Dear valued readers,

in aviation neither the “old” nor the “new normal” business environment has been established. It is still all about monitoring the virus, its ever changing impact on regions and their consequent reaction in terms of mobility restrictions. Mid-term planning seems to remain impossible for most market players. Short-term we need to look at trouble shooting and recognising opportunities in the post summer months. Some niche players have demonstrated their capabilities successfully and take the lead for a steady recovery. With some investigation and persistence international team working is achievable again. At the end of July, SAC was able to successfully manage the ferry flight of a Bombardier Global from East Asia to Europe in a time full of uncertainty but solutions coming up again.

Relocation of a Global 6000 from Singapore to the UK

The odds were not in our favor. An aircraft in Singapore isn’t going anywhere unless the local authorities are allowing it. Nonetheless, our VP APAC was exactly pitching for this job and did not just aim at the “airworthiness tasks” but also at taking on flight operations responsibility for the maintenance release flight, the customer demonstration flight and the ferry flight to the European continent.

Important to know: the group involved knew each other well and allowed for a great team effort. This precondition assured to be effective on all required items and to fulfil all customer’s requests. The awareness of ever-changing parameters due to COVID-19 required very open and straight forward communications with the customer in order to manage expectations and outcome the right way.

In the initial phase a plan had to be built up. Within the SAC group we have got a flight operations capacity compliant with EASA NCC regulations under Swiss law. Since the main task required to fly an M registered aircraft we contacted the Swiss FOCA and the IOMAR to allow for safe operations following both jurisdictions. The regulators were very helpful and gave us the right guidelines and rule books to apply and get approval for operating the specific aircraft. Being compliant with EASA regulations under NCC also required to have EASA licensed pilots flying the aircraft despite the fact that IOMAR would accept validations of other license issuing states.

The aircraft’s CofA had expired due to COVID-19 travel restrictions for the IOM inspectors. In addition, the operational test of the RAT system was not possible to perform and hence the certificate had to be issued under a special regime by the IOMAR Director also allowing for the important ferry flight to take place. A heartfelt thank you and thumbs up for the local maintenance team in Singapore that made sure the aircraft was checked on a weekly basis and kept in very good condition under the long-term parking scheme.

In June the aircraft had to be moved “NOW”! At this time only “wing to wing” crew entries into Singapore were possible and we had to look into solutions via KL, HKG or BKK. A supportive local HKG operator developed helpful ideas and proposed a technically feasible charter flight which – in the end – we had to dismiss due to safety relevant limitations for the crew with regards to their duty times.  Was it possible we would lose a prospective buyer for our customer?

July turned out to be the game changer. Singapore allowed to bring in flight crew members on commercial flights if special permission was obtained. Even though maintenance release flights were not permitted initially, the local MRO acting as our trusted technical support arranged with the local authorities to establish a rule book on how test flights and maintenance release flights could be performed. The application process required another 7-10 days, but the local MRO placed an “express request” and 5 days later we felt confident enough to move the pilots.

While time passed our team worked on all operational approvals from IOMAR and the Swiss FOCA required to perform the ferry flight to Europe. Just by then the team received notice that the aircraft hat to be flown to the UK.

The rest seemed to take place like any other ferry flight. Pilots took their flights into SIN, were well received by the local FBO, got tested for COVID-19 and other items, cleared customs, went to the hotel for a rest, awaited the test results, slept another night, drove to the airfield, focused on staying compliant with the rule book ,got into the cockpit faced a few FADEC messages, cleared them and flew the operational test of the RAT deployment, thus performing the first flight since more than 12 months.

The crew landed safely, caused the lavatory door to come off its hinges, called maintenance for repair, vacuum cleaned the plane, awaited maintenance release, took another crew rest, woke up and went to the plane one more time. Ready to fly? NO…, plane pushed back with a faulty EMS unit, easily available in SIN but requiring around 6 hours to install. Duty time issues again, authorities not happy and asking why crew cannot fly. BREAK! with only 7 hours of duty time remaining the routing is the problem. Go anywhere? Not so simple with the issued permits… OCC opinion? “We try shorter route but still with available maintenance”. OK, let’s try DWC, fine but still a duty time issue, ok well then the pilots either sleep on the FBO floor or they obtain formal approval to go back to the hotel. Safety first! But trying to get the approval on a public holiday might take time… In the end the Regent was possible and everyone stayed professional. BREAK! BREAK! Fully rested the crew returned to the airport and simply took off – it went so smooth that neither the project coordinator nor the OCC had managed having a first coffee before the plane taking off. Clear skies, ocean ahead, climbing to FL410, ready for approach into DWC, smooth final, touch down, reducing speed, ohhhh… the windshield cracking – welcome to +47° Celsius. Pilot calls, “not a big issue”, ”happens”, “some tape and we can take off again”, really? , ok calling local line support, “no licensed engineer?”, ok get another one, one more hour, AOG fee, provisional repair costs over 2’200 USD on the credit card, filing OCR, crew resting at a local hotel… just  after another COVID-19 test. Next day, again early, take off north bound, entering European airspace, too far north to realize the Swiss National holiday taking place, approach into the UK. Landing in time for lunch, parking, filling in paperwork, closing and locking the door and taxiing to LHR. The ERP team in Switzerland is left with closing the monitoring and sending their happy regards to the OCC team for their amazing support!

What’s left? Warehouse import the next day and the new maintenance organisation taking over the aircraft. And the aircraft is ready for any prospective buyer to take a look and hopefully soon will be in good new hands (amazing paint scheme, amazing plane, amazing teamwork)!

Meet the SAC Team

Name: Raymond Low
Job Title: Director, Aircraft Airworthiness Inspector and Surveyor
Location: SAC Office, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Raymond, how long have you been with the company and why did you join?
I have been working for SAC for almost 5 years entering the company in March 2016. My main reason for joining Swiss Aviation Consulting was to extend my experience and knowledge in the business jet industry. I am proud to work within a team of professional and skilled colleagues.

What do you like most about your current role?
My current role in the company is an Aircraft Airworthiness Inspector and Surveyor. Being an inspector it is a challenging job not because of the inspection. It is because you are facing different people with different background, culture, language, and attitude. In the end the mission is always completed. I am also acting as CAMO support staff to assist the SAC team at headquarters (in Switzerland) and manage the K.L office as Director for Swiss Aeroconsultant (Asia) Sdn Bhd.

What has been your favourite project so far?
My favorite project was acting as NATR for an Aircraft Repossession. The aircraft was under Long Term Parking condition for almost 9 months and the CofA of the aircraft expired. With Covid-19 travel restrictions and quarantine rulings the CofA inspection for the specific aircraft became very challenging. But SAC managed to get the aircraft back to airworthy condition and have it ready to fly. By applying remote inspection procedures we finally received the CofA renewal from the Authority. We successfully repositioned the aircraft from Singapore to the UK although some issues popped-up during the flight. Still, as a team, we were able to  deliver the aircraft on time.

List five hashtags that describe your personality.
#Hardworking, #Responsible, #Integrity, #Determined, #Committed

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
I enjoy travelling, reading and watching movies.