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.
(L–R) Chief of Maintenance Jerry Baxter, Training Mgr Brent Schmenk, Aircraft Line Technician Steve Jureuich and Intl Flight Ops Mgr Richard Crocker.
With a flight mechanic on board we have the capability to have parts installed 24–48 hrs sooner than if we did not have a mechanic with us. Equipment reliability has been excellent and so far we've had few operational problems overseas."
Walsh draws comparisons between corporate aircraft and the technology products that HP produces: "HP looks at aircraft just like we look at technology. The more we can standardize the platform the more we can expand solutions. There are huge advantages in operating one common platform but we also take advantage of supplementary contract lift for shorter legs or where it makes sense."
Other cost efficiencies are achieved in shopping for fuel and hiring pilots with large aircraft international operating experience. "I need people who can get in the saddle and fly," says Swaney. "We turn the asset over to a captain who runs the operation for a week at a time so they must deal effectively with events as they change and use all resources available to them."
Standards & Training Mgr Brent Schmenk, originally an EDS pilot, takes crew rest and efficiency on longhaul flights seriously. "We've had flight sectors as long as HKG (Chek Lap Kok, Hong Kong)–PSP (Palm Springs CA) and it's essential for augmented crews to get good rest," he says. "We publish a crew rotation schedule in advance and rotate crews in clockwise order. Having a proper crew rest bunk in all aircraft, and a regimented set of guidelines establishing protocols for crew augmentation or rotation, is invaluable."
Typical pilot schedules are 50 flying hours, 13–15 flying days and 10–12 RONs per month. Recurrent pilot training is accomplished once every 8 months. While HP attempts to schedule most trips 2–3 weeks in advance popups occur and all flightcrews must maintain current visas for Brazil, China and India says Swaney. Crews are not required to come in on nonflying days but are encouraged to keep up with online training while at hotels on the road.
Into the future
All HP divisions, particularly transportation, must be adept at dealing with a constant international focus. "Some of our best business opportunities are within emerging markets and these opportunities will only improve so we'll continue to require a fast international response," says Moore. "The ability to respond and move quickly in closing deals and staying close to customers will remain as important as ever.
There will be no compromise to safety, security and our ability to have things within our control. This means not only evaluating new aircraft and equipment options but building a talent pipeline focused on developing flexibility and multiple opportunities. We need talented people who can take on complex international missions and hit the ground running."
On the operational front HP anticipates increasingly complex international security and operating environment. For HP pilots the flying mission is challenging and rewarding but, beyond that, opportunities for personal development and advancement are also a part of the equation.
"We plan on at least a 3 to 5-year development period for any new-hires, exposing them to different facets of the flight department and the company," says Walsh. "In today's market you need to be more than just a pilot. For the best job security we believe you should be able to market yourself in different ways. We like people who are open to development. It's a fast-paced crowd we work for around here, and we provide career development to not only respond to these needs but to create our own replacements."
Editor-at-Large Grant McLaren has written for Pro Pilot for over 20 years and specializes in corporate flight department coverage.