Charter Jet Safety Considerations
When flying in a charter business jet, there are two primary areas of concern when it comes to your safety – the aircraft and its flight crew.
The Safety of the Aircraft
Federal guidelines ensure the safety conditions for all jet aircraft. Part 135 of the Federal Aviation Administration aircraft certification process is designed for standards jets with less than nine seats. Aircraft and their charter company must meet these criteria to be considered safe for flight. To become Part 135 certified, a plane and its crew are fully evaluated by government criteria and inspectors. All applicable areas are investigated and certified including:
- Emergency procedures and training
- Pilot and crew experience and certifications
- Record keeping
- Regular maintenance routines
- Flight control
- Aircraft components
When considering a jet charter company or specific private jet, be sure the company and aircraft meet or preferably exceed Part 135. If possible, give preference to a company that exceeds Part 135, and shows continued dedication to safety by using outside auditors to inspect the planes on a regular basis.
Flight Crew Safety
Part 135 includes certification and qualifications of the pilot and others within the charter company. Part 135 insures the pilot’s license and experience qualify for certification as well as monitoring his safety record and training. While a pilot certified by Part 135 should be an excellent candidate, follow up by requesting to see important documents such as his safety record and license yourself.
If possible, meet the pilot in advance to gauge your reaction to his competence. Ask for and verify personal references for the company and the pilot and never hesitate to investigate the company and any complaints which may have been logged with the Better Business Bureau, FAA, or other entity. Time permitting, search the internet for personal reviews and testimonies of the company or aircraft, but be sure to read these accounts with caution due to their personal and possibly fraudulent nature.
While in the air, communicate with the pilot or steward as frequently as is necessary to gain confidence that all is going smoothly and there have been no problems with the craft or flight path.