No Plane No Gain at Forefront of Pandemic Activities

Business aviation’s vital emergency response in times of crisis has been globally witnessed yet again during the recent months as the world battled the coronavirus pandemic

Issue: 10 / 2020By Ayushee ChaudharyPhoto(s): By Dassault Aviation - C. Cosmao
Transport of nursing staff by Dassault Falcon Service. business aviation PLAYED AN active and crucial role during COVID-19

Business aviation has often had the crown of luxury on his head so much so, that it’s other significant roles and accessibility, tend to, get overlooked under that. To do away with that single-layer perspective about BizAv, No Plane No Gain, a joint undertaking of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), was designed to educate the public on the importance of business aviation. The intent is also to draw non-aviation people of influence to the concept that using an aircraft to conduct a company’s business creates more opportunities for growth. It also aims at indicating that if your firm does not operate a plane, it is likely to show less gain in the yearly sales numbers.

The original No Plane, No Gain campaign was started by NBAA and GAMA in 1993, during a slump in activity and was successfully used for several years. The mechanism was brought back in early 2009, and over the years the initiative has continued to capture the essence of business aviation beyond the luxurious side of it.

The central idea behind No Plane No Gain, is also to increase awareness in policy makers and opinion leaders about the fact that business aviation plays a vital role for citizens, companies and communities. In the United States, business aviation generates well over a million jobs, provides a lifeline to communities with little or no commercial airline service, helps thousands of businesses of all sizes to be more productive and efficient and provides emergency and humanitarian services to people in need.

Business aviation serves as a vital emergency response tool in times of crisis and this has been witnessed yet again during the recent months as the world battled the coronavirus pandemic. Listed below are some instances under No Plane, No Gain that highlighted business aviation’s active participation and crucial role during the COVID-19.

From business aviation pilots who owned private aircraft to manufacturers, and many others who are a part of the business aviation industry took active participation through different roles in the hour of crisis.

BIZAV PILOTS LEAD THE WAY

As the operations for oil and gas paused, Tom Van Kleef, the Executive Vice President, General Manager and Pilot for Oil Mountain Energy based in Casper decided to take charge of his company’s Cessna 414 that was standing idle midst the COVID-19 crisis to contribute where needed alongside keeping the aircraft in optimum condition.

“We still wanted to be productive, even though our business travel was curtailed,” he said. “Then I found out about Angel Flight West (AFW) through our Twin Cessna Flyer group.” The nonprofit organisation arranges free, nonemergency air travel for children and adults with serious medical conditions and other compelling needs.

And in the last couple of months, Kleef flew a number of missions for AFW, including helping in the transport of a 15-year-old boy from his home in the Kalispell to his heart surgery in Denver, a 6-year-old who needed cancer treatment and many others.

The Wyoming pilot and businessman said flying those in need of medical care is a win-win for flight departments. “It helps keep the pilot and aircraft current, and it gives me the opportunity to fly into airports that we often list as our alternates, but don’t normally access,” added Kleef.

LIFTING UP THE SPIRITS WITH AIRLIFT

A Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Face Mask Airlift was hosted by the Colorado Aviation Business Association (CABA) and AFW with the assistance of Denver International Airport and the Colorado Division of Aeronautics. The airlift mission was carried out by volunteer pilots who delivered face masks to Colorado’s public-use airports.

The Wyoming pilot and businessman said flying those in need of medical care is a win-win for flight departments. “It helps keep the pilot and aircraft current, and it gives me the opportunity to fly into airports that we often list as our alternates, but don’t normally access,” added Kleef.

“A successful airlift and collaboration by several state organisations to deliver the FEMA provided mask, highlighted the critical role of aviation in the continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said CABA Chairman Chris Swathwood. “In all, 22 pilots from the CABA and AFW delivered about 4,00,000 masks to nearly 40 Colorado airports.”

“Business aviation pilots are not usually public faces or figures, and quiet volunteer service is quite common. The opportunity to participate in the first airlift that directly serves Colorado’s statewide airport community has drawn us all to step forward and help keep our colleagues safe as they serve others each day,” he added.

DONATE, PRODUCE, DISTRIBUTE

Pharmaceutical company, Eli Lilly and Company’s donation of two Gulfstream IV business aircraft helped Vincennes University and Purdue University provide a competitive advantage to aviation maintenance students pursuing degrees at those institutions during the pandemic months.

“The hands-on training using newer aircraft is critical for technicians to feel prepared as they step into the industry,” said Stewart D’Leon, NBAA director, technical operations. “However, the exciting part about this is having aircraft that are exclusively used for business aviation. This brings visibility of our industry to current students and allows them to become familiar with business aircraft at an important time in the development of their training.”

Source: NoPlaneNoGain / Twitter
 

Savannah, General Aviation-based manufacturer, Gulfstream Aerospace donated over 3,500 N95 masks and 3,100 protection suits to hospitals and health organisations. In partnership with General Dynamics’ sister companies, Gulfstream also pursued Food and Drug Administration approval of 3D-printed nasal test swabs and is using 3D printers to produce adapters for a Canadian clinical trial that aims to convert existing medical equipment into usable ventilators.

Aircraft manufacturer, Cirrus Aircraft’s supply team analysed the stock and future supply chains of personal protective equipment (PPE), including gloves, hand sanitizer, and lab gear and delivered these items to local hospitals. The team has continued to review stock and incoming deliveries for donation opportunities. Cirrus Aircraft also teamed with Frost River Trading, a local manufacturer, to produce over 31,000 disposable face shields for healthcare workers.

They also developed a prototype and produced 850 hood and coupler assemblies for powered air purifying respirators (PAPR) when they noticed the demand for PAPR rising. PAPR protect healthcare workers from contaminated air with battery-operated blowers that provide positive airflow through a filter to a hood.

Engine and avionics manufacturer Honeywell has expanded manufacturing operations in some locations and altered capabilities in others to produce millions of N95 masks and safety glasses. The masks were delivered to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to support emergency-response workers.

Charter operator NetJets flew two Bombardier Global 6000s to China, returning with 5.5 tonnes of medical equipment. NetJets also partnered with Ric Edelman, founder of a top independent financial advisory firm, to fly over 7,000 N95 masks from California’s Van Nuys Airport to Teterboro Airport in New Jersey. From there, the masks were delivered to New York City area hospitals.

The California Disaster Airlift Response Team (CalDART) and San Diego CalDART also made use of the general aviation aircraft to assist in the COVID-19 response.

Air charter operator Wheels Up recently took delivery of a Beechcraft King Air 350i with a special livery supporting Feeding America and its efforts to combat growing levels of food insecurity across the US throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

The orange paint matches the shade in the Feeding America logo, and ties into the “Meals Up” partnership formed earlier this year between Wheels Up and the hunger relief organisation. Meals Up has raised and inspired the equivalent of more than 47 million meals for Feeding America over the past six months, according to the company.

The aircraft joins a fleet of distinctively-colored “Wheels Up Cares” aircraft supporting causes including the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (in a camouflage livery), the American Heart Association (red) and Breast Cancer Awareness and the Dubin Breast Center of the Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai (pink).

“We kicked off the Meals Up initiative back in March with one purpose: to help feed people. We knew then that the next Wheels Up Cares plane would be orange in support of fighting food insecurity and to raise awareness for Feeding America’s Hunger Action Month,”said Wheels Up Founder and CEO Kenny Dichter.

As with the other Wheels Up Cares aircraft, Textron Aviation donated the design and paint for the latest special plane. The King Air manufacturer also donated funds to Meals Up that the company noted will provide more than 5,00,000 meals.

INNOVATION TO THE RESCUE

An innovative trial programme was also implemented in North Las Vegas, to utilise commercial unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to deliver COVID-19 test kits to area residents.

Walmart partnered with Quest Diagnostics and UAS services provider DroneUp to deliver the kits to residents living within a 1-mile radius of the store on West Craig Road. The packages are suspended below the drone for the brief flight. On arrival, the UAS descends to approximately 15 feet over the resident’s yard or driveway and then lowers the bag via a small winch. Customers perform a self-administered nasal swab and return their sample to Quest using an included prepaid shipping label. The kits and delivery are free for residents participating in the programme.

Walmart partnered with Quest Diagnostics and UAS services provider DroneUp to deliver the kits to residents living within a 1-mile radius of the store on West Craig Rd. The packages are suspended below the drone for the brief flight.

“We hope drone delivery of self-collection kits will shape contactless testing capabilities on a larger scale and continue to bolster the innovative ways Walmart plans to use drone delivery in the future,” said Walmart Senior Vice-President of Customer Products Tom Ward.

NBAA LAUNCHES INITIATIVE TO GET BIZAV BACK TO WORK

BizAv Back to Work is the association’s expanded, targeted effort to help members and the overall business aviation industry reopen and get back in the air after the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Helping the business aviation industry get back to work is the focus of a new effort launched today by the NBAA. BizAv Back to Work is the association’s expanded, targeted effort to help members and the overall business aviation industry reopen and get back in the air after the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Business aviation is a forward looking industry, characterised by an innovative spirit and boundless opportunities,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “Although COVID-19 has produced daunting challenges for our community, it is clear the people and companies in it are resilient, and ready to get back to work. This new initiative will put the resources in people’s hands to help employers find dedicated professionals, and help qualified individuals start or resume a business aviation career as quickly as possible.”

NBAA wants to help the business aviation community get back to work as we navigate the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic by making it easier for job seekers and employers to connect and by providing content to help prepare business aviation professionals to safely get back in the air.

In recent surveys of NBAA’s membership, a significant number of participants have listed job security as among their highest concerns. BizAv Back to Work will focus on speaking to this concern by expanding on the association’s existing employment services and adding new opportunities and resources.The resources in the form of job opportunities, news updates, articles, etc. are aimed at helping both job seekers and employers get back to work and have been made available on the website.