July 1 marks the fourth anniversary of McFarren Aviation Consulting! Time sure flies when you’re having fun. I left a perfectly (reasonably?) good full-time job in 2009 in the middle of one of the biggest economic downturns our country has ever experienced to start my own aviation consulting business. I know more than a few eyebrows were raised but it’s all worked out well and I am so grateful for the experiences I’ve had over the past four years.
I have been fortunate to work with some fantastic companies in our industry. I’ve consulted for Part 135 charter operators of all shapes and sizes; FBO’s big and small; Part 91 flight departments; and aviation trade associations. Although my specific tasks vary by client, the goal is almost always the same: leave my client a safer, more efficient and effective company.
My projects have spanned from minor manual revisions to full Part 135 certification. Among other initiatives, I have developed and implemented Safety Management Systems and Internal Evaluation Programs and have trained charter company employees to manage their own SMS and act as internal auditors. I have represented the industry in an Aviation Rulemaking Committee and on an FAA/industry safety working group. I have written numerous articles for print in aviation trade publications. This means I’ve stayed in so many hotels (including over 15 hotels while on crutches with a hard cast – I’m a pro at carrying breakfast – with coffee – to the table in a Ziploc) that I often try to use the previous week’s key in the current week’s hotel. And through it all, I’ve met many of you!
With each of these projects, I learn something that enhances my job performance. In some cases I learn a new and creative way of accomplishing a task. On other projects I learn how to better work with different personality types. I believe if I leave a project with the knowledge flow only going one direction, I’ve missed an opportunity to learn from some really talented people.
We work in such a cool industry with bright and interesting people. I am forever appreciative of that. And I am grateful to my clients, colleagues, friends, and family who have encouraged and supported me over the past four years. Thank you for four amazing years! I am so excited about the new faces, places, and challenges Year 5 might bring!
(See you next week with a more “normal” post about the legality of safety pilots!)