FLIGHT DEPT PROFILE
Fleet of 7 GVs brings Hewlett-Packard execs face to face with global customers
Belief in business jet travel pays off for HP with burgeoning computer sales and profits.
VP Global Security Services Robert Moore (L) and Dir Global Resiliency/Aviation Richard Walsh are happy with capabilities of current GV fleet but are always evaluating equipment options.
In 1974 a Piper PA31 Navajo was purchased to provide shuttle services to STS (Santa Rosa CA) and this lift was soon upgraded to a pair of Piper PA31T3 T1040s (basically a Navajo Chieftain with Pratt & Whitney engines). The first Falcon 50 was acquired in 1984 and tasked with weekly shuttles between SDM (Muni, San Diego CA) and CVO (Corvallis OR) together with nonscheduled missions.
During 1987 a de Havilland Canada DHC6 Twin Otter joined the flightline, to support shuttles between SJC and LHM (Lincoln CA), and a Gulfstream II was temporarily operated in 1988 while waiting for GIII delivery later that year.
"Beginning in 1989 we had the craziest mix of aircraft," recalls Capt Martin Tapay who joined HP in 1985. "One GIII, 1 Falcon 50, 3 Sabre 60s, 2 T1040s and the Twin Otter. Several pilots were qualified on 4 aircraft. The 1040s went away not long after but most of our flying remained scheduled-airline-type service."
The year 1995 brought replacement of the Sabreliners with 2 Astra SPs which were quickly upgraded to Astra SPXs. A Gulfstream IV joined the mix in 1999 and the fleet soon evolved to 2 GIVs, 2 Falcon 50s and the Twin Otter with a greater focus on international flying.
During the summer of 2003 HP took delivery of 2 GVs bringing the fleet to 6 jets plus the Twin Otter. By early 2009, with the EDS merger, the HP fleet stabilized at 7 GVs and the Twin Otter ceased scheduled services.
"Over the past few years we've transitioned into a completely different operation with centralized dispatch and crossfunctional staff training to meet complex global flight requirements, with rigorous focus on systems and best practices," says Walsh. "We've evolved from a small operation supporting the founders and running corporate shuttles to an on-demand global transport provider with all GVs."
HP corporate missions range today from nonstop launches from SJC to locations in Asia and Europe to one 13.5-hr AKL (Auckland, New Zealand) to TKI stage. A trip to China can be set up within 72 hrs, pilots and mechanics are routinely prepositioned around the world to support global operating surges and polar survival equipment is stocked on board all GVs just in case a dash across the high Arctic is required.
For Lynch, flight department changes, in both equipment and processes, have been dramatic. "It's like having 2 separate careers," he says. "My first 15 years was scheduled flying on multiple types but now were primarily international with 1 fleet type and occasional short-notice intercontinental dispatches. Schedules are more intensive today but I enjoy the challenge of flying to different places."
Scheduling, maintenance and cabin support
Shown in the cabin of a GV with latest model Hewlett-Packard notebook and netbook computers are (L–R) Systems Operations Control Mgr Tom Collins, Chief Pilot John Swaney, Scheduler Kama Denny and Risk Threat Analysis Mgr Global Security Jenny Jolly.
Collins and his team of 3 schedulers run a centralized scheduling function from SJC, use CTA-FOS scheduling software and call on Jeppesen Intl trip support services in organizing international missions. HP computers and phones are assigned to all flightcrew so that they can log in and review schedules from anywhere.
In keeping with the crossfunctional focus of this flight department Scheduler Kama Denney does double duty as an ATP-rated cruise captain while Scheduler Blake Plattner is an instrument-rated pilot with an eye to the right seat of a GV.
Typical missions range from quick 2-day launches to South America, 7-day 4-stop missions to Europe, weeklong launches to Asia to 10–13 legs around the world trips. Flight mechanics, often dual rated as flight attendants, are assigned to selected international sectors.
All aspects of operational security are always at the forefront says Risk Threat Analysis Mgr Global Security Jenny Jolly. "We take global operating security seriously with contingency plans and a structured chain of command and policies if something goes wrong.
"We determine on a case by case basis if missions are viable and risk profiles acceptable," she adds. "During recent unrest in Thailand we stopped flying to BKK (Bangkok, Thailand) for a time and we're currently restricting ops to CJS (Ciudad Juarez, Mexico). We routinely work with regional security directors in the field and often have our executive protection people involved in flight planning."
HP schedulers enjoy the flexibility of their all-GV fleet mix and report that SJC to PEK and NRT (Narita, Tokyo, Japan) can be accomplished nonstop 90% and 95% of the time respectively.
Head Flight Attendant Shannan Catinella manages cabin services worldwide. All HP international ops carry a flight attendant who, in some cases, will be a flight mechanic doing cabin service as additional duty. Cooking requirements in flight are limited and this is not a flight department where cherries flambé will appear on a dinner menu at FL450.
Chief of Maintenance Jerry Baxter, with his team of 5 maintenance technicians, handles all GV checks up to, but not including, 96-month inspections. At TKI, where 2 of the 7 GVs are based, Assistant Chief of Maintenance Ray Smith and 3 mechanics provide full support capabilities. "Standardizing the fleet has made a huge difference," says Baxter. "The GVs have been great aircraft for us and product support has been excellent.
Although we're beginning to see teething problems (average age of the fleet is 8 years with high time aircraft at 4700 hrs and 2000 landings) we have not had a missed flight, or a delay to an overseas trip, in over 3 years."
Both HP maintenance bases are certified FAA repair stations and the group looks forward to upgrade of all GV flightdecks with Honeywell DU885 displays over the next year or so.
Intl Flight Ops Mgr Richard Crocker joined HP 6 years ago and currently flies a schedule heavily weighted toward overseas ops. "We have rigorous scheduling guidelines with a goal to maximizing international flexibility," he says. "We fly with augmented crews and we'll reposition crews based on mission requirements.