An Interview with a Keystone Aviation International Flight Attendant

Teresa Grant spends her days traveling the world, going on African safaris and seeing Broadway shows in London. Teresa’s exciting lifestyle is attributed to being an international flight attendant for Keystone Aviation. This interview is a glimpse into Teresa’s world and details her favorite trip yet.

KA: What made you want to be a flight attendant?

T: I don’t want to give you the standard answer of ‘I love to travel,’ but I always wanted to be a flight attendant when I was younger. My father was in construction and after college I became a general contractor. After I left construction, I started working at a winery for fun – pouring wine and meeting people from all over the world and it started bringing that feeling back of wanting to be a flight attendant. The people who came to the winery encouraged me to pursue it.

KA: What is it like to be an international flight attendant?

T: I have to pinch myself that I’m doing it. I really do. I have gotten to see places all over the world. Places I didn’t even know existed, that I have to look up on an atlas to find out where they are. This job has definitely made my geography better and my family’s geography better. It’s interesting too, when I read or hear about world news, it means more to me now than it ever did before because I have been there, I have met those people.

KA: What is your favorite trip so far?

T: Probably the Africa trip we just completed. I had to keep reminding myself that ‘you are here in Africa’ and ‘you are doing this.’

KA: Tell me where you went in Africa and what it was like getting there?

T: Well this trip was amazing altogether. We first started in New York and from there went to London. And I told myself that this time in London I would see some shows. So I bought myself tickets to the Lion King, went to the show the first night and it was amazing. So I caught the fever, and bought a ticket to see Mama Mia as a matinee the next day. Then it was time to get ready for the trip. We flew from London to Tanzania which is where you fly into to go to Kilimanjaro.

KA: Which is the tallest mountain in Africa?

T: Correct. We flew into Tanzania, but we were staying in Arusha.   After we arrived, we got our customers on their way and then cleaned up the airplane. Then we had a driver take us to our hotel in the city. Driving from the airport to the hotel, there was a distinct smell. That’s something I always appreciate – every country has its own smell.

KA: What did it smell like?

T: Barbeque. Not like Texas barbeque, but we couldn’t quite figure out what the locals were burning. We thought they were burning coal or briquette. What we finally figured out is that their kitchens are outside, so it was a group housing situation and they were cooking dinner outside.

KA: What was the hotel like?

T: The hotel was clean and we had running water, but the power is not reliable in that part of Africa. They are constantly having outages and nobody seems to be phased by the power going out for minutes at a time. In one hour, it probably happened 10 times. It just goes to show that we take power for granted here.

KA: What did you do the next day?

T: The next morning, our driver for the safari came to the hotel and picked us up, in one of those safari Jeeps. The preserve was about two hours from our hotel.

KA: What was the first animal you saw?

T: A baboon. We were so excited when we first saw the baboon, but by the end of the next day, we were just like ‘oh yah, it’s a baboon’ because there were so many of them.

KA: What other animals did you see?

T: So driving through the preserve, animals can come and go so it’s not guaranteed that you’ll see anything, but we saw hippopotamuses, baboons, and giraffes in the distance.

KA: But no lions?

T: Not on the first day. We stayed the night in a safari camp. It was like elite camping. I had my own bungalow which had a full bathroom with a fire place and running water. That night, we had a 7 course dinner.  Our guide ate dinner with us and it was fun getting to ask him questions. We woke up when it was still dark out and started to drive into the next preserve. It was actually a crater, the second largest crater in the world where there once was a volcano. These animals are all living in this crater. I mean, it was just like the Lion King.

KA: Almost exactly as you would imagine?

T: It was idyllic.  So we drove up up up and once we got to the top, we looked over this vast crater and our guide said ‘we are going to drive down into this and you will see all the animals.’ So we drove down in there and we started seeing water buffalo and hyenas, and zebras – thousands of zebras. We also got to see lot of baby animals.  Buffalo were actually dropping their babies right in front of us. It was like watching the circle of life.

But our goal that day was, of course, to see lions. I had binoculars and saw two female lions in the distance.  The guide said ‘let’s move on – they will eventually be moving onto the watering hole and we will catch them as they move.’  Sure enough, the female lions come walking over. We park our Jeep, and another Jeep shows up and the lions walk right over and lay in the shadow of that Jeep.

KA:  So no male lions yet, just the female lions?

T: A little bit later, I saw through the binoculars what I thought was a male lion. So we drove towards the lion as fast as we could – it was a male lion but he was walking away from where we were. Our guide said ‘just wait a second, see those water buffalo over there, a buffalo is going to challenge that lion’ and right after he says that, a buffalo turns and challenges the lion and the lion turns around and starts walking towards us. Closer and closer to the point where I asked ‘are we ok to stay here.’  He just walks right over and lies in the shadow of our Jeep. I haven’t been that close to a lion in a zoo. And all I could think was ‘I can’t believe I’m here doing this.’ We also saw elephants, but they were off in the distance.

KA: So after Tanzania, where did you go?

T: We went to Ethiopia which has its own smell as well. It smells like burnt coffee.  The people sit out on the road side roasting their coffee beans. We didn’t do as much in Ethiopia because we were recovering from our safari adventure.

KA: What about the rest of the trip?

T: After Ethiopia, we went to Rome.  We were only there for a day so we decided to get up early to go see the Colosseum. We tried to see as much as we could in the time we had.

KA: Last question – where is your dream destination that you have yet to go?

T: I would love to go to Austria. My dream has always been to experience Switzerland, and I have been there, but the weather was terrible at the time. So I would love to go back and see Switzerland, Austria and Germany. There is a hike I have been told about in Switzerland where you walk from town to town in the mountains and you actually end up in three different countries. The funny thing with this job is we get to go to these countries because our clients want to go, but we are limited to what we can do because we have to make ourselves available and have time constraints. So we don’t always get to see exactly what we want to see. When I retire, my husband and I plan to travel the world…on our own schedule…

Going Wilde: Keystone Aviation’s New Chief Pilot

Chris Wilde Fat Biking

Here is an interview with Chris Wilde, Keystone Aviation’s new Chief Pilot. The interview shares an inside look at the Chris Wilde we know, not only as a pilot, but as a person.

(KA is Keystone & CW is Chris)

KA: So Chris, you were one of those kids who couldn’t get through a day without thinking about airplanes.

CW: Ever since I was four, I knew I wanted to be in aviation.  I had a model aircraft collection I would line up on my bedroom floor. You know those wooden horse heads on a stick?  I made one, but it was an airplane instead of a horse.

KA: It seems you grew up with it and you kept up the pace as an adult.

CW: I managed a flight school, and I’m still a current flight instructor. I also flew with the airlines for 8 years.

KA: I suspect it may have been sort of a family affair.

Chris and his motorcycle

CW: My brother is an A&P and my father owns an Ercoupe.

KA: Most people know you like the outdoors, but your list of activities takes “like” to a whole new level.

CW: Rock climbing, canyoneering, fatbiking, mountain biking, road biking, snow skiing, wake surfing, running, backpacking, hiking.  Oh, and I’m learning how to paramotor right now

KA: Pretty strenuous stuff. You’ve had a few close calls.

Chris Wilde Mountain Climbing

CW: There was a few times where I was mountaineering where I wished I were on the ground. It’s not really a function of being able to get back down, but rather more so of being miserable in inclement weather.   Your metal gear hums with static electricity when you are climbing if you’re stuck in a rain/snow storm with strong winds.

KA: Would you consider yourself an adrenaline junky?

CW: I just like to be in motion.  Relaxing on the beach isn’t my idea of a fun vacation. I like to ride the mountains behind my home on my ATV. Oh, and a kayak, I guess you could add that to my outdoor activities. I like kayaking. I’ve also been skydiving with my fellow Keystone pilots.  That was memorable.

KA: When you do stop moving you’re pretty musical.

CW: During college I played in both a jazz and SKA band, we even got some airplay.  I play the drums.

KA: And to top it all off, you grow your own food.

CW: I like to garden, it’s very therapeutic for me. Tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, parsnip, kale, peppers, broccoli, all sorts of squash… There’s about two months out of the year where I eat straight from my garden.

Ninety-three-year-old former Air Force pilot takes flight of his life

Colonel Patrick Kenny and  his grandson Jeff Jerman

It has been suggested new technology and “The Greatest Generation” do not mix.  Keystone Aviation put that theory to the test (and had a little fun) this past Father’s Day weekend.

Colonel Patrick Kenny, 93 year-old decorated World War II veteran and grandfather to Keystone Aviation pilot Jeff Jerman, lent a hand in disproving the theory on board a HondaJet. Col. Kenny served in the Air Force from 1942 until retirement in 1974 commanding a large variety of aircraft in that time, including the B-17 bomber, the P-51 Mustang and in later years the B-47, B-52 and B-57, the 57th aircraft he qualified to fly.

Colonel Patrick Kenny and his grandson Jeff Jerman flying the HondaJet

Col. Kenny calls Jeff his “best student” but on the HondaJet roles reversed and Jeff was playing teacher.   On board the HondaJet, both pilots created new memories flying and exploring the clear Utah sky. With over 70 years in the air, and therefore comfortable in the cockpit of any airplane, Col. Kenny flew the HondaJet like the experienced pro he is – carefully, smoothly and with a twinkle in his eye. While he marveled at the technology of today’s aircraft and its capabilities, for Col. Kenny technology did not hinder his experience for the day.

The hour-long flight included a low pass over the Colonel’s old hangar and a scenic trip around the Wasatch Mountains. Every air traffic controller throughout the flight, signed off by thanking the Colonel for his service.

What started out as a day of celebration and shared experiences between two generations ended with Col. Kenney expressing his joy by saying it was “The Flight of My Life!”

Theory disproved!

What You Can Bring on a Charter Flight

Packing for a charterIt’s an understatement to say flying privately is more convenient than flying commercially. No waiting in long lines at security, no scheduling problems, no hours of waiting at the airport and you can bring pretty much anything you want on the plane with you.  The emphasis here is “pretty much”, although, the list is still substantially larger than what you can bring on a commercial aircraft. Charter clients regularly ask what they are allowed to bring onto the aircraft and here we have listed the most common items:

  1. Yes, you can also put pets on a commercial aircraft, but they have to go down in that stuffy luggage compartment.  If they are not sedated (read this article here about why sedating your animal for travel is a bad idea), they are scared out of their mind… and it’s really not the best experience for an animal. On a charter aircraft they get to ride right next to you.  They have you to comfort them through the strange experience of traveling 40,000 ft into the sky.
  2. Sports equipment. Yes! You can charter an aircraft and bring your mountain bike, golf clubs, skis, or any other abnormally large piece of equipment that wouldn’t fit in an overhead bin. No shipping it, no trucking it through the airport and no renting a subpar replacement once you get to your destination. You get to bring your own.
  3. This is a good one, right? Because when you fly commercially there’s always that underlying question “did I pack all the right size liquids?” and then you have to sort through your luggage on the spot and put the liquids in a Ziploc bag. Flying privately means you don’t have to throw out your favorite face cream or water bottle before you get on the aircraft.

So the question remains what is NOT allowed on a charter aircraft…. Well, you can bring anything and everything that’s LEGAL and will fit in the aircraft, which, depending on what aircraft you charter could be quite a bit of space.  I have to state the obvious here because there are regulations for some items brought onto an aircraft (remember those Galaxy Note 7 phones) and if you are unsure, then clarify with your charter provider.

Keystone Receives Diamond Award

FAA Keystone Aviation LLC- UAO Diamond Award
Keystone Aviation has received the FAA’s Diamond Award for excellence in Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) training. Both the Salt Lake City, UT and Aurora, OR maintenance locations were recognized for their commitment to providing the highest level of training and knowledge to benefit Keystone’s employees, the company and the customers they serve.

In October 1991, AFS-300 determined there was a need for an incentive program to encourage AMTs and employers to participate aggressively in available initial and recurrent maintenance training courses. Through the AMT Awards Program, the FAA recognizes eligible technicians and employers by issuing awards to those who receive or promote and foster initial and recurrent training.  Employers and individuals are recognized yearly, with Diamond Level being the highest award given to eligible employers.

As one of the few FAA Certified Class IV Repair Stations in the Intermountain West, Keystone Aviation is capable of repairing and maintaining any fixed wing aircraft.  With aircraft service available 7 days a week, on-call maintenance support avaible 24 hours a day, and a world-wide reach, Keystone Aviation is available anytime and anywhere to provide “The Complete Solution”

Keystone Aviation’s Newest Addition

rd-wooten correctKeystone Aviation is pleased to announce RD Wooten as the newest addition to the Piper Aircraft sales team.  Mr. Wooten joins Keystone as Sales Director- Piper Aircraft for Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico.

Mr. Wooten began his flying career at a small airport in Columbia, MO, specifically, flying Piper Aircraft.  He gained over 1000 hours within his first few years as a professional aviator.  Eventually moving to Phoenix, AZ in the early 80’s, Mr. Wooten began his career in aircraft sales.

Mr. Wooten is a well-established aviation professional with over three decades of aircraft sales experience and 4000+ hours of flight experience. He is an FAA Licensed commercial pilot with Single-Engine, Multi-Engine, and Instrument and Glider ratings.  Mr. Wooten is a valuable asset to the Keystone Aviation Aircraft sales team.

RED (rock), WHITE & BLUE

HondaJet over Lake Powell

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words.  Nowhere is this more true than in the photogenic pairing of the white and blue HondaJet and the red rock region of Utah. Keystone’s Jerry Osoro and Jeff Jerman recently piloted the HondaJet in close formation with world-renowned aviation photographer Paul Bowen.  The results were spectacular, and the experience was a highlight of their shared HondaJet journey.  Jeff Jerman summarized the experience:

flight courseThe HondaJet photoshoot was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I felt very fortunate to be a part of Paul Bowen’s work. He’s a renowned aviation photographer, having completed countless photoshoots over the years; including over 1000 magazine covers involving aviation.

 Our day began by heading south for sunset shots over the majestic shadows of Zion National Park. Mr. Bowen knew exactly where to lead the HondaJet to get that “it” picture. Seeing the chic curvatures of the Honda Over-the-Wing-Engine-Mounts (OTWEM) slicing through canyons only enhanced the natural beauty of Utah’s landscape. It was a sunset I’ll never forget.

 We ended up at Lake Powell that evening for an early morning departure the following day. As we briefed over dinner, it was humbling to hear the many stories Paul spoiled us with. You see, this photoshoot ended up being more than just a photoshoot. Earlier in the day, many of us were saddened by the news that Bob Hoover had passed away. Paul was very close to Mr. Hoover. He told story after story of how inspiring Mr. Hoover was, including a few that had our stomach muscles hurting from laughter. It was truly a memorable evening.

 Day 2 began bright and early for sunrise shots over Lake Powell. The still air was reminiscent of the glassy water beneath us. We followed Paul in his supercharged Bonanza, wondering how in the world we were actually getting paid to do this. We were cloud-surfing with no one around, as if we were the only bird in the sky. After 2 hours of making art trails, we headed north back to SLC. It was another HondaJet memory I’ll never forget.

The Five Biggest Mistakes You Can Make When Buying an Aircraft

Robb Report’s private aviation advisors identify the costly errors and tell you how to prevent buyer’s remorse.

 You’ve decided to buy an airplane instead of continuing to use charter services. Now what?  The market offers an overwhelming number of choices in new aircraft models, each with its own set of variables to consider, including speed, range, cabin amenities, seating options, and overhead costs. When buying a pre-owned aircraft, you have those factors plus many more to consider, such as the plane’s vintage, its maintenance history, its possible need of major repairs and refurbishment, and its cost relative to others of its kind on the market. The task of choosing the right plane may be daunting, but it’s only the starting point in a long process that can be fraught with pitfalls.

The acquisition of an aircraft is a complex transaction that can trigger many unexpected expenses for inexperienced buyers. Members of the Robb Report Private Aviation Advisory Board weigh in on five common and costly mistakes that first-time buyers make and how to avoid them.

1. Believing Everything You Hear
Don’t assume you know how much an aircraft is actually worth and how much another buyer paid for a similar plane. The community of aircraft buyers and sellers is relatively small, yet accurate information about past sales is still hard to come by. According to Kevin O’Leary, the president and CEO of Jet Advisors, buyers and sellers don’t always disclose the transaction’s financial contingencies when they talk about the price of a jet. “Someone may tell you that he sold his plane for $1.5 million but neglect to say that he had to spend $600,000 on maintenance before the sale went through because he sold it right before a major overhaul,” says O’Leary. “Buyers and sellers are optimistic about how well they did on a deal, but the details are always different.”

O’Leary cautions buyers to be wary of any numbers thrown around by other buyers, and to be especially cautious when a motivated seller or broker claims that a particular price is the deal of the century.

2. Failing to Consider the Production Run
Be cautious when buying an aircraft that has just been released or one that’s on its way out of production. “If you are buying at the beginning or the end of a production run, there are financial implications and other maintenance issues,” says Peter Agur, the chairman of the VanAllen Group.

The first few aircraft on a new production line may be subject to more maintenance tics as they’re broken in, and because it’s a new model, you may have trouble hiring a qualified pilot.
To exemplify the problem with buying an aircraft that’s being phased out by the manufacturer, Agur cites the Gulfstream G450, which, it appears, will be replaced by the G500. He says the G450’s resale value is declining as the G500’s delivery date (2017) approaches. “As I look to replace my current aircraft with a G450/G500-class aircraft, which will I choose?” says Agur. “I want an aircraft that has the attributes of advanced technology and current production. I’ll order a G500. That decision process drives customers toward future models and makes the current model more difficult to sell.” However, if you know an aircraft is near the end of its production run, you can use that information to negotiate a good price.

Agur and other board members also caution against buying an aircraft that has been highly modified by a previous owner. If, for instance, the owner had digital avionics retrofitted into an older-model airplane, you might have trouble finding someone to service the aircraft. “You could end up with an aircraft that no one knows how to service except the guys who installed the equipment,” says Agur.

3. Giving the Seller a Pass on Inspections
Don’t agree to a deal without first insisting that the plane go through a rigorous prepurchase inspection. Lee Rohde, the president and CEO of Essex Aviation Group, tells his clients that the inspection should be conducted at a facility other than the one that regularly maintains that aircraft. “Part of the inspection process is having the records examined for the whole life of the aircraft,” he says. This involves checking life-limited serialized components (those that must be replaced at regular intervals) in addition to confirming that regular engine overhauls took place. Inspectors also must be able to verify that any parts were sourced and replaced according to the manufacturer’s dictates.

The inspection is vital, yet many buyers forego it. “I’ve had clients refuse a prepurchase inspection because they knew the seller personally and felt a lot of trust for that person,” says Agur. “But there can be enormous maintenance issues—including corrosion—that the seller doesn’t know about.”

“I don’t care if you’re buying the aircraft from your brother,” says O’Leary. “Unless he’s the pilot or the mechanic, he doesn’t know that aircraft. He’s riding in the back, reading the Wall Street Journal.”

If you plan to make the plane available for charter after you purchase it, your aircraft management company has to have it inspected to ensure that it conforms to FAA requirements. “You could be in for a lot of expenses to get that plane ready for charter,” says Rohde, “and you should know about those before you buy.”

4. Not Preparing for the Sales Tax
Don’t buy an aircraft assuming you can avoid paying the sales tax, which can be substantial. “It’s true that most purchasers pay a limited amount of sales tax on this kind of purchase, but that’s because they did the proper planning from the beginning,” says Keith Swirsky, the president of GKG Law. “If you call an advisor after you take title, there’s typically nothing they can do for you.”

An aviation lawyer can help you structure the deal so that it complies with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations. Swirsky says that many buyers assume they can create a limited-liability company (LLC) that will take title to the aircraft, and thereafter operate the aircraft. However, for operations under FAR Part 91 (the section of the Federal Aviation Regulations that governs noncommercial operation), the FAA doesn’t consider a specially formed LLC a viable ownership structure. “According to the FAA, such operations would be prohibited,” says Swirsky.

5. Trying to Go It Alone
Purchasing an aircraft is not like buying a home or a yacht or any other large and expensive item. It has more in common with setting up a new business, one that has its own technology, its own set of regulations, and its own culture. “Trying to do it on your own—not using specialists in law, taxes, and transactions—is a mistake,” says Rohde. “They can help you identify which airplane makes the most sense.”

“It’s difficult for any one person to accumulate enough knowledge about how to see a good deal,” says O’Leary, noting that even aviation consultants tend to focus on a single class of aircraft because so much goes into evaluating a plane.

Yet some buyers want to preserve their privacy by having a family office handle the purchase, or they want to rely on a pilot as the expert who will guide them through the purchase. “There are so many facets to buying an airplane, and so many opportunities for misunderstanding what’s happening,” says Agur. “I had a client who had done hundreds of millions of dollars in deals over the years, and he told me that this was the one time when he didn’t know what to negotiate. He didn’t even know which details were critical in the purchase.”

Buyers who arm themselves with the right advice can avoid feeling overwhelmed, and they can avoid the costly mistakes that go with that feeling.

Source: http://robbreport.com/aviation/five-biggest-mistakes-you-can-make-when-buying-aircraft

Celebrating 20 Years of The Complete Solution

coffee_bar_slide_16-1Keystone Aviation, a TAC Air company, is celebrating over 20 successful years as a world-class aircraft charter, management, maintenance and aircraft sales and brokerage provider.

Keystone Aviation’s roots date back to 1995 when it began as a franchise FBO operator. From there, Keystone Aviation rapidly expanded into other aviation service lines. During its first year, the Company added a Piper Aircraft dealership and service center and its maintenance department obtained FAA certification as a Part 145 Repair Station.

By 2007, Keystone Aviation had built a successful aircraft brokerage business, was appointed as a TBM Aircraft Dealership, and was selected to be one of only five HondaJet dealers in the United States.  Also during that time, Keystone Aviation’s maintenance department was granted the exclusive Class IV maintenance status by the FAA, authorizing Keystone Aviation technicians to work all types of fixed wing aircraft.

After 17 years of strategic growth, Texas-based wholesale refined petroleum products marketer and FBO network operator Truman Arnold Companies (TAC) recognized the value and potential of bringing Keystone Aviation into its operations.

Today, Keystone Aviation is stronger than ever. Aircraft sales territories are expanding across the United States and Canada and the FAA certified HondaJet is being delivered into the hands of excited customers. Charter services lead the industry in safety and are optimizing the use of an expanding fleet and renovated sales and ops facilities. More aircraft owners are realizing the value of “The Complete Solution®” for aircraft management services and maintaining it all is a maintenance department that is growing in technological expertise, accreditations and scope of operations with the addition of a Garmin Service Center and more.  And behind it all is Keystone Aviation’s amazing team of dedicated aviation service professionals who are among the best in the business.

Here’s to the next 20 years of aviation excellence!

The HondaJet Conquers the Concours

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McCalls Motorworks Revival

Keystone's HondaJet at Monterey Jet Center

Keystone’s HondaJet at Monterey Jet Center

Monterey Car Week.  The name conjures up a vision of spectacular automobiles displayed in one of the planet’s most spectacular settings. The week comes to a close at Concours d’elegance, a world-renowned event considered to be the most prestigious of its kind. People in the know however, begin their week with an equally sought-after ticket:  The McCalls Motorworks Revival at the Monterey Jet Center. This year, the Keystone Aviation HondaJet was an acknowledged star, the centerpiece of the most exclusive combined automotive-aviation event in the world. Nearly one thousand special guests had the opportunity to try the new jet on for size, have their photo taken while relaxing in the leather seats, and have their questions answered by Keystone’s HondaJet specialists and pilots.

Keystone’s HondaJet at Morgan Adams Concours d’Elegance

On the surface, another combined event known as the Morgan Adams Concours d’elegance appears to be a close cousin to the Monterey party. However, a longer look revealed a much deeper, and in many ways much more thought provoking experience.  Over 1,500 guests entered the APA TAC Air facility through a hall lined with large photographs of dozens of children. Only a careful examination of each photograph revealed a sad fact: all of these happy-looking kids suffer from cancer.  Each and every one of our fellow exhibitors, and each and every one of the attendees who bought a ticket to view our HondaJet was contributing to a larger, more noble cause.  Those of us from Keystone fortunate enough to participate were a bit more careful in our step, and a little quieter in our usual ‘sales pitch’.  It served as a reminder of how lucky most of us truly are, and how gratifying it is to be able to contribute.