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The Importance of a Great Crew

Service Opinion: How important is a great crew?

I must admit that I am biased. Having flown a variety of corporate and airline aircraft in many different operational environments, I will tell anyone willing to listen that there is nothing more important than a well-trained and proficient pilot, flight attendant, and mechanic that know their own airplane better than they know their own children. That makes sense to all of us. What is not obvious is that how many crewmembers an operator employs and how they are trained and scheduled is just as important as the quality of the individual.

There are four factors that are discussed throughout the industry as separate issues. We are the only company that puts them together at the same time to get a clear picture: Time in Type, Proficiency, Time on Tail, and Number of Pilots per Aircraft. Let’s briefly discuss each:


Time in Type: How much time has your pilot spent in a specific aircraft model?

It’s been a long-standing fact that the amount of time a pilot has in one specific type of aircraft, the less likely it is that they will experience an accident or incident. This is a basic benchmark of experience. Training time and quality can mitigate low time in type. In fact, we have all probably flown on an airliner where both pilots have very low time in type, but they are part of an Advanced Qualifications Program that mitigates the risks.

Proficiency: How Often does your pilot fly their type of aircraft?

Intuitively we think that time in type means that a pilot is good at what they do. Not necessarily. If there are long gaps in time in type experience or a pilot operates the aircraft for very few hours, there is an increased risk of operational problems when a crewmember lacking in proficiency is presented with a non-normal situation such as bad weather, a mountain airport, or a minor in-flight mechanical.


Time on Tail: How often does your pilot fly their specific tail number?

Crewmembers that stay with a specific aircraft (as opposed to flying a fleet) do a much better job of knowing the capabilities of the aircraft. It is understood that an aircraft is a complicated machine that endures regular pressurization and environmental cycles and that when a crewmember lives with one airplane, they get to know that airplane better than they know their own family.

Pilots Per Aircraft: Are the right number of pilots assigned to the aircraft you’re flying on?

Pilots per aircraft brings everything together. Our case management data demonstrates a pattern: Too few pilots and the crew demonstrates characteristics of fatigue and reduced attention to service excellence. Too many pilots indicate problems with scheduling practices, possible labor issues, and ultimately a lack of proficiency. The optimum number of pilots per aircraft for proficiency and service excellence that meets our standards is 4.5-6, depending on the mission of the aircraft.


Auditing operators for excellence is a priority at Magellan Jets. The very same factors that make a Great Crew apply to all positions: Pilots, Flight Attendants, and Mechanics. It is our job to work for our members to ensure that all risk factors are evaluated and addressed. Please contact your personal Private Aviation Consultant or your 24/7 Flight Support team any time you have questions or concerns.

It is my pleasure to work for you. Please call on me any time.

Todd Weeber
Your Personal VP of Services and Support

Learn More Here

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