Business aviation insights, resources and stories

 Back to Journey

Transitioning to a two-crew aircraft


For many turboprop and light jet operators, an aircraft’s single-pilot certification remains a top benefit that provides a certain level of travel flexibility.

But when their mission profile expands, operators and owners often begin considering a larger aircraft capable of longer nonstop travel with the ability to also carry more passengers comfortably. These needs drive operators to search for options in an entirely new aircraft segment. Today, midsize, super-midsize and large-cabin jets offer extra range, performance and comfort, but many of the platforms also require two pilots to operate the aircraft.

When transitioning to a two-crew aircraft, it’s important to consider the differences found in a new segment, ensuring everyone from owners to maintenance managers make the move with ease.

Know your resources

For single-pilot operators, the move to a larger aircraft begins by answering the question, “who else will fly the aircraft?” Usually, operators will decide between a full-time pilot or a contract pilot to fly the aircraft as needed.

Today, owners new to the world of two-crew aircraft operations benefit from programs and services designed to eliminate the challenges behind the search for a pilot. Solutions like Textron Aviation’s ProOwnership® program ensure operators can begin flying their aircraft right after taking delivery by providing temporary flight crews and pilots if permanent pilots are not yet available.

Understand the changes

Stepping up to a larger aircraft usually means managing added equipment, systems and people. While the changes are subtle depending on the aircraft being flown, operators making the move should understand why the two-crew requirement is now put in place, said Steve Workman, manager of Flight Operations at Textron Aviation.

"It's the intangible changes that require a second set of eyes. You may no longer see the opposite side of the aircraft from the captain’s seat, because the aircraft is larger. Pre-flight planning in a larger, two-crew aircraft is more comprehensive due to the added systems onboard, and a second crew member relieves the chief pilot of extra tasks, helping the crew's overall situational awareness on the ground and in flight."Steve Workman, manager, Flight Operations, Textron Aviation
Crew Resource Management (CRM)

In aviation, it refers to the various training procedures used when multiple individuals are flying an aircraft.

Take advantage of the benefits

Two-crew aircraft introduce new Crew Resource Management (CRM) training dynamics into the cockpit. For operators making their move from light jets to larger two-crew platforms like the Citation® XLS+ ® jet, CRM provides previously untapped benefits.

With two pilots onboard, it’s now simpler to monitor additional systems. As one crew member monitors the APU, the other takes the lead on pre-flight planning and assists passengers as they prepare for their flight. This allows the crew to better view NOTAMs, weather and passenger needs by dividing flight duties.

"Taking advantage of the training to hone the new crew’s communication and delegation of authority will go a long way to making that first real world flight more productive and enjoyable," Workman said.

Simplify aircraft ownership

The ProOwnership program significantly simplifies the logistics behind pilot services and aircraft ownership, making your move to a new aircraft smooth, fast and straightforward. Fill out the form below to explore the benefits of transitioning to a two-pilot platform and what the ProOwnership program offers operators and owners.