In 1998, the National Business Aviation Association started honoring member companies that have flown 50 years or more without an accident, and in 2006, the association added companies that have 60-year records. AIN interviewed some of this year’s honorees to find out about their operations and the secrets of their successes.
50-Year Award Recipient 2013; Bissell, Clint Fereday, director of aviation; Tom Sanders, chief pilot, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Bissell manufactures floor-care products–vacuums, deep cleaners for carpets, spot cleaners and hard-surface cleaners. The flight department started with a Cessna 172 in 1956, then upgraded to a Cessna 310 before joining the turbine world with a Beech King Air 90. The company’s jet experience began in a Cessna Citation 500, followed by Beechjets, a Learjet 45, then a Bombardier Challenger 300, according to director of aviation Clint Fereday. The six-member flight department now operates the Learjet 45 and Challenger 300.
Fereday has been with the company, as director of aviation, for three years. When it comes to flying, his favorite corporate jet is the Dassault Falcon 900. Fereday said he’s been interested in aviation since he was a child. “I got my private license at 17, and never looked back!”
Before joining Bissell, Fereday worked in other corporate flight departments in Kansas City; San Jose, Calif.; and Scottsdale, Ariz. He attributes his company’s long safety record to “embracing a solid safety culture long before the SMS had been thought of.”
60-Year Award Recipient 2013, Citigroup Corporate Aviation; James Moore, senior vice president and director of flight operations, White Plains, N.Y.
The flight department of Citigroup, the worldwide finance and banking company, is based at Westchester County Airport in White Plains, N.Y. The flight department started 60 years ago with a Douglas DC-3, and other early aircraft included the Convair 440 and Gulfstream I. Citigroup now operates a Bombardier Global Express, a Dassault Falcon 900EX and a Sikorsky S-76. The department transports Citi executives to more than 100 different countries for business purposes 365 days year.
There are 12 pilots in the 30-member flight department. James Moore, senior vice president and director of flight operations, joined the company 20 years ago, in his current position.
Moore’s favorite jet was the classic Lockheed JetStar, but he currently enjoys flying the Global Express. He became interested in aviation, he said, because “my oldest brother had his own personal aircraft.” Moore flew Cessna L-19 Bird Dogs and Huey helicopters in the U.S. Army, then before joining Citigroup, he flew for United Technologies. A graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Moore is a member of the Business Aviation Management Group and the National Aviation Directors’ Roundtable.
The Citigroup flight department’s long safety record is due, he said, “to constant training and retraining, superb maintenance performance, hiring the exceptionally talented people and making safety the paramount concern for all operations.”
For a full list of winners, see the NBAA Safe Flying Awards - 50- and 60-Year Award PDF.
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