Being a corporate pilot undoubtedly takes skill, patience, and the ability problem solve on the spot! Check out the article, below, to learn how this Honeywell pilot handles an average day in the world of aviation!
Our trip began under bright sunshine at Van Nuys Airport, home base for our small, three-aircraft flight operation. I was looking forward to the next couple of days of shuttling our CEO and her staff to meetings across the country, and then across the Atlantic Ocean; sometimes, this really is the best job on Earth.
Alas, things began heading south from the very beginning, as our maintenance director stopped me as I walked towards the sleek jet to begin my preflight inspection. “We’re AOG thanks to a leaking oil seal in the APU,” he said. “The part will be here tomorrow, probably right around the time you’ll be landing in Luton. We’re pulling [another aircraft] out of the hangar for you now.”
Ugh. I wasn’t looking forward to spending the next hour computing our new weight and balance and fuel burn, and changing around identifiers on our flight plans. So, I did what any reasonable captain would: I delegated those tasks to Greg.
Imagine my surprise when he walked over less than 20 minutes later. “All done!” he said. “Honeywell Flight Sentinel has data for the entire fleet; I gave them our new N-number, and they switched everything over right away. Oh, and here’s the updated fuel load and weight and balance.”
Honeywell Flight Sentinel had already advised us of more favorable tailwinds above our filed altitude, and ATC granted our request for higher altitude without any complaint. A few minutes later, a message came across ACARS of a new challenge. “Looks like there’s a connectivity outage about 50 miles ahead,” Greg reported as we flew across northern Arizona.
Over the past few years, in-flight connectivity has become a critical flight-planning consideration, as important as total trip time and fuel burn. Furthermore, I knew our CEO had planned a teleconference en route to Wichita, and I didn’t relish having to inform her that those plans were off.