

As with most decisions in life, there are tradeoffs, and deciding which aircraft to purchase is no exception. The four main forces acting on an aircraft – thrust, lift, drag and gravity – are the cause of most aircraft acquisition tradeoffs. More thrust means higher speed, but more cost. More lift means shorter runways are accessible, but slower cruise speeds. Larger, heavier aircraft mean more cabin comfort and capability, but need more lift and thrust which, in turn, correlates to more cost.

Acquisition Budget. The most logical place to start is to set the acquisition budget. How much can I afford? It is important to remember that an aircraft is a tool to help facilitate the growth of your business and simplify your life. Letting ego creep into the budget decision can lead to acquiring more aircraft than needed, and can lead to a less than ideal ownership experience.

Operating Costs.   Just as important as how much can I afford to acquire the aircraft, is how much can I afford for direct operating cost of the aircraft? Typically, the older the airframe and engines, the higher the direct operating costs. This is due to more maintenance being required on the airframe, as well as the less efficient engines on older aircraft. As aircraft age, particularly beyond ten years, their values decline, but direct operating costs increase.   An extreme example of this is in the large cabin Gulfstream G-II market. While this 1970s vintage aircraft can be purchased for nearly give away prices of $400K and below, it will cost upwards of $7,000 per hour to operate.

Cabin. Generally, the larger the cabin, the higher the acquisition and operating costs. Some features of the aircraft cabin to consider:

  • Number of Seats.   The average passenger load for a business jet trip is approximately 2.5 people. Do you really need 12 seats for that annual trip to Hawaii? You can buy a lot of first class seats to the islands with the millions you will save in purchasing a midsize instead of a large cabin aircraft.
  • Cabin Size. Standup cabins are comfortable, but the bigger the cabin, the bigger the direct operating costs.
  • Lavatory. Some light aircraft have limited lavatory facilities with a curtain for a barrier or have no lav at all. How long do you plan on being in the air?
  • Baggage Volume. Storage space comes at a premium in an aircraft. Do you need the capability to load golf bags or skis? Some mid and light aircraft have baggage compartments loadable only from the interior, while others have larger exterior baggage space in the nose and tail of the aircraft.


Range.  Longer range capability means larger aircraft which means higher acquisition and operating costs. What are your common destinations? How many times per year do you travel to these destinations?   Do you need to go non-stop or will a stop along the way be acceptable? The 80/20 rule applies to range. Purchase an aircraft that will satisfy 80% of your needs – for all other occasions, you can make a fuel stop, charter a larger aircraft or book a first class ticket for the other 20% of your destinations.

Speed. One of the first questions many aircraft buyers will ask is “how fast does it go?” Most midsize and large cabin aircraft have cruise speeds that are not dramatically different. Light jets will have more variation in speed capabilities.   With the average business jet leg being 600 miles, the difference in speed from one model to the next often results in only a few minutes difference in travel time.

Service Ceiling. Most business jets are capable of flying as high or higher than the airlines enabling them to fly over most weather. If considering a turboprop aircraft, know they fly at lower altitudes which will occasionally result in the need to circumvent poor weather.

Runway Performance.  It is important to know the runway length at the airports you frequently use. Larger aircraft typically require more runway for takeoff and landing. The lighter the aircraft, the less runway needed. However, often less fuel is loaded on board in order to meet limited runway lengths, which results in fuel stops.

Payload. Most aircraft are not capable of filling the fuel tanks and filling the seats at the same time. While filling the tanks is not required on many flights, it is important to know the limitation of how much an aircraft can carry with full fuel.

One or Two Pilots. Most turboprop aircraft and many newer light jets are certified to be operated with a single pilot. Operating with a single pilot can reduce costs, increase payload capability and open up an extra seat for passengers. Having two pilots can add to the safety of operations due to the reduction in pilot flying work load, more eyes outside the cockpit and redundancy in case of health issues.

There is no one aircraft that will satisfy 100% of a buyer’s needs. Sorting through tradeoffs in performance, features and costs can be daunting, not to mention the complexities of the overall acquisition process.  Particularly for first time aircraft buyers, taking a conservative approach to aircraft selection and assessing real needs is wise. Getting professional guidance from an experienced aircraft broker is paramount to making the right aircraft selection, as well as to a successful acquisition.

By Michael Parker © December, 2011. Mr. Parker is vice president aircraft sales at Keystone Aviation, based in Salt Lake City, Utah and has brokered and professionally flown business aircraft for over 14 years.

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.

The Traveler’s Handbook 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.

Empty Leg FlightsWhat 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 of the legs of the round-trip flight booked by the original client 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. Keystone Aviation often goes one step further and refunds the original client a portion of their round-trip payment, creating a win-win-win situation.

How much can you save with an empty leg flight?

Things to note: You must be flexible with your flight schedule in order to fully benefit from an available empty leg. Since 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.

Empty Leg FlightsHow do I find available empty leg flights?

Many air charter operators will post available empty legs on their websites. Keystone Aviation offers a current list of its available empty legs at: Available Empty Legs

In order to keep customers informed when empty legs become available, Keystone Aviation sends direct email alerts for empty legs. You can go to Keystone Aviation’s website daily or weekly in order to monitor the empty legs in hopes of finding one that fits your schedule.  Or…you can let us know that you are interested in empty legs and when one becomes available, Keystone Aviation will send you an email directly to alert you that an empty leg has been added.

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 charter flight instead. However, with flexibility, can come real savings for the fantastic experience that is private aviation.

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.

To Buy or Charter a Private Jet?

More and more businesses and individuals are realizing the efficiency and productivity benefits of private business aviation. But what method of private aviation would best fit your needs or the specific needs of your company; purchasing an aircraft or chartering one? The differences between ownership and chartering can be compared using the following questions:

  • How many hours are you estimating to fly per year?
  • What type of missions will be flown?
  • What will the average passenger count be on the aircraft?

The answers to these questions should be tailored to fit specific situations and needs, regardless of whether you are considering personal or business travel.

Whole Aircraft Ownership:

With whole aircraft ownership, you have complete control over the plane and crew. You know where the plane has flown, who has been on it, how many hours it has logged and when it was last inspected. As the owner, you have control over whom you hire to fly the plane and what their experience level is in that particular type of aircraft. The plane can be equipped the way you wish, to your specifications and you can be certain that the aircraft is maintained to your personal standards.

Advantages of whole aircraft ownership include:

  • Complete flexibility on scheduling, including usage on an ad-hoc, short-notice basis
  • Tax benefits associated with depreciation
  • Reduced operating costs, through generation of charter revenue (if you have elected to put the   aircraft on a charter certificate)
  • Opportunities for appreciation in the value of the aircraft
  • Variable operating costs can be defrayed by making the plane available for charter to third parties         (Doing so will not reduce flexibility or trip planning)

Disadvantages of whole aircraft ownership include:

  • Large capital outlay
  • Cost inefficiencies for low utilization owners (usually fewer than 300 flight-hours per year)
  • Inflexibility on aircraft size/type
  • Requires personal supervision
  • Risk of market value fluctuations

Aircraft Charter:

Aircraft charter is attractive to individuals that frequently travel on short notice, must visit multiple locations within a short time frame, or for individuals who travel to areas that lack adequate commercial airline service. When you charter an aircraft, you have neither the responsibilities of aircraft ownership, nor the limitations on the size of aircraft available for your trip. You select the exact airplane you need for each trip, whether you have 4 or 20 people traveling. The price of your aircraft charter is going to vary depending on aircraft performance, size, passenger capacity and the duration of your flight.

Advantages of Aircraft Charter:

  • Flexibility in the choice of aircraft to best fit your trip
  • No large capital outlay
  • Avoid the risk of market value fluctuations

Disadvantages of Aircraft Charter:

  • Aircraft availability may be limited, especially for short-notice trips
  • Not as effective for one-way travel or long layovers
  • Personalized service varies from charter company to charter company

Your charter experience should be professional, personal and productive.

Aircraft ownership and aircraft charter offer you and your business a unique opportunity to maximize your time, efficiency and productivity, while giving you the freedom to enjoy the things that matter most to you.

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.

Private Aviation Gives Life

Private Aviation Gives Life

Somewhere in America, an organ was just delivered to a recipient through the use of private aviation. While some view private aircraft charter as a luxury for the rich and famous, many companies around the country offer their available fleet for life-saving organ transplant flights. The human body has a combination of over 100 organs and body parts that can be utilized as a transplant to give someone a second chance at life. Lungs, kidneys, and hearts however have a critically short time frame from the time the donor has given their organs to the time the transplant recipient can successfully accept an organ.
The pilots and crew members of these transplant flights are keenly aware of the urgent nature of these flights. Transplant flights are routinely flown in the late hours of the evening and can often have a crew on duty for up to 14hours. The use of the private aircraft allows hospitals around the country to match recipients with donors, regardless of their location. One of these individuals may be your neighbor, your friend, or even your family.

Private Aviation Gives Life

Many organ donor flights are flown by a local Aircraft Charter Company. The primary supplier of organ donor flights in the state of Utah is Keystone Aviation. Keystone Aviation offers the use of its fleet (based on availability) to local transplant organizations. Within the last year, Keystone Aviation successfully completed numerous organ donor flights, including a flight to and from Honolulu, Hawaii to aid in the procurement of a life-saving organ for a Utah resident. The highly trained and skilled flight crews at Keystone Aviation are placed on what the flight department has called “organ donor standby duty.” These crews are able to be airborne within two hours of being notified of the flight. Every member of the team at Keystone Aviation works diligently until the organ and transplant team has arrived at its destination.


  • 110,586 people are waiting for an organ
  • 18 people will die in the USA each day waiting for an organ
  • 1 organ donor can save up to 8 lives

The need for life-saving organs is great, and private aviation is here to assist. Together, private aviation and organ donors around the country are giving individuals in need a second chance at life.  For more information on this article or organ donation, visit www.organdonor.gov.

Aaron Mangone © has worked in the Aviation Industry since 2001 in positions that include Flight Coordinator, Pilot, and Charter Sales Manager. He Currently serves as the Charter Sales Manager at Keystone Aviation in Salt Lake City.

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.