How Central Select Keeps Carrold Ray’s Jets Flying

Managing six airplanes for their owners, Carrold Ray shares with Matt Harris how his job of tracking and anticipating inspection cycles and maintenance needs recently got easier through the Central Select program...

Matt Harris  |  10th October 2023
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    Matt Harris
    Matt Harris

    Matt Harris is Commissioning Editor for AvBuyer. He is an experienced General and Business Aviation...

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    Carrold Ray with his jet at Central Flying Service

    Carrold Ray is a long-time Little Rock, Arkansas resident, and manages six airplanes ranging in size from Light to Super Mid-Size Jets for several clients. Averaging between 200- and 250-hours’ flying time annually, the aircraft fly routine business and personal trips for their owners that generally range between 45 minutes in duration to several hours.

    Tracking the maintenance and upkeep needs of a half-dozen aircraft is an involved process at the best of times, but that task became even more difficult with the supply chain issues and heavy demand on MRO shop schedules that have occurred in recent years.

    So, when Central Flying Service launched its Central Select program and approached Carrold about becoming the launch customer, he didn’t need much convincing.

    “Central Select requires its clients to enrol in a tracking program which was an additional cost for us,” he explains. “Central paid the enrolment fee for each client’s aircraft, and we paid the annual subscriptions. But the advantages of up-to-date maintenance status and the timely info we received were worth the expense. “Beyond that, the Select program does not have a cost.”

    With the aircraft enrolled on the tracking system, reviews of the aircrafts’ records and logs were undertaken. “Central Select’s program manager would enter the times and cycles, as reported, for each of the aircraft and get an overview of the current status of the aircraft,” Carrold explains.

    The goal of Central Select is to develop a plan for each aircraft enrolled on the program, building a travel profile and a ‘maintenance-due’ list to start with. “Select will develop a tentative schedule for the aircraft for the next year, and an overall five-year plan.”

    In addition to maintenance inspections, the program looks at possible upgrades to the cockpit, cabin management system, Wi-Fi, paint and interior.

    “This overall look-ahead comes with a tentative schedule, some [recommended] upgrades and will include an overall maintenance budget,” Carrold shares. “My job is to communicate the plans and budget to the aircraft’s owner while keeping times and cycles current with the Central Select program manager.”

    New Tracking for Select Adds Peace of Mind

    Carrold has had a long-term relationship with Central Flying Service and seen first-hand some of the changes that have come about since the introduction of the Select program. 

    Changes in the day-to-day operations since the arrival of new management, fronted by Phil Jordan as CEO, have included a “noticeable change in the attitude of everyone on the shop floor working on the airplanes”, he notes.

    The other big initial change long-term customers were made aware of was the elimination of the previous in-house method of tracking airplanes. “The new ownership wanted all clients to be on a commercially available tracking software that everyone could access.”

    According to Carrold, any extra expense incurred by the new tracking system is more than offset by the ease and peace of mind that the information is correct and up-to-date at all times.

    Avoiding Industry-Wide Problems with Central Select

    Being a Select client has also helped Carrold work around the problem of heavy MRO shop schedules and supply chain shortages. “We get priority in the schedule, and parts have been available when needed most of the time. Even when flying far from our home base, Select clients get access to an AOG member to help when there is a need.”

    Only recently, Carrold landed at 4:30pm on a Wednesday afternoon with a technical issue requiring resolution before another scheduled early morning flight the next day.

    “I contacted the Select program manager assigned to me,” he recalls. “They called the techs back out and we were ready to depart the next day as scheduled. The fact they respond, taking care of us whenever possible, makes the program worthwhile."

    Although there was a charge for the after hours support to return the aircraft to action in time for the next-day’s early morning trip, “the fact I didn’t need to cancel the flight made the effort and cost worthwhile. Ultimately, the owners want the airplane available when they need it, and the Select program does all it can to oversee and coordinate this – which makes my job easier!”

    And, in a nutshell, that’s what impresses Carrold most about the Central Select program. “The overall improvement in communication from the team leaders at Central Flying Service, and their commitment to meet the ‘out dates’ as best as they can, with good parts availability are impressive,” he elaborates.

    “They are always available to stay late to make an early flight possible the next day. They pre-order parts for each inspection prior to arrival, and they are stocking many primary rotables for each Select client specifically.

    “While the benefits are numerous, the total package of planning, keeping the airplane ready for our clients as much as possible, and the dedicated program managers and technical leads keeping you updated throughout are what impress me the most about Central Select.”

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