“Old, Bold” Pilots
There is an old saying among pilots that started back in the days of US fighter pilots in World War II. The saying goes that there are “Old Pilots”, and then there are “Bold Pilots”, but there aren’t any “Old, Bold” ones – because the bold pilots were the ones who didn’t last long.
Although the aircraft they command are certainly different in purpose and safety, the same admonition holds true for today’s private jet pilots. The basic premise of this philosophy is that we should always accept a bit of inconvenience for the sake of safety.
With cold weather conditions on the horizon, the best pilots know that it’s always wise to take the safe approach when flying in bad weather, even if it means waiting for conditions to improve. When your personal safety is at stake, especially during harsh winter conditions, the conservative approach is always the best one.
When traveling in unpredictable winter weather conditions such as snow and ice, you should always ask your pilots about your alternatives. Your Stratos Jets agent will also be glad to make any changes to accommodate your travel needs at any point, such as changing ground transportation services when an alternative airport is being used, even when you are inflight.
Of course this may sometimes result in additional travel costs regarding your itinerary, but our first mission is to protect the safety of our clients. At Stratos Jet Charters, your safety is our chief concern for every decision we make and action that we take. This can mean the difference between a delay in reaching your destination vs. never reaching your destination at all.
One potentially unforeseen expense can result from de-icing your aircraft, an absolutely critical and necessary step when snow and ice are present. This can take extra time and cause possible delays, but your safe arrival at your destination is our ever present and constant goal. When you work with Stratos Jets to arrange your private jet charter flight, we will never, ever take chances with your personal safety.
When considering the potential for travel delays, another factor is the usage of a number of different landing approaches/techniques used by pilots. These depend on the airport runway used and its orientation, current weather conditions, and a number of other components including traffic patterns, traffic volume, the presence of instrument procedures at the airfield, or navigational aids being out of service due to bad weather.
We will save the technical details for future posts, but the general approach categories are the Instrument Approach and the Visual Approach. Instrument Approaches are either precision or non-precision, which both include a number of categories or systems used to land an aircraft. These can be the Direct (Straight In) Approach, The Reversal Procedure, the Circle to Land Approach, the Simultaneous Close Parallel Approach and the Simultaneous Offset Instrument Approach, among others. Some of these, such as the Circle to Land Approach, are more difficult than others.
Sometimes the type of Approach used, the conditions on the ground, and harsh winter weather, can come together to create travel delays, such as when these variables combine to cause a “missed approach”. This happens when pilots have not acquired the visual references that they need to land when they reach the “decision altitude” or height (DH/A) — the specified altitude when the choice to land or circle again for another pass must be initiated.
As you might expect, a “missed” approach has the potential to occur more often during winter weather conditions, because of the increase in fog and poor visibility conditions. These are situations where a “bold” pilot might try to land the plane on the first pass, even if they have not established the required visual reference beyond all doubt at the DA/H.
“Old pilots” will always take the safest, most conservative approach to landing their aircraft. The pilots of every charter flight we arrange are some of the most experienced and skilled in the industry, and will take this more conservative course of action every time.
Stratos Jets will only work with aircraft and operators that are in full compliance with FAR Part 135, and our pilot training and experience requirements. We are one of the few air charter agencies in the industry that provide third party safety audits on all Part 135 Jet Charters from an independent auditor such as Wyvern or ARG/US for every charter flight. This ensures the aircraft operator’s total compliance with our strict aircraft maintenance and crew experience requirements. It also ensures that you and your loved ones fly with “old” and not “bold” pilots, each and every charter flight.