To raise awareness of the critical role business aviation plays in support of communities at large, No Plane No Gain is running a campaign called “Business Aviation Works.” Their goal is to share what industry and government leaders are saying about the positive impact of business aviation.
Upon accepting the open invitation to join the conversation, we sat down with several members of our team to get their take. First, we chatted with Bob Jones, ATP’s Product Marketing Specialist and Managing Editor of AskBob.aero, who shared his enthusiasm for the unique benefits of business aviation. Today, Phil D’Eon, ATP’s Chief Strategy Officer, shares his thoughts on how business aviation helps companies and communities grow and succeed.
What value does business aviation bring to communities, states, and regions?
Business aviation generates highly-skilled, well-paying lucrative jobs and is often the genesis of innovative ideas that benefit the broader aviation market and other industries, like automotive and manufacturing.
How do advances in business aviation lead to improvements in the broader aviation industry?
Business aircraft can be just as sophisticated as larger airliners. The technology – avionics, power management, environmental controls, engines, and so forth – is similar. So, technologies and methods that are initially developed to support business aircraft often become immediately extensible into commercial and military aviation.
My former company provides a good example of how this happens. I started out as an aircraft mechanic with engines and airframe experience, and I became an autopilot and a communications guy working on the Challenger business jet. To meet our company’s needs, we developed a tool that would simulate a running engine so you could hook it onto a brand-new production aircraft and pretend that you were starting the engine, allowing you to calibrate the gauges. This evolved into a business that developed maintenance simulators for Boeing and Rockwell Collins, and the military’s F15s, F18s, H-46 helicopters, and many others.
Training and education is another example. Business aviation requires highly-skilled people who are well versed in sophisticated technologies. When young people choose to become aviation technicians, they need schools that cover a wide variety of technology – everything from metallurgy to electronics and software to processes. The corresponding growth in education that occurs to meet the demands of business aviation also benefits the broader community by increasing the available education resources and pool of available technicians.
How does innovation in business aviation extend to other industries?
Sophisticated technology that has its genesis in the business aviation world can serve other industries as well. A good example is ATP’s SpotLight® guided diagnostics for complex equipment. SpotLight is an interactive troubleshooting solution that rapidly guides service technicians through the process of pinpointing and resolving problems.
This troubleshooting technology is designed to be used on sophisticated equipment (comprised of advanced mechanical systems controlled via software and electronics) by accomplished technicians who don’t tolerate dumb questions and want fast, effective performance. It turns out that technicians everywhere have the same requirements, whether they’re working in manufacturing, on trains, or on automobiles.
So today, customers who use the SpotLight guided diagnostics solution range from the automotive industry to oil refineries and industrial, power-generation turbines. This expansion into other industries demonstrates how business aviation is a great place to innovate new ideas, since it has comparable demands to other areas.
What gets you most excited about the future of business aviation?
Business aviation is a wonderful microcosm for business development. It’s ripe with ideas that we can incubate and then take forth into larger markets. I look forward to seeing the new technologies that business aviation pioneers next.