There are many reasons to fly private over commercial. From the luxury and comfort of a private cabin to the convenience of access to remote locations, private flight gives travelers a serious leg-up over commercial flight.
But whether you’re flying private for business or pleasure, you’ll want to make sure your flight is safe and reliable before you embark on your next trip.
Luckily one of the many advantages of flying private is enjoying even more safety than a commercial flight. Over the past 15 years, more passenger fatalities have happened on commercial flights than on charter and private planes.
Safety should be the number one concern for any private carrier who wants to stay in business. But how can you be sure you’re choosing a private aviation company that takes your safety as seriously as you do?
From pilot history and experience to safety certifications, here are 5 important safety considerations when choosing a private aviation company.
1. Pilot History and Requirements
Picture yourself nestled into an oversized chair, sipping a glass of your favorite wine and settling in for a relaxing flight. But even with your feet kicked up, you’ve got to ask yourself, “who’s flying this thing?”
Pilot history and safety requirements are the first important consideration when vetting the safety of your private aviation company.
Most private carrier pilots come from distinguished careers as major commercial pilots or chief pilots for Fortune 500 companies. You can check out the Federal Aviation Administration’s requirements for private pilots and make sure the company you’ve chosen has certified pilots who meet these requirements.
A quality private carrier should also disclose how many hours its pilots have logged. Look for a carrier whose pilots’ hours go beyond what is required by the FAA and have spent more time in the air than the competition
If you can’t verify that your private carrier is a FAA registered operator and approved carrier, that’s a red flag.
Check the company’s website for an FAA authorized aircraft certificate and proof of current hull and liability insurance for the tail numbers of the planes from the company before booking.
In terms of safety certifications, any serious business or organization looking to send its employees on a private flight should be thorough in making sure the carrier has the required certification to operate flights.
Since safety should be the highest priority for any private carrier, specific information regarding the company’s status with the FAA should be readily available and easy to find on their site.
If not, keep shopping for other options.
Just like the pilot of your flight must meet safety standards and requirements, so should the plane itself — and the crew who maintenance it.
All maintenance personnel need to be licensed with the FAA when working on a private flight. A top-quality private aviation company will also provide their personal with ongoing education on aircraft frames, engines and more as technology and safety protocols are constantly progressing.
Your private carrier should maintain a rigorous SMS, or Safety Management System for their operations. This system should address vital safety questions, including:
- Do the maintenance crew and pilots perform a risk assessment before every trip
- Has the carrier developed a systematic approach to controlling risk?
These are important questions to ask the FBO before you fly. And with a top-quality carrier, you should be able to find this information on their website.
International & Unique Location Experience
Whether you’re flying from Colorado to Utah or New York to Tokyo, environmental changes can be a problem for pilots who don’t have experience flying in more challenging conditions.
Factors like high altitude, hot air and mountainous terrain can all pose potential issues for a private jet pilot. The easiest way to travel assured is to know that the company has experience flying in the locations where you’re interested in going.
For instance, Mountain Aviation pilots are specialized in navigating “high and hot” terrain, which is some of the most challenging terrain to navigate in the world.
If you’re heading overseas, you should check that the carrier you plan to fly with has a history of trips in and out of international locations — specifically in the location you’re headed.
Make sure the company is certified by the FAA for worldwide flight operation. This shows all pilots are trained and experienced in navigating various terrains and altitudes around the world.
Mountain Aviation is an FAA Part 135 Approved Air Carrier, which makes it fully authorized for worldwide flight operational authority.
Safety Track Record
The best private flight companies don’t just say they’ve got the most reliable pilots, skilled maintenance personnel and experienced flight coordinators — they’ve got the awards to show it.
The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is the go-to organization for companies that depend on general aviation to give their business a leg up on the competition.
In Mountain Aviation’s 20th year of business, the company was awarded the NBAA Safety Award for its track record and high standards. More recently, Mountain Aviation joined the Air Charter Safety Foundation, supporting the highest levels of safety in the aviation industry.
When choosing your private aviation company, look for a company with a pristine reputation for safety. And recognition from a leading organization like the NBAA is a great place to start.
Safety is the top priority of Mountain Aviation’s business operations. See our extensive list of safety certifications, awards, and maintenance standards that prove you’re in safe hands when you fly with us >