Every evolution needs a leader.

As today’s super long-range business jets get bigger and faster, it’s easy to lose sight of what business aviation is all about. Sure, today’s ultra-long range, large cabin business jets make traveling the world safer and more convenient.

 But that’s just a secondary benefit. What any business airplane does, no matter its size or range, is it opens up opportunities for businesses to go where their competition can’t.

Take Walmart founder Sam Walton, for example. He flew his second-hand ER Coupe (Ercoupe) C-145 all over Arkansas and neighboring states to visit his stores, scout new locations, and recruit staff. To Sam, the little airplane was a working tool and no more a “luxury” than a truck or tractor. 

Of course, Sam wasn’t unique in his use of his “business airplane.” Thousands of other innovative individuals and companies have been built on the capabilities that operating their aircraft offers.

Helping these business aircraft owner/operators has been the foundation of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) since it was founded in 1947. Today, some 11,000 members look to the organization for ideas, thoughts, and guidance to make their aircraft operations as efficient as possible.

Everything old is new again. 

One of the most popular tools provided by NBAA is its Management Guide. It’s become the business aviation industry’s preeminent source for aviation team leadership.

In announcing the availability of the 2024 version, Bill Riter, CAM, aviation department manager for Rich Products Corporation, and chair of the NBAA Management Tools Subcommittee, which produced the updated guide, said, “Flight department personnel are expected to reflect company priorities and values, establish and measure key business objectives and evolve to meet emerging challenges and opportunities.” 

“The 2024 edition of this authoritative resource equips professionals for today’s dynamic business environment by bringing together the industry’s collective wisdom on long-standing operational best practices,” he stated. “Equally important, it provides guidance on present-day considerations, including workplace diversity, employee work-life balance, ethical business transactions and other managerial concerns.”

Riter noted that the new Management Guide is now offered solely in electronic format, making it available anywhere for an industry that is mobile by definition. “The approach also allows for continuous updates to the resource. For example, hyperlinks are now incorporated into expertise provided throughout the guide, for ease of accessing the most updated information, at the desk, or on the go,” he said

Electronic recordkeeping isn’t a mandate – yet.

NBAA’s switch to an “electronic only” version of the Management Guide is a less than subtle nod in the direction that it won’t be long before all aircraft documents and records are in electronic formats. 

As Roy Gioconda, NBAA Mx Committee member explained, “The updated guidance comes after years of discussing the importance and evolution of digital solutions, as well as the increased prevalence of digital and cloud-based MRO systems — including digitizing records and using digital signatures.”

“Business aviation is continually evolving and, like other industries, the future is digital,” he added. “This new guidance will be an amazing tool to help all business aviation departments get up to speed, especially when digitizing their aircraft records.” 

Among the many benefits of electronic recordkeeping Gioconda shares are:

  • Ensuring the security of the records, which in turn ensures the aircraft asset’s value is maintained.
  • They allow technicians to easily and quickly search records as many vendors’ software include lightning-fast search engines. This is useful for troubleshooting, warranty claims, maintenance planning, and more. 
  • Electronic records can be securely digitally shared with anyone requiring them. Think about sharing access to your digitized records for your MRO so you no longer need to send your logbooks to them when in for maintenance. I hope they come back to you complete and in the same condition. 
  • Cloud-based electronic records enable centralized records management for fleets based in multiple locations, enabling real-time information access no matter where the aircraft is.

“With today’s aircraft operators struggling to become ever-more efficient in every part of their flight departments, they need tools like electronic logbooks and recordkeeping applications,” Giconda said. “I think having NBAA provide the Management Guide electronically will be the tipping point to show operators just how much more time-efficient their flight departments can be.

JSSI Traxxall now integrates with Bluetail