Coke bottler flies Citation Excel

CLT-based Coca-Cola flight dept provides company air travel and civic good will.


Av Dir Mark Chaney has a background in business management and maintenance.

A stable employment history is also preferred. Ron Griffin serves as the department’s training and standards captain. He joined CCBCC in 2001 after flying for the Olan Mills flight department for 28 years. Griffin schedules pilot training activities and maintains the records. CCBCC pilots attend FSI every 9 months for Excel recurrent training.

In addition, they receive international ops training annually, including RVSM procedures, and train in a wide range of work-related subjects including dealing with blood-borne pathogens, CPR and defibrillator application, driving company vehicles, and US Customs & Border Protection’s latest directives on international garbage disposal.

Daniel Johnson is the safety captain. He joined CCBCC 8 1/2 years ago, just before the Sep 11 terrorist attacks. He had previously been a Boeing 727 captain for Express 1, a DFW-based freight carrier.

Johnson sees his job as trying to find creative ways to focus on safety that can expand beyond the department’s organized safety management system (SMS). He says he likes to discuss safety issues with colleagues in an environment that encourages healthy dialog in order to explore all sides of an issue.

High-tech tools

Building on its SMS and a culture of continuous improvement, the department also employs a number of high-tech tools to reduce workload and improve safety and efficiency. It uses the JeppView electronic data­base and maintains a paper subscription of Jepp charts for the US and Latin America.

Trip kits are ordered for destinations further afield, which are less common. The pilots also carry Fujitso electronic flight bags. An American Aeronautics iFly electronic weight-and-balance system has aircraft-specific data for CCBCC’s Excel, and is used to calculate accurate weight-and-balance data using actual passenger weights for every trip.

The Excel’s interior layout is somewhat unusual, with no APU and the 4-seat club located further aft than in most Cessna 560XLs. This configuration makes the aircraft slightly prone to being loaded outside the forward limits of the cg envelope, but using iFly ensures that this won’t actually occur.

The department uses Jeppesen for international flight planning and handling services. A recent international trip to visit the facilities of the Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Com­pany provided a vivid demonstration of the advantages of corporate aviation.

The Excel was flown to Europe to pick up CCBCC executives at ZRH (Zürich, Switzerland) and, over a 6-day period, flew them to business meetings in BEG, VIE (Vienna, Austria) CIA (Ciampino, Rome, Italy), ATH (Spata, Athens, Greece) and BBU (Baneasa, Bucharest, Romania).

As CCBCC’s maintenance director, some days find Chaney in the hangar turning a wrench to lend a hand—however, most hands-on maintenance is performed by Senior Maintenance Technician Dan Canfield.

Chief Pilot Mike Garrett (L) and Standards Capt Ron Griffin each have more than 10,000 flight hours.

Canfield joined CCBCC in 1989 when his somewhat unusual résumé proved a match for the company’s out-of-the-ordinary requirement—they wanted a mechanic with experience on both JetStars and Jet­streams. After obtaining his A&P at Piedmont Bible College in 1982, Can­field began working for Sunbird Airlines and Mountain Air Cargo, where he maintained Jetstreams and other types.

Then, in 1987, he began working for recording artist Kenny Rogers, who had both a JetStar and a BAC 1-11. So in 1989, when CCBCC was looking for a mechanic, Canfield was a perfect match. Before the 2006 cutbacks, the department did all its own maintenance except for engine changes and 72-month checks on the GIII. In 18 years of operation, the S76 was sent out for maintenance just once.

With a reduced staff, the department now handles routine maintenance in-house, but larger jobs are normally sent to the Cessna Citation Service Center at GSO (Greensboro NC). The Excel is maintained on Cessna’s Pro Parts program using CAMPS, Cessna’s computer assisted maintenance program, and the CessCom online system.

Canfield says Cessna’s mobile maintenance service has also been valuable, providing support assistance that allowed him to perform a windshield change in-house that would otherwise have had to be done at a service center. CCBCC’s maintenance training is done annually through FSI.

Flights to help others

The company’s purpose statement, “To honor God in all we do,” provides a strong moral code and translates into flight activity to support charitable causes. When Haiti was shattered by an earthquake in January, Chaney knew his company and his department needed to be a part of the relief effort.

He contacted NBAA and Corporate Aviation Responding in Emergencies (CARE), the lead civilian organization coordinating Haitian relief efforts, and had CCBCC’s airplane put on a list of corporate aircraft available for missions to Haiti. In the following weeks, CCBCC’s Excel made 4 round-trip flights from FXE (Exec, Fort Lauderdale FL) to PAP (Port-au-Prince, Haiti).

Senior Maint Tech Dan Canfield has been with the department for 22 years.

On one trip they carried a girl who had lost both legs and been trapped for 6 days in the rubble of her collapsed home. Traveling with her mother, she was able to get life-saving surgery in the US. Relief missions to Haiti are not the only charitable flights made by the CCBCC flight department.

The department’s Excel carries athletes in the Citation Air Lift to the Special Olympics, and in the past has transported children for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Catch-a-Dream’s Special Youth Challenge Hunt at Legend’s Ranch in Bitely MI. Not every charitable effort involves the aircraft.

Last fall, members of the flight department pitched in to help Jackson Park Ministries in Charlotte build a handicapped ramp for its building. “The company’s policy,” Chaney says, “is that if you have a project that helps the community, we will give you time off and pay you to do it.” The CCBCC flight department reports to Vice Chairman Henry “Hank” Flint. Chaney says high-level reporting is important in maintaining the department’s credibility with senior management.

Chaney continues, “[Flint] tells me, ‘You seem to be doing everything right, but your job is to figure out how to do it better.’ That sets the tone for an environment of continuous improvement. For any flight department, that’s a very good goal.”

Mike Potts is an aviation consultant and freelance writer. He worked in corporate communications for Beech and Raytheon Aircraft between 1979 and 1997.



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