FLIGHT DEPT PROFILE

Martin Resource Management builds petroleum business with diverse fleet

Aviation unit operates Learjet 45XR, Citation CJ3 and CJ1, King Air 350 and 2 Cirrus SR22s.


Scheduler & Flight Coordinator Linda Ware greets people at the front door and coordinates trip requests and ground transportation.

A growing fleet

The company's diverse fleet has grown around its evolving transportation requirements. The King Air was acquired in the mid-1990s when most trips were to destinations in Texas and surrounding states where petroleum-related work is heavily concentrated.

The Learjet 45 was acquired in 2005 when trips to New York City and the west coast became more frequent. In 2007 the first Cirrus was added to accommodate individuals needing to go to nearby destinations such as Houston or Dallas. As this requirement grew, another Cirrus was added.

Martin added the CJs to provide supplemental lift to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse business, with the CJ1 acquired first, followed by a CJ2. Earlier this year the CJ2 was replaced by a new CJ3.

Today the Learjet and the King Air are the primary workhorses of the fleet, with the Lear logging close to 400 hrs annually and the King expected to fly about 350. The 2 CJs will probably record 300 hrs each and the 2 Cirrus airplanes about 150 hrs each.

Despite being in the petroleum industry, Martin does not maintain an aviation fuel farm. Instead it has a fueling contract with KRS Aviation, an FBO at GGG which is next door to the Martin hangar and also provides aircraft handling services and support.

Jim Caffey serves as chief pilot for Martin. He directs a crew of 6 pilots, each rated in 2 types. Although 1 pilot is assigned primarily to the Cirrus, all 7 fly the single-engine missions occasionally.

The Martin flight department prefers to develop its pilots from within. Caffey was initially hired as an SIC in the King Air. A local product, he graduated from the aviation program at nearby LaTourneau University in Longview. He gave flight instruction and flew charter and corporate jobs until joining Martin about 10 years ago. He became chief pilot 2 years ago.

Martin pilots typically log about 300 hrs a year. The department operates 7 days a week. Turnover is not common, but when openings occur the department looks to fill them from the ranks of contract pilots it uses to cover vacations, sick days or other instances supplemental staffing is required.

Martin Aviation pilots in the department's flight planning office prepare for another day supporting the company's transportation requirements.

"Everybody we've hired since I've been here was used as a contract pilot with us first," Caffey said. "It helps to make sure they're going to be a good fit."

Although the company doesn't have hard minimums, it prefers to hire pilots with at least 1500 hrs who have graduated from Part 141 training programs. New Martin pilots begin flying the Cirrus and work up to flying SIC slots in the Citations and King Air. Flying PIC in one of the jets requires at least 200 hrs in type.

Trip requests originate in the corporate offices and come to Hawkins and Scheduler/Flight Coordinator Linda Ware simultaneously to ensure close coordination. Hawkins and Ware prioritize requests and assign aircraft based on trip length and passenger load. They also assign crews.

Ware makes ground arrangements to support each trip. If an early departure is scheduled, flightcrews typically come in the day before to make sure the aircraft is fueled, clean­ed, stock­ed and ready to go.

While the department flies all over the US, common destinations include Houston, where Martin's marine division is headquartered, and locations along the Gulf Coast such as New Orleans and Tampa.

The schedule changes frequently as new needs arise and priorities shift. "For example, you think you have a Learjet trip to pick some people up in Houston and take them over to New Orleans," says Hawkins. "That could be on the schedule for several days.

Then someone says, 'We need to take some people down to Tampa that day.' Well, that's far enough that it needs to be a jet trip, so you take the Learjet off the Houston trip and substitute the King Air. That changes the crew and it becomes a juggling game for Linda [Ware] to switch things around and make sure everyone who needs to travel is accommodated."

Martin's mixed fleet adds to the complexity of training requirements. Senior Capt Gene Taylor, who coordinates training, says, "Most of the pilots are typed in the King Air and one of the jets. Each of those requires annual recurrent training, so most of the guys are going to school every 6 months. If they are just typed in the 2 jet types they can [do them alternate years.]"

Learjet training is done with Bombardier in Dallas TX or FlightSafety Intl in Tucson AZ. King Air and Citation training is with FSI Wichita. If classes are available in 2 different locations, Martin lets pilots choose where they want to go if the cost differential is not too great.
The department is currently developing a safety management system in conjunction with Flightplan.com.

Maintaining the fleet

Martin pilots Jon Creech (L) and Dave Canché with the company's CJ1.

Brian Woods is dir of mainten­ance. He joined the company about 3 years ago when it was determined that contract maintenance was no longer meeting the Martin fleet's growing requirements.

Woods began his aviation career 23 years ago in the parts department at Top Flight, a freight hauler at TPA (Intl, Tampa FL), shortly after high school. He began helping the mechanics there and showed an aptitude for maintenance. He had learned about automotive maintenance in high school, but, he says, "When I saw how clean the aircraft were compared to working under the hood of a car, it wasn't hard to decide which I wanted to do."

After accumulating the appropriate skills and experience on the job, Woods acquired his A&P licenses by testing with FAA and subsequently earned his IA. At Top Flight he maintained Cessna 210s, Piper Navajos and Aerostars, and later 20-series Learjets. He moved to Texas in 2005 to work at Don Maxwell Aviation, the Mooney dealer at GGG. It was there he came to the attention of the Martin flight department, which recruited him in 2009.

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