Joe Barber

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    Who’s Onboard? Onboarding Your Managed Aircraft see more

    NAFA member, Joe Barber, CAM, Vice President Fleet Development with Clay Lacy Aviation, discusses onboarding your managed aircraft.

    You’ve bought a new aircraft, or are happy with your current one. In considering many factors, including the frequency of your travel, your need for a “turnkey” operation, and maybe your desire for some charter revenue, you’ve decided to enlist the services of a professional aircraft management company. You’ve done your research (See “Choosing a Management Company,” BAA July/August 2015), made your selection, and are ready to sign.

    Similar to any new service you enlist, there is a start-up phase, referred to as “onboarding.” Onboarding is simply the steps that the company will take to properly prepare itself, the aircraft, and the crew, and to satisfy the FAA and DOT to conduct flight operations in an efficient, cost-effective, safe, and legal manner.

    The onboarding process begins once your decision is made, even before the contract is signed. It begins with a meeting including you and any of your representatives who will be involved with the aircraft, such as your CFO, executive assistant, or risk manager. The management company team typically includes an onboarding specialist and designated aircraft manager, plus representatives from maintenance, accounting, charter, and human resources.  They follow a comprehensive checklist to streamline and expedite the process. Communication is key. The team will meet frequently to review the status of your aircraft transition, and will provide you with weekly updates.

    Certain basic processes – and regulations – must be covered for every aircraft, in addition to designing others to meet your own specific requirements. The best management companies use a recognized project management system together with a system for continual improvement. Developed by Toyota engineers, Kanban and Kaizen focus on achieving high-quality results. Other companies use the Six Sigma method and its focus on Total Quality Management. The basic organizing principle is to start with the end in mind: “What will a successful aircraft ownership experience look like for you?” and then use “reverse engineering” to get there.

    In the “honeymoon period,” usually the first six months, there is a high level of activity and some topics will require your input.  There are more than 180 tasks required to operate safely and meet your individual requirements, which can be grouped into 65 categories, in three main areas:

    • Aircraft Management: Flight operations, accounting, vendor negotiations (e.g. fuel discounts), subscriptions, and insurance.
    • Flight Operations: scheduling (dispatch), ground transportation, record keeping, installation and oversight of a Safety Management System, crew training and schedules, and issuance of flight manuals.
    • Maintenance: inspections, repairs, records and manuals, warranties, equipment compliance, training mechanics, and FAA interface.

    Here are some of the questions you may be asked:

    • If your aircraft is coming from another management company, would you like to keep the same crew members? For example, if you’re moving to a larger or newer aircraft, is your current crew capable of or interested in operating the replacement aircraft?
    • If the management company finds that your crew member does not meet the proper operating standards (identified during transition training), how will this be handled?
    • If the aircraft is on a charter certificate, what are your charter requirements (e.g. annual billable hours/revenue)? Do you want the ability to approve every trip, every time? A good management company will track every opportunity and be able to share how many trips were presented, and how many you accepted or declined with the associated revenue per hour.

    The onboarding process traditionally takes 60-90 days, but may be extended if the FAA is delayed in conducting your certificate acceptance flight or additional crew training is required.  Once complete, you will have one individual assigned to you, often referred to as a “Client Advisor” or “Aircraft Manager” who will serve as your primary point of contact with the management company to ensure that you have a positive experience.

    This article was originally published by Business Aviation Advisor on September 1, 2019.

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    Are you looking to offer your private jet for charter, read more here! see more

    NAFA member Joe Barber, Vice President of Fleet Development at Clay Lacy Aviation, discusses the best way to offer your private jet for charter.

    A growing number of private jet owners are chartering their aircraft when not in use to reduce the cost of ownership. Before a jet can be chartered, it must conform to a specific set of rules set forth by the FAA (known as Part 135) and be listed on an FAA air carrier certificate. The best way to offer your private jet for charter is through an aircraft management company who holds a Part 135 air carrier certificate.

    The process

    Once a private jet is acquired, a series of steps, both practical and regulatory in nature, must be addressed before the aircraft can conduct its first charter flight. The most effective way to conform a private jet for charter is with an aircraft management company who holds a Part 135 certificate. Within the aviation industry, the process of adding a jet to an air carrier certificate is termed conformity. This refers to the time after purchase, close of escrow, but before the first revenue producing charter flight.

    The conformity process typically takes between thirty and ninety days and includes a long list of deliverables. From hiring and training of crew members, reviewing of maintenance records, conducting FAA inspections and more. To avoid delays or complications, the team managing the conformity process should be one with deep experience, a detailed organizational structure, and one who remains in regular communication with the aircraft owner (as well as communicating with the other aviation specialists involved). Here is a look at three critical elements to a smooth conformity process— experience, organization, and communication. 

    Experience

    Not all air carrier certificates are equal, so before you select a management company, it’s important that an aircraft owner ask a few questions. Consider that an air carrier certificate is a security pass to a building with twenty floors. The pass is customizable to allow or authorize access to a particular set of floors. The security pass may authorize access to the lobby and first three floors, but not to the remaining fifteen floors. In the same way, the FAA issues an Air Carrier Certificate with certain “authorizations” that are increasing in their complexity and freedoms. Here are a few examples of such authorizations:

    • Area of Operation
      • The operator may be limited to conducting charters in the domestic United States, Canada, and Mexico vs. worldwide authority. Even flying to Hawaii requires special authorizations.
    • Size of Aircraft as defined by number of seats
      • Nine or fewer seats is one category vs. ten or more seats.

    These are only two examples of authorizations. There are many more to consider when choosing to charter a jet. The management company selected should already have the proper authorizations and experience to charter the type of plane under ownership. If the jet operator does not have the prior experience with that aircraft type, the aircraft may be restricted on the particular charters. There is also a possibility that an aircraft owner introducing a new aircraft type to a management company will become a test case for the organization; which will most likely result in delays and unnecessary complications.

    Organization

    Experienced aircraft management companies understand that efficiency and streamlining operations is built upon exceptional organization. Due to the sheer number of tasks and wide-ranging topics addressed during conformity, it is impossible for one person to have the necessary experience and time to accomplish all tasks in an expedited manner. Therefore, a team of specialists must be employed. This team is led by the aircraft manager who acts as a central point of contact to keep the conformity process on schedule, while specialized software is utilized to digitally manage, categorize, and organize the varied tasks required to conform the aircraft to Part 135.

    The aviation team surrounding an aircraft owner and set in place throughout private jet ownership. An aircraft manager acts as the focal point for the aircraft owner. 

    Communication

    An experienced and organized team with state-of-the-art tools is great but without effective and timely communication, the conformity process can be difficult. Here again, the aircraft manager plays an essential role as the single point of contact for the aircraft owner. The aircraft manager acts as a leader and liaison to inform a private jet owner of key milestones and discussing options without burdening them with the intricate details and idiosyncrasies of the conformity process.

    In addition to the communication that exists between an aircraft owner and an aircraft manager, the aircraft manager advocates for the aircraft owner during meetings with the rest of the management company team. Communication with the conformity team should be occurring multiple times a day to ensure everything is on schedule. “At Clay Lacy, our conformity team meets twice a week. During these meetings, we discuss what tasks have been completed, are being completed, and must be completed to reach current and future goals,” says Joe Barber, Director of Aircraft Management at Clay Lacy Aviation. “We keep the owner informed of what is being accomplished, so they have peace-of-mind that their aircraft will be conformed on schedule.”

    This article was originally published by Clay Lacy Aviation on their Insights Blog.