Welcome to the Keystone Aviation Blog

Keystone Aviation is a premier provider of executive aircraft charter, aircraft sales and management and aircraft maintenance. The Keystone Aviation Blog is where we talk about all things general aviation. Keystone Aviation is a TAC Air company.

Aircraft Charter

At Keystone Aviation, we are committed to safety, service and reliability. We participate in numerous safety programs, pilot and crew training programs, customer service training, and third-party audits to ensure that every flight meets the highest industry safety standards.

Aircraft Maintenance

The Keystone Aviation maintenance department was established in 1997 to provide first-class maintenance services for the company’s growing charter fleet. Over the years the department has grown to a Class IV Repair Station with 23 factory trained A&P technicians servicing everything from small, single-engine piston to large, Boeing/Airbus class aircraft.

Aircraft Sales & Brokerage

Over the past 20 years, Keystone Aviation has sold or brokered over a half a billion dollars worth of aircraft, including everything from small single-engine piston to large corporate jets. Let us help you avoid the pitfalls associated with your next aircraft transaction.

Aircraft Management

Over our 20 year history, Keystone Aviation has successfully managed over 35 private jet aircraft for owners ranging from individuals to Fortune 100 companies. Let us show you how aircraft ownership should be.

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.

HondaJet, an Exciting Year in Review

cropped

A little over a year ago, Keystone Aviation completed its first customer delivery of the HondaJet HA-420 and the time since has been a whirlwind of activity. In December of 2015, Honda Aircraft Company achieved FAA type certification for their clean sheet aircraft, the HondaJet HA-420.  Soon after, Keystone Aviation sent two of its pilots, Jerry Osoro and Jeff Jerman, to HondaJet training in Greensboro, North Carolina.  Jerry and Jeff were among the first pilots to be type rated in the HondaJet, becoming Keystone Aviation’s very own HondaJet experts.

The HondaJet team at Keystone Aviation has had unwavering dedication to its dealership. The

The HondaJet in Afton, WY

The HondaJet in Afton, WY

proof has shown through each of the successful deliveries made since certification. The year of the HondaJet began on New Year’s Eve, 2015.  Keystone Aviation’s HondaJet team flew coast-to-coast to make sure our dealership’s first HondaJet owner could ring in the New Year with a new aircraft.  The next delivery was to an owner who lives in the mountainous Afton, Wyoming and with an airfield at the elevation of 6,220 FT, the HondaJet performed exceptionally well – clearly living up to its best-in-class reputation.

The first deliveries were just the tip of the iceberg in an action packed year surrounding the world’s most innovative light jet.  Last summer, Keystone Aviation participated in two major events highlighting the HondaJet.  The first event was one of the most prestigious car shows in the United States, Monterrey Car Week in Pebble Beach.  The HondaJet was showcased next to Honda’s new Acura NSX putting on an incredible display of Honda’s innovative and unique technology.  Only a few weeks later, the HondaJet was featured in another Concours d’Elegance in

HondaJet at the Morgan Adams Concours

HondaJet at the Morgan Adams Concours

Denver, Colorado benefiting the Morgan Adams Foundation.

One of the most intriguing experiences our HondaJet pilots had during the year was a photoshoot alongside the world-renowned aviation photographer Paul Bowen.  The photoshoot took place over some of Southern Utah’s most wondrous places, starting at Zion Nation Park and extending all the way to Lake Powell.  The aged red rock as a back drop, combined with the HondaJet’s modern technology resulted in a spectacular collection of aviation photos.

Behind the scenes of all the constant action during this first year of HondaJet deliveries was a large HondaJet support system consisting of Keystone Aviation’s maintenance team.  A substantial amount of time and effort was put into preparing for the HondaJet before and after certification.  Keystone Aviation’s methodical training and preparation has resulted in a meticulous HondaJet service center. Keystone Aviation mechanics attended multiple HondaJet trainings, prepared the service center with all the proper tools and parts, all while learning how to be one of the first service centers to support this aircraft.

Looking back, it has been a year of hard work, accomplishment and happy HondaJet owners…and we’re excited for more!

Charter Management vs Private Management

B0001057_drueditCharter Management vs. Private Management

Keystone Aviation offers multiple ways to access our charter fleet, but we also offer multiple aircraft management options in the form of charter management and private management.

Charter Management

  • Personalized aircraft management, with the added benefit of charter revenue to reduce the cost of aircraft ownership
  • All charters are subject to the aircraft owner’s approval, ensuring the aircraft is available when the owner needs it
  • Customizable management services, including pilot services, regulatory compliance support, trip planning, and detailed expense reporting
  • Significant savings on aircraft services including fuel, maintenance, insurance, and training
  • We take meticulous care of the aircraft and its owner while putting the aircraft to work both in the air and on the books

Private Management

  • Aircraft management exclusively for the owner’s use, i.e. no charter utilization
  • Customizable management services, including pilot services, regulatory compliance support, trip planning, and detailed expense reporting
  • Significant savings on aircraft services including fuel, maintenance, insurance, and training
  • Safe and cost effective way to enjoy aircraft ownership without all of the day-to-day complications

Want to know more about aircraft management?  Give us a call at 801-933-7568 so we can discuss a management program that will fit your needs.

Charter vs. Block Charter

DH_KEY-PLANE-GROUND-VIEW-585

Charter vs. Block Charter

At Keystone Aviation, we provide a variety of private aviation solutions.  While we often customize our services based on the needs of our customers, we do offer options when it comes to aircraft charter.

Charter

  • Rent the aircraft that best suits your trip, paid by the hour
  • No capital expenditure or long-term commitment required
  • Access to our diverse fleet of charter aircraft as well as vetted, charter partner aircraft
  • Hourly pricing varies based on the size of aircraft
  • The ultimate in flexibility with minimum commitment

 

Block Charter

  • Pre-paid deposit allows access to our entire charter fleet, at a discount
  • Trips are credited against the block charter deposit based on the discounted hourly pricing
  • Perfect for frequent charter customers who want to leverage their buying power with minimal capital expense

Now you just need to pick the solution that works for you and let’s get flying!

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.

Why to Look for Wyvern, ARGUS and ACSF When Booking a Private Charter Flight

Clearly, nothing is more important than safety.   At Keystone Aviation, safety is the cornerstone of our organization and a core value we strive for in every aspect of our business.  But how do you know which aircraft charter companies go above and beyond with regards to safety?   One way to identify the most safety conscious organizations is through safety certifications from independent aviation auditing firms.

Independent aviation auditors develop audit standards that incorporate both required operational and safety procedures as well as the latest in best practices.  These firms then audit a charter company’s manuals, processes and operations against the audit standard and issue a certification.  You can look for these certifications from operators who provide aircraft charter services.  Here are some of the safety certifications to look for when booking a private charter flight:

Wyvern

WyvernWingmanWyvern Consulting was one of the first aviation safety auditing firms in the country.  Wyvern offers different levels of audits, so be sure to clarify which level your charter company has achieved.

  • Registered Operator – The Wyvern Registered Operator program is an entry-level program in which operators provide their records for Wyvern to have on file. These records are available for Wyvern’s clients to review under its PASS program which allows third parties to check that an aircraft, crew and trip plan meet certain standards.  Registered Operators have not been audited by Wyvern.
  • Wingman * – The Wyvern Wingman is the certification issued to aircraft operators who have been audited against Wyvern’s audit standard. Operators at this level have successfully demonstrated that their processes reflect the latest safety best practices.   As of May 2015, only about 100 operators worldwide were members of the Wingman program.

ARG/US

Argus_PlatinumThe Aviation Research Group/US (ARG/US) audits an operator’s flights, insurance, maintenance records and processes to ensure they meet or exceed FAA standards.  There are four ARG/US certification levels:

  • DNQ – Does Not Qualify
  • Gold Rating –Historical information on the operator’s commercial certificate, pilots and aircraft are compiled and scored by ARG/US. This information is compared against an aggregate group with similar exposures to determine if the applicant is eligible for the Gold Rating.   Those operators with a Gold Rating have not been audited by ARG/US.
  • Gold Plus Rating – The Gold Plus Rating is awarded to operators who meet all of the criteria for a Gold Rating and have completed an on-site safety audit or maintain an IS-BAO (International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations) registration.
  • Platinum Rating * – The Platinum Rating is the highest level that can be achieved in the ARG/US rating system. Platinum is only awarded to experienced operators who meet the criteria for Gold, and pass the ARG/US Platinum on-site safety audit.   A Platinum Rating requires a well-developed Safety Management System and an Emergency Response Plan, in addition to effective processes and documented records for all major aspects of aircraft operations and maintenance.

Air Charter Safety Foundation Registration

acsf_logoThe Air Charter Safety Foundation (ACSF) Industry Audit Standard (IAS) has been developed with the input and guidance of leading safety auditors, charter operators, shared aircraft ownership companies and charter consumers.  The Industry Audit Standard is a revolutionary program built from the ground up by ACSF to set the standard for the independent evaluation of an air charter operator’s and/or shared ownership company’s safety and regulatory compliance.  The ACSF audit is one of the most comprehensive audits in the aviation industry.

  • ACSF IAS Registered Operator * – After completing an on-site audit against the ACSF Industry Audit Standard, the auditors’ recommendations are reviewed and approved by an independent review board which decides whether the charter company will be admitted as an ACSF IAS Registered Operator.

The asterisks (*) above indicate the certifications that have been achieved by Keystone Aviation.

Now that you understand some of the aviation industry safety certifications, you can make more informed decisions when choosing not only a charter company, but an aircraft management company as well.   Here’s to safe flying!

Traveling to Europe? Here’s what you should pack

pr_travel_still_25_rgb_v2

Traveling to Europe is a wonderful opportunity not everyone gets to experience.  If you are one of the lucky ones and are looking forward to your first trip to Europe, there are a few questions that can sneak up on you last minute. One main question, and perhaps the one that generates the most panic, is “what do I pack?”  Here we have listed a few essential items (and non-essential) to make sure you don’t over or under pack, ensuring your Europe vacation is an easy and exciting adventure.

  1. DO pack a plug adapter. When traveling to another country it’s easy to forget their infrastructure is completely different from the United States.  The United States runs their wall plugs at 120V (120 volts).  Europe’s wall plugs, which I should mention are a completely different shape than the United States plugs, average 230V.   This is a substantial difference.   If you bring the adapter, be wary of what you plug in from the United States because the voltage could burn it up. You will need the adapter however, if you plan to charge your phone with a charger from the United States.
  2. DON’T pack any electrical grooming tools, i.e. hair dryer/shaver/curling irons. This coincides with tip #1. All of these items are made for the United States, and therefore run with 120V. If you use them with your adapter, they may burn up and/or overheat and turn off. Most hotels carry blow dryers, and if you are desperate for a shaver, go for store bought. Girls, use curlers.
  3. DO pack a power bank. When you go to Europe, it’s inevitable that you will be walking around exploring all the sites.  More than likely, you will also have a nice camera plus your phone to take pictures.  It’s easier to use your phone to snap a quick picture than it is a full size camera, and for this reason you will want to keep it charged.  No matter what phone you have, its battery will not be enough.  Buy a power bank that will fully charge your phone up to 4 times and you will be happy you didn’t risk missing those once in a lifetime moments!
  4. DON’T over pack. Sure, this is a general statement and everyone says, “I’m only going to pack the essentials.”   In this case, it’s important to really narrow down what you need for your trip so you can travel efficiently (there’s a lot to see in Europe!).  Plan an outfit for every day, even better, plan your outfits using some of the same items repeatedly.  No, I’m not saying you should wear dirty clothes. There are lots of laundromats in Europe and it’s easy to stop in to do a few loads, especially if you are going to be there for over 10 days.  Plus, let’s all just admit once and for all, when we travel, we really only end up wearing about two outfits anyway.
  5. DO use compression bags for your clothes. I was very skeptical of this item when I first thought to buy it for Europe.  I kept asking myself, “Does it really save space? Or is it just a waste of money.”  The truth is, the bags save just enough space that you will be happy you bought them.  If you plan to bring a larger bag, then get a few large compression bags.  These bags will help you keep your clean and dirty clothes sorted as well as make that extra space you need for those last few items you plan to squeeze in your bag.

On a side note, here’s an extra tip that I really wish someone would have told me before I went to Europe:

If you plan to rent a car, make sure you call your credit card company before hand and ask if they provide full insurance coverage for rental cars in Europe.  It’s unlikely that your automotive insurance will cover rental cars from different countries and it’s very expensive to insure a car through the rental agency in Europe. Booking it on a credit card that provides full coverage will save you a ton of money!

 

Now that you know how to pack (and how to rent a car), get out there and see this amazing world of ours!