Weight calculations, weather assessments and system functionality checks were not why Trevor Smith spent time at Lambert International Airport in St. Louis. As a child, he knew a snowstorm meant commercial flight disruptions and planes carried a lot of weight, his dad was an airline mechanic who worked nights and above all else, Trevor wanted to spend time with him.
But over time, his passion for aviation grew and the left seat was too tempting to resist.
“It was just something that I always wanted to do,” he said.
Now touting the title, Aircraft Division Manager for Reliant Care Management (RCM), Trevor Smith can say he’s had some experience in the space between airports and thousands of feet above. He spent time in Florida and Alaska earning certifications and instructing before landing right back home and taking full responsibility of flying RCM’s CESSNA CITATION CJ4 aircraft.
The jet made its way to St. Louis in late 2018 before Smith and the company’s owner decided the pre-owned aircraft needed an interior upgrade and requested bids from three different companies.
“When we decided what we were going to go through with this aircraft, the first people that showed up were from Textron Aviation,” he said. “They sent us four renderings almost immediately after telling them what we wanted. It was maybe a week later, they showed up with a box full of all the materials that would go with the renderings.”
Smith said they were shocked company representatives put in the time to come out to Hannibal, the small Missouri town where they house their aircraft, and it made a statement. He said the aircraft also needed maintenance and Textron Aviation could handle that too, so everything fell into place.
“It was just going to be really seamless taking everything through Textron Aviation,” he said.
The upgrades on the CJ4 aircraft included a large Gogo L3 installation, implementing an in-flight connectivity system bringing Wi-Fi to passengers. The group also requested some interior modifications, leaving RCM with a stunning cabin that Smith says fits the owner’s wants perfectly.
“The owner loves it. It looks exactly like the pictures, like it’s supposed to, and the quality is awesome,” Smith said, regarding the new interior. But Smith added the Wi-Fi is what really pleased those at the company.
“The day I picked it up, the Wi-Fi was ready to go. Everything was set up perfectly, even everything with Gogo and the Wi-Fi, as far as transitioning it from the trial service to what we ended up going with. It was awesome. I’ve never had an issue with the ability to connect or having too many devices on the system. Everything has worked exactly like it’s supposed to from the beginning,” Smith said, adding he’s not sure if the owner would be pleased if he had to halt productivity and fly in an aircraft without it in the future.
Smith explained how he believes Wi-Fi is becoming a requirement in any jet. He said if you’re flying a jet without it, you’re behind and that factor could be the difference in whether it sells in the future. The value of the connectivity equals that of an aftermarket program, he thinks, and the asset is invaluable.
Though Smith says any future modifications would also go through a bid process, he was pleased with the work of Textron Aviation and said the trust and friendship he’s built with the company has lasted long past the upgrades.
He said he’s even thinking into his future at Reliant Care Management and what it would be like to fly a larger aircraft and continue his childhood passion. He said the CJ4 jet has been awesome, but like he’s done for decades, he is dreaming about bigger things to come.
“Textron Aviation would be the first people I’d call,” he said.