Safe Flying Awards: Milestones
In 1998, NBAA started honoring member companies that have flown 50 years or more without an accident, and in 2006 the association added companies that have 60-year safe records. Three years ago, ExxonMobil reached year 75, and this year NBAA is honoring two more organizations that have reached the 75-year mark, Lane Aviation and South Carolina Aeronautics Commission. AIN talked with representatives of several of these recipients to find out about their operations and the learn secrets of their successes.75 Years of Safe Flying
Thomas Deuber, president, Columbus Ohio
Founded by Foster Lane in 1935 and still owned by the Lane family, Lane Aviation is an FBO located at Port Columbus International Airport and Rickenbacker International Airport both in Columbus, Ohio. “It serves all three areas of aviation,” president Thomas Deuber told AIN, “the owner-flown general aviation arena, the corporate aviation fleet and the commercial airline industry.”
When Foster Lane flew his first passengers in the company’s first airplane–a Beech Staggerwing–he issued goggles and a helmet to each passenger, even though the cabin was completely enclosed. Since then the company has flown a “multitude of aircraft, from Taylorcrafts to Lears,” said Deuber. “Lane operates a Cessna Citation III, a Cessna Citation Ultra and we are in the conformity process of a King Air 350. When conformity is complete on the King Air, there will be eight pilots on our certificate. The company employs 125 people.”
Deuber, who has been with Lane Aviation since 1977 and has been president since 2000, said, “I was born with a fascination of all things that fly. I used to ride my bike for miles to hang out at the local airport and watch the planes take off and land. My father had flown B-25s in World War II and when I was about 15, he bought a Piper Cherokee and he would frequently take me with him when he flew. By the time I attended college, he had upgraded to a Comanche and then an Aztec. I remember flying with him in that Aztec back and forth between Ohio University and home. That was my first real taste of general aviation and my love of it continues to this day.”
After graduation, Deuber started a material handling equipment dealership in Dayton, Ohio, Trans-Lift Systems. “I later sold that company and worked as a business consultant,” he said. “Lane Aviation was one of my first clients in the Columbus area and that is where the relationship started.”
Asked about his favorite airplane to fly, Deuber said, “I love flying in any of them, but I usually fly commercial to make certain that our aircraft are available for our charter customers.”
Deuber attributes Lane Aviation’s long safety record to “great people, best practices, the selection and implementation of the right safety management system and a constant commitment to safety at every level in the company. Too often, organizations become ‘reactive’ in their safety cultures, paying attention to safety issues only after something happens. At Lane, the constant monitoring and risk analysis that takes place each and every day means we can have a ‘proactive’ safety culture.”
South Carolina Aeronautics Commission
Hugh Tuttle, chief pilot, Columbia, S.C.
“The South Carolina Aeronautics Commission credits this 75-year award to its long-standing dedication by the pilots and maintenance personnel to its continuing focus on safety,” chief pilot Hugh Tuttle told AIN. “One of the main people who works tirelessly to maintain safety standards is our chief of aircraft maintenance, Neil Baker, who has been a key to our success.”
Baker supervises the daily operation of the line and maintenance section. He has been performing aircraft maintenance since 1972 (38 years) and has been employed at the commission since September, 1985 (25 years). “Before joining us, he was in the U.S. Navy, then with Erie Airways, a Cessna dealer in Pennsylvania. Baker also has his private pilot’s certificate and inspection authorization,” Tuttle continued.
He said that the commission provides safe, efficient reliable and comfortable on-demand air transportation for the governor of South Carolina, the state legislature, constitutional officers and state agencies.
The first airplane used by South Carolina Aeronautics was a blue gullwing Stinson. Over the years, the flight department has operated two King Air 200s; a Learjet 35; a Cessna 402, 421 and 206; a Beech Baron 58; and Bell UH-1, JetRanger and LongRanger III helicopters. The current fleet consists of a King Air 350 and King Air C90. The flight department has two full-time pilots, one part-time pilot and two full-time mechanics.
Tuttle has been at the commission for the past one-and- a-half-years, after serving as chief pilot for two other flight departments. “I enjoy working for the state of South Carolina,” he said. “My favorite aircraft to fly is a Citation. Before coming to the commission, I flew as the chief pilot for the Medical University of South Carolina. I started in aviation running a flight school in Nova Scotia, Canada, and I have many fond memories of my aviation experiences.”
60 Years of Safe Flying
CSX Aviation Department
Dennis L. Jones, director of aviation, Jacksonville, Fla.
CSX, the third largest railroad in the U.S., started its flight department with twin Beeches and DC-3s 60 years ago. It now flies two Hawker 800XPs from Jacksonville International Airport about 1,000 hours a year. Dennis Jones, director of aviation, told AIN that the flight department has seven pilots, including himself, two schedulers, two mechanics and a part-time cleaner. Jones has been with CSX for 33 years and has been director of aviation for 18 years. “I started with CSX as a maintenance technician and part-time copilot,” he said.
“My favorite airplane to fly,” he said, “was a Dassault Falcon 900EX, which we operated for about six years. It was a real pleasure to fly and it handled like a sports car. Most corporate jets handle like a truck, but the Falcon was one you really enjoyed hand-flying.”
Jones said his father got him interested in aviation when he was 16. “He gave me an introductory flight lesson and I was hooked. I got my private and commercial before I graduated from high school, then I got my A&P license after that. I worked as an A&P for several shops around Jacksonville,” he said, “and in 1977, I was lucky enough to be hired by the railroad. It’s a great company to work for.”
Asked about CSX’s long safety record, Jones replied, “I believe the company’s attitude and support for safety is most important. Since I’ve been with CSX, management has always given full support to the aviation department for training, equipment and avionics upgrades. Safety is a core value at CSX, whether it’s trains or planes. The other contributing factor is our aviation personnel. We have well-trained, professional employees who are dedicated to our safety culture and they have an average of 38 years of aviation experience. They are the ones on the front lines every day making the right decisions and they are the ones who deserve this recognition.”
50 Years of Safe Flying
Aerodynamics, Inc. (ADI)
Cheryl Bush, president and CEO, Waterford, Mich.
Aerodynamics, Inc. president Cheryl Bush said that “ADI is one of the most diverse business aviation companies in the U.S. We currently operate under all FAA flight platforms including Part 121/135/125 and Part 91. We are the largest corporate shuttle operator in the world with more than 200,000 passenger enplanements per year and more than 32 flights per day.
ADI also operates an FAA repair station, an authorized service center for Hawker Beechcraft and satellite service center for Pilatus, including an avionics shop and operates an Avitat FBO at its headquarters in Waterford.” In addition, the company also has an aircraft brokerage division and an interior refurbishment division that works on aircraft ranging from Boeings to Bonanzas.
Frank Macartney founded ADI in 1959, and in 1963 the company became a Beechcraft dealer. Through the years it has operated a fleet of Sundowners, Sierras, Bonanzas, Queen Airs and King Airs as demonstrators, charter airplanes and as flight-training aircraft. Bush said, “One of the first charter aircraft ADI offered was a Beechcraft King Air A100 that flew real estate missions for an expanding Fortune 100 discount retail corporation.”
Today, ADI operates 21 aircraft from an Airbus A319 to a Phenom 100. The company has 237 employees, 57 of whom are active pilots. Bush, who joined the company in 1978 and became president in 1992, is not a pilot. “I was very interested in learning to fly when I joined the company,” she told AIN, “however, I got sidetracked early on with a passion for the business side, impressed by its dynamic environment and very hard-working, dedicated people.”
Bush attributes ADI’s long safety record to “the founding principles established from the start by Mr. Macartney. Safety comes first, followed closely by integrity and a commitment to excellence. Back to the early days, there has always been a thirst for knowledge and a healthy competition within our ranks to possess the greatest expertise on our products and services.”