FLIGHT DEPT PROFILE
Michelin air shuttles staff members to 10 plant cities
Pair of Hawker 850XPs provide primary lift, Learjet 45 and Citation Excel are supplemental when needed.
Michelin performs 80% of its maintenance in-house. (L–R) Maintenance Techs Spencer Taylor and Jim Cummings, Maintenance Mgr Heath McDaniel and Maintenance Tech Adam Deaton.
“About 10% of the inspections we perform are things we’ve added based on knowing the airplane and what to look for,” he says. “We catch and correct problems before they can impact our operating schedule.”
In addition to maintaining Michelin’s Hawkers, McDaniel’s department manages maintenance for the Learjet 45 and Citation Excel that Michelin relies on for supplemental lift. Assisting McDaniel here are Lead Learjet 45 Technician Adam Deaton and Lead Citation Technician Jim Cummings.
Deaton started with Michelin in 2000 as a contract cleaner while attending A&P school. Michelin provided on-the-job training as he progressed, and hired him as a full-time employee in 2007.
Today Deaton manages Learjet 45 maintenance while pursuing a 4-year aviation maintenance management degree at Embry-Riddle’s satellite facility in Greenville. Cummings is relatively new to the department, having joined Michelin in 2008 as a technician with more than 17 years’ experience.
He holds master technician certificates from 2 other aircraft models and an IA certification. Cummings is also pursuing a 4-year degree in aviation technical management at Embry-Riddle while he manages Excel maintenance.
“With 2 full-time technicians managing these aircraft, it gives them additional responsibilities besides just turning wrenches,” says McDaniel. “It gives them a chance to conduct business and utilize their higher education skills and training.
“Continuing education is a high priority in this department,” says McDaniel. “It promotes professionalism.” Providing assistance to McDaniel’s department is A&P student Spencer Taylor, who attends Greenville Tech.
Michelin has a formal on-the-job training program with the school that McDaniel says benefits both organizations. “We get the extra manpower,” he says, “while the student gets to learn his trade in a real-world corporate aviation environment.”
Just as no two companies are alike, there are many different ways to manage a corporate jet program. Michelin’s shuttle program meets employees’ and executives’ need for efficient out-of-the-way travel—just as it has for 23 years.
Mike Potts is an aviation consultant and freelance writer. He worked in corporate communications for Beech and Raytheon Aircraft between 1979 and 1997.