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.

Keystone Aviation Expands to Provo, UT with a New Charter Aircraft & Customer Lobby

Keystone Aviation achieved an expansive end of the year in 2017 with a 60 percent increase to its fleet of managed aircraft.  In 2018, Keystone shows no sign of slowing down with the addition of yet another aircraft. The newest addition to the Keystone charter fleet is a Gulfstream G450 that is based in Provo, Utah. Along with basing an aircraft for the first time in Provo, Keystone will be opening a new office and exclusive lobby for its Provo clients.  This newly constructed space will provide a more exclusive and convenient option for Keystone clients to fly into and out of Provo.

The Gulfstream G450 is known to be one of the most luxurious private aircraft on the market and the newest addition to the Keystone fleet is no exception. It’s modern and sleek interior sets a new standard for travel. The aircraft seats up to 14 passengers and can fly up to 5,000 miles, non-stop.  It can also sleep up to 6 passengers, providing the ultimate private flying experience during long flights.

Keystone Aviation has been in business for over 20 years and has the largest private aircraft charter fleet in Utah and the Intermountain West. Keystone’s fleet of 13 charter aircraft range from single-engine turbo props for highly affordable regional travel to long-range, large cabin aircraft that can fly worldwide. Flying privately isn’t only a convenience, but also an experience.  We take the stress out of travel by providing clients the ability to fly on their schedule, no long lines to wait in or planes to ‘catch’ means more time for family and business.  It’s a way of life and Keystone Aviation’s goal is to make private aircraft travel as accessible as possible.

Keystone’s Legendary Pilot, Phyllis Upchurch, Retires From Flying

Phyllis Upchurch may not be entirely comfortable with the title, but she is somewhat of an aviation legend.  Phyllis started out selling used, single-engine airplanes in order to subsidize her flying lessons.  She must have been a pretty good salesperson, because not only did she become a professional pilot, but Phyllis has acted as Chief Pilot for 4 aircraft operators throughout the course of her aviation career and has flown over 14,000 hours, making her one of Keystone Aviation’s most experienced pilots. Unfortunately for Keystone (and the rest of the aviation community), Phyllis has decided to retire from flying to pursue her hobbies – some old, some new.

Growing up in the small town of Raymond, Mississippi, Phyllis was inspired to become a pilot by her father who, on Sundays, would take her to Jackson “to the big airport, where they had concrete runways and big airplanes.” Phyllis was always afraid of flying, but her father’s love of airplanes instilled a fascination in her.  So much so, that years later she would explore her fear of flying and it would change her life forever.

Phyllis moved across the country to Salt Lake City, Utah in 1974.  There she would discover a new side of herself.  At age 35 she declared, “I’m too old to be afraid of anything.” Phyllis saw an ad in the local newspaper for a “demo flight” and decided she would conquer her fear of flying by piloting a Cessna 152.   After the “demo” flight, assuming she had flown the whole time (in truth the instructor was flying), she wasn’t afraid at all.  “I thought it was the most enchanting thing I had ever done,” she said. Apparently it wasn’t the flying, but not being in control of the flight that scared Phyllis.

It was after this realization that Phyllis decided she would become a professional pilot, which, at the time, was a very progressive career choice for a woman. However, being one of the few female pilots never intimidated Phyllis.  In fact, it would be female pilots in Utah who would help shape her career.  Nancy Ruling, a prominent figure for women aviators in Utah and the Chief Flight Instructor at Interwest Aviation, was her first  boss.  Barbara Hepner was one of Phyllis’ first mentors in the LearJet; together they called themselves the “Thelma and Louise” of the sky.

Although she is no longer flying, Phyllis will retain a part-time role as the Director of Training for Keystone Aviation’s flight department.  Thus, she will continue to influence current and future aviators.

When asked if she would miss flying after 40 years of being a pilot, Phyllis answered, “it’s the clients I will miss the most.” Her interaction with passengers and making people feel comfortable flying was what she found most gratifying. Nonetheless, Phyllis is looking forward to spending more time at home.  She recently began singing in a choir, and now spends more time doing things she loves like playing piano,raising her dogs and cheering on her beloved Ole Miss. She also has a bucket list of places she would like to travel, with someone else doing the piloting for a change.

Keystone Aviation Grows Its Fleet By 60 Percent

Keystone Aviation has had an expansive few months! With the help of Charlie Chamberlain, Keystone’s Managed Aircraft Sales Director, 4 aircraft have been added to Keystone’s charter fleet and 3 aircraft added to its privately managed fleet. These additions bring the total number of Keystone Aviation operated charter aircraft up to 13 and entire managed fleet up to 19.

Charter Additions:
Keystone Aviation operates Utah’s largest fleet of charter aircraft. Keystone’s diverse charter fleet consists of aircraft options for virtually every type of trip. The fleet includes everything from highly economical turboprops which are perfect for regional travel to large cabin jets that can fly worldwide.
The new charter aircraft additions include: a Lear 60 and TBM 850 based in Sun Valley, Idaho and a new-from-the-factory HondaJet and Pilatus PC-12NG based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Although Keystone is able to operate anywhere in the world, the addition of two aircraft based Sun Valley, Idaho brings a new advantage to charter customers flying to and from Idaho. All of the aircraft are great additions to the current fleet and bring something unique to the table.

The TBM 850 is a single-engine turboprop with seating for up to 5 passengers. It is one of the only TBM’s currently on a charter certificate in the Intermountain West. The TBM is one of the fastest turboprops which, combined with its short runway capability, makes it the perfect aircraft to get in and out of regional airports at an economical price.

The Learjet 60XR is a mid-size aircraft with seating for 7 passengers and can travel coast-to-coast non-stop. The Lear 60 has plenty of room to move around and stretch your legs – or sit back and enjoy the free Wifi.

The Pilatus PC-12NG is factory new and seats up to 9 passengers. Its speed, comfortable cabin and affordable cost make the PC-12 one of the most requested aircraft on the charter market.  Keystone Aviation already operates two PC-12s and with the constant demand for this aircraft, a third PC-12 will allow clients more flexibility and availability.

The HondaJet seats up to 6 passengers and is the most innovative, fastest, quietest and roomiest aircraft in its class. It includes a fully-enclosed lavatory and has a range of up to 1,400 miles.  The HondaJet’s superior performance will get you to where you’re going productively, economically and comfortably.

Private Management Additions: 

Keystone Aviation also manages aircraft for owners who choose not to make their aircraft available to charter customers.   Keystone recently added two Gulfstream G450s and another new-from-the-factory Pilatus PC-12NG to the list of privately managed aircraft.  These aircraft join our other private management clients which include a Pilatus PC-12, a Hawker 4000 and a Falcon 50.  Both of the Gulfstream G450s and the Pilatus PC-12NG plan to join the charter fleet in 2018.

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.

5 Reasons to Have Your Aircraft Professionally Managed

Buying an aircraft is a big purchase and a huge commitment. This means you want a management company who has the expertise and experience to ensure your aviation asset is protected, ultimately protecting you in the process.  Here are the top 5 reasons you should have your aircraft professionally managed – some might surprise you.

  1. Safety and Compliance: Buying and operating an aircraft involves greater regulations than most purchases, and with good reason. Depending on whether your use is for personal or business purposes, you must document your flights properly and abide by the applicable FAA regulations. You must also ensure a qualified crew is hired, and properly trained at an FAA certified facility. Keystone Aviation operates using the top safety programs in aviation. We are Air Charter Safety Foundation approved as well as an ARG/US Platinum Operator, and Wyvern Wingman Operator.  All of these programs are in place to ensure your aircraft is operated at the highest safety standards.
  2. Cost savings: The most common misconception among aircraft owners is that having your aircraft professionally managed means spending more because you have to pay the management company. Management companies, particularly part 135 management companies, actually help subsidize some of the cost of owning an aircraft. For example, Keystone Aviation has fuel contracts with all major world-wide fuel vendors, which means substantial fuel savings. Our fleet buying power also saves you money on maintenance, pilot training, and aircraft insurance.
  3. Charter: Keystone Aviation is a FAR Part 135 certified air carrier, which means it can charter your aircraft legally and safely, further reducing your aircraft cost with the charter revenue. Another major benefit of professional management with Keystone Aviation is that you get discounted rates on the entire fleet if you need to utilize another aircraft.
  4. Asset Protection: Tracking all of the details about an aircraft is a lot more complicated than you think. To do it meticulously and timely takes a whole team.  Keystone Aviation tracks all of the aircraft maintenance, subscriptions, documentation, and record keeping for your aircraft, as well as reconciling all expenses related to the operation of your aircraft and crew.  This not only keeps it running properly, but also enhances the value of your aircraft.
  5. Maintenance: Fixed wing aircraft require significant maintenance. Paying another company can cost extra money in excess fees for travel, oversight and tracking.  Keystone Aviation’s Salt Lake maintenance facility is an FAA approved, Part 145 Class IV repair station and is one of the largest maintenance providers in the Intermountain West.  This means, Keystone’s maintenance can work with most aircraft companies and maintenance programs to oversee them in-house.

To learn more about aircraft management, give Charlie Chamberlain a call at 801-933-7568.

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

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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

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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!