FLIGHT DEPT OF THE YEAR
A salute to McDonald's
Mickey D is honored as top flight dept 2012. Global 6000 and Challenger 300 bring Big Mac tasty profits around the world.
McDonald's Bombardier Global 6000 (L) and Challenger 300 are housed in a 24,500 sq ft dedicated hangar at DPA. The Challenger 300 will soon be replaced with a Challenger 605.
Every employee has an iPad which is linked to an Internet "cloud" which is used to update manuals, disseminate data and communicate safety-related concerns. Walter keeps this system updated as well.
Flight Attendants Jennifer Doles and Lisa Weissinger play a key role in creating the high value transportation experience Hutton believes is essential to keeping senior management satisfied with the performance of the flight department.
They make sure the airplanes are set up, stocked and organized consistently in the cabin. On the department's typical long-haul flights, full meals are served aboard. Many international flights are conducted at night, requiring the flight attendants to prepare the cabin for sleeping accommodations.
Detailed files are maintained on all regular executive passengers, with information including food and drink preferences, special likes and dislikes, allergy or diet restrictions and any pertinent medical data.
Aviation Specialist Linda Ervin handles scheduling and works with Air Routing to plan international trips.
Hutton says both Doles and Weissinger have become expert in acquiring catering at foreign destinations, and both are adept at keeping the airplane's cabin entertainment systems functioning, which he notes can be troublesome if not handled properly.
Doles has been a flight attendant with McDonald's for 15 years, Weissinger for 10. Both were contractors until Hutton decided to hire them as full-time employees in 2011, believing it would contribute to ownership and efficiency.
While providing high-quality customer service is a key part of their jobs, their primary responsibility is safety. McDonald's contracts with Air Care Intl for flight attendant recurrent training as well as inflight emergency consultation. Both Doles and Weissinger have had extensive training in water ditching, fighting cabin fires, emergency evacuation, altitude chamber and the dunk tank. They receive recurrent training annually.
Capt Jeff Doyle was recruited from Harley-Davidson in early 2012. He is the Global unit manager and is responsible for all onboard insurance paperwork, LOAs and customs documentation.
The McDonald's aircraft are equipped with defibrillators, smoke hoods, emergency medical kits, blood-borne pathogen kits, and diagnostic kits to assess blood circulation and blood sugar levels.
Trauma kits are supplied to assist local physicians if a passenger or crewmember should suffer a traumatic injury in a foreign country. A firesock system is available to deal with possible lithium battery fires. Dole and Weissinger are also trained in the use of all onboard equipment.
Heading up McDonald's aviation maintenance department is Michael Delves, who joined the company in 1997. A native of England, Delves originally came to the US to work on racing cars. In 1985 he was named mechanic of the year at the Indianapolis 500.
After getting married he decided motor racing was too nomadic, so he opted for a career change. He earned an A&P and an associate's degree in aviation technology from Lewis University in Romeoville IL and went to work at JA Air Center at DPA.
While there he began doing contract work for the McDonald's flight department, which eventually recruited him.
Delves is assisted by Senior Technicians Wayne Sanchez and Glenn Anthony. Sanchez has primary responsibility for the Global, while Anthony, in Hutton's words, "owns the 300"—a duty that will transfer to the Challenger 605 when it replaces the older aircraft in January.
In practice, Delves says, all 3 men work on both airplanes, but having 1 person's name and, to some degree, reputation tied to a specific aircraft seems to enhance the quality of the maintenance product and contribute to enhanced results.
The technician with responsibility for the aircraft keeps the logs and maintenance records and schedules inspections. The aircraft logs are stored in a fireproof safe.
Sanchez has been with McDonald's for nearly 10 years and is is a member of Bombardier's Global 6000 advisory board. He had previously worked with Delves at JA Air Center when that facility was located at DPA.
Anthony joined the McDonald's flight department in 2001 after a 20-year career in the US Coast Guard where he maintained fixed and rotary-wing aircraft. He holds aviation safety and security certification with a concentration in maintenance safety from the University of Southern California—training that he says helps him identify potential hazards and keep the maintenance department operating at a higher level of safety.
All 3 men have completed Bombardier's 3-week initial maintenance training program for the 605 (but not at the same time), and Sanchez also recently completed training on the Global 6000's Rockwell Collins Fusion avionics system.
Like the pilots, the mechanics have added responsibilities beyond their aircraft maintenance tasks. Anthony handles hangar security and building maintenance. He is also a member of the flight department safety team.
Both aircraft are maintained to Bombardier's factory-approved program, with required events based on months, landings and flight hours. The Global joined the McDonald's fleet in September, so with the arrival of the 605 both aircraft will be on factory warranty. For warranty repairs accomplished on site, Delves notes, "Bombardier has a program. They'll pay us if we do the work."
The Global's engines are on the Rolls-Royce Corporate Care program while the Challenger's engines are on Honeywell's MSP program.
The department uses Flightdocs for maintenance tracking, with data presented on iPads. "The world is changing because of iPads," Delves observes. When an inspection is due, he explains, Flightdocs sends a package of maintenance cards detailing the tasks to be performed.
"We try to do 90% of all the maintenance ourselves," Delves says, "because we don't want the aircraft to be out of service." He notes that some tasks are, however, better left to the service center. "I'm not going to get involved if it's a whole lot of wiring, changing boxes or big components," he says.
"The service centers do that every day, and we don't." He tries to limit service center trips to once a year, adding, "If we don't have to go, we won't."