AirSmart – PC-24 and PC-12 in the Nevada Desert
AirSmart is based in Las Vegas and provides private flights throughout the western USA. The company flies a fleet comprised exclusively of Pilatus aircraft and currently operates five PC-12s and one PC-24 – the first to have landed on an unpaved runway in the USA. Pilatus Aircraft Ltd
Founded in 2005 in Las Vegas under the name Steelman Aviation, the company was renamed AirSmart in 2019 to encompass a broader audience and range of offerings. Today the company has grown to employ a 20-person workforce and continues to expand. The pilots have been flying PC-12s right from the beginning, and a long-awaited PC-24 joined the fleet about a year ago. The red PC-24 is a real eye-catcher – and fits perfectly with the Las Vegas world of entertainment, glitz and glamour.
Focus on customer needs
AirSmart has three pillars of business, all of them complementary, and each tailored to the needs of a different customer group. Private charter flights for business and private individuals is the first pillar. The second revolves around the company’s fractional ownership programme – individuals pay a fixed amount to acquire a share in a new aircraft. Thirdly, AirSmart offers management and servicing for private aircraft: documentation, maintenance and complete cost control offerings allows private aircraft owners to delegate all work to AirSmart if they wish.
AirSmart currently totals an average of 220 flights each month – around 100 to 110 hours on each aircraft – and provides services to between 80 and 100 owners. The growing fractional ownership programme will allow AirSmart to purchase up to three new Pilatus aircraft by next year.
Land anywhere and experience the magic
Thanks to the ability to land on unpaved runways, AirSmart is positioned to offer countless opportunities to its customers. The immense versatility and capability of the PC-12 and PC-24 means that customers have the flexibility to get closer to their final destination – whether it’s in the city or the middle of the desert. AirSmart has already flown Pilatus aircraft to Bogota and Cartagena in Colombia, to the Bahamas, Canada and Belize, as well as many island and mountain regions – in all types of conditions.
In addition to the company’s “land anywhere” offering, providing customers with an exceptional private and memorable experience is what the AirSmart team is most passionate about.“The great thing about private aircraft is that special moments are just that – special – and don’t have to be shared with the whole world, but only with those you invite on board”, says CEO Rick Williams. A pilot himself, Williams has over 8,000 hours in the air.
The PC-24 opens up new possibilities
AirSmart’s PC-12 has always been used for frequent flights to Aspen, Cabo San Lucas, Sedona, the Grand Canyon, the Coachella Festival and even the Burning Man Festival in the Nevada Desert. Now the faster PC-24, with its extended range, will open up even more possibilities. “The large PC-24 cargo door gives us so many more options”, comments Williams enthusiastically.
“Flight planning is even simpler and safer thanks to weight and balance software, which our customers can use to enter their preferred configurations”, explains Williams. “We’ve already loaded two large motorbikes, for example. This is featured in the advertising used to draw attention to the PC-24’s incredible capabilities. We were easily able to fly to our destination for the day and back home again.”
Landings in the middle of the desert
One only has to take a glance at various social media channels to see which aspects of the aircraft have impressed pilots most. “We made our first rough field landing on an unpaved strip of around 5,900 feet (1,800 metres) in the desert at Lida Junction in southern Nevada. It was an incredible feeling to know that we were the first in the USA to achieve a goal that had been anticipated by so many for so long!” grins Rick Williams. “The first landing was as natural and gentle as with a PC-12. We attracted a lot of attention from the nearby highway, with many drivers stopping to watch as such a great-looking aircraft landed in the desert!” added chief pilot Tommy Suell with obvious enthusiasm.