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Minimum Equipment Lists

Our best days in the flying business are when the weather is clear, the winds are behind us, and the airplane is humming along, skimming the tops of the clouds like a Pegasus. Add in a plane load of interesting people headed out to one or more of the places interesting people tend to go, and the experience becomes downright sublime. We get to experience a lot of days like this thanks to a long and growing list of customers like you.

However, once in a while circumstances arrange themselves in such a way that set us up for disappointment. I’m referring to those days when the weather makes it difficult or impossible for us to land at our intended destination or the conditions make smooth air impossible to find.  Worse yet are those rare occasions when we encounter a mechanical discrepancy with an airplane that cannot be corrected expeditiously or safely deferred.

The reality is that, even with the fail-safe designs and triple redundancies built into modern business aircraft, all operators will occasionally encounter situations where a flight cannot be continued due to an abnormal mechanical condition. 

As with all things aviation, there are very specific rules that apply to initiating and/or continuing a flight with any piece of equipment or component that stops working like it’s supposed to. These rules are contained in a Minimum Equipment List (MEL), an aircraft-specific document that is published by the operator under the watchful eye of FAA regulators. The MEL spells out the situations where adequate redundancies or a transfer of functionality to other operable equipment can effectively nullify the impact an inoperative component has on airworthiness and allow a flight to be continued uneventfully. 

In situations where a discrepancy is not addressed by the MEL, the airplane must be grounded until corrective action is made. It’s a very good system that takes the human element out of the equation and assures that “Go/No Go” decisions are not made in a vacuum. And that keeps everyone safe.

Last year our dispatch reliability ran at better than 98% which speaks well of the aircraft we operate and our crack team of mechanics that keep them in superb condition. But even with those stats, we are in relentless pursuit of 100% reliability. For 2017 we are committing to assembling the resources needed to recover any flight impacted by mechanical issues within a two-hour time frame. It’s our way of earning your confidence on every flight.

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