SHARED BIZAV FLIGHT OPS

Precision Aircraft Management flies clients aboard Gulfstream G200, Pilatus PC12 and 2 Citation XLs

Based at APA and operating under Part 91, this company serves the air travel needs of area businesses.

By Cindy Youngblood
Contributing Writer


From left to right, Precision Aircraft Management Founder & CEO Chris Dole, Dir of Ops Tim Berry, Dir of Mx Bill Highfill, and Scheduler & Admin Andrea Walsh pose in front of the company's Gulfstream G200, Citation XL & XLS on the ramp at APA (Centennial, Denver CO).

Precision President and Founder Chris Dole has over 20 years of aviation experience working in Part 121 and 91 operations. His love for aviation began as a kid while traveling frequently with his parents, who co-owned a travel agency. He dreamed of being an airline pilot flying all over the world.

After enrolling at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU), he took a discovery flight which sealed the deal. Dole completed his flight training at ERAU in Daytona Beach FL, where he graduated with a BS in aeronautical science with an airline concentration and minor in air traffic control.

After graduation, he worked as a flight instructor. He achieved his dream of becoming an airline pilot in 1998 when he was hired by Atlantic Coast Airlines (ACA), a United Express carrier. With ACA he flew a CRJ200. Dole enjoyed his career until 9/11 when the airlines faced consolidation, wage cuts, bankruptcies, and furloughs. In the aftermath and subsequent economic turmoil, he saw the writing on the wall and decided to take a leave of absence in 2005. He resigned January 1, 2006 and 6 days later the company closed its doors.

While flying for ACA, Dole occasionally flew contract on the side. When hired to fly a group of hunters to South Dakota in a Mooney, he met businessman Buck Blessing. Blessing was a nervous flyer, so Dole let him fly from the right seat. That was the beginning of a relationship that later led to Dole helping Blessing purchase a Pilatus PC12 for his commercial real estate business. Blessing hired Dole to crew and manage the aircraft.

Initially, Dole operated as an independent contractor. Flying for Blessing, he built relationships with other wealthy business people who inquired about aircraft access, cost structure and potential revenue. Seeing an opportunity to grow, he decided to establish his own company and learn the business side of aviation and aircraft management.

Dole put together another ownership package and in January 2007 launched Precision Aircraft Management based in COS (Colorado Springs, CO). To crew the 2nd PC12, Dole hired Tim Berry. Consequently, he turned to Aircraft Manager Dave Bennett to learn how to negotiate insurance, hangar and fuel contracts on a national level.

To make sure everything was FAA-compliant and he wasn't operating as a charter company, Dole became an expert in FAA regulations concerning management and leasing. He took some trip and duty requirements from both Part 121 and 135 and applied them to his Part 91 operation to establish a high standard of safety and professionalism.

"Studying aircraft management was a big learning curve which required a lot of trial and error," states Dole. "Throughout the process, I discovered how much this business depends on relationships." Several businessmen, like Blessing, taught Dole the essentials of general business infrastructure. Buck Blessing is still with Precision today.

Part 135 certification

Owner & CEO Chris Dole became an expert in FAA regulations concerning management and leasing. He took trip and duty require­ments from Part 121 and 135 and applied them to his Part 91 operation to establish a high standard of safety and professionalism.

In the beginning of Precision Aircraft Management, Dole thought he would go the route of Part 135 charter, so he submitted his application to the Denver Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) on August 28, 2008.

They remained in the queue for 6 years, experiencing delay after delay. And when they finally were assigned a certification team, they learned they no longer qualified due to lapse in recency of experience for the positions of director of operations and chief pilot.

Faced with unnecessary hiring in order to qualify, Dole found an opportunity to take the company in a new direction. For nearly 10 years, Precision had been a successful PC12 management company. While waiting on the FSDO, a long-term Pilatus lease customer had a change in their company that led to the need for more speed. They didn't want to compromise cabin space and payload, so Precision evaluated the Hawker and several Learjet and Citation models. The Citation XL provided the perfect solution. In 2016, Precision went through a similar upgrade analysis for its commercial real estate client and decided to acquire a Gulfstream G200.

However, to enhance service options for current and new customers, the company is again seeking Part 135 certification. "Becoming Part 135 will allow us to develop new programs such as cross use of aircraft within the managed fleet plus charter flights for friends and associates of owners or lease customers," explains Dole.

The company has no plans to provide charter service to the public. However, in a down economy, Part 135 certification will allow for additional business opportunities and help keep employees on the payroll. The company expects to receive charter certification later this year.

Precision continues to work with customers on aircraft acquisitions and sales. They analyze customer's needs such as common destinations, average number of passengers and budget, then match them to the aircraft with the best amenities, market value and operating costs. "Customers want to know what their airplanes are capable of doing in terms of payload and range, and what they're going to cost," says Dole. "It's been said that an aircraft should meet 80% of your missions, 100% of the time. We work to help our customers achieve that goal."

Precision customers

Precision's core customers are successful businessmen and women who require flexible and reliable travel options not available through commercial airlines.
GE Johnson Construction Company, a commercial building contractor, has active construction sites spread over several states and Precision allows them to take their support teams to remote worksites.

Precision acts as an extension of their in-house resources, taking care of all travel needs so employees can focus on what they do best, construction. "In today's active market and need for immediacy, having an aircraft has allowed our project teams to accomplish work in other states and cities that would be impractical, if not impossible, given the restraints of commercial air travel," states GE Johnson Holding Company CEO James Johnson.

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