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Private Aviation: The Entire Package

As told by Simon Elliot, President and Owner of Active Deployment Systems.

“My name is Simon Elliot. I'm owner and president of Active Deployment Systems. We provide life support services for the US government. We're a disaster response company. We provide everything to do with setting human beings up with life support, whether it's food, shelter, through tenting, generator, fuel service, water service, HVAC for climate control, showers, toilets, bathroom, laundry service. Basically we build a city in the middle of nowhere, so people can just live.

“Most of our response time is inside 12 to 24 hours. So we decided we needed to get there quickly. We wanted to be above the weather. We wanted comfort. Then later on, we wanted internet. From being a lessee, we bought a CJ1, then went to a CJ2+, and now we're moving on to the CJ4 Gen2. Planes are built around the mission, I didn't quite understand that when you're new to aviation, but you don't buy a 747 to fly 150 miles. You find the plane that meets the mission.

“So most of my trips are 18 to 35 minute meeting trips, really, really short and for years and years, I would do it commercially. I would spend a whole day going after an 18-minute trip. Starting with a CJ1, when we started owning it, we could do two to three trips in one day and get home at the same time. During hurricanes, I would wake up in the morning, get on a plane at 6:30 [a.m.], go to the site, oversee it, come back, be at my desk by noon. The best part is I can spread my entire desk onto all four seats. I can put the tray table down. I've got an iPad connected to the internet. I got my cell phone. I got my headphones on and it's really completely and utterly a flying office.

“And then when I get off a plane to go to a meeting, I grab what I need. I go to my meeting. I come back, I get back on and then I'm plugged back in. When we use the plane, we're using it so much, seven days a week. We have to have the support behind the plane. What is important to me is that when I get on the ground, I know I can get back off the ground. There's not going to be a problem, there's support. When we have to go, we have to ‘go go’ as we say, and we don't have time to wait. You have to get people on the ground and get ahead of it. So it's not just a pretty paint job and how fast it goes. It's the entire package what makes private aviation work.”