We Americans tend to celebrate all things big, so maybe it’s natural for us to discount the capabilities of smaller companies. But it’s small companies where real innovation, creativity and expertise most often bubble up. Some of the biggest companies around – think Walmart or Facebook – started off very small, and not so long ago. You can’t get much smaller than Sam Walton’s original 5-and-dime, or Mark Zuckerberg’s dorm room at Harvard.
And we at Linear Air think that, in some ways, we’re a good example of that. You can’t get much more innovative in the transportation business than flying cutting-edge Very Light Jets, and you can’t get much more creative than using them to supply fast, efficient and price-competitive air service from the airport nearest your door to the airport nearest the door of your destination - and doing it on based YOUR schedule, not ours.
When it comes to expertise, we think the evidence demonstrates that Linear Air has set, and continues to set the industry standard. Let me explain.
In aviation, the Federal Aviation Administration is the one and only arbiter of who is an expert at anything. Airlines don’t fly without FAA certification of every detail of their operations. Private pilots don’t get behind the flight controls of even a Piper Cub without an FAA license. Mechanics can’t turn one screw on one airframe, or touch one engine without attending an FAA-approved training program and obtaining the various licenses needed to work on airframes and power plants. Aircraft makers also must get every single detail of a new model – its design, the materials and techniques used in its manufacture, and the quality of its workmanship – approved before it can be put into service.
Yet the FAA’s highly competent inspectors can’t establish and approve an aircraft’s operating procedures and practices until they themselves become experts on that aircraft.
So, who does the FAA turn to when it needs to train inspectors on the Eclipse Jet, the most successful of the new-generation VLJs? Linear Air.
We may still be on the small side, but we’re the largest and most successful operator of Eclipse Jets. So FAA inspectors spend time with us in order to become experts themselves; learning all they can about these marvelous small business jets and how they are best operated. We provide them with training on how the plane is operated in all sorts of flight environments, including high altitude operations. In fact, when any pilot needs to get certified to fly an Eclipse Jet – for us or for any other operator – they have to be approved by an FAA inspector who was, in fact, trained in one of Linear Air’s Eclipse Jets.
Overall, we have trained more than 100 pilots in our Eclipse Jets. That includes all those who have flown for Linear Air – more than a dozen of whom are currently on our staff – plus more than a dozen FAA inspectors, plus private owner-operators. Most recently, when it came time for the FAA to begin authorizing the use of Apple iPads by pilots in place of 35 pounds worth of paper charts, Linear Air was one of the first approvals issued.
Don’t get me wrong. The FAA does not “endorse” any company. And I am not claiming that we have the FAA’s formal endorsement. But I do think it says something about the quality and integrity of Linear Air’s operations that the FAA has shown such regard for, and trust in us.
Maybe it helps that we are relatively small, especially in comparison with airlines that operate hundreds and hundreds of aircraft. That makes us easy to deal with on such things. But there are plenty of other small aviation companies out there. That the FAA chooses to work with Linear Air in such cases shows, I think, that we are held in high regard as innovators, creative thinkers, and experts in our field.
I hope you, too, will come to value the innovative and creative efforts we put into providing air transportation services to our customers – most of whom are themselves innovative and creative in their own fields. And I hope you, too, will give us the opportunity to demonstrate our expertise in offering comfortable, efficient, price-competitive and safe air travel services.
See you onboard!