Itzehoer Airservice (IAS) has invested in a second Grand Caravan from Textron Aviation. “We have operated our first Caravan since 2007 and it is versatile, the most cost-effective aircraft in its class and we appreciate its reliability,” comments flight ops manager and pilot Achmed Sharma. “The aircraft is easy to operate and to fly with plenty of space – 8 sqm in the C208 or 10 sqm in the C208B means that we can carry up to 1.2 tonnes of freight. Last but not least, Textron offered an attractive price for the new one.
“Our first Caravan flew 4,400 hours with just a few minor unscheduled maintenance events. A Caravan certainly follows the mantra of ‘keep it simple’,” continued Sharma. “We started with specialised operations such as parachute dropping flights and photo flights. In September 2017 we received our AOC approval, including SET-IMC, and with our SET-IMC approval on our way to conquer the European freight market in particular.”
The latest acquisition offers a number of new features: “On the one hand it’s the new turbine. The PT6A-140 offers 876 SHP with the Caravan EX, which increases the standard PT6A-114a from 675 SHP, that offers a TAS up to 195 kts. On the other hand, the Garmin G1000 NXI avionics system is state-of-the-art and with its Bluetooth interface Garmin Flight Stream offers a ‘ready to fly in one minute’ opportunity. Our ops team prepares flight plans, sending those via mail directly to the EFB tablet of the crew; they just click a button and all navigational route data is transferred to the G1000 – ready to fly. This helps us to be really fast in an ad-hoc market like the cargo market is. Often we win the quote because we are faster.”
Sharma explains that former operations with only one aircraft were mostly a one-man show, backed up with a couple of freelance pilots. “Now we need to employee pilots and need to build crews to comply with the requirement. Also we needed to build ground ops to support the flying crews with flight plans, handling, slot requests and so on, while the crews are airborne.”
This year IAS also received its ATO approval to offer the Cessna SET class rating course. IAS is now a pilot competence centre for Cessna’s Caravan in Europe.
“The most significant challenges we face are with national aviation authorities and EASA,” continues Sharma. “In my opinion we are far, far away from the ‘one sky’ definition of EASA. Yes, of course commercial aviation needs rules and oversight by authorities. But it needs to be proportionate and should be interpreted equally in all EASA countries. The burdens for small operators are often high, sometimes too high.
“I believe the use of single-engine turbines will increase in the future. Those turbines are reliable and more cost-effective than any multi-engine aircraft for a lot of operations.”
IAS was founded in January 2013. Its home base is the airfield Itzehoe (EDHF), 30 nm northwest of Hamburg. In September 2017 it received its AOC.
“With our Cessna Caravan aircraft, we have the permission to transport passengers, mail and/or cargo in commercial air transport. The permit covers flights for visual flight rules and instrument flight rules within the whole region of Europe and for specialised operations (parachute jumps and aerial photography),” concludes Sharma.