Archive Monthly Archives: July 2020

On-the-Fly Mission Decisions Over the North Atlantic

In debriefing and reflecting on some recently completed missions, the Shepherd Aero team has been looking at the challenges that can arise without warning when operating aircraft across country borders, and the on-the-fly decisions that must be made collectively to ensure a safe conclusion to every flight.

Shepherd Aero recently brought an aircraft back from Europe to the United States via the North Atlantic, and we had planned for Bangor, Maine to clear U.S. Customs, which is a common stop for private aircraft crossing the North Atlantic due to its ideal location in the Northeast USA. However, in the descent into Bangor, our crew was directed to Burlington, Vermont by air traffic control as Bangor could not accommodate our flight. After our operations and dispatch team spent time working with the customs officer in Burlington, we found out they would not allow us to clear there due to COVID-19 restrictions, so we had to make yet another on-the-fly decision to change the destination again.

This time, it was Boston, Massachusetts. Unfortunately, after running the flight profile, Boston was out of range for this particular leg and aircraft, so we had to re-plan AGAIN to make an overnight stop in Quebec City in Canada. There, our crew had a warm welcome from the local facilities despite our last-minute arrival. Ultimately, the extra stop in Canada was very much needed so both our crew and dispatch team could spend adequate time researching where to clear USA customs and ensure no further deviations.

Boston was still the next stop after a rest overnight in Quebec City. Once our crew finally made it to Boston, just when we thought we were in the clear, we had to deal with paying a fuel and handling bill roughly 4-5 times the cost what it would normally run in Bangor. Wow!

Despite all the challenges, the aircraft made it safely to its destination later that day, still on time AND on budget for our client.

All this to say, without Shepherd Aero’s expert team in control of this challenging mission, the end-result could have been much different. Our firm is here to make our clients’ aviation lives easier while delivering unmatched customer service.

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In-Aircraft Training During a Pandemic

“To most people, the sky is the limit. To those who love aviation, the sky is home.”

Not even a worldwide health crisis can keep aviation from pushing forward. The team at Shepherd Aero has been airborne lately with in-aircraft training for a few of our owner-pilot clients. With proven curriculum, we are the only FAA Part 141 HondaJet pilot training course in the world. Plus, with regular COVID-19 testing of both client and instructor, we are paving the way for safe and efficient training in this new normal.

Whether looking for recurrent or initial type training, Shepherd Aero stands ready to get–or keep–you airborne. Training at your pace, in your aircraft, at your home airport. We offer courses in the Embraer Phenom 100 and 300, Textron Aviation Citation Mustang and Citation 525-Series, Pilatus PC-12, and Honda Aircraft Company HondaJet.

Contact the Shepherd Aero team to get a customized in-aircraft training quote and details on what our syllabus entails.

ICAO Publishes Guidance for Continued International Aviation Operations

Here’s some good news and information for anyone operating aircraft internationally… We at Shepherd Aero are very happy to see the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) develop and release guidance on safe operation of aircraft during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As Shepherd Aero has been operating with an internally-developed COVID-19 testing and risk mitigation protocol since early April, the fact that ICAO has identified these very techniques as ways to safely operate in this current environment while reducing risk of exposure to the public further bolsters our firm’s program, and we hope to see more and more countries adopt the guidance provided by ICAO as a way to keep critical worldwide air transport operations moving forward. As the electronic bulletin states, the pandemic has “severely disrupted the global aviation network”, and that “it is critical to take into consideration appropriate risk assessments” to allow continued operations.

We highly recommend reading the bulletin and sharing with fellow international aviation authorities and operators.

NBAA recently noted the following related to ICAO’s guidance in this post:

The PHC [Public Health Corridor] concept is based on the use of “clean” crew, “clean” aircraft, “clean” airport facilities and “clean” passengers, with “clean” referring to implementing measures to ensure virus-free status, to the extent possible.

The PHC applies to operations carrying cargo, supporting maintenance activities and positioning aircraft without passengers. This includes ferrying of new and repaired aircraft and transportation of crewmembers for operational purposes.

The ICAO guidance also includes guidelines for crewmembers at airport; pre-, in- and post-flight; and during layovers, as well as a sample aircraft disinfection control record and a Crew COVID-19 Status Card.