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Douglas Young and AZBAA Team Receive NBAA Outstanding Excellence Award

We are proud to announce the outstanding achievements of Douglas Young and the Arizona Business Aviation Association (AZBAA). The recognition they have received, including the NBAA Outstanding Excellence Award and the Regional Group of the Year award, is a testament to their dedication and hard work in promoting business aviation in Arizona. It’s also heartening to know that the organization is actively involved in supporting aspiring individuals through its scholarship program.

Douglas Young’s dual roles as a top aircraft salesperson at Pinnacle Aviation and President of the AZBAA highlight his commitment to the industry. With Douglas at the helm and his strong AZBAA organization’s collaborative efforts and the contributions of its board members, volunteers, and members have significantly contributed to its success. The support from the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) has undoubtedly been a crucial factor in AZBAA’s accomplishments.

Moving forward, it’s clear that AZBAA remains committed to its mission of promoting business aviation in Arizona and supporting those who wish to pursue a career in this field. It’s wonderful to see the dedication and passion of the AZBAA team and their determination to continue making a positive impact in the aviation industry. Such recognition is not only a source of pride for the organization but also a reflection of its significant contributions to the field of business aviation.

Those seeking to charter an aircraft often rely on their own research, or a Charter Broker’s knowledge, to evaluate the many charter operations and service options available to them. Like any other industry, not all charter operators deliver the same standards of safety and professionalism. To assist charter customers to identify competent operators, here are the charter industry’s established set of qualifications and operating metrics.

1 How long has the operator or broker been in business?

Experience is an important attribute in the aviation industry. An experienced organization will demonstrate and command a more competent understanding of FAA safety regulations as well as the myriad logistics involved with conducting safe and efficient missions.

2 Has the charter operator or broker undergone an onsite safety audit by an independent third-party organization?

When selecting a charter operator, it is prudent to research the audit history and ratings of the charter operator. Audit ratings may be found through the
following third-party safety auditors; International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO), Air Charter Safety Foundation (ACSF), Aviation Research Group U.S. (ARG/US), & Wyvern. Most brokers and operators will provide an ARG/US Trip CHEQ report or a Wyvern Pass report showing that the flight has met industry standards.

3 Who has “operational control” of the aircraft?

Charter operators and charter brokers can easily be mistaken for one another.  Understanding the difference will help provide clarity about who is doing what throughout the charter experience. Charter operators have operational control – charter brokers do not. A charter operator directly manages, maintains, and crews aircraft made available for charter. To be an operator, an individual or organization must earn an operating certificate issued by the FAA. It is a rigorous process designed to provide a reliable operational standard of safety. Charter operators are required to continuously engage with the FAA to have every aircraft and pilot approved before an aircraft is made available for charter. Whether a trip is arranged through a Charter Broker ordirectly with an Operator, if it’s a legitimate, legal charter, the flight will be delivered on a charter operator’s aircraft – and the charter operator will have “operational control”. 

4 Has the operator or broker been listed in any lawsuits or are they currently in litigation?

The past business history of any company can provide valuable insight into the way in which they conduct business.  Legal remedies are available for businesses to resolve difficult issues, however, companies with a track record of lawsuits and litigation justify closer scrutiny.

5 What experience do the pilots who will be flying the jet have?

Pilots for a legal charter operator must have at least 1,200 hours of total flight time. It is reasonable to ask the total flight hours of the crew and, perhaps more importantly, how many hours each crew member has in the specific make/model of the aircraft to be chartered. Industry auditors have recommendations about experience levels to look for with an aircraft crew. In addition, it’s helpful to know crew experience when comparing one operator to another.

6 How much liability insurance is carried on the jet?

An accepted industry norm for prospective jet charter clients is a minimum limit of $50 million ($50,000,000) combined single limit, bodily injury to passengers and property damage liability. However, more or less insurance coverage may be appropriate depending on your needs and the charter operator.

7 Can you provide an all-inclusive price quote?

Pricing a private charter trip can be made very simple by asking for an “all-in” price. Many operators will quote a net aircraft price or estimated price. Upon the completion of the trip fees are added, such as; pilot fees, stand-by time, holding pattern or diversion times, parking and ramp charges, landing fees, fuel surcharges, segment fees and a 7.5 percent federal excise tax. An all-in quote divided by the quoted hourly flight time will allow for clear comparison information between various quotes.

The Annual AZBAA Golf event took place on Friday, April 27, 2023, at the prestigious Talking Stick Golf Club. This year, the event saw the continued support of Pinnacle Aviation, who returned as the Title Sponsor.

To kick off the festivities, a VIP sponsor reception was held on Thursday, April 26, at the impressive Jet Set Hangar, adding an exciting prelude to the main event. Attendees were treated to an exclusive evening mingling with industry leaders and aviation enthusiasts, creating an atmosphere of anticipation and camaraderie.

The golf event itself proved to be a resounding success, as it sold out for yet another year. The overwhelming response and support from the aviation community has prompted organizers to consider expansion for next year. One proposal is the inclusion of a second golf course, accommodating more participants and adding another layer of excitement about the tournament. Additionally, the tournament’s size would be doubled, further enhancing the potential impact on the scholarship fund.

The Annual AZBAA Golf event serves as a fantastic platform for networking, fostering relationships, and raising funds for its noble cause. It brings together aviation industry professionals, and sponsors who share a common goal of supporting educational opportunities for deserving applicants.

With Pinnacle Aviation’s continued commitment as the title sponsor and the event’s growing popularity, the future holds great promise for the future of the AZBAA.

Overall, the 2023 Annual AZBAA Golf event was a successful showcase for the Arizona aviation community.

Link to the gallery of photos from the 2023 event

(Right to Left) Jonathan Levine ATP Tour Pro, founder of the Arizona Tennis Classic and youth recipents.

The 2023 Arizona Tennis Classic took place between March 13th and 19th, at the Phoenix Country Club and once again Pinnacle Aviation supported the event as a sponsor.  This year’s event was an ATP Premium Challenger, part of the ATP Tour’s new and elite “Challenger 175” category.  The new Challenger 175 classification has been awarded to a handful of event sites worldwide the Arizona Tennis Classic stands alone as the lone event in the U.S.

Jonathan Levine, a Phoenix-native and former ATP Tour pro, founded and organized the tournament. He expressed his pride in bringing this level of competitive tennis to the Valley.

The event showcased many of today’s players ranked in the world’s Top 50 along with some of the brightest young talent in the sport, and total prize money increased more than 35% — to a Challenger record $220,000.

The event benefits Phoenix Children’s Hospital and Serve the Future, which assists youth from underserved local communities through the sport of tennis.

Tournament Winner: Nuno Borges

2023 AZ Tennis Classic Tournament Summary

We congratulate Mr. Dan Grubb on another sold out field of golfers who competed in the 50th Annual Lou Grubb Friends Fore Golf tournament at Camelback Golf Club in Paradise Valley, Arizona, continuing a philanthropic Grubb Family tradition spanning over five decades.  Pinnacle Aviation is proud to be a sponsor of this excellent event.

The tournament, which has gained recognition as one of Arizona’s most esteemed charity golf events, raises funds for St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center and the Barrow Neurological Institute. 

This year marked the 50th year of the tournament returning to the Valley, April 27-28, kicking off with a VIP Reception at Evie’s Pavilion at Papago Golf Course on the tournaments’ eve, Thursday night. In addition to cocktails and dinner, attendees were invited to participate in lawn activities and a live auction. The golf tournament invites foursomes to 18 holes on one of JW Marriot Camelback Golf Club’s two scenic championship courses in Paradise Valley.

Watch this video of Dan Grubb, Roger Maxwell and others talk about the history and impact of this special event:

Lou Grubb Friends Fore Golf Retrospective

The Desert Mountain Foundation (DMF) and Scottsdale-based Pinnacle Aviation, in partnership with the Desert Mountain Golf Professionals and the Cactus Classic Golf Tournament, presented the 9th Annual Pinnacle Aviation Putting Challenge fundraising event with all proceeds donated to the DMF Scholarship Fund and Golf Staff Education Fund. After being postponed twice due to weather, the Cactus Classic and Putting Challenge was finally held on Monday, February 20, 2023 on the Outlaw Course.

The Pinnacle Aviation Putting Challenge qualifier was set up on the practice green next to the starter’s shed before Hole #1.   All 72 players and 18 club pros competing in the Cactus Classic took part in the Putting Challenge qualifier and raffle.  As each group advanced from the 18th green to the No. 1 tee box, they stopped at the practice green to take their putts to qualify for the head-to-head putting competition. Each participant was allowed 10 putt attempts and received raffle tickets for each made putt.  The winner of the $500 gift certificate to Dominick’s Steak House went to Mr. Michael Shirk!

Mr. Mike Cima taking the final putt for an opportunity to win a Pinnacle Aviation private jet charter.

The top 8 scores from the day qualified for the Putting Championship – and the top 4 scores from the Professionals playing with each group qualified for the Pro Putting Championship.  There were an additional 8 qualifiers who made their putt attempts at several prequalifying sites during the three weeks prior.

After the last group finished their round, the putting competition began on the practice green outside the Outlaw Clubhouse.  The format was a head-to-head single putt elimination tournament for both the players and the Club Professionals.  The competitor whose putt came to rest closest to the hole advanced to the next round. 

The players competition began with a first-round putt of ~20-feet; the second-round putt was ~25-feet and the quarter-final putt set up just outside of 30-feet.  Mr. Mike Cima and Mrs. Karen Simmonds advanced their way through their brackets to the final putt for the Championship set at ~35-feet.

Both players made excellent putts, with Mr. Cima’s putt coming to rest just a few inches closer than Mrs. Simmonds’s putt, to win the title of 2023 Pinnacle Aviation Putting Challenge Champion!

The four club professionals then began their competition, and in the championship round for the pros, Riley Hayfield edged out John-Michael Pilot for the win and title of 2023 Pinnacle Aviation Putting Challenge Champion of the Pro Division. Riley and John-Michael received a $500 gift card and $250 gift card, respectively, for dinner at Dominick’s or Ocean’s 44 in Scottsdale. Mr. Cima’s win included a $500 book credit in the Desert Mountain Golf Shop, along with a beautifully inscribed silver-platted Champion’s trophy.

He also won an attempt at the 50-foot putt to win a 4-day all-expense paid, luxury private jet trip for Eight (8) to Bandon Dunes – including all 5 rounds of golf, 8 private rooms in the Lodge and all food & beverage – valued at over $50,000!

Mr. Cima took his time and assessed the green between his ball and the hole.  Just as he was about to putt, a jet flew overhead, and he stepped back to ask, “is that my jet?”.  The crowd laughed.  He set up to putt again and the crowd grew quiet.  Mr. Cima put a smooth stroke on the 50-footer.  The putt tracked directly on line toward the hole, the crowd began to cheer as the ball approached the cup and let out a loud, ‘OOOHHH!” as it slowed to a stop less than 2 inches from the front lip.  It was an outstanding attempt at the grand prize! Our enthusiastic congratulations to the 2023 Pinnacle Aviation Putting Champion – Mr. Mike Cima!

The Cactus Classic & Pinnacle Aviation Putting Challenge has now donated over $40,000 to the DMF scholarship fund.

Picture from left to right: Scott Guetti (Director of Maintenance) and Pegeen Griffith (Director of Administration)

Pinnacle Aviation is grateful for the professional and dedicated people who are a part of our team. Our employee retention at Pinnacle Aviation is something we are proud of. In recognition of employees that have made Pinnacle Aviation their career home, we wanted to honor them with the Pinnacle Award. This award is given to employees that have been with the company for 25 years and over. Scott Guetti and Pegeen Griffith are two of the outstanding employees at Pinnacle Aviation who have achieved this award.

Scott Guetti is our Director of Maintenance and has been with the company since he was hired as a maintenance technician in 1997 when we started with only one aircraft. He currently oversees the maintenance of our fleet of 25 aircraft and a department of technicians, inspectors and line service experts who all help keep our clients’ aircraft operating safely and in top condition.

Pegeen Griffith is our Director of Administration. She started with us in 1998 when our company consisted of only 3 people. Her hard work and can-do attitude has helped the company grow as we added more aircraft and services to meet the needs of our clients. She has built a superior accounting department and prides herself on keeping very detailed and transparent records for our aircraft owners.

Currently Pinnacle Aviation has over 90 dedicated employees all working together to provide the highest level of personalized aircraft solutions for private aircraft owners. We have many other employees who have been with us for a long time and we look forward to honoring them when the time comes.

Scott Guetti and Pegeen Griffith featured in the February 2023 issue of the Scottsdale Airpark News
Pinnacle Aviation West hangar offering complete line service and indoor parking for owner vehicles.

As Pinnacle Aviation continued its growth, one of our challenges was to have adequate hangar space for our new clients. This prompted us to rent a 20,000 square foot hangar on the West side of the Scottsdale Airport to give us the flexibility we needed. In doing so, we wanted this hangar to meet our expectations, so we completely expanded and renovated the passenger lounge. In addition, the private bathroom was also completely renovated.

Pinnacle Aviation West hangar lobby.

This hangar allowed us the opportunity to have full time line personnel to meet the needs of each of our aircraft owners. As quality control was important, we hired a full time person to ensure each aircraft is clean both inside and out and that all aircraft supplies are appropriately monitored. One of the great benefits of this hangar is that each aircraft owner is allowed to park their car in the hangar while they are gone and arrive back to a freshly washed car.

Pinnacle Aviation prides itself on the quality of service we know our clients expect, and by having a full service hangar facility, we can exceed those expectations.

Line Service from left to right:
Logan Smart (Aircraft Support)
Jason Erkert (Line Service Manager)
Tom Tuleja (Line Service)

We are grateful for our team and our clients, who have helped make Pinnacle Aviation’s past 35 years in private aviation such an amazing journey. You can read more about our story in the January 2023 issue of ImagesAZ.

Read the story of how we got here in the January 2023 issue of ImagesAZ.

Pictured from left to right: Trevor Turcott (Director of Operations), Les Fujiwara (Captain Global 5000), Curt Pavlicek (Owner/President of Pinnacle Aviation standing in for Cabin Attendant Jessica Martin), Don Machado (Lead Captain Global 5000), Todd Pixley (Chief Pilot), Scott Casey (Charter Manager)

Don Machado
Don was hired in 2007. He came to Pinnacle Aviation after flying for Executive Jet Management and All Island Aviation, where he flew a CL601-3A Challenger. Don attended University of Notre Dame and Georgetown University. To date he has completed 43 check rides while he has been flying for Pinnacle Aviation. When Don arrived at Pinnacle he had 5900 hours of flying time. He currently has amassed 10503 hours. Don has flown some of the longest flights operated by Pinnacle Aviation. One such flight had a 10.3 hour block and burned 4915 gallons of jet fuel. We are proud to have an experienced and dedicated pilot like Don as part of the Pinnacle Aviation team.

Les Fujiwara
Les was also hired in 2007. He relocated to Hawaii from the Mainland to take his current position. Don and Les have been flying together for almost 25 years. His background includes working on the Northrop F-20 Tigershark program. Les has 4500 hours of flying time. In his spare time you can find him flying his Cessna Cardinal that he uses to commute between Maui and Honolulu. He is one of the few mechanic/pilots at Pinnacle Aviation. Les has meticulous attention to detail and is an expert at maintaining several hundred different computers and operating systems.

Jessica Martin
As the cabin attendant for the Global 5000, Jessica is an integral part of this amazing crew. Her cabin skills ensure that everyone on board has a comfortable and enjoyable flight.

Jessica Martin, Global 5000 Cabin Attendant