BizAvJets USA Summer 2021

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A BizAvJets Inc./In Flight USA Joint Publication • Volume 1, Number 2 • Summer 2021

ALL IN AVIATION Providing ‘Personal’ Jet Training

Learjet Heiress and Entrepreneur Erin ‘Elle’ Lear Brings on New Era in Aviation

OGARAJETS ‘Fostering’ Aircraft Transaction Confidence for 40 Years

GRANT CARDONE Billionaire Business Aviation Advocate Shares BizAv Insights and the Benefits of Going ‘Under Cover’

w e s t s t a ra v i a t i o n . c o m

Summer 2021

A Letter from the Publishers Dear Readers,

Welcome to the Summer 2021 issue of BizAvJets USA. We are thrilled to have published our second issue this year and thank you for continuing to support the effort to make business aviation news and its charitable efforts accessible to the aviation public.

Business aviation is bound for great things this year and in the years to come. More passengers are choosing to fly private in the wake of the pandemic, and bizjets are selling better than ever. In this issue, we feature an interview with the master, Grant Cardone, who offers plenty of advice on making money and using business aviation to make business better and easier. Also in this issue is an interview with Las Vegas’s All In Aviation, a growing young company set for great success. This quarter, Elle Lear talks about the amazing work she is doing with young women in aviation, and we delve deeper into lifesaving missions. Grandview Aviation has some new updates that are sure to excite the industry while OGARAJETS graces our back cover.

Don’t forget to read another touching story from Threshold Aviation on the great work they do with people and animals in need, and enjoy some good humor as Matt Odenbrett tells his crazy story of navigating customs.

These are just a few of the stories and news updates featured in this issue. We look forward to seeing you at Grant Cardone’s workshop in Florida, AirVenture Oshkosh, and NBAA in Vegas in the fall. Sincerely,

Annamarie Buonocore and Eli Stepp Publishers

P.O. Box 5402, San Mateo, CA 94402 (650)358-9908, Fax (650) 358-9254 Co-Publishers Annamarie Buonocore and Eli Stepp Managing Editor Vickie Buonocore Production Editor Steve Pastis Associate Editor Paul T. Glessner Columnists Mark DiLullo and Matt Odenbrett Advertising Sales Paul T. Glessner and Michael Klein Business matters, advertising and editorial concerns should be addressed to In Flight USA, P.O. Box 5402, San Mateo, Calif. 94402 or by calling (650) 358-9908–fax (650) 358-9254. Copyright © 2008-2021 In Flight Publishing. BizAvJets USA is not responsible for any action taken by any person as a result of reading any part of any issue. The pieces are written for information, entertainment and suggestion – not recommendation. The pursuit of flight or any action reflected by this paper is the responsibility of the individual and not of this paper, its staff or contributors. Opinions expressed are those of the individual author, and not necessarily those of BizAvJets USA. All editorial and advertising matter in this edition is copyrighted. Reproduction in any way is strictly prohibited without written permission of the publisher. BizAvJets USA is not liable or in any way responsible for the condition or airworthiness of any aircraft advertised for sale in any edition. By law the airworthiness of any aircraft sold is the responsibility of the seller and buyer.



Summer 2021


Recently completed paint & interior installation for Gulfstream G550 at our Chino, California facility.


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Threshold Aviation Group

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Summer 2021

OGARAJETS Challenger 605



‘Fostering’ Aircraft Transaction Confidence By Eli Stepp

to the buyer at an exceptional value. BizAvJets USA Magazine is very The firm’s expertise of upgrading prepleased to have a highly established owned aircraft, with established indusbusiness aviation organization such as try partners is second to none. OGARAJETS share their time with us. History In the spirit of transparency, this article In 2020 OGARAJETS marked writer has known their organization their 40th year in business. The compersonnel, and watched their success pany was founded by John Foster III for many years. The OGARAJETS with Navy Squadron mate Ed O’Gara. brand is familiar to business aircraft The company looks very different toowner/operators, and business aviaday than it did 40 years ago, and much tion professionals. We recently caught different than it did just 10 years ago. up with company President and CEO The organization is now starting to see John Foster IV (Johnny) who shares the transition into the fourth generaorganization and industry insight. tion of sales and support team. Some Services of the long-standing team members OGARAJETS services include the purchase and sale of new and pre- OGARAJETS President and CEO have chosen retirement. John Foster III, who founded the company in 1980, owned business aircraft. The organi- John Foster IV (Johnny) zation serves as a broker who represents buyers and is still active in the organization. He is in the office on sellers on an exclusive basis, protecting their interests a daily basis, participating in the buying and selling through the transaction and life of ownership.. From a of aircraft while serving as a mentor to young profesdealer perspective, OGARAJETS also maintains the sionals in the organization, as well as business aviation financial resources to purchase and hold inventory in overall. Johnny Foster relates what a real blessing it has both new and pre-owned aircraft on a speculation ba- been to have him not only as a father but as a professis. This occurrence is more common with pre-owned sional mentor with nearly 50 years of private aviation aircraft. They specialize in purchasing and modernizing experience. Pedigree the aircraft through cosmetic enhancements, mainteOGARAJETS’ longevity in the industry enables the nance, and avionics upgrades. This enables OGARAJETS to bring a valuable, desirable up-to-date aircraft organization to own aircraft inventory. It is typical to to market for re-sale. Their expertise also enables them inventory one to two aircraft valued in the $5-10-milto engage with established industry partners to upgrade lion-dollar range, such as a Gulfstream 450 or Chalan aircraft with contemporary state-of-the art enhance- lenger 300. At any time, OGARAJETS may have 10-12 ments, providing a pristine pre-owned business aircraft Continued on Page 6



Continued from Page 5 active aircraft projects in work. The company transacts approximately 45-50 aircraft annually. Company representatives have a thorough knowledge of transacting all types of business and private aircraft. Well-trained, experienced team members handle the light and mid-size aircraft transactions, while seasoned high-level experience personnel handle the super-mid-size, heavy and ultra-long-range complex aircraft transactions. OGARAJETS boasts a client retention rate in excess of 95%, while roughly 80% of their annual engagements comes from repeat and referral clients. The company aims to grow its client base by 15% per year. COVID-19 Impact COVID-19 resulted in very little transaction activity for the company during March through June 2020. This resulted in no income revenue for 90 days. Company personnel took advantage of this time period by concentrating their efforts of improving their internal processes and procedures to become more efficient and effective in their work as a team, which directly benefits the client and their experience.. This “pivot” turned out to be an excellent strategy for downtime, as the business aviation industry as a whole experienced a completely and unexpected strong return in Q3/4. OGARAJETS enjoyed their highest unit transaction count, highest revenue count, and highest profit count in 40 years. The company feels the achievements of 2020 speak volumes to their team’s abilities and professionalism in difficult circumstances. Aircraft Transactions The market witnessed significant transaction flow in the closing 45 days of 2020. Out of the 14 transactions during that period, five were representation for the buyer, seven for the seller, and 2 pieces of owned inventory. OGARAJETS speculates the high rate of transactions at the end of 2020 was a result of potential changing depreciation policies, combined with COVID impact causing increased desire to fly private for safety reasons. One may not realize OGARAJETS represents buyers of new aircraft. Approximately 10 percent of engaged transactions benefit clients on the “buy side” of a new aircraft. The company serves to educate and navigate the buyer through the complexities of purchasing a new aircraft while protecting their interests. It is not only about price and contract terms, but also many other factors come into play. Many times new aircraft purchasers are first-time buyers, and OGARAJETS becomes involved in assisting in other areas such as setting up a flight department. This involves decision making

Interior of OGARAJETS Challenger 605

Summer 2021

of hiring flight department personnel, or engaging with an aircraft management company, as well decisions of airport location, hangar leasing, and further decisions such as insurance and financing. OGARAJETS assists the client to understand the intricacies and benefits of private aviation. While representing a buyer of a new aircraft is a smaller part of the business, relationships are formed, creating opportunities to assist in future transactions. A breakdown of transactions in the past decade have been approximately 70 percent brokerage vs. 30 percent acquisition. However, over the past couple of years, it has changed due to a significant increase in first-time aircraft buyers. This has resulted in an opposite change in 2020 to approximately 50 percent acquisition vs. 50 percent brokerage. Often those are joint transactions of entities upgrading to a larger aircraft while selling the existing aircraft. Looking Forward Factors come into play when looking forward. OGARAJETS makes it a practice to continually gain an understanding of the private aviation landscape, and how potential future complex policies affect their organization and the industry overall. Even with changes in political leadership and potential changes of past policies, as well as the negative impact of 2020, the company remains bullish. Considering all factors, OGARAJETS sees a bright future for business aviation. The only challenge presently is the low availability of quality aircraft. This situation can create a false sense of rising value to owners and hence, sellers. The market can become stale where sellers are not well coached and guided around true expectations of market value. Consequently, aircraft become overpriced, the market lingers, and the supply builds. The industry does not want to see this situation, especially coming into the Continued on Page 25

Summer 2021


Grant Cardone and the Grant Cardone Gulfstream 550

Grant Cardone: Business Aircraft Owner and ‘Undercover Billionaire’ By Eli Stepp

What can one say about Grant Cardone? Well, it seems his accomplishments could fill an entire book, let alone a business aviation magazine article. However, we will give it our best shot to include many of his accolades in this piece. Grant Cardone is CEO of Cardone Enterprises, Cardone Capital, an international speaker, entrepreneur, and author of The 10X Rule and creator of 21 business programs. He owns and operates seven privately held companies as well as a $2 billion multi-family property portfolio. He has been named the number one marketer to watch by Forbes Magazine. He is also the founder of the 10X Movement and the 10X Growth Conference, billed as the world’s largest business and entrepreneur conference. He is also the creator of Cardone University, a very popular online sales training tool with over 50,000,000 users. He is author of seven sales and business books, including the New York Times bestselling author of If You’re Not First, You’re Last, and Axiom Award Winner Sell or Be Sold. Cardone also sets the example with philanthropist efforts. He is a believer in giving back and is the creator of the Cardone Foundation, which provides mentoring and financial literacy education to at-risk people. BizAvJets USA caught up with Mr. Cardone who took time out of his busy schedule to speak with us.

First Experience with Business Aviation Cardone explains his first experience was actually a Gulfstream 200 he previously owned. Prior to taking delivery to the G200, he admits he could never make economic sense of leasing or buying a business aircraft. However, after seeking input and advice from other successful business owners who operated business aircraft, he eventually made the move to owning and operating his own business jet. Cardone explains flying for the first time in his first aircraft was one of the greatest moments in his life. In his own words he explains he felt like the “freaking, biggest, baddest dude in the world” during the G200 delivery flight from Miami to New York. Prior to buying his first aircraft, Cardone laughingly explains he was warned he may never be able to overcome the addiction to private jets. Current Aircraft Ownership Cardone currently owns and operates a Gulfstream 550, which he acquired new in 2017. He and his organization operate the G550 approximately 300 hours per year. He also owns two Leonardo AW139 Helicopters. The AW139 helicopters are often utilized during 10X networking events. Grant Cardone Enterprises employs three pilots for the G550 and two pilots for the AW139 Continued on Page 9


Summer 2021


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Summer 2021

Grant Cardone


Continued from Page 7 Helicopters. They utilize an aircraft management firm to assist in maintenance and operations oversight. Benefits of Owning and Operating a Business Aircraft When asked what the number one benefit is of owning and operating a business aircraft, Cardone explains there are too many excellent benefits to narrow down to one. He greatly appreciates the freedom to travel to multiple destinations. He cites visiting 19 countries in a one-year period for personal and business reasons. Most importantly, he notes his business aircraft is a “great family machine,” allowing his wife and two daughters to travel and spend time with him during his Grant Cardone “undercover” busy flight schedule. He and his family have visited unplanned destinations, including one trip that resulted in ficult part was the realization of not having anything. a first-time visit to Malta. It was a reminder and a realization that many people worry about making a living, worry about what they Future Business Aviation Plans will eat, and may not have the ability to even purchase While Cardone greatly appreciates the benefits of a bottle of water. It was a very humbling experience. business aviation, he mentions he has no interest in learning to fly aircraft and would rather ride in the air- BAJ: What do you appreciate most since you have craft cabin. He explains at the present time he and his done the show? organization are satisfied with their current business aviation assets and capabilities but adds he “could be GC: (Laughing) I appreciate not having cameras in my talked into a new plane” with a broad smile. He recounts face everyday! I appreciate the things we all take for aircraft they have previously researched, which include granted. My first night home in my bed was nice. Also, the Gulfstream 650, Airbus ACJ 22, and Boeing BBJ. having all our employees that support me and help me. He also jokingly agreed the recently announced long- I bought a printer and did not even know how to put the range large cabin Falcon Jet 10X would fit the Cardone cartridge in it. (Laughing again.) Enterprises 10X brand. BAJ: Were you ever recognized as Grant Cardone Undercover Billionaire while being undercover? Thousands of people have been introduced to Grant Cardone via season two of the reality-based program GC: Yes. We had a $10 million real estate deal that was “Undercover Billionaire” on the Discovery Channel. blown because I was recognized. I was not allowed to The premise of the program is to change the identity of utilize any deal if I was recognized. Another time I was a billionaire, send him/her to a new city with only $100, almost recognized even though I was wearing a mask. a cell phone with no contacts, and an old truck for trans- One person asked, “do you know you sound just like portation. The goal for the undercover billionaire is to Grant Cardone?” (Laughing) build a one-million-dollar company in 90 days. Cardone was up to the task and created a $5.5-million-dol- BAJ: Do you stay in contact with people you met from lar organization in 90 days. We asked a few questions Undercover Billionaire? regarding his “undercover billionaire” experience. GC: Yes. Actually Matt Smith and his partner from BAJ: What was it like going from having everything Wake Up Pueblo were in my office recently. I have to nothing? made friendships with several people from the show. GC: The hardest part was losing my name, introducing myself as Lewis Curtis, and lying to people under a false pretense. It was difficult not being able to use my brand and my name that took 25 years to build. The other dif-

Grant Cardone was certainly a pleasure to interview. A huge thanks from BizAvJets USA Magazine for the opportunity. Our best wishes to him, his family, and the Cardone organization.


Summer 2021

A Cirrus aircraft at All In Aviation. (Photo courtesy All In Aviation.)

Emerging Cirrus Training Center Makes Mark on Business Aviation Capital Las Vegas

By Annamarie Buonocore PS: My wife and I are pilots. We both worked at Here at BizAvJets USA, flight training is at the heart of what we do. It is where all aviation begins, and it is Cirrus out of college. We both went to University of the foundation for strong business aviation. As many of North Dakota to become airline pilots. Then Septemyou know, Las Vegas is a major hub for business avia- ber 11 happened, and we couldn’t find jobs with the airtion, so flight schools in the Vegas area are an important lines. So, we sort of got hooked up with Cirrus when part of the development of American business aviation. they were kind of in their infancy. Now it is the number A fairly new Cirrus training center is applying innova- one airplane in the world, and we have been fortunate to tive ideas to flight training and is preparing a new gen- be along for the ride the entire time. eration of flight students to handle the needs of a diverse BAJ: Tell me about where you are based. group of business passengers. This quarter, BizAvJets USA was fortunate to have the opportunity to interview PS: We are sitting in our office at the Henderson the owner of All In Aviation, Paul Sallach, and learn Executive Airport where we just opened our brand new more about their programs. facility just about one year ago. We opened it in the midBAJ: Tell me a little bit about All In Aviation in dle of the pandemic. We still have our office at the North Las Vegas Airport, so we have two locations. general. BAJ: What is your main role in your company? PS: We do pretty much all things Cirrus, from people learning how to fly up through personal transportaPS: I do a little bit of everything to be honest. When tion in the Cirrus aircraft. We start from lesson one and take students up until they get their S50 Vision Jet type you start your own company, you do everything from bookkeeping to flight instruction to sales. Now I have rating. people in those key roles. I focus my time on the Vision Jet and S50 stuff. I am the only commercial-rated pilot BAJ: How long have you been doing this? in the area right now. I oversee company operations but PS: We started the company in 2016 with one air- not the day-to-day items. plane. Now we have 13 airplanes, so in five years, we BAJ: What advice would you give to someone who have grown quite a bit. We have 14 employees. In a wanted to train in a Cirrus plane? short period of time, we have grown pretty fast. BAJ: Why did you choose Cirrus aircraft?

PS: Come on down! Truthfully, we have all brand Continued on Page 11

Summer 2021

Cirrus Training Center...


Continued from Page 10 new airplanes. That is our focus. We are looking for successful people who have always wanted to get their pilot’s license and maybe even purchase an aircraft. Our customers expect a nice airplane, and we deliver on that. BAJ: What was your flight training experience like? PS: Like I said, I went to the University of North Dakota, which is a top school for airline pilots. There were thousands of students going through the training program at that time. It was very rigorous. They have Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet on field at Henderson Airport. 125 airplanes. (Photo courtesy All In Aviation.)

PS: Yes and yes! We literally have an interview this BAJ: What are your plans for the future of All In afternoon with someone who could potentially be the Aviation? Director of Sales for us. We are hiring good instructors PS: With having this new facility here, it has re- and some pilot shop employees. Our goal is to bring in ally opened the doors to more and more managing of strong instructors, and 2021 will continue to be a big people’s aircraft for them. It is not just pilot services year for us. but also hangaring the planes and keeping up with dataBAJ: Do you plan on adding any aircraft to your bases. We wash planes, get thing coordinated for maintenance, and we must say that there is a high level of fleet? concierge services that the customers expect. We want PS: Yes, we were just discussing that before you arto help manage more piston and Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet aircraft. People come from all over the world to do rived. My model is working with brand new airplanes. a demo flight in our SF50 aircraft, and we hope to do We will take anybody’s new airplane and make it work for them. We have new airplanes coming in all the time, more of those. and we have capacity to take more. BAJ: Tell me more about the demo flights? BAJ: What kinds of customers are you seeking right PS: We offer the unique opportunity for people to now? take a tour while being the pilot! You get to sit up at the PS: We will certainly work with younger career-oricontrols with one of our flight instructors. That lesson could be anywhere in the world, the Grand Canyon, the ented individuals, but our main focus is the business client who has a transportation need, whether that’s perHoover Dam, it can be a real bucket list item. sonal or professional. Most are successful people who BAJ: What is your favorite part about owning All want to be in the controls of an airplane. Most of our clients are small business owners who want to purchase In Aviation? their own plane. It is important that people who buy airPS: I would say the unique people I get to meet. planes have the skills to operate them. What is different about being an instructor is that we sit BAJ: Do you have people coming in who want to shoulder-to-shoulder with our customer whereas most people in aviation sit in front of their customers. The de- train in a piston aircraft with hopes of buying a jet one corum is a lot different. When you sit shoulder-to-shoul- day? der with these successful people, there are great opporPS: Absolutely! People will walk in saying they tunities to get to know them, work with them, and help want to learn how to fly in the Vision Jet. This is not them achieve their goals. practical, so we have to walk people back a bit and tell BAJ: Are you hiring and do you see the job market them they need to start at square one. Jets are definitely a goal for many people. in business aviation growing? Continued on Page 27


Summer 2021

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Grandview Aviation Defines Progress in Business Aviation


By Annamarie Buonocore

In business, it is important to find a niche and fill, to acknowledge problems and solve them. One company that is burning up the charter niche and solving problems found in various existing models is Grandview Aviation, also known as Fly Lindy. CEO Jessie Naor offered to tell BizAvJets USA her story on starting a charter company and her views on how the industry will evolve in the future. BAJ: What does Grandview Aviation focus on?

JN: We are a Part 135 operator, and we only do private charters. We own and operate our own airplanes. We do not manage assets. We are an on-demand service. All you have to do is call, and we have a plane for you. BAJ: How long have you been in business? JN: We started back in 2007 as Baltimore Helicopter Services. It has been a while. In 2015, we changed our name to Grandview Aviation because we added fixed-wing services to our existing helicopter services. BAJ: Tell me about your role in the company. JN: I am the Chief Operating Officer. I started here in 2011 as a salesperson, and I have grown as the company has grown. BAJ: How big is the company? JN: We have 85 employees at this time. We also have 10 Phenom 300s in our fleet and a Bell 407 helicopter. BAJ: You mentioned that you are working to improve safety and to make it a top priority. Can you elaborate on how you are doing this? JN: Absolutely. Safety is one of those things where you have to look under the hood to see it. We are really big on managing crew fatigue. We have pilots on call on multiple shifts all day long. We have day shifts and night shifts, so when someone calls us at three o’clock in the morning, we have a well-rested crew. We also don’t allow our pilots to fly more than four nights in a row because of fatigue risk. We monitor fatigue with

A helicopter inside and out that is used by Grandview Aviation. (Photo courtesy Grandview Aviation.)

our safety management program. We have a very robust system and a full-time director of safety who monitors trends on a regular basis. Also, we are always well-prepared for any and all maintenance issues. BAJ: Tell me about your background. JN: I studied air traffic control. That’s what I thought I was going to do in aviation. My dad was a controller. I ended up working here as a salesperson, fell in love with the charter world, and never looked back. BAJ: How can charters help small- to medium-sized businesses during Covid and beyond? JN: There is so much business that has to take place in person, though we have adapted to this virtual world. Continued on Page 24


Summer 2021

Robotics And Sustainability: New Trends To Look Forward To In In-Flight Catering Services By Swamini Kulkarni

In-flight catering services define the luxury of international and domestic flights. As technology evolves, the future of culinary becomes more and more exciting. Consumers have focused on their taste buds as well as the environment. Thus, sustainability has taken root in the in-flight catering services industry. According to Allied Market Research, the global in-flight catering services market is estimated to reach $24.11 billion by 2026, registering a CAGR of 3.6% from 2019 to 2026. The innovations in food technology and government initiatives for sustainable air connectivity are the prime reasons for the market growth. However, the inclination toward sustainability is not the only promising trend in the market. The Covid-19 outbreak has drastically changed the aviation industry. Thus, it was no surprise that the in-flight catering services would change similarly. Impact of Covid-19 on in-flight catering services The aviation industry is one of the worst-hit industries across the globe. The Covid-19 pandemic presented unprecedented challenges and the lockdown across several countries forced companies to ground their planes for a long time. During the pandemic, protecting the supply chain was critical. Suppliers and caterers across the supply chain of in-flight catering services have been trying to shore up the supply chain and support their clients during the Covid-19 pandemic. The departure schedules were shrunk. Thus, communication between airline and suppliers become the most vital aspect. As most of the products are frozen, it has a long life. Thus, several airlines secured their supply chain and developed contingency plans for supply across several manufacturing units and locations. On the other hand, some companies decided to sell in-flight means in stores. Nagoya Air Catering Co, a Japanese company repurposed its in-flight means as bento boxes in supermarkets, department stores, and online portals, due to the sharp decline in flights during the pandemic. The meals included Kobe beef bento and beef fillet sandwiches among other Asia dishes, which were initially intended for passengers became part of supermarkets and hypermarkets. On the other hand, there is a silver lining to the effects of the pandemic on the in-flight catering services industry. More and more companies are focused on reducing waste and trying to move away from boxed goods.

A passenger enjoys a meal aboard a business aircraft. (Photo courtesy Swamini Kulkarni.) According to a survey, it is observed that boxed food is not a sustainable choice once the aviation industry gets back on its track. Although the boxed food is the most suitable option, the demand for pre-order and prebook meals on a flight would increase more than ever. Upcoming trends in in-flight catering services Thanks to innovative technology and complimenting infrastructure, we can order our favorite meals at home at any time. The same update will enter the inflight catering business. The importance of easy-to-use front-end systems and demand for pre-order will increase post-pandemic. The apps for in-flight meal orders are already in play. Order2Seat module developed by RiM solution allows passengers to browse, select and, in the end, pay for the selected meal using their mobile phones without the involvement of cabin crew. Such minimalistic solutions are becoming part of the new normal post-pandemic. Apart from this, the need for cost-cutting will enable airlines to find innovative ways to minimize in-flight handling costs. This involves the integration of robotics in the in-flight catering services. For instance, KLM Catering Services (KCS) has adopted a robot for making meals for economy class. The robot helps reduce production costs while improving customer-centricity and flexibility. It can serve a wide range of products on multiple types of trays and can take requests from the passengers. The adoption of robotics in in-flight catering services is the aftereffect of the Covid-19 pandemic. The risks of the involvement of cabin crew while delivering meals can be avoided using such robots. The Covid-19 outbreak has forced airlines to take cleaning more seriously than ever. In fact, several airlines aim to include Continued on Page 30

Summer 2021

Family Traditions and the Trailblazing Path of Jet Blondie: The Erin “Elle” Lear Story

Here at BizAvJets USA, we know that many of our readers have owned, flown, or enjoyed Learjets over the years. Now the granddaughter of the company, Erin “Elle” Lear, is creating her own great path in aviation that includes charitable activities, inspiring women to fly, and operating her own jets. This story is one of legacy, spirit, and love for aviation.


By Annamarie Buonocore

BAJ: Tell us a little bit about your work and plans for women in aviation. EL: We are looking to roll out an academy that focuses on electric airplanes and that zooms in on marketing that is going to help get more females interested in obtaining their pilots license. We are looking to inspire men and Clay Lacy owns Lear 23 N1965L, S/N 012, which entered service in Nowomen alike to get more involved in vember 1964. (Photo courtesy Elle Lear.) aviation with some of the marketing that we are going to EL: George Bye invented the first all-electric E-Flyer. roll out in 2023 or early 2024. This program will hope- It is a two-seater, and he has a couple of other models fully reduce the cost of flight training. Electric aircraft coming out. We are the first in line. There is nobody can really help save money. We are taking baby steps to ahead of us in terms of electric airplanes. This is a huge get there. This is called Birde Academy. deal. We will be first on the line bringing on this new era of aviation. I first came to this idea when I thought BAJ: What is your background in aviation? Tell us what about starting a charter company before. I found the it is like to be born in the aviation world. right people and got to meet George himself. I got to see the competition in the charter space. With the two-seater EL: Growing up in the Lear family was always inter- it was not going to make sense to do a charter company. esting. We never had a dull moment. We have quite the I did not want to wait for the four-seaters to come out, characters. We have many musicians, and they are high- so I told myself I had to find a niche. My grandmother ly intelligent people. I grew up in Reno, Nevada, where always said, “Find a niche and fill it.” That was when my grandfather moved his operation from Los Angeles. I decided to start the academy. My plan is to focus on I grew up around airplanes, and we had a big hangar out my Jet Blondie blog until we are ready to launch the back. All of the streets were aviation themed. We were academy. We will have first marketing rights once the kind of big fish in a small pond there. It was a lot of fun. E-Flyers come out. The first time I ever got interested in an airplane was at the Reno Air Races when I was little. I remember hear- BAJ: What kinds of projects are you working on right ing the engines and the power. I would just get chills now? when I heard the jet noise. I kept thinking, I love that and I want to know more about it. We grew up on 55 EL: I am working on many different projects in the acres on the Truckee River. My parents’ house and my aviation space. One of which is Jet Blondie, which is all grandparents’ house were on the property. My grand- over Instagram and Twitter as jet_blondie. I am creating mother, Moya, was a big inspiration in my life. really fun content, not just about me being a pilot but about other flight schools and pilots, as well. I am feaBAJ: Tell us more about the electric aircraft you are turing really cool airplanes. I did a video on the Lear 23 using. Continued on Page 16


Jet Blondie...

Summer 2021

Continued from Page 15 that Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley used to fly on. It is in Clay Lacy’s hangar in Van Nuys. I am doing little interviews. I am gearing up for NBAA and gathering a ton of content on the static show, featuring the newer planes and the technology that makes them so cool and amazing. We focus on sustainability and making the world a better place. We are going to grab the content. This is what I have to do until the E-Flyers are approved. Jet Blondie and Birde are my two projects. BAJ: What was the pandemic like for you?

EL: It’s just kind of a fun story because it was an ah-hah moment for me. This last year has been pretty interesting because Covid really threw a wrench in our plans for the academy and for the E-Flyer. So, what I decided to do was talk to my investor and asked him if he would reinvest those funds into me getting my own pilots license. I got my social media exploding while I was getting my pilot’s license. I’m not actually fully certified as of yet – but close! When I did my solo cross-country, I was so nervous all day. I couldn’t eat. When I made it to Palomar from Torrance, I felt great that I had gotten through it and that I had done well. It was challenging, but I got


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May 21, 1965, Jack Conroy and Clay Lacy set three world speed records flying the first transcontinental round-trip in a civilian jet between dawn and desk in N1965. (Photo courtesy Elle Lear.)

through it. When I got on the tarmac, the tower started yelling at one of the pilots. I thought that for sure it was me. Then I heard the tail number, and it was not me! I had my ah-hah moment. I was dancing in the pilot seat. BAJ: Tell us about some of the charitable work that you do.

EL: I do a lot of animal rescue. I am an animal activist, so to speak. I love all animals, dogs in particular. I went to China two and half years ago to help dogs. I lived with some monks for 10 days and tried to save dogs that were going to be tortured alive. I remember seeing something on Facebook that really helped raise awareness about animal cruelty. I read the comments and saw that someone said, “Why isn’t anyone doing anything about this?” That is when I decided I did not want to be one of those people who posts online and doesn’t do anything about it. I want to be that person who follows through on what I believe in. I went, and it was the most terrific thing I ever did in terms of animal rescue. I have also done some rescue work in South America where I did some work with some organizations and took a nice sabbatical in my later twenties. I also have plans to join forces with underground railroads to help fight against human trafficking. I think that is a nice organization to align myself with as I start my academy. I would like to give some of my proceeds to this organization because there is a lot of human trafficking going on in the world. I am excited to work with your magazine and continue to get these wonderful stories in aviation out there.

Summer 2021

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Summer 2021

Some of Threshold’s clientele await on the tarmac out front of their three 50,000-square-foot hangars for servicing. (Photo courtesy Threshold Aviation Group)

The Growth and Evolution of Threshold Aviation Group By Threshold Aviation Group Staff

After completing his service with the United States Air Force, Mark DiLullo was sure he wanted to stay in aviation. His first private sector aviation job was as a contract pilot for a few select clients, working directly for them and flying them in their airplanes. This led to Mark obtaining a charter certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration and expanding his operation to include private aircraft charters. The growing list of plane owners and charter customers soon led DiLullo to the next expansion opportunity. Customers began requesting he purchase and manage the planes for them in addition to piloting them. The expense and difficulty of getting quality maintenance work completed on time for this growing fleet of planes he flew and managed led to Mark hiring his own crew of mechanics. As his reputation for providing high-quality and reasonably-priced maintenance alternative services grew, more customers started bringing him their planes to maintain. This growing fleet of planes and the related maintenance operations led Mark to search for more hangar space to house his businesses; so next came leases for significant amounts of hangar space, adding an FBO, and then another. “I am fortunate to have a great team of aviation professionals with many years of experience, including financial management that have been extremely helpful in building the organization” said DiLullo. Threshold has been a pioneer in the aviation industry in a number of ways and was recently recognized by the FAA for the unusually high number of women in key management positions.

According to a 2019 study conducted by the University of Nebraska-Omaha, women are under-represented in the upper ranks of U.S. aviation, with the biggest gender gap found in technical operations and leadership positions. Women make up less than 10 percent of pilots, maintenance technicians, and airline executives, despite “continued outreach” in those areas, the report found. Specifically, only three percent of airline executives are women and only one percent are airline captains. Sixty-two percent of Threshold’s executives are women: • Lisa DiLullo serves as President of the Threshold Companies. • Nicole DiLullo is the company’s Director of FBO and HR Services. • Khera Turner is the Chief Inspector for the TAG Group’s Repair Station. • Maggie Ortega is the Group of Companies Senior Accountant and Director of Customer Services. • Helen Carpenter serves as the Chief Financial Officer for TAG Global, the Air Carrier/Charter Division “To employ more women or any minority for that matter is not a priority,” said DiLullo.” We simply hire the best-qualified person we can for every position, and we are fortunate to have many highly-qualified women as well as a diverse workforce, both by race and by sex, but also by age, which I think is an overlooked area. I Continued on Page 19

Summer 2021

Threshold Aviation Group...


Continued from Page 18 believe a mix of youth and experience is important for a healthy workplace.” Threshold also has handled some rather unique projects such as disassembling a business jet almost completely and reassembling it after the lavatory waste system failed and flooded the plane’s innards with blue chemical. Another business jet that suffered an inflight loss of control that Threshold Aviation Group currently employs 130 aviation specialists. (Photo courresulted in damaged wings tesy Threshold Aviation Group) was acquired by Threshold. The Company purchased landing. “The outcome was a product of training, and the aircraft, disassembled it, repaired and reassembled the results were no injuries.” The latest move Threshold has made in the evoit, and sold it to a new owner who has used it safely lution of their business is the repurposing/parting out ever since. DiLullo himself became something of a celebrity of aircraft. The company takes business jets that have for a brief period of time when a single engine aircraft reached the end of their economic or useful lives and he was flying suffered an inflight loss of power and he disassembles them for the valuable parts. The parts are had to land it in the Southern California desert near harvested from the aircraft, tested for return to service, Barstow. “Because the whole incident was caught on a and then sold. The parting out of planes is not a new or unique cell phone video, it allowed viewers to see what actually occurred rather than rely on imagination,” said Di- business and is very similar to auto dismantlers where Lullo. At one point in the flight, Mark said to his wife, you can buy used parts for cars. Of course, aviation Lisa, that he was going to have to set the plane down parts are much more valuable and therefore there’s a on the desert floor; to which she responded, “I don’t better business in harvesting those parts from the older want to….” Mark was typically unfazed by the forced planes. For example, the market value of an older Gulf-

stream GIV or GV may be substantially less than the cost to overhaul the engines. At this point in its life, the plane itself is considered Beyond Economic Repair (BER), which means the sum of the parts is greater than the entire value of the aircraft. Jet Support Services Incorporated is Threshold’s exclusive partner in the Part-Out business. JSSI’s main business is providing engine and maintenance programs for jet aircraft. “We were really pleased when JSSI came to us with this Threshold’s clients’ planes are looked after and handled meticulously business proposition, and it has been very successful for both of us,” said DiLullo. with kid gloves. (Photo courtesy Threshold Aviation Group)


Angel Flight

Summer 2021

By Mark DiLullo, CEO, Threshold Aviation Group Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. – Proverbs 4:23 In early 2001, a series of earthquakes wreaked havoc on the South American country of El Salvador. On Jan. 13, a 7.6 magnitude quake struck approximately 60 miles southwest of San Miguel. Nearly 1,500 people were killed and more than 5,500 were injured. A month to the day, on Feb. 13, a 6.6 magnitude quake hit approximately 15 miles east of San Salvador killing another 315 people and injuring nearly 4,000. More than 2,500 aftershocks were reported between the two massive quakes, including one that was recorded 5.7 on the Richter scale. Tremors could be felt from Mexico City to Columbia. The country was devastated; hundreds of thousands of homes and buildings were either damaged or destroyed. In addition, many more were completely wiped away by the onslaught of landslides that followed. Some estimates say there were as many as 16,000 landslides. The few hospitals in the Photo collage provided by Mark DiLullo. country were either damaged or completely overwhelmed by casualties. sible. We coordinated with the owner of a Gulfstream At the time, my company Threshold Technologies, GIIB that we managed, knowing it had the perforInc. was based out of Ontario Airport (KONT) Ontar- mance and range to make the trip non-stop. The GIIB is io, California, where we managed a growing fleet of powered by two Rolls-Royce Spey Mk511-8 engines, corporate aircraft, including several Gulfstream IIs. which produce approximately 11,400 pounds of thrust We were approached by a group of humanitarian orga- at take-off. The GIIB was a modification to the original nizations looking for space to stage donated supplies G-II, where Gulfstream Aerospace replaced the wing and goods until they could be trucked down to El Sal- with an improved high-lift, high-efficiency design. The vador. We cleared out our hangar and it was quickly GIIB has a range of 4,276 miles with max fuel and filled with pallets of relief aid. During the process, a re- has a 45,000-foot ceiling. This high ceiling allows it lief worker on scene in El Salvador learned of a young to overfly most weather and adverse flight conditions. El Salvadorian girl (we’ll call Maria) who was in im- The owner gladly authorized the use of the aircraft for mediate need of a rare and complex heart surgery and the transportation, and Chevron donated 5,000 gallons contacted us. In a unique twist of fate, it was the tragic of jet fuel for the flight. Things were quickly coming earthquakes that saved her life; the medical system in together. The U.S. State Department expedited emergency El Salvador could not provide the necessary treatment visas for Maria and her mother. The Orange County for her ailment. We contacted the UCLA Medical Center and spoke Sheriff’s Department would assist with logistics and to several staff concerning the situation. We had the transportation when Maria and her mother would arhumanitarian organization forward on the information rive in Los Angeles. UCLA MC would send a cardialso. The doctors at UCLA consulted with Maria’s car- ologist and a nurse to accompany us on the trip. Our diologist in El Salvador and agreed to do the surgery as dispatch system was tasked with complex internationlong as she could get to UCLA MC as quickly as posContinued on Page 28

Summer 2021

An Unannounced Visit with Customs at San Juan Puerto Rico


By Matt Odenbrett

During a recent charter out of Anguilla back to New York, I had an imminent instrumentation failure that necessitated a diversion to the nearest airport. I chose San Juan Puerto Rico because it was the nearest long runway available for my Gulfstream IV, but it also had the benefit of being U.S. territory where I and my passengers could clear customs and I could have repairs made to my airplane. Dropping into U.S. Territory unannounced is very frowned upon by Customs, but at times like an emergency or urgency situation it is understandable. Unfortunately, it also means that the crew and passengers are at the mercy of Customs. They are terribly busy during Spring Break, and if they are working to clear other airplanes who had scheduled their arrivals then you must wait for when they have the time to get to you. This proved to be the case for us. When we arrived at the Fixed Base Operator where the Customs office is located, I shut down our engines and then per protocol waited for the OK to open our cabin door. After 20 minutes or so, a Customs officer came out and motioned for me to open my door. Once open, this officer came up my stairs and explained that the Officer in Charge was at another FBO clearing a scheduled arrival. We would have to wait in the airplane until he arrived. Fair enough, I had my Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) running and providing Air Conditioning to my passengers. All were on their cell phones, texting family and business associates in New York explaining that they were not going to arrive as planned. My lead passenger mentioned to me that several in her group were going to try to connect to the last flight out to JFK, which was departing in a few hours. Would it be possible to ask Customs to expedite? I told her that unfortunately we were at the mercy of Customs, but I would contact my office and ask them to request customs to expedite them. Around 90 minutes after we landed, the lead Customs officer arrived – along with a contingent of around ten armed customs agents and a drug-sniffing dog. The lead agent was a large gentleman of over six feet in height – well above my 5-feet, 10-inches. The agent came up the airstairs and asked me in an unfriendly and intimidating manner how many passengers we had on board. He also demanded to see my General Declaration form that I was given in Anguilla. I answered ten passengers, and I gave him the form he requested. At this point he instructed me to have all our baggage unloaded

A Customs and Border Patrol surveillance plane readies for takeoff from Puerto Rico. When Pilot and Writer Matt Odenbrett had to make an unannounced landing, he ran into long delays. “They are terribly busy during Spring Break, and if they are working to clear other airplanes that had scheduled their arrivals then you must wait for when they have the time to get to you.” for inspection, and to have the passengers come to the Customs office to be cleared into United States territory. The FBO’s linemen were waiting to receive the bags, and Harry my First Officer unloaded the passenger bags as instructed. Meanwhile I escorted my passengers to the customs office, and I then stopped outside the FBO where I asked the handling agent to arrange ground transportation for my passengers to the airline terminal. This was naturally on the other side of the airport from where we were. When I returned to my airplane, the lead Customs agent was at the base of the airstairs. He appeared very agitated. He came to me and yelled over the noise of the APU, “I told you everyone must exit the airplane so we can inspect it! You have two more people inside! You said you only had ten passengers, but I count eleven! You lied to me!” I was taken aback by his accusation. It took me a moment before I realized he was speaking about my crew. I replied, “Sir, those are not passengers, they are my crew. My First Officer and my Cabin Attendant.” “Well, you must have them come down off the airplane and you must all go into Customs for processing.” I replied, “Sir, one of us must remain on board the airplane while the APU is running.” “No! I told you EVERYONE MUST EXIT THE AIRPLANE SO WE CAN INSPECT!” This was getting out of hand. I motioned to my crew to leave, then turned to the Officer in Charge, “Officer, Continued on Page 22


Visit with Customs...

Continued from Page 21 per my company’s policy, in the interest of safety I may not leave my airplane unattended while the APU is running.” “I DON’T CARE WHAT YOUR COMPANY POLICY IS! YOU MUST ALL LEAVE THE AIRPLANE FOR INSPECTION!” “Officer, with your permission I will go back into the cockpit and shut down my APU. Do I have your permission?” “Do it.” He replied. Wow. I have had some bad run-ins with Customs, but this guy was the worst yet. I went back into my airplane and shut everything down, then went back to the customs office door where my crew was awaiting. Before we could enter, the Officer in Charge came back to me with yet another issue. “I told you to unload all baggage! There is still baggage on board! Why aren’t you complying with my instructions!?!?” I replied, “I am sorry officer. The bags on board are the crew baggage. We usually leave it onboard.” “I WANT ALL YOUR PERSONAL BELONGINGS OFF THE AIRPLANE FOR INSPECTION! This includes your baggage, your jackets, your flight bags, and your headsets!” I was shocked, “Everything?” “Everything!” This was a new one to me! I motioned my crew back to the airplane so we could comply and as we walked back to the airplane, I asked the Officer, “So why are you insisting we remove everything? I’ve never had someone want to search my headset before.” The Officer was not in a mood to explain himself. “How long have you been a Captain?” I answered, “Twenty-two years.” “Then you should know that if you refuse to follow my instructions, I can impound your airplane and I will pull your pilot’s license!” Good Lord! I ask for an explanation, and the man starts making threats! Worse, he is making things up. I am instantly thinking that he should already know that U.S. pilots do not have Pilot Licenses, we have Pilot Certificates. Saying he will pull my “license” tells me he is making an empty threat and classifies him as a BS Artist. Still, I am in no position to argue with him, so I say nothing. He could still fine me $5,000 if I continue to argue with him, and yes, he could impound my airplane. All I want is to get my passengers cleared through Customs so they can continue on their way and get myself and my crew cleared so we can attend to our airplane. We went back to the airplane, and my crew and I unloaded our personal bags, our jackets, and my FO and

Summer 2021

I removed our headsets, our iPads, and I removed my camera bag. We then proceeded into Customs so they could inspect our baggage. I have had Customs inspect my baggage before, but it usually meant they had a drug sniffing dog give it the once-over. Not this time. I do not know if Customs at Puerto Rico is always like this, but they opened all our baggage and went through our personal belongings with a fine-tooth comb. I had my crew go first, then I was motioned to place my baggage on the inspection table. All the while the officer (a different officer from the Officer in Charge) is searching through my clean and dirty laundry, he engages me in light conversation in a friendly tone of voice. He starts asking me questions about where I live, where we have been, etc. I quickly recognized the questioning technique he was using with me. He was asking leading and distracting questions to see if I would exhibit any tension or nervousness while he conducted his search. In short, he was looking for contraband, but he was also looking to see if in my replies I was trying to hide something. When he came to my camera bag, he said, “Wow, you have a Nikon DSLR. Are you a professional photographer?” “No,” I answered, “I am an amateur photographer.” “So why the Nikon? Most people get by with their cell phone cameras.” He started opening the side pockets and removing their contents: Office keys, a small screwdriver, the battery charger for my camera. “Because I discovered years ago that I cannot take decent air-to-air photos of other airplanes I encounter in flight with just a cell phone. I bought my Nikon for the 200mm zoom lens. With that, I take photos of other airplanes in flight that do not appear fuzzy or grainy.” “Really? Can you show me any examples?” He asked, while opening an inner zipper on my camera bag and inspecting the contents: Glass wipes, ear buds, the USB adapter to connect my memory card to download my pics to my laptop at home. My stash of business cards. “Yes I can.” I opened my iPad and went to the photo library. I showed him some of my best shots that I have saved onto it. He glanced at them while inspecting the side pockets of my camera bag: A can opener, sore throat lozenges, a Band Aid, the chargers for my cell phone and iPad. “Very nice pics.” “Thank you.” Satisfied, he zipped up my camera bag. “Ok, you guys are all good to go.” We thanked the officers who cleared us through and then proceeded back out to our airplane to finish cleaning up. I was also on the phone to my office throughout Continued on Page 23

Summer 2021

Visit with Customs...

Continued from Page 22 this time, speaking to Maintenance, Operations, and my Chief Pilot about the incident that led us to divert. By the time we had put the airplane away, more than four hours had passed since our 4 p.m. landing, and the sun had gone down. Harry, my FO, has family in San Juan, and through one of his family members he managed to find us rooms at an excellent hotel at a discount. While I was laid over and my airplane was being repaired, I continued to hash over what had transpired during our unannounced arrival. Barbara, my Cabin Attendant, mentioned to me that she had heard Customs had recently made a large drug bust at the San Juan airport, and they are accustomed to busting smugglers. Ok, that would account for the armed presence and the drug sniffing dog, but why did the Lead Officer say he would pull my license? When I thought about it, I began to ask myself whether Customs had that authority in the first place. A google search did not turn up satisfactory results, so I went to a professional pilot forum and asked the brain trust whether Customs could pull a Pilot Certificate. No one answered my question, but many replied with their own stories of similar rude treatment. One even related a story of making an emergency landing, only to have his airplane torn apart by Customs in a search for drugs. The best part of my asking on an internet forum was the advice I was given by another pilot. He advised me to file a complaint on the U.S. Customs website about the incident. Otherwise, it was possible that Customs themselves could mark me as a Troublemaker in their system, which could make my life hell during all future border crossings. I did as he suggested and filed a complaint. The Customs website ended my session with a note to the effect of, “We will investigate the incident and should have a reply to your complaint in the next 3-5 business days.” Nineteen days after the incident, I received a reply to my complaint. Apparently Covid 19 is slowing down government’s response times. It was basically a form letter politely explaining that the Fourth Amendment restraints against unreasonable search and seizure do not apply to citizens entering the USA. All well and good, but the letter did not address the threat that the officer made to “pull” my Pilot License. A few days later I spoke with my Director of Operations about the incident. When I mentioned the Lead Agent’s threat to “pull my license,” my DO snorted and said, “He can’t do that!” so I guess I finally received my answer. In the end, the lesson I learned is that while Puerto Rico is a U.S. Territory, it is still within the Caribbean, which has always been a hotbed of smuggling. Drugs


are merely the latest contraband to be smuggled in the area. Because of this, they are accustomed to dealing with individuals who may resist violently, so do not be surprised by a show of force. Just remember that they are really on your side, even if they appear to act otherwise. They just do not know who you are. Should other pilots reading this have to clear Customs in Puerto Rico, be certain to have all your documents in order, remove all luggage and personal belongings, and be prepared to shut down your airplane completely. Last of all, it is OK to stand your ground but try to be polite even if Customs is not. It will go a long way towards getting you through Customs with minimal hassle. Matthew Odenbrett is a 12,000 hour ATP and CFII with Gulfstream IV and Citation type ratings. During his 22 year career, Matthew has served as Chief Pilot, Check Airman, and Flight Department Manager for various companies. Matthew currently serves as Captain on a Gulfstream IV for a charter company, and is a Contract Captain on both the GIV and Pilatus PC-12.


NBAA Leads Coalition Supporting Workforce-Strengthening Legislation

NBAA recently joined with more than 30 organizations representing U.S. aviation, trucking, rail and maritime interests to express support to congressional lawmakers for legislation promoting career opportunities available throughout the nation’s transportation sector. The Promoting Service in Transportation Act (H.R. 3310 and S. 1681) calls on lawmakers to authorize funding for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to develop a series of broadcast, digital and print public service announcements highlighting available careers in transportation as all sectors of the industry regain strength in the aftermath of COVID-19. “The pandemic has reminded all of us how vital transportation is to our economy and our lives,” reads the coalition’s letter to leaders of the House and Senate transportation committees. Although COVID-19 temporarily impacted hiring of new workers across the industry, “as recovery continues the demand for qualified workers will return, and the workforce shortage will yet again destabilize transportation operations.” While the coalition is currently seeking additional co-sponsors for the legislation, NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen noted the ultimate goal is to see the Promoting Service in Transportation Act included as part of a larger infrastructure measure.

Summer 2021

Sikorsky S-76D operated by Grandview Aviation’s Helicopter Service “Fly Lindy”

Grandview Aviation... Continued from Page 13

When you have mergers and acquisitions, those have to be dealt with in person. With more and more travel demand, we don’t have the routes that we used to have. Major airlines are not going to some of the smaller cities anymore. With private jets, you have the ability to hit multiple cities in one day. You are saving lots of time, and that’s how growing businesses can maximize their time and value through business aviation. BAJ: How can readers inquire about prices? JN: They can go to our website, We have a quoting tool, so they just put in their route, and it gives them some tentative pricing. If they want to move forward, we can send them a more formal price quote. BAJ: What are your plans for the future of the company? JN: Right now, we just launched Fly Lindy, which is our helicopter-by-the-sea service. With Coronavirus, most people don’t want to fly on commercial airlines or on trains. We are giving people in the Northeast corridor the opportunity to fly on a helicopter with a small group of people. It is expensive but well worth it for people who want to get from New York to Washington D.C. in 90 minutes.

Erin “Elle” Lear JET BLONDIE

• QR code for BIRDe Academy • Check out @jet_blondie on Instagram for adventures with Lear Instagram: @jet_blondie

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BAJ: How would you describe the experience aboard one of these helicopters? JN: We only have eight passenger seats in the 76 Helicopter, which is a very large helicopter. It is such a neat experience. You are very close to the ground. You can look down and see rivers, lakes, and people’s backyards. You save so much time and can literally land downtown on Wall Street. And helicopters are just so cool! Who wouldn’t want to fly in one? BAJ: Thank you!

Summer 2021


Continued from Page 6

summer months, which can typically be a slow sales period. OGARAJETS utilizes their expertise to recognize and address the changing market accordingly. Giving Back OGARAJETS wholeheartedly participates in giving back to the industry, donating time and finances to multiple organizations. They are proud to support Aviation Career Enrichment, Inc., Georgia Business Aviation Association and Foundation www., Women in Aviation, Interna- John Foster III tional, International Aviation Women’s Association, Alabama Business Aviation Association, and IADA Business Aviation Scholarship scholarship. When asked which organization that OGARAJETS supports is most special to him, Johnny Foster wisely responds “all of them.” However, he does comment the work of “Aviation Career Enrichment” has a special place in his heart, citing their work with local youth,

Picture Yourself on a “JetColleagues” Networking Event Sasha 702-465-2027 •


often in a single-parent/guardian household. Founder John Foster III This article cannot be complete without highlighting previously mentioned OGARAJETS Founder John Foster III. Many have been inspired and motivated by this extraordinary Business Aviation Professional. (Including this article writer). He is a “Business Aviation Godfather” to those who were fortunate enough to have worked for him or interacted with him in the industry. His accolades include attending Auburn University on a Naval ROTC scholarship, serving our nation in Vietnam, further serving as a Navy test pilot, and setting the example as an outstanding business aviation professional. He also founded NARA (National Aircraft Resale Association), which is now IADA (International Aircraft Dealers Association). His founding OGARAJETS as well as his personal and professional example are a testament to his work ethic and his legacy. The business aviation industry owes a debt of gratitude to John Foster III.


Summer 2021

West Star Aviation is now offering ServiceEdge, a web-based communications portal developed for their customers. (Image courtesy West Star Aviation)

West Star Aviation Implements New Web-based Maintenance Portal for Customers

West Star Aviation has announced the offering of ServiceEdge, a web-based communications portal developed for their customers. This new custom engagement platform provides direct communication to the service teams working on a customer’s aircraft, including necessary paperwork and work process updates. The ServiceEdge platform was jointly developed with CORRIDOR, a CAMP Systems company, to fit West Star Aviation’s discerning clientele. Owners/operators will have instant access to work order quotes, job status updates and additional job approvals. Notifications will be sent via email, but chat options on both

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, Intelligent Informed, Intelligent Aircraft Values and Accurate Aircraft Values

desktop and mobile devices are available as well, all in a real-time communication and workflow environment. Future enhancements will include a direct connection from the mobile app for increased accessibility, further increasing customer communication efficiency. “ServiceEdge offers improved communication to our customers, delivering enhanced customer experiences while cultivating long-term relationships with our proven expertise,” said Matt Vogel, Manager of IT (GJT). “Customers will have direct access to maintenance status, along with aircraft photos for immediate service decisions, aiding in decreased downtimes,” Vogel continued. “Servicing business aircraft involves discerning customers, high-end assets and a vast array of options for components, services and alterations. Until ServiceEdge, traditional communication processes supporting the interaction between customer, service centers and their maintenance staff typically involved phone calls, emails and even faxes. Without ServiceEdge, this tedious back and forth communication made agreeing on change orders and approvals inefficient, frustrating, and often subject to misinterpretation,” said Chris Kubinski, CORRIDOR’s Director of Sales and Marketing. Learn more about West Star Aviation at

Summer 2021

Cirrus Training Center...


Continued from Page 11

BAJ: How many Vision Jets are in the Las Vegas area? PS: There are five Vision Jets based between North Las Vegas and the Henderson Airport. Keep in mind… there are only 263 of them worldwide. We have a decent percentage of them right here. BAJ: Do you partner with Lone Mountain Aviation for maintenance? PS: Yes, that is correct. Lone Mountain is a 145 repair station. They can work on really any airplane, and we share a building with them. BAJ: Tell us about how you walk your customers through the process of buying an airplane. PS: We want our customers to go into aircraft ownership with their eyes wide open. We have an entire spreadsheet that outlines cost, maintenance needs, and tax ramifications. BAJ: What if a customer wants to come in for flight instruction and bring friends? Is that allowed? PS: Yes, it is. You can bring other people with you. They just have to realize that it is an instructional flight. If they all want a little instruction, we might take off with one person, land, and then switch seats. Three or four people can share the cost and get the experience. BAJ: How many seats are in the Vision Jet? PS: There are different configurations, but the most common one people will purchase is a five-plus-two configuration, so seven seats, two of which are restricted to 90 pounds. In essence, they’re kid seats, but many people are looking for a plane to fly with their families. BAJ: How much do you charge to do a demo flight? PS: It is close to $1,500 per hour, but it depends on the cost of the fuel involved. It is difficult for us to give specifics. It is $1,000 per hour plus fuel and pilot. It is a 1,000 nautical mile range. Once you start putting people in, the range reduces. It is a perfect plane for people going within the circle of California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, etc. BAJ: Thank you and wishing you continued success!

Abby Self

Banyan Promotes Abby Self to Banyan Pilot Shop Manager

Abby Self was recently promoted to the position of store manager at Banyan Pilot Shop. In this position, she is responsible for the growth, leadership, organization and management of our retail store. Abby began her career at Banyan in December 2019 as the store buyer. She has over 13 years of experience in the retail and merchandising industry with extensive experience as an e-commerce manager. “We were fortunate to have Abby on the team as the retail industry took a hit during the pandemic year,” said Jon Tonko, Banyan’s Director of FBO Services. “She has successfully brought store sales to new heights and continues to lead the team towards providing the best customer service experience.” Abby not only brings management experience to the team, she also has her private pilot license with her tailwheel endorsement. She began her passion for aviation at an early age. Her father was a pilot and she was flying before she could walk. She learned to fly in Salt Lake City and hopes to complete her instrument rating then move on to commercial. Abby enjoys sharing her knowledge on flying and helping student pilots through their journey. She is also proud to be a member of the Ninety-Nines: International Organization of Women Pilots and continues to support women in aviation. Banyan Pilot Shop has been the leading dealer of pilot supplies and aviation electronics for general and professional aviation for over 30 years. Lean more about Banyan at


Angel Flight...

Continued from Page 20 al coordination including flight crew, relief pilots and medical staff, permits, and planning for the trip; all under significant time constraint. We conducted our flight planning, coordinated refueling, and closely communicated with El Salvador International Airport (MSLP) to minimize our ground time since this would be a quick turnaround. We loaded the GIIB with as many emergency supplies as we could get on board and departed California for El Salvador at 9 p.m. The five-hour flight was uneventful. At approximately 2 a.m. local time we began the descent to our final approach into MSLP. With the airport in sight and instrument minimums approaching, the runway lights suddenly went out at the earthquake-damaged airport! We declared a go-around and circled the airport several times until the airport crew was able to restore the runway lights. It wasn’t until we taxied the Gulfstream to the terminal that we realized we were the only aircraft at the airport. We were met at the terminal by Maria, her family, doctors, and local officials and the national media. As the GIIB was being refueled, we boarded Maria and her mother, did some quick paperwork, and at approximately 3:30 a.m., we departed for Van Nuys

Summer 2021

Airport (KVNY). It was obvious to all aboard that Maria was in critical condition. She was pale in color and her lips and fingernails were blue in color. The doctor and nurse administered oxygen and monitored her the entire flight. Around 5 a.m. local time, we touched down in Van Nuys, Calif. We were met by U.S. Customs, who had agreed to meet the aircraft at a non-Port-of-Entry to ensure a speedy transfer of entry documents. UCLA had an ambulance standing by and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department provided a police escort. Maria was rushed to UCLA Medical Center where she underwent immediate emergency surgery. Luckily, due to the efforts of all involved, especially the skilled surgeons at UCLA, Maria’s surgery was a success. She, along with the rest of her family, continues to live in Southern California. Mark DiLullo is the founder and Director of Operations of Threshold Aviation Group. He has 20,000 + flight hours and is rated in 32 jet aircraft, ranging from the Boeing 747 to the Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter. He can be contacted at

Summer 2021

Sky Harbour Group to Build New Private Hanger Campus at Centennial Airport in Englewood, CO

Sky Harbour Group has initiated development of its new private hangar campus at Centennial Airport (APA). Subject to airport and local approvals, groundbreaking is anticipated in Q3 2021 with doors opening by Summer 2022. Located on the Centennial InterPort leasehold, the 22-acre campus will cater exclusively to based aircraft. Each Sky Harbour hangar accommodates up to the largest business jet (Bombardier Global 7500 or Gulfstream G-700), featuring more than 28-feet of door threshold height, temperature and humidity control, drive-in vehicle access, indoor and outdoor parking, and all features required for routine aircraft maintenance and inspection. Premium interior suites include private offices, lounges, kitchens, bathrooms, showers, laundry, and crew facilities. Members manage their space through the Sky Harbour Smart Hangar App, which includes remote access control, video monitoring, remote environmental control, and service management. With no transient traffic, and no community hangar stacking, Sky Harbour’s Basing Solution eliminates extraneous aircraft movements and the risk of hangar rash. Sky Harbour’s private hangar tenants are serviced

Utilized by BizAvJets


Sky Harbour Private Hanger at Sugar Land Regional Airport in Houston, TX. (Photo courtesy Sky Harbour Group)

by Sky Harbour’s exclusive line crew, ensuring the shortest time to wheels up at Centennial. “Our mission is to meet and exceed the most exacting demands of flight departments, passengers and owners, in the areas of safety, security, efficiency, and convenience,” said Tim Johnson, Senior Vice President, Corporate Development, at Sky Harbour. “We aim to be the best home-base in aviation, bar none, maximizing the value that owners derive from their aircraft.” Continued on Page 30


Summer 2021

Nationwide Trade School with Campus in the Bay Area Brings up the Next Generation of Aviation Mechanics

In the year 2021, making a career choice can be difficult. But if one is seeking an exciting career with high income earning potential that does not require an exorbitant amount of hours in the classroom, they need not look any further than Aviation Institute of Maintenance. Here at In Flight USA/BizAvJets USA, we have written about the pilot shortage and the need for future generation students to embrace the skies and learn to fly. Equally as important as the need for pilots is the need for skilled mechanics who can keep our aircraft in shape. With campuses in Fremont, CA; Dallas, TX; Las Vegas, NV; and many other cities, AIM is a great choice for students who wish to fulfill the aviation industry’s need for mechanics. The school that is home to several thousand students offers courses in general education, aviation maintenance, and other valuable trade skills that can be applied to HVAC systems. Most students spend 18 months to two years working on their course of study. One member of the In Flight USA/BizAvJets USA staff had the opportunity to tour the Fremont, CA campus. The campus is large and includes classrooms, a hands-on laboratory, and full-service offices for the staff. Here students have the opportunity to work on many different types of aircraft from small GA planes to larger jets. Classes run from the early morning un-

In-Flight Catering... Continued from Page 14

ultraviolet cabin cleaning systems. Such cleaning systems are developed by Honeywell and being adopted by several airlines including Qatar Airways and JetBlue Airways. The solution can clean the mid-sized airline cabin in less than 10 minutes, reducing human involvement and turnaround time between flights. The Covid-19 pandemic was the toughest period for the aviation industry. However, it was the most educational period as well. The pandemic forced airlines to emphasize hygiene, supply chain management, and sustainability. In the future, the cabin crew will take care of more personal requests of the passengers whereas robots will perform repetitive tasks such as handling means to every passenger.

til the late evenings, as many students work while attending school. “I am excited about this place,” said Bill Crawford, an instructor of aviation maintenance. Crawford used to work as a mechanic for United Airlines and is thrilled to be sharing his talents and skills with the future generation. “This is just a great place to be a student!” He added. Director, Josh Smith, is also excited to be on such a vibrant campus. “I worked in flight instruction for many years, and it is exciting to be around aspiring mechanics with such a great attitude,” he said. The environment is a positive one, as all are welcome. When one walks in the front door, they can expect to be greeted with a smile. Students seem happy learning their trade, and the aviation industry is lucky to be getting such a wonderful group rising up in the industry. For more information or questions, please visit

Sky Harbour Group... Continued from Page 29

Sky Harbour CEO, Tal Keinan, added: “Sky Harbour is excited to be at Centennial, among the most active and best-managed airports in the United States. We have found a truly outstanding partner in Centennial InterPort.” Tyler Packard, Manager of Centennial InterPort said, “We are very excited to be bringing the Sky Harbour experience to Denver’s Centennial Airport. Sky Harbour’s vision to provide the highest quality private basing solutions for their tenants blends perfectly with SunBorne’s master planned Centennial InterPort development. With thoughtful design, execution, and unparalleled attention to detail, Sky Harbour at Centennial InterPort will offer everything that Denver’s most discerning aircraft owners are looking for, all from the convenience of one of the nation’s premier general aviation airports.” For more information on Sky Harbour Group and its Centennial Airport private hangar campus email Millie Hernandez-Becker at mbecker@skyharbour. group or call 212-554-5990 or visit the company website at

Joseph J. Nantomah • +1 414-999-7855 •

Joseph James Nantomah Named ‘Top Executive Business Coach of the Year’ by the International Association of Top Professionals

Joseph James Nantomah, real estate investor, mentor, entrepreneur and life coach, AKA “The Black Mentor,” was recently selected as “Top Executive Business Coach of the Year” by the International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP) for “his outstanding leadership, dedication and commitment to the industry.” Mr. Nantomah has impacted the lives of more than 500,000 people through his brand, “The Black Mentor.” Since relocating to the United States from Africa, he achieved millionaire status within four years. He serves as the proprietor and chief real estate broker for Investors Capital LLC, Lines and Shelters LLC, and Nantomah Capital LLC. In addition, he is managing member and life coach for Mentor America LLC, and has founded and established 13 businesses. He recently launched his own YouTube Channel entitled “The Black Mentor.” “Choosing Mr. Nantomah for this award was an easy decision for our panel to make,” said IAOTP President Stephanie Cirami. “He is brilliant at what he does and contributes so much of his wisdom and passion to help professionals and businesses restructure themselves. Joseph is humble, gracious and we felt he would make an amazing asset to our organization.” This year, Mr. Nantomah is being considered for a feature article in TIP (Top Industry Professionals) Magazine. He has received multiple recognitions from the Global Who’s Who as a “VIP Member” and Marquis Who’s Who as a “Top Business Owner.” He is also a member of the African American Chamber of Commerce and was featured in Google News in July 2020. Mr. Nantomah serves as the president of Prosperity for Africa, a non-profit organization that works with Black communities to grow their businesses. In addition to his domestic philanthropic efforts, he has aided several businesses in Nigeria, Ghana and Rwanda with business grants, and provided food to over 25,000 individuals worldwide since the COVID-19 pandemic. He also sends essential supplies and financially supports more than 25 underprivileged children in Uganda. For more information on Joseph Nantomah, please visit:

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