Friday, September 2, 2011

jetAVIVA Crew Trains in the Idaho Backcountry

Last weekend, jetAVIVA vice president of Phenom Aircraft sales Greg Oswald and I took an adventure tour of the Idaho back country with Pilot Getaways co-founder and editor John Kounis. The purpose of the trip was an introduction to both back country airstrips and to get some flying time in John’s Cessna 185, a capable back country airplane and a style of flying far from the comfort of the Phenom 100.

The 668-nm flight to Idaho entailed six hours of flying over two days. The first leg to Battle Mountain, Nevada, crossed hundreds of miles of barren desert and required a dogleg around the restricted area around Area 51. We did dodge a couple of thunderstorms, but didn’t see any flying saucers.

From Battle Mountain, a slight detour east via Smiley Creek Airport gave us some excellent flight-seeing opportunities. The airport sits in a wide, forested valley, and long deep blue lakes are tucked into just about every glacially carved side canyon; all this scenery is set against the backdrop of the jagged granite peaks of the Sawtooth Mountains. After weaving among the peaks, blue-green alpine lakes, and secluded meadows of the Sawtooths, we left civilization behind and crossed an 8,000-foot pass to drop into the Loon Creek drainage, past Upper Loon Creek USFS airstrip.

When flying deep in the canyons, John explained, flying is not done on airways or even GPS-direct. For eons, the forces of nature have been carving natural flyways through the mountains: these natural flyways are river canyons. Bush pilots are always aware of what drainage they are flying in and especially whether they are flying upstream or downstream—if you’re flying upstream you can usually continue flying until reaching the ocean without ever needing to climb. We learned other tips like why you should fly on the downwind side of the canyon (updrafts and a tighter turning radius if you have to turn around) and the benefits of flying on the sunny side of mountain slopes (updrafts due to the warm air).

Our first back country approach landing was at Johnson Creek Airport, a 3,400-foot airstrip at the bottom of a half-mile wide valley at 4,933 feet elevation. To make the approach, you fly as close to the right side of the canyon on downwind as possible (just not so close as to scrape off the green nav light on tree branches), and then make a short, steep, 5-degree, turning descent between rocks and trees to the wide grass runway. Both Greg and I were impressed with the tightness of the approach—especially when we realized that Johnson Creek is one of Idaho’s easiest back country strips!

The back country “ bible" is Galen Hanselman’s book, Fly Idaho!; in the book, each airstrip is rated on a difficulty scale of 1–50. Johnson Creek is only a 14. During the course of the weekend, the most difficult airstrip where we landed was Wilson Bar USFS Airport. The blind, twisting approach up a narrow river canyon along the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, the fact that you can’t see the airstrip until you’re less than 1/4 mile away, the lack of a go-around option from short final, and the 1,500-foot length result in a rating of 27 for this challenging airstrip.

We over-flew Fish Lake was a long grass strip in the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness beside a clear lake frequented by Moose. We looked for the moose that John promised would be there, but gave up after about 5 minutes since swarms of black flies, biting horse flies, and mosquitoes also had gathered in this idyllic setting for their own getaways.

Fourteen nautical miles away, Moose Creek was 3,000 feet lower and devoid of insects. There are never any moose there, but, unlike Fish Lake, Moose Creek is known for its good fishing. Since we didn’t have fishing gear, we just hiked the half-mile to the junction of the Selway River and Moose Creek, and dipped our toes into the water.

Other high points of the trip included a dinner at the Flying B Ranch, a remote back country lodge accessible only by boat or airplane. The driver who picked us up from the 2,000-foot grass airstrip told us that his pickup truck had been airlifted in by helicopter, and that the 2/3 mile of dirt road between the airstrip and the ranch was the only road in the area. The ranch is completely “off-the-grid”—so much so that they generate their own electricity with a hydroelectric generator on the nearby stream.

The departure out of the Flying B was the most stunning I have ever flown. Winds were out of the north, dictating a takeoff on Runway 34 (otherwise known as the “North Runway”). Since Impassable Canyon that extends for a mile or so north of the airstrip is too narrow to turn around in, we had to wind our way between vertical rock walls down the twisting river canyon for a couple of minutes until we could climb high enough to turn on course.

The weekend left us with an excellent understanding of back country flying and an appreciation of the beauty of the Idaho Rockies. To find out more about fun places to fly, read Pilot Getaways Magazine, which has featured many of these strips, including an article the Flying B Ranch in the last issue.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

jetAVIVA raises nearly $100,000 for the Experimental Aircraft Association

In total, jetAVIVA raised nearly $100,000 for the Experimental Aircraft Association this year and sponsored a week long celebration of fun and aviation at this years EAA AirVenture, Oshkosh. The jetAVIVA sponsored Gathering of Eagles after-party was a smashing success with some of aviation's greatest heroes in attendance.

See the photos from the event at

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

jetAVIVA co-founder supports Angel Flight Network

Angel Flight is a charitable organization comprised of pilots who donate their time and airplanes to fly people in medical and financial need. My best friend and co-founder of jetAVIVA, Cyrus Sigari and I have been volunteers for Angel Flight for 15 years. I believe that the experience of helping these people in their times of need, through an expression of my passion for flight, has enriched my life even more than those passengers I've flown. Helping one's self by helping others is truly an uncompromising and limitless opportunity. We encourage all of our friends and clients to participate as Angel Flight pilots.

Friday, July 8, 2011

jetAVIVA Finds Opportunities in China

I just returned from Beijing, China, where I attended the annual China General Aviation Forum. This year is of particular importance for general aviation in China because the Chinese 12 th 5 year national plan, published this year, specifically lists general aviation infrastructure development as a strategic objective of the country.
Additionally, the Civil Aviation Authority of China and the Chinese military have published a plan to make airspace below 3,000 meters (about 10,000 feet) available for VFR flying within the next five years. There appears to be genuine motivation on the par
t of the Chinese people and government to promote general aviation.

I had the opportunity to meet several aircraft manufacturer’s sales representatives, aircraft operators, and government officials. China is a very interesting place and it is very different from most of the countries that I’m used to visiting.

China is the world’s most populous country and is one of the oldest civilizations. In the 20th century, the Chinese people have gone through incredible ups and downs; war with Japan, civil war, the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, famine, terrorism, political upheaval, and now (over the last 20 years or so), a dramatic rise in wealth and power. I learned that this history brings with it an intricate culture, full of superstitions, and a manner of communication that even befuddles native Chinese speakers (in fact both what is said and how it is said have very little relevance to the message that’s actually being passed). This will prove to be a challenge for aviation companies from “developed” countries that try to do business in China.

There are presently just over 2,000 private pilots in China, despite the large number of wealthy Chinese that love expensive toys. If it weren’t for government restrictions on airspace, I would expect there to be at least 100,000 private pilots, if not more. With the lifting of airspace restrictions planned over the next five years, I expect demand for flight schools, FBOs, maintenance facilities, aircraft manufacturers, airports, and the other aviation infrastructure that we enjoy in the developed world to ramp up.

Many of the attendees to China General Aviation Forum were economic development representatives of various municipalities in China, all trying to create the “Wichita of China”. They are offering subsidies, tax incentives, land, and direct investment to people who wish to bring aviation experience and capabilities to their cities. As a result I enjoyed some fabulous aviation themed parties...

China recently purchased Cirrus Design and I’m sure that there will be more transactions like that soon. Embraer has been building some ERJs in China in partnership with a Chinese company for years, and it was recently announced that that facility would begin to build business jets as well. Also, the first Chinese-built Airbus recently made its first flight. An indigenous design called the COMAC C919, which will compete head-to-head with the next generation Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 families, is slated for entry-into-service in 2016.

In addition to learning about general aviation in China, I also had a day or so to see the tourist sites including the Forbidden City and the Great Wall.

I’m looking forward to the day that we get to deliver the first Phenom to a Chinese customer. Having recently completed our fifth delivery of a Phenom 100 to India, I’m sure demand from the Chinese is just around the corner.

- Ben Marcus

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

jetAVIVA Clients Fly with Capt. Sully Sullenberger

jetAVIVA and the Experimental Aircraft Association put on a once-in-a-life-time opportunity for a few lucky clients at Van Nuys Airport. Guests got the opportunity to fly a B-17 Bomber accompanied by Capt. Sully Sullenberger, Experimental Aircraft Association President Rod Hightower, and jetAVIVA President Cyrus Sigari. Too much fun!

Phenom 300: Severe Weather Arrival

Ben shot this video with his iPhone during an evening descent into Charleston, SC while flying with a Phenom 300 owner/pilot. There were storms building around them including a large cell out of frame on the left side of the aircraft. The crew used XM Nexrad, XM Lightning, on-board weather radar, and Stormscope to safely avoid the severe weather and enjoyed a smooth ride through the build ups and into Charleston International Airport.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Good joojoo

Nothing like good news at trade-shows to pump up the market. The heavy metal producers are looking at an encouraging future for business aviation... here's a synopsis from a report put out by Bombardier.

Bombardier: 24,000 Bizjets over Next 20 Years
A 20-year business aircraft market forecast released by Bombardier at EBACE yesterday predicts a return to sustained growth. According to the report, some 24,000 business jets, not including very light jets, worth approximately $626 billion will be delivered from 2011 to 2030. In the first half of the forecast period, 10,000 deliveries worth $260 billion are anticipated, and 14,000 deliveries worth $366 billion are expected from 2021 to 2030. “The business aircraft industry’s improving book-to-bill ratio is a positive signal that the market has turned the corner and is gaining momentum,” Bombardier said. “While industry deliveries are not expected to improve significantly in 2011, key indicators are showing an upward trend, and it is expected that business aircraft deliveries will continue to grow in 2012.” Thanks to a widening customer base for business aircraft, especially in high-growth economies, the Canadian aircraft manufacturer foresees that North America, Europe and China will be the three most active markets and will generate the most revenues over the next 20 years.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

HondaJet Update

Interesting news from our friends at Honda regarding the HondaJet progress. Exciting stuff. With Certification likely at the end of 2012, early 2013, it's likely that Honda will time their arrival perfectly with a rebounded light jet segment.

FAA-Conforming HondaJet Reaches Maximum Operating Altitude Of 43,000 Ft

Production Of The Aircraft Expected To Begin Next Year

Honda Aircraft Company announced Monday at EBACE that it has successfully completed additional milestone flight tests with its FAA-conforming HondaJet, including the achievement of a maximum operating altitude of 43,000 ft. This accomplishment follows soon after Honda's advanced light business jet recorded a maximum speed of 425KTAS during flight testing at the company's Greensboro, NC, world headquarters facility.

The 43,000 ft. mark - reached on April 27 - confirms the company's maximum-operating-altitude performance commitment to customers for the FAA-conforming HondaJet. In addition, the aircraft has achieved a climb rate of 3,990 ft./min., confirming another important performance parameter for the delivery aircraft.

"We are very encouraged by the achievement of these important performance milestones at this early phase of the HondaJet flight test program," said Michimasa Fujino, Honda Aircraft Company President & CEO. "Our flight test data indicate that the aircraft is performing as expected, and our team continues to work hard to realize additional performance milestones as we move forward."

The first FAA-conforming HondaJet (F1), which first flew on December 20, 2010, will soon be joined by additional conforming aircraft to supplement the company's certification efforts. A second conforming aircraft (ST1) already has been completed and undergone extensive structural testing under various load conditions to ensure conformity with all certification requirements. Furthermore, Power-On testing has been completed successfully on a third conforming aircraft (F2) that will be used for flight testing. Honda is nearing completion of function testing on this aircraft, which is scheduled to join the flight test program this summer.

A fourth conforming aircraft (F3), to be used for additional flight testing, has progressed through the major assemblies consolidation phase and is now in the early stages of systems installation. A fifth conforming aircraft (ST2) also is planned to be completed in early 2012 to support additional stress and extensive fatigue testing. Concurrent with the assembly of conforming aircraft, Honda continues to conduct numerous component qualification tests for each aircraft system to support the certification program.

"In order to maximize the effectiveness of our flight test program and to support an accelerated certification process, we will add a sixth conforming aircraft (F4) to our certification fleet," said Fujino. "This test aircraft will take flight in spring 2012 and will support cabin systems testing, as well as functions and reliability testing. With a total of six aircraft planned to support the certification process, we believe we will have optimal resources to meet both our flight test program needs and our certification schedule.

As Honda progresses through the certification program, the company is focused simultaneously on the process of equipping and manning its new HondaJet production facility, which was recently completed on the company's Greensboro campus. Pre-production planning and preparations are in progress as equipment and personnel begin to move into the facility. Training of production staff will soon be underway to support the HondaJet production ramp-up beginning in 2012.

The 263,400 sq. ft. HondaJet production facility integrates under one roof all aspects of assembly, painting, completion, inspection and flight testing of delivery aircraft. This unique approach to production will provide Honda with a distinct advantage within the industry by allowing the company to create the highest quality aircraft possible within a totally integrated assembly and testing environment.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

New Embraer Phenom delivery video is in the works!

Check out our latest reel of footage for the delivery of a brand new Embraer Phenom 100 from the factory in Brazil making its way to its new owner in India!

We will update the blog when the delivery is complete with the final video.

Enjoy ~

Monday, April 25, 2011

Phenom Jet Association Conference - March 24-28, 2011 - San Antonio, TX

We had a PHENOMENAL time at the Phenom Jet Association Conference in San Antonio, TX! We conducted our Companion Training Course with the wives and companions of several Phenom 100 & Phenom 300 owners who were in attendance. Our companion training course consisted of a two day ground school and in-flight simulated emergency landing. The ground school and in-flight simulated landing were administered by Ben Marcus and several of his associate flight instructors with all participants. All of the participants enrolled in the Companion Training Course enthusiastically studied very hard and were able to land all aircraft safely in the presence of their instructors. Quite the accomplishment!

In addition, we spent most of our time at the conference looking over the many vendor exhibits and sitting in on information sessions presented by Embraer, Pratt and Whitney, Radar Training International, Air Journey, and CAE SimuFlite to name a few!

Below you will find a few photos of some of the Companion Course participants after their successful landings with their instructors:

Friday, April 22, 2011

Citation Jet Pilots Owner Pilot Association - First Regional Event - Houston, TX

It was such a pleasure to see everyone at the Citation Jet Pilots Owner Pilot Associations first regional event in Houston, TX at KEFD, March 11-13, 2011. The event was coordinated by Cyrus Sigari, CJP Regional Event Coordinator and jetAVIVA President. Cyrus also served as the Master of Ceremonies for the entire weekend. This event is the first of many regional events to come and was a huge success as it sold out with over 65 guests in attendance!

Touching down at KEFD and seeing the rows upon rows of Citation Jets owned by CJP members was a spectacular view! For those of you who don't know, KEFD was established by the Army Air Service on May 21, 1917, and was originally created as a training facility. Ellington Field is currently used by the military, NASA, commercial and general aviation sectors. The airport is one of the few airfields built for World War I training purposes still in operation today.

The first regional event at the historic Ellington Field was planned by jetAVIVA and was hosted by Citation Jet Pilots Owner Pilot Association founding member and CJ3 owner, Stuart Fred. Stuart opened up his expansive private hangar to every attending member and their guests for the entire weekend. Not only did he graciously host the entire weekend, he was also able to arrange a keynote presentation with NASA's Shuttle Commander, Charlie Precourt, a Safety Stand-down seminar with NASA's Safety Officer Solunac "Solo" Nebojsa, as well as private tours of the neighboring NASA facility and of the old war birds in Fighter Hangar One. Stuart and Charlie Precourt flew several attendees in Stuart's very own L-39 throughout the weekend as well!

The weekend was action packed but we still managed to settle in and enjoy our Texas Round-Up like the true cowboys we are. We indulged in Texan cuisine with a cigar and moonshine (Patron Spirits) to boot! Friday kicked off our Texas Round-up with a BBQ dinner with all the fixings sponsored by PNC Aviation Finance. Saturday afternoon our Tex-Mex lunch was sponsored by jetAVIVA and our cocktail Prime Rib dinner was sponsored by CAE SimuFlite. On Sunday, our final morning in Houston was spent at the Universal Weather & Aviation headquarters where we enjoyed a hosted breakfast and tour of their operations facility before blasting off!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Phenom Makeover!

What a difference a few liters of paint make!



One of our inspired and creative clients has added some paint to his Phenom 100, creating a truly stunning result. Isn't this beautiful?

Monday, February 28, 2011

jetAVIVA Phenom Inventory Update!

jetAVIVA - Light Jet Inventory


SN: 50000082

140 hours total time
EEC Enhanced and ESP Gold Lite
TCAS, Jepp Chart View, Premium Passenger Door, Embraer "Corporate Demo" Paint Scheme
» More info



SN: 50000091

18 hours total time
Delivery Hours Only, 2 Pilot Training Slots Included
Lavatory Rigid Door, Inflight Entertainment System, Premium Passenger Door
» More info



SN: 50000137

159 hours total time
EEC Enhanced and ESP Gold
TCAS, Jepp Chart View, Lavatory Rigid Door, Premium Passenger Door
» More info



SN: 50000150

115 hours total time
EEC Enhanced and ESP Gold
TCAS, Jepp Chart View, Lavatory Rigid Door, Tourmaline Interior
» More info

Be sure to ask us about available 2011 Phenom 100 and Phenom 300 delivery positions

Call +1.310.907.5099 or email at

About jetAVIVA

jetAVIVA is an authority on light jets, offering acquisition and sales services, backed with the experience of completing over 200 light jet transactions, as well as providing acceptance and training services in all production light jets. jetAVIVA is focused on providing Clients with comprehensive services to choose the right jet and operate it with maximum efficiency and safety. For More information, please visit or call +1.310.907.5099.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Lessons Learned: What Boeing 747-400 Type Rating Training Can Teach a Single-Pilot Jet Operator

“Boeing Five-oh-One Heavy, Kennedy Tower, Fly the Breezy Point Climb, Runway Three One Left, cleared for takeoff”. I push the four throttles up, press the autothrottle Takeoff/Go-Around (TOGA) button, the engines spool up, and the lumbering Boeing 747-400 begins accelerating down the 14,500 foot runway in New York. My first officer calls “80 knots”, “V1”, “Rotate”, and I begin to gently ease the 870,000 pound jumbo jet into the air. A childhood dream realized – To fly a 747. Well, sort of…

It sure felt real, but I was in a Level D simulator at Boeing’s Training Center in Renton, Washington, just outside Seattle. My training partner, Edwin Sahakian, a Cessna Citation Mustang owner-pilot who is a friend and client of mine, had wanted to train for a Boeing 747-400 type rating for quite some time. I was honored when he asked me to join him. It turns out that I’m not the only crazy pilot out there who has dreamt of flying a 747. We were able to find a couple of open weeks in our calendars that matched up and we scheduled the course.

After countless hours of studying the manuals, going through a web-based training course, and reading anything that we could get our hands on, we showed up at Boeing to start ground school. I now have just shy of 4,000 hours of flying time and I was one of the least experienced students in the gargantuan building. The biggest airplane that my training partner was type rated in was his Citation Mustang, which has a Maximum Ramp Weight of precisely 1% of that of the big Boeing. This was going to be quite a nut to crack for the two of us. Luckily, we had some of the best instructors in the world, including Mike Miller, who has 22 years of experience as an instructor at Boeing as well as previous military flying career, and Dominick Ruscitti, who was a Line Check Airman at United Airlines on the Boeing 747-400, among other types.

I may never fly a real 747, but in the course of my work helping people buying, selling, and learning to fly jets, I do fly single-pilot jets frequently, so as we went through the course, I took mental note of lessons that I was learning which could be applied to my regular flying. Here are some of the specific techniques and procedures that I intend to incorporate into my flying practices:

Checklist Execution

As we go through our flight training and flying careers, we all learn how important checklists are, but are we really using checklists in the most effective way? At most airlines, critical checklists like before takeoff and before landing are done by the “Challenge and Response” method. This means that one pilot reads a “Challenge”, or item to be checked, and the other pilot verifies that the item has been completed and says a “Response”.

Flying single-pilot, we don’t have the luxury of a second pilot, so we have to figure out a way to gain the same benefit working alone. Reading the checklist aloud is a good first step, but physically touching critical flight controls prior to reading the appropriate responses can force the brain to think in a way beyond just language and may help catch items not-yet-accomplished, similarly to what a copilot might do. For example, on the before landing checklist, if a challenge reads “Landing Gear”, touching the landing gear selector and pointing to the three green indication before saying the response “Down, 3 green”, will likely improve the chances of the item actually being checked.

Dealing with In-Flight Emergencies

When an abnormality is encountered in a two-pilot operation, the pilot flying usually takes over air traffic control communication, allowing the other pilot to focus on reading and accomplishing the appropriate abnormal or emergency checklist. In a single-pilot operation, we must use the autopilot effectively as our “pilot flying”, as we deal with the problem. In addition to engaging the autopilot initially, it is important to check the flight mode annunciator, attitude, airspeed, altitude, and direction of the airplane every few seconds. We must remember to always fly the airplane first.

I also learned the importance of going slowly to make sure that the correct checklist for the emergency is selected and flipped to after appropriate memory items are completed. Most Quick Reference Handbooks (QRHs) are bulky and complicated, so it can take some time to identify the correct checklist. These checklists should then be followed precisely, without the pilot second-guessing or trying to out-think the checklist.

It is also important to act quickly and land the airplane when the continued safety of the flight is in question. If completion of the appropriate checklist has not restored the safety of the aircraft, an immediate landing at the nearest suitable airport is critical to survival. We’ve all heard the adage “I’d rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air than be in the air wishing I was on the ground”. On the ground is the right place to investigate complicated problems, not in flight.

Rejected Takeoff and Emergency Landing

When rejecting a takeoff at a busy airport, after control of the aircraft is assured, a call on the radio should be initiated without delay. The radio call should include not only the fact that you aborted your takeoff, but also the runway that you aborted on and your present location on the runway. The control tower may know what runway you’re on, but the aircraft on final may not, and your call might help that pilot decide if he or she should immediately initiate a go-around. Especially at night or in poor visibility conditions, this action could be critical to your survival.

Also, whether rejecting a takeoff or making an emergency landing, if there is any possibility that you may need emergency vehicles to come to the aircraft, do not exit the runway. It is much easier for emergency vehicles to reach an aircraft on a wide runway than on a narrow taxiway.

I also learned the importance of practicing emergency evacuation procedures. If it has been a while since you practiced opening your emergency exit, donning your life vest, unlatching the fire extinguisher, and grabbing your flashlight, perhaps doing so before your next preflight might be a good idea.

One last very important lesson learned: If you’re going to learn to fly a Boeing, do it with a good pilot and friend, like my friend Edwin.

The course was a great learning experience and great fun, and in the end, both Edwin and I walked away with five new characters on our pilot certificates “B-747-4”; the Boeing 747-400 type rating.