When looking for customers to help test our new crew scheduling functionality, Peter Kloep fitted the bill perfectly. As Chief Pilot at Aurora Aviation, he has a clear idea of what he wants from the upcoming features and how they can massively improve the day-to-day lives of others like him. We grabbed a quick chat with Peter to find out how the testing has been going for him and his colleagues.
Peter, tell me how you got involved in the testing process.
When I became a Chief Pilot here at Aurora Aviation, some of the team were already using Schedaero, but certainly not to its full potential. I was trying to learn about it and get up to speed, so I attended a couple of online webinars and watched the YouTube videos you guys have on there. They were extremely helpful.
Questions kept popping up and I was back and forth on those with Sandro (Chiappe) and he was great. Every query I had, he would say, ‘yeah man, that’s a good question. Let me come back to you on that’. He was always quick at responding and explaining things.
It was during one of our conversations that he asked if I’d mind beta testing the new products because I was giving him a lot of feedback. I said no problem.
Were you completely new to Schedaero before this?
Not quite, no. I’ve been a pilot for 20 years and I’ve used Schedaero before on the pilot side for a couple of other companies I worked for, and one company used the Pilot App a little bit. I knew it was a good product.
How has your team found the new functionality?
It’s all been incredibly positive. I flew on a trip recently with one of the other pilots. We were going through the Crew App and he seemed to really like it because he was able to record everything easily. I explained to him that once you do this, it’s going to keep your aircraft time, duty time, flight log etc, so you don’t have to worry. It’s no surprise that I’ve had some really good positive feedback from the pilots.
We also have a new dispatcher, and she has been doing well with it too and really likes it. Being able to add things like hotels has been great for her. She’s really enjoying using it.
And you’ve been feeding back comments as you go.
That’s right. I’ve been extremely pleased with the response time of the Schedaero team. It’s been a great experience. It was a little daunting at first for me, to learn everything, but they really helped me along.
What system were you using previously for crew scheduling?
I think they were using spreadsheets and the previous Chief Pilot had a free online calendar that he was using. As for the times on the aircraft, the pilots were taking a picture of the FMS, sharing that through a WhatsApp group and someone else had to take the numbers down from the picture and put them into the log book.
Basically, the whole system was incredibly cumbersome and there was a lot of room for error.
And what are you most looking forward to the new functionality being able to do?
I would say helping us go paperless is a big goal. I inherited a system where the pilots were in control of their duty times. At the end of the month they’d have to fill out and submit their duty logs, and I was forever chasing them for this because they’d never turn them in on time.
Having everything in one system – aircraft availability, maintenance, pilot duty times, their training and when that’s due – that will be so easy and seamless. I think we’re almost there… we’re actually really close. That’s what we most look forward to having.
I imagine that’ll really improve how efficiently you can operate.
The new crew scheduling functionality will save us a lot of time and stress, and ultimately money too.
At the operator’s end, if we miss a training time for a pilot, then we could potentially not have a pilot that’s current to use on a trip. And for dispatchers, being notified exactly when an airline must come in for maintenance lets them plan around that.
Having a scheduling system that helps think for us will be invaluable.
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