Business aviation—or the business of aircraft operations and maintenance—is a pursuit that requires vision, a focus on objectives, solid stakeholder and employee relationships and timely, effective services.
A business aviation organization is all about setting and meeting expectations. Your organization has made a conscious decision to invest in utilizing aircraft for commercial and/or personal use. That decision sets expectations in your organization that go well beyond the flight maintenance department. Typically, passengers are high level members of your organization who are relying on the flight department to have aircraft available and ready at a moment’s notice. Of course, most people try and stick to a schedule. However, ‘the beauty of business aviation is its ability to flex—so flexible it’s fluid’, as a former DOM used to tell me.
Flexibility Requires Communication
A consistent, effective, and efficient method of communication between the pilots, crew, maintenance, and scheduling is vital to the success and safety of your organization.
The best communication approaches typically come in the form of software applications with access across computer and mobile devices. These tools need to be built on modern architecture that leverage the advancements that have been made not only on the back end, but on the front end. The evolution of the user experience and interface across the board has developed a certain expectation, software applications need to be intuitive, clean, and can grow along with technology and your organization.
When discussing communication, I specifically refer to the usage of any of your software applications. Your software solutions that assist with the execution of flight planning and scheduling are not only a tool for one user, but they are the tools that connects all the departments together. They are the tools that allow for a clear and concise plan to be relayed across many different facets of an organization in a method that can be presented dependent on the audiences need. For example, when a scheduler is working on getting a trip on the books, there is a level of coordination that is needed to understand the big picture. The simple answer is “sure we can make that trip” however the research, planning, and communication needed to be able to relay that message confidently is where your communication tools come in.
Communication Tool Self Check – Take a few minutes to consider your current tools and level of connectivity
1. Does your platform allow for you to easily see your schedule across your fleet?
2. How about a way to easily project?
3. Can you look at your crew availability in a moments’ notice?
4. How about the maintenance status?
5. Is your maintenance tracking truly integrated into your scheduling program?
6. As a scheduler, is your maintenance tracking physically tracking down the maintenance team to confirm aircraft availability?
If you mostly answered NO to these questions, you’re probably doing a lot of time-consuming manual paperwork and rework that is significantly cutting into your uptime and bottom line.
Going Beyond the Walls of your Flight Department
And what about crew communication? Technology and mobile connectivity have certainly become an integral piece of our communications, but now what? Many flight departments have a method that is dependent on emails and text messages. This works, but couldn’t it be better? What happens if they accidentally delete the email or for some reason it goes to spam? Or what if the kid has the phone and ignores the call or text message alert, and it isn’t seen for hours, if at all? Does your application have an “app” for that? If not, they should. There should be a communication tool that allows for a real-time, secure, and transparent method of communication between teams. This tool should allow for the team to be able to accept, decline, ask questions, and report on trips all in one location that is logged with that trip. Giving visibility and accessibility across the team. Have a crew member out of the office? Don’t settle for an email trail, let them review the history of trip and flight planning process from one location dedicated to that one trip.
How Do You Get Connected?
The old saying “Keep It Simple Silly” should apply across the board. By utilizing and leveraging technology your solution partners should have a back-end system complex and robust enough, to effortlessly convey information and facilitate communication with an ease and practicality that allows for a quick and effortless “sure we can make that trip”.
A few check points to consider when searching for a solution provider:
1. Does this solution offer Maintenance, Operations and Inventory in one platform?
2. Does it offer API integrations with tools we use today?
3. Will someone answer the phone when I need support?
4. Will they train my team and ensure we are mission ready?
5. Is the sensitive data of my passengers and fleet secure?
Today, many operators know they need better solutions, but may not be aware that there are options out there that do all of the above and more.
If you’re ready to improve communication and take your operation to the next level, check out Flightdocs Enterprise – fully connected, 24/7/365 support, and backed by the highest standards of security.
What are some of the ways you are connected today? What are your best practices? Share below.