Part 91 vs 135 Aircraft Management: Which One Is Right for You?

Private jet owners have two main options when choosing an aircraft management company

June 11, 2018 Stratos Jet Charters
aircraft management company

Frequent users of business aviation are likely familiar with the terms Part 91 and Part 135 operations. These are the regulations established by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that govern the use of civilian aircraft. If you own a private jet and are seeking an aircraft management company, you’ll need to decide which Part is best for you.

Each set of regulations has its pros and cons. Basically, your decision will come down to whether you want to enter your aircraft into some form of commercial air service. This is a popular choice for airplane owners who want to offset the cost of ownership. If you do, you’ll need to adhere to the more restrictive Part 135, as this covers commercial operations where passengers pay for the privilege of flying aboard your aircraft. This also applies to flying cargo for a client.

Part 91, on the other hand, is for non-commercial operations.

Why Are Part 135 Operations More Tightly Regulated?

Let’s say you have two people who each own a Citation CJ1 light jet. One of them flies hers for personal travel only, while the other lets an aircraft management aircraft management companycompany rent theirs out for jet charter service when they’re not using it. It’s the same aircraft, but the former will follow Part 91 and the latter Part 135.

The reason for this is the FAA wants to ensure the safety of the end consumer. To do this they hold all aspects of a commercial charter operation to a higher standard, including:

  • Aircraft
  • Operating company
  • Pilots

For instance, under Part 91, pilots can legally fly for as long as they want without taking a mandated break. It’s certainly not recommended, but that’s how the regulations work. Part 135, on the other hand, limits the number of consecutive hours a pilot can fly before requiring a break. Furthermore, they must rest for a set number of hours before resuming flight duty.

There are other key differences between the two sets of regulations pertaining to:

  • Maintenance
  • Operational requirements
  • Security

Part 91 Aircraft Management

If you intend on flying your aircraft solely for personal reasons, and you won’t be collecting compensation for transporting passengers or cargo, an aircraft management company can help ensure it meets all of the criteria for Part 91 operations, including:

  • Aircraft maintenance
  • Pilot hiring and training
  • FAA compliance

Some firms will even assist you with travel planning.aircraft management company

A Part 135 management company will provide all of the services above, but will also place your aircraft with a charter operator. You will then enter into an agreement that covers important aspects such as:

  • Monthly management fees
  • Revenue split
  • Insurance
  • Crew training, salaries, benefits etc.
  • Hangar and fuel costs

For more about choosing a jet management company, read our post: Buying a Private Jet: Considerations for the First-time Buyer.

If you’re looking to simplify aircraft ownership, talk to Stratos Jet Management & Consulting. We offer a turnkey management style that includes manager evaluation, aircraft placement and reporting. Call us at (407) 657-5001.

Safety First – Airline Regulations Over Time

May 11, 2018 Stratos Jet Charters

Since that fateful day, December 17th 1903, when Wilbur and Orville Wright first took to the skies in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, powered flight has been both a blessing for consumers and a constant concern for lawmakers. Within one century, powered flight went from a somewhat fanciful idea to a strictly military disciple to a multi-billion dollar industry with millions of people taking to the skies every year. With such a far reach, it became important that airlines were well-regulated. Without such regulations, it would be possible for airlines to take advantage of the flying public, or, far worse, put them in danger. Airline regulations today are vast and complicated, but how did we get here?

Air Mail

While it can be difficult to imagine today, air travel was a rather slow discipline to catch on. Innovations in air travel were slow, tedious, and expensive. Commercial air travel was slower still, as air travel was not seen as something that was worth the expense. Further, given the start of World War I, all innovations in air travel were geared toward the military.

Domestic, non-military air travel did not truly begin taking leaps until the government invested in air mail. Shipping the mail by air meant greatly reduced shipping times, guaranteeing swifter commerce and communication, advancements from which the government could greatly benefit. Seeing this benefit, the government invested $100,000 to advance air mail. This eventually led the Contract Air Mail Act of 1925. This unprecedented piece of legislation gave much of the responsibility and cost of shipping air mail to private companies. With free enterprise came innovation, and after this act, commercial airlines began making some rapid advancements.

The Watres Act and Air Mail Act of 1934

By 1930 it became apparent that the idea to allow the private sector to handle air mail had been a good one, and the government sought to further this relationship. In order to do this, Congress approved the Watres Act. The Watres Act was instrumental in allowing the government to create longer term contracts with private businesses to control air mail. These longer term contracts were extremely lucrative to the participating airlines and brought forth an age of larger and more powerful airlines, which would eventually lead to the sizes of airlines we see today.

As a result of the Watres Act, governmental contracts became extremely important to airlines. With that importance came some corruption, with many smaller airlines claiming larger airlines had an unfair advantage when it came to getting these contracts. To ensure greater equality, the government created the Air Mail Act of 1934, which ensured a more even distribution of government contracts. With this, contracts were not necessarily something a company could build itself upon, and so they had to focus on the passenger side of air travel.

Plane Advancements

Over the next several decades, several advancements were made to actual airliners to allow for the coming explosion of the industry. Advancements were no longer only about reliability and safety, but almost equally important was customer comfort. Boeing built cabins that were insulated from the noise of the engines, making travel a more enjoyable experience. Jet planes came to be able to carry an amount of customers that made passenger travel a profitable endeavor. With the invention of pressurized cabins, the airline industry was finally at a point where they could carry enough passengers to make a profit, and enough passengers wanted to fly. Demand and supply had come to some sort of balance, and come the 1950s, the airline industry finally reached a tipping point and started to resemble what we see today.

The Modern Airline Industry

After the end of World War II, the airline industry became what would be considered “modern.” Average people could fly, and the skies became more crowded. So crowded, in fact, that in 1956, over the Grand Canyon, two jet planes collided in mid-air, prompting the government to make new regulations to ensure the safety of the flying public. Congress passed the Federal Aviation Act of 1958, which created the federal body that would come to be known as the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA was charged with creating, maintaining, and advancing the air traffic control system. With this advancement in passenger safety, people could have faith that flying was a viable, safe means of travel, paving the way for the airline and private jet industry as we know it today.

Flight Accessibility Resources

May 11, 2018 Stratos Jet Charters

Thanks to modern technology, people who live with a disability have the ability to enjoy many of the activities that people without a disability take for granted. One of these is the freedom to get on a plane and travel across the country or around the world. Whether flying on a private jet or a commercial airline, people with visual or mobility impairments or any other form of disability can take a flight without fear of discrimination. Disabled travelers will, however, need to take special steps to prevent inconveniences and to protect their safety. Before traveling by plane, one must understand what potential challenges to expect and how to stay safe and healthy during their trip.

Traveling With Medication and Assistive Equipment

Many disabled individuals require the use of assistive equipment or devices such as wheelchairs, oxygen tanks, or other portable devices. As a result, travelers will need to ensure that the airline is aware of this need and accommodations are made. To avoid unexpected delays or problems, disabled passengers should contact the airline they will be traveling on to let them know what type of equipment they have and, in the case of a wheelchair, whether it is manual or powered. This distinction is important, as this equipment will need to be properly stowed on the plane. If a passenger is using a powered wheelchair or scooter, the airlines will also need to know what type of battery it uses. Wet cell batteries are spillable batteries and must be disconnected during the flight. Dry and gel cell batteries are considered non-spillable and can remain connected. If you are uncertain about what type of battery the wheelchair uses, consult the manual or the manufacturer directly.

In addition to assistive equipment, many disabled people need some form of medication. Before getting on an airplane to travel from or to the U.S., it is necessary to know what rules and restrictions govern traveling with medication. Ideally, if traveling internationally, one should contact the country that they are visiting to determine the legality of the prescription medications they are bringing with them. This is important, as some medications may be illegal in certain countries and not others. Disabled travelers should also carry documentation from their physician regarding their condition and about the prescription, including its name and the dosage. Generally, one should carry their medications in the prescription bottles they came in, leaving the printed labels intact. It is best to carry up to a 90-day supply of pills to avoid running out. Liquid medications, however, may be subject to restrictions governing how much can be carried on versus stowed in checked baggage. Both liquids and solids may be transported in checked baggage or in carry-on bags; however, officials at the airport must be made aware of the presence of liquid medications.

Safety and Health Tips for Travelers

While traveling, safety and health are especially important considerations for people with disabilities. When preparing for a trip, it’s important to consult a doctor to ensure that there are no current health concerns that could be a problem during the trip. The doctor can recommend vaccines, help make arrangements for care if necessary, and provide valuable advice on how to avoid diseases or illness. One should also check with their health insurance carrier if traveling abroad to ensure that they have international coverage. As with all airline passengers, people with disabilities will need to go through security screening as a general flight safety precaution. Often, there is a special screening line for individuals who use assistive devices. Although inconvenient, this is an important step toward ensuring safety while traveling. For the safety and comfort of disabled passengers, a jet with 30 seats or more must be able to provide these travelers with an aisle seat that has a removable armrest for easier access.

Traveling Tips

There are some basic tips that can make traveling much smoother and problem-free. While many people with disabilities can move about independently, traveling by plane may still be a challenge for some. Traveling with a companion can provide a helpful extra hand in certain situations. One should also call the airlines ahead of time to determine what type of assistance they provide for people with disabilities.

Making advance arrangements for transportation to and from the airport is also a helpful tip, as it prevents unnecessary frustration and delays upon arrival or departure. It is also useful to anticipate extra time spent at security checks. To avoid any sense of anxiousness, arrive an hour earlier than recommended. Another tip that can make flying more comfortable is to avoid long flights in favor of shorter connecting flights. When taking connecting flights, choose those that allow an hour or more between them to ensure that there is enough time to use the bathroom and move between gates. In addition to time spent traveling, it is also helpful to thoroughly research the area that is being visited to make plans for where to visit, how to get there, and what places may be difficult or challenging for people with disabilities.

Why Stratos Jets Says ‘No’ to Piston-powered Charter Flights

Turbofan and turboprop engines offer superior performance and safety over pistons

April 17, 2018 Stratos Jet Charters
Piston charter flights

Aviation is an inherently risky activity. As a charter broker, Stratos Jets’ goal is to mitigate that risk whenever we organize charter flights for clients. It’s one of the reasons we choose not to use piston-powered aircraft when transporting clients.

This doesn’t mean we believe piston aircraft are unsafe. Quite the opposite is true (as a general aviation enthusiast, company President Joel Thomas pilots a piston aircraft). It’s just that they’re not as safe as aircraft that utilize turboprop and turbofan engines.

Given a reasonable choice, we always base our decisions on what’s best for the client. In this instance, choosing an aircraft that’s statistically proven to be safer is a no-brainer.

Simple Is Safer

piston engine aircraft are less safe for charter flights

Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp piston engine.

Believe it or not, jet engines are actually less complex than piston engines. The latter

have more moving parts, which means there are more things that can fail. It also means there are more things to maintain.

Superior Performance

In addition to being simpler by design, turbofan and turbojet engines boast better performance characteristics than their piston-powered counterparts. Not only can they operate at higher altitudes, they can climb faster.

This is a distinct advantage when flying in inclement weather. Modern jet charters can climb through, and fly above, adverse conditions to provide a safer, smoother charter flight experience. A piston aircraft, on the other hand, will be forced to:

  • Delay departure until weather improves
  • Detour around the weather system (takes longer)
  • Alter arrival point

One of the main reasons business and leisure travellers prefer charter flights is there’s much less risk of flight delays and cancellations compared flying on an airline. Travelling on a piston aircraft is far less predictable.

Pilot Experience

High-end private jets are worth a considerable amount of money. For example, the Charter flights require experienced pilotsexquisite Gulfstream G650 jet charter is worth a cool $65 million. To protect their investment, charter operators and owners only want the most experienced pilots, which offers an inherent benefit to charter consumers.

For instance, Stratos Jets requires all Pilots in Command (PIC) to have their Airline Transport Pilot license, as well as a minimum of 3,000 total flight hours, half of which have to have been served as the PIC.

Piston-engine aircraft also require a significant investment, but not nearly as much as a luxury jet. As such, the standards for pilot experience tend to be lower.

Aircraft Maintenance Standards

In general, piston aircraft owners aren’t as well capitalized as jet owners (if they were, they’d own private jets). With fewer financial resources at their disposal, most will be less inclined to invest in the preventative maintenance required to keep their aircraft in peak condition. Instead, they take a more reactive approach.

For more on this, read: Differentiating Beyond Price – Your Tool Kit For Making Intelligent Jet Charter Decisions Part 2: Aircraft Maintenance.

Third-party Audits

To provide clients with added peace of mind, and to ensure the charter planes we select are the safest available, Stratos Jets partners with third-party safety auditing companies like Wyvern and ARGUS. They scrutinize charter operators for key criteria, including:

  • Operational history
  • Aircraft maintenance
  • Pilot training
  • Financial stability

This service isn’t available for piston aircraft.

Stratos Jets requires third-party audits on all charter flights to ensure the highest standard of air charter safety. Call us to learn why we Soar Higher than the competition in terms of safety, comfort and service—888-593-9066.