Thinking of moving on up and ready to hire a private charter plane for the grand vacation of your life? That’s wonderful! Before you sign on the dotted line however, do keep these safety tips in mind as you decide which private jet charter to use.
Pilot Background and Experience
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires pilots working for private jet charter companies to have logged between 1,000 to 1,500 flight hours in their professional career. Reputable charter companies require their pilots to have at 2,500 hours of flight experience.
Industry best practice recommends both pilot and co-pilot to have at least 3,000 hours of flight experience each and the captain to have 300 hours in the aircraft type to be flown. Additionally, the crème de la crème of private jet charter companies are constantly growing their safety culture by obtaining Argus, Wyvern, and International Standards for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO) ratings. Ask to see legitimate proof of their pilots’ credentials. There is no substitute for excellent training and years of experience in an emergency situation 30,000 feet in the air.
Some private jet companies have their own in-house crew of competent, certified airplane mechanics and technicians to service their fleet. Others hire recognized and licensed third parties to perform the necessary maintenance on their planes. One is not necessarily better than the other. It is vital however, that the aircraft management company be able to show proof of a current, clean safety audit.
The aviation industry (commercial or private) is highly regulated and safety is always the paramount concern. The FAA (as well as other private inspection firms) maintains a record of every charter company’s safety inspection history. Ask to see this before making your decision.
Proof of Insurance
Although the FAA requires all private charter companies in the United States to carry insurance, it does not require private plane owners to insure their aircraft. Some enterprising private plane owners present themselves as legal charter operators in order to cash in on the ‘easy money.’
One way to distinguish the pretenders from the legitimate private charter providers is to see proof of their insurance. If you’re chartering a jet and they don’t have at least a $10 million policy, odds are you’re dealing with an enterprising private plane owner. Keep your checkbook in your breast pocket and move on.
Flying is one of the safest ways to travel, and flying on a private jet is one of the most luxurious ways to do it. If you do your homework and screen your aircraft management company carefully, you might never take another commercial flight again.