“Blood, sweat and tears”: Four things I wish I knew before I launched my aviation business

Royce Crown - Automated Technology

“Blood, sweat and tears”: Four things I wish I knew before I launched my aviation business

Royce Crown - Automated Technology

The number one thing I wish I knew before I founded Monarc Global is how to practice patience, and that it would be a critical skill to have for the success of the business. Whether it be during development, fundraising, management or operations, patience is vital to progress.

When I say patience, I don’t mean the kind where you get frustrated and have to take a second to relax. I wish I had the kind of patience that zen monks and parents of four kids under five possess, as it would help me tackle the daily grind of startup life.

While I haven’t learnt patience, I have learnt to channel it into productive energy instead. When a situation arises that tests my patience, or lack thereof, I focus my attention on our end goal instead.

My lack of patience is tested when deadlines are promised and they’re not delivered on time, or close to on time.

Read the full article at smartcompany.

November Operator Highlight

Light Jets Australia

Ally Gravolin - Project Sales Executive, Light Jets Australia

Light Jets Australia

What does a typical workday look like for you?

Typically I spend my days quoting charters, talking to brokers and clients. I also look after the marketing for Light Jets so creating content for our social media accounts, website and mailouts. 

What led you to want to get into aviation?

I really love how connected the aviation industry makes the world. How you can be in another state, in another country or on another continent in a matter of hours. 

Tell us about your current fleet of aircraft & helicopters

In our fleet, we currently have a CJ1, CJ1+, CJ2, Beechcraft Baron and our most recent addition a Beechcraft Kingair B200. 

What’s the best and worst career advice you have been given?

The best advice I have been given would be to hold yourself with confidence and speak with conviction, but never too scared to ask for help. I don’t recall any bad advice – I have been lucky to have great mentors throughout my career. 

What was your most memorable flight? 

I took a helicopter flight in Darwin with my boss who started in the industry as a helicopter musterer, that was a wild ride (felt like a rollercoaster!)

When is your busiest time of the year and why?

The lead up to the Christmas period always feels busier than any other time of the year, everything becomes a little more urgent. 

What are your three must-have travel essentials?

A good book, comfy shoes and an open mind.

What’s your favourite city to fly into and why?

I loved flying into Queenstown, it was probably the roughest but the prettiest landing I’ve ever had. 

October Operator Highlight

Ghost Air

Andrew Boniface - Operator & Chief Pilot, Ghost Air

Ghost Air

What does a typical workday look like for you and what are your frustrations?

A typical workday is answering all email enquires that have come in overnight for flights, getting quoting sent out and scheduling Pilots for the day or week. The most frustrating thing I come up against is leads that come in that don’t come to fruition.

What led you to want to get into aviation? 

Aviation is an exciting business, the way of the future especially now that Porsche & boeing have teamed up to produce the first prototype of the flying electric car!

Tell us about your current fleet of aircraft & helicopters?

Ghost Air operates Luxury Airbus AS350 Helicopters & a Luxury 650 Citation Jet 

What do you think are some of the biggest challenges facing aviation today, and what are potential solutions?

The time consuming and cumbersome way we quote for business and the frustration of not landing every job  – efficient self-sufficient client quoting

What’s the best and worst career advice you have been given?

The way to make a small fortune in aviation is to start with a large one……

When is your busiest time of the year and why? 

We are on track to have our busiest season yet Summer 19/20

What are your three must-have travel essentials?

As long as I am in business class I am usually pretty happy! 

Who is your typical demographic? 

My demographic are usually hardworking, busy & successful people who can afford to fly in a helicopter.

Whats is your favourite time of year to fly and why?

Our coastline never looks better than when it is dotted but the magnificent whales that migrate down from the North with their cubs around August, September –  October 

What was your most memorable flight? – as a pilot or passenger and why? 

I recently flew some clients to the Gold Coast and we flew over a pack of about 60 dugongs feeding on seagrass, it was truly a once in a lifetime sight to see! 

What’s your favourite city to fly into and why? 

You really can’t beat the diversity of the Sunshine Coast region with its coastal to hinterland scenery 

What is your favourite aircraft or helicopter in your current fleet?

I am lucky enough to be currently flying my favourite, The Ghost Air Airbus AS350 Squirrel has always been a favourite to fly. 

What led you to want to get into aviation?  

After working in a couple of other industries I found the means in my late 20’s to chase the dream of being a helicopter Pilot and here I am 10 years on living the dream! 

September Operator Highlight

Sky Dance

Joshua Groth - Pilot, Founder & CEO of Sky Dance

Sky Dance

What does a typical workday look like for you, and what are your frustrations?

Based out of Brisbane-Archerfield, Sky Dace takes its guests on adventure flight getaways around Southeast Queensland and into the Great Australian Outback. From hiking, rock climbing, and adventure travel, to romantic getaways and Outback Air Safaris, we take our guests to explore and discover Australia.

We feel privileged to be doing what we do, and we are continually amazed at the communities and the incredible landscapes that we get to share! 

Our charter flights are typically done with the idea of providing the best possible experience for the passengers. We will often include some of the travel logistics and ground-based needs + accommodation for our passengers as well as air travel.

Our frustrations: Not flying or being outside on adventures enough! Our typical workday is spent online and on the phone marketing and coordinating logistics both on the ground and in the air. This attention to detail in the planning phases allows the experiences to be seamless and our guests get the very most out of their time with us. A frustration would also be communicating the nature and value of the experiences to our guests or passengers.


What led you to a career in aviation? 

As did most pilots, I grew up knowing I wanted to fly! In the mountains of Colorado, I learned to fly Luscombs and Super Cubs with my family. The thing that attracted me to flying is a combination of the systems and mechanics and beauty of being able to use physics to take these big pieces of metal or wood and fabric into the sky! And when you get up there – the perspective you gain on the world and the places you can access…it is a dream! Especially so in the mountains of Colorado or Idaho where the terrain is difficult to cross, but similarly in the Outback where travelling can be hindered by the great distances.

So yeah, aviation is a way of seeing the world and accomplishing the impossible, and these concepts are often translatable to other areas of life! Appreciating a big-picture perspective in order to accomplish the micro-tasks and pull projects together. It’s great!


Tell us about your current fleet of aircraft & helicopters?

We work with a select number of operators to give our guests the very best. Our in-house aircraft is the modified Piper Chieftain-Panther and the Piper Saratoga. We also are proud to work very closely with Pterodactyl Helicopters and their now very impressive fleet of rotor aircraft… because let’s face it, every fixed-wing pilot gets a little jealous when they see the wizardry of a helicopter beating physics into submission!


What do you think are some of the biggest challenges facing aviation today, and what are potential solutions?

General Aviation faces a number of challenges right now. 

Aging piston fleets and very few new twin-engine designs 

We have aircraft from the 1970s flying around with very little in the way of technological advances. As much as we love our old faithful aircraft and our piston twins, they are aging fleets and have somehow escaped many of the technological advances (due to regulation quagmires and liability risks). Manufacturing companies have chosen not to update designs due to liability and cost of implementation. The funding and R+D are all going into gas-turbine and the next-generation of aircraft like the new VLJs and VTOL.  I mean where do you even unload GA passengers at Canberra Airport in 2019? We are fortunate to work with some amazing aircraft owners, but it is not easy to keep up these days. This leaves me wondering what will become of GA in the next 10 years – where is the next evolution taking us? I think it is kind of exciting.

Over-Regulation and increasing costs

We have regulations and operating procedures that are built for airlines and larger operations, sometimes making it difficult for the “mom and pop” piston operators to conduct their day-to-day. To compound it all we have the increased costs associated of regulation, the remaining operators having bidding wars with each other – racing to the bottom of the barrel on price-point or taking loss-leads (sometimes only to go bust after de-valuing the market – lol). And while we are talking about costs, the increasing fuel prices, increasing maintenance costs of aging aircraft and their AD’s… “It’s a hard-nut life”, as they say! 


What’s the best and worst career advice you have been given?

I’m not sure about the worst – but the best was being told that small business runs on passion. You’ve got to stay passionate about what you are doing and keep a clear vision of WHY you are doing it. Love it or leave it!


What has been your most memorable flight to date?

My most memorable flight was just this year actually! Flying out over the flood plains of the Diamantina Lakes, Goyder Lagoon, The Warburton River, Lake Eyre, and the incredible contrast and vastness the add to the red empty Outback. It is insatiable and captivating. Something that really stood out to me was the way that the small pictures match the large satellite images – Lake Eyre is a closed river system meaning it never reaches the sea. You can see these very small winding river systems that find their way across desperately flat expanses of sand and earth. They make these shapes in the sand even in the smallest off-shoots that evaporate into nothingness with the same patterns as a larger system – and again no matter what scale you are referencing. It is beautiful. The mathematics of nature. A Fibonacci visual spectacle. How lucky are we to be able to see the world from the sky and experience these things.  


What are your three must-have travel essentials?

– Goal Zero Sherpa 100 intelligent power-bank.
– Garmin InReach EPIRB / 2-way texting SAT Phone.
– Icebreaker Merino Clothes – they are what we wear as uniforms/base layers. Nothing better to travel in and they bridge the functional adventure-clothing with professional attire.


Whats is your favourite time of year to fly and why?

Although the Cumulonimbus clouds and epic summer storms and gorgeous to watch, we like the clear/crisp winter skies. Skies are pretty gorgeous all the time though and we just love it when we get to fly – so yeah. Clear and blue is ideal.


What is your favourite aircraft or helicopter in your current fleet?

Our modified Piper Panther Chieftain is a total adventure-machine! With the Red-Gear, Vortex-Generators, Q-Tip Props, and Winglets, this thing is made for the lower-altitude outback adventure flights. We just re-fitted the interior with brand new designs so it is one-clean-flying-machine! 


What’s your favourite city to fly into?

Kooralbyn – right here in our own Scenic Rim. The approach has a “blind final” as you come around the mountain and into the valley. Reminds me of Colorado – super fun! Also, the community in Boonah and the whole Scenic Rim is amazing! We feel like it is a second home for us!

August Operator Highlight

Captain Mike Jarvis - Chief Pilot & Director at Pterodactyl Helicopters

Captain Mike Jarvis - Chief Pilot & Director at Pterodactyl Helicopters

Captain Mike Jarvis - Chief Pilot & Director at Pterodactyl Helicopters

What does a typical workday look like for you?

No two days are the same. The buck stops with me. Until recently I did all the front end management, calls, sales, tour development, relationship building with both customers and our tour partners.

What led you to a career in aviation? 

That’s a hard question, I just had a passion for it from a very early age around 7 or 8. It was just something I had to do. It took me a while but here we are.

Tell us about your current fleet of aircraft & helicopters?

On fleet, we have four R44, a great little chopper well suited to 90% of the work we do. We also have access to an AS350, a Bell 206 Longranger, and EC120 and EC130 when we need to do bigger stuff.

What do you think are some of the biggest challenges facing aviation today, and what are potential solutions?

The biggest issue for us is the weather. What can we do about it? Not much but complain.

What’s the best and worst career advice you have been given?

Best: Go for your dream. No one achieved anything by doing nothing.
Worst: I turned off before I even took notice. Hang on I remember. It was “Why the f**k would you want to do that?”. Well, here I am doing it and really standing out to both our peers and our customers.

What has been your most memorable flight to date?

 As a Pilot: A pub crawl with three girls from Tamborine. Two were dressed as nuns and one as the pope and they stayed in character all day, they were a real hoot.
As a Passenger: Lord Of The Rings flight in New Zealand (I had to sit in the back seat).

When is your busiest time of the year and why?

It used to be March to August due to great winter weather. Over the last few years, there is no slow time. 

What are your three must-have travel essentials?

My wife, a toothbrush, and my passport.

What’s your favourite city to fly into?

Sydney, just can’t beat the harbour.

Who is your typical demographic?

18-65 year olds, both male and female, with a pulse. But having said that, we have carried and deposited peoples ashes so a pulse is not mandatory.

Pitch@Palace Australia 3.0 on Tour Sydney

Pitch@Palace Australia 3.0 on Tour Sydney

Pitch@Palace Australia 3.0 On Tour Sydney took place at UOW, Sydney Business School on 15 August, 2019. 18 Entrepreneurs Pitched their businesses to an Audience of CEOs, Influencers, Mentors and Investors.

Read more at Pitch@Palace.

 

July Operator Highlight

Brendan Parker - Chief Pilot - Elite Helicopters

Brendan Parker, Chief Pilot at Elite Helicopters

Brendan Parker - Chief Pilot - Elite Helicopters

What does a typical workday look like for you? 

I arrive early in the morning to inspect all helicopters so they are ready to go for that day. By then, my emails would be full, so I would attempt to get through as many as I can before getting ready for the first flight of the day. The flying day starts and it could be tourism flights, corporate charter flights, or even helping Queensland firefighters fight fires throughout the state. After saying goodbye to all happy and smiling customers or clients, I wash and clean all aircraft and put them to bed before completing my paperwork for the day.

What led you to a career in aviation? 

I was lucky enough to serve in the Australian Army Aviation Corps, where I worked closely with helicopters. This is where my passion for helicopters and flying began.

Tell us about your current fleet of aircraft & helicopters? 

We currently operate corporate H125, EC130, Bell 206 and R44 helicopters.

What do you think are some of the biggest challenges facing aviation today, and what are some potential solutions?

The biggest problem is endless manual paperwork, or having to utilise multiple systems to accomplish one task. The solution is automation.

What’s the best and worst career advice you have been given?
 

Best: Do something you love and are passionate about, it makes such a difference. 
Worst: Do as I say not as I do.

What has been your most memorable flight to date?

Flying in the Canadian Rockies and seeing a group of wolves standing on a beaver dam waiting and watching as the alpha wolf drags a caribou through the water to shore. Mother nature at its finest.

What are your three must-have travel essentials? 

Fuel, Engine, and Blades.

What’s your favourite city to fly into? 

It has to be Vancouver.

The perks and pitfalls of friends and family funding, from three founders who have been there

The perks and pitfalls of friends and family funding, from three founders who have been there

Behind every great startup founder there’s famously an army of supporters, champions and believers; the social circle that’s always there to celebrate wins and commiserate over a beer.

But what about when friends and family do more than cheering from the sidelines? What about when they’re invested financially as well as emotionally?

This is the case for many early-stage startups trying to get off the ground, and if it’s not done well, it can lead to confusion and confrontation at best, and heartbreak and hardship at worst.

Read the full article at smartcompany. 

Online booking software for aircraft charter

Automated Quoting Solution

Online booking software for aircraft charter

Automated Quoting Solution

Back in 2017 Royce Crown, a pilot of 20 years, was motivated by both frustration and anger when he decided to change the way people book private flights.

“I saw a desperate need for what we are doing now where we can produce and fly available aircrafts and provide available pricing,” Royce says.

This marked the beginning of Brisbane startup Monarc Global.

Around the world Monarc Global aims to solve two problems for private aircraft charter:

  1. To ease the biggest pain point for most aircraft operators with the manual quoting process.
  2. To give customers who charter aircrafts instant availability and live pricing for aircrafts in a way that allows them to compare with traditional airline prices as per seat ratio, or do a comparison of operators to source better deals for jets they would normally charter.

Read the full article at Queensland Chief Entrepreneur. 

RCL Accelerator’s new #BNE4 cohort get $100k investments

RCL Accelerator’s new #BNE4 cohort get $100k investments

LESS THAN 30 days after completing the last cohort, ‘#BNE3’, the RCL Accelerator powered by muru-D has kickstarted its new group, #BNE4, featuring a diverse array of innovative ‘scale-up’ businesses.

Although the recruitment period was record-short at just weeks instead of the usual three-to-four months, more than 130 startups from eight countries applied. The nine successful teams offer potential solutions that range from digital aged care solutions to smart flood warning maps to an intelligent athlete care platform.

Each application was carefully reviewed by a panel of industry experts from leading organisations including muru-D, Startup Catalyst, Transition Level Investments and River City Labs. 

Read the full article at Business Acumen Magazine.