Safety, Efficiency, Compliance: Foundation Aviation’s Maintenance Philosophy

In the charter aviation industry, nothing matters more than maintaining aircraft for safety and reliability. While many charter companies outsource their maintenance work—often at significant cost to aircraft owners—Foundation Aviation has invested in building in-house maintenance capacity. 

Foundation Aviation Director of Maintenance Nigel Patton says that clear communication sets the team apart. “Scheduled or unscheduled work is no problem,” he says. “We have clear lines of communication so even if an AOG [aircraft on ground] event occurs we can quickly put together a game plan to handle it.”

Nigel’s mechanical inclinations go back to his childhood. “I used to always fidget with Hot Wheels and remote control cars, taking them apart to see how they work,” he says. As a young man he got his first job as a baggage handler. He saw maintenance crews working on planes and wanted to be a part of it. “I got my A&P [airframe and powerplant] license and went to work for the Navy maintaining F/A-18 Hornets.” 

Over time his interests shifted toward business aviation. He worked as a maintenance technician at StandardAero, Gulfstream, and SoCal Jets before joining the Foundation Aviation team. “Doing AOG work gave me a lot of experience working independently, troubleshooting difficult issues you don’t encounter elsewhere,” he says. “It helped me to become a better mechanic.” 

AOG, or aircraft on ground, is shorthand for work involving issues that prevent an aircraft from flying. In short, Nigel learned his trade by tackling mission-critical problems.

He came to Foundation Aviation’s attention when the leadership team saw him replace a windshield in a Gulfstream so the aircraft could be flying again in just two days. 

Always building toward better

Now entering his second year with the company, Nigel says the Foundation Aviation team is building something special. “The people we have on board now are a well-oiled machine,” he says. “We’re constantly working to be better, work better together, communicate better. It’s a family-like environment and that is important to me. It makes me feel appreciated and want to go the extra mile.”

“I always give 110%,” he says.

The reasons for retaining an internal maintenance team are straightforward: 

  • A higher level of concern. As integrated members of the Foundation Aviation team, maintenance technicians are personally invested in the safety of passengers and crews.
  • Efficiency. Keeping maintenance in house allows the company to control costs and pass savings on to clients. 
  • Responsiveness. When an unscheduled issue arises, the team can deploy to wherever they are needed to address the problem.
  • Operational consistency. As a smaller carrier, Foundation Aviation relies on the availability of every aircraft in its fleet. Investing in maintenance talent and systems keeps flight operations running that much better for customers.

The goals of maintenance for a FAR Part 135 certified carrier 

As a FAR Part 135 certified carrier, Foundation Aviation is committed to meeting compliance standards. Routine preflight inspections and scheduled part replacement are predictable necessities. Maintenance teams also must be ready to tackle the unexpected.

Safety is at the core of every maintenance task. “I always look at a plane like I’m putting my family on it next,” Nigel says. At a commercial carrier, maintenance technicians are often trained to not look beyond the narrow focus of their assigned task. Not so at Foundation Aviation. 

The best safety outcomes are reached when technicians do more than follow procedure. Unlike the maintenance team of a large commercial carrier, the crew at Foundation Aviation thinks outside the box and takes the time to explore the aircraft’s condition in a deeper way.

Along with ensuring safe operations, this approach also drives value for owners. Disciplined and dedicated maintenance keeps an aircraft flying and generating revenue. It also optimizes resale value when it’s time to sell, both by keeping the aircraft in peak condition and by producing a seamless, detailed record of work.   

Expanding capabilities

Aviation maintenance is a multifaceted and demanding profession. Foundation Aviation has focused first on building capacity to handle line maintenance tasks, such as these:

  • Aircraft-on-ground (AOG) events
  • Airframe inspections, modifications, and conversions
  • Daily fluid checks
  • Pre-flight checks
  • Troubleshooting
  • Minor modifications
  • Minor repairs
  • Lubricating systems
  • Reinflating or replacing tires
  • Emergency equipment replacement
  • Brake changes
  • Ramp checks
  • Hydraulic checks
  • Cabin interior repairs

Optimize your value of ownership with Foundation Aviation

Foundation Aviation is committed to being an exceptional source of value for aircraft owners. Building an in-house maintenance capacity is a key component of that promise. Are you ready to take your value of ownership to the next level? Reach out to us today to find out more.

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