When you think of Orlando and private jet travel, Orlando Executive or Kissimmee Gateway come to mind. But there is another great option there. Our visit to Orlando Sanford International Airport to see private jet charter companies had us meeting some great people.
As usual we didn’t have an appointment, so we just popped in on Air Unlimited. Here we met some amazing people who shared some of their valuable time with us.
Air Unlimited is a private air charter company that operates both Turboprop aircraft and jets. Additionally, they offer maintenance services for Beechcraft King Air series and Cessna Citation 500 series aircraft. Their fleet consists of these same aircraft.
Great people we met:
- Captain Joshua “Josh” Stover
- Director of Maintenance, Charter “Chick” Gregg, Jr.
- Director of Safety, Jeff Craig
When were arrived, we met Captain Stover and “Chick” Gregg, Jr. Captain Stover was working on a project so “Chick” gave us a tour of their customer terminal and aircraft hangar. And it is of note, that “Chick” is the son of Air Unlimited co-founder, Charles Gregg, Sr. So, a couple of generations going on.
In the hangar, we also met Jeff Craig, who is a former U.S. Navy Pilot who flew EA-6B Prowlers and EA-18G Growlers. Jeff also teaches several flight training courses at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in the Aeronautical Science Department of the College of Aviation in Daytona Beach, FL. Very impressive and thank you for your service.
Also in the hangar was a pilot trainee, Jeff was giving some hands experience to on one of the King Airs. Having newcomers as co-pilots is a great career path for future pilots.
We then went back to the conference room to meet with Captain Stover again. We really appreciate all the time that Josh gave us in explaining their business. As it turns out they also fly donor organs for transplants. Aircraft just aren’t for people.
What we really liked about Air Unlimited was that everything was in one place. Many times, the office location, customer terminal (may just be a 3rd part FBO), hangar and maintenance are spread out. Here, a customer can see the entire operation, which creates a great impression.
So, if you’re in central Florida and looking for a quick hop to the Bahamas, these are your guys.
And yes, they do have Cessna Citation CJ1’s so charter jet flights are available from this great alternative location.
And thank you again, Josh, Chick Jr and Jeff for your time. We really appreciate it and are glad we could share our visit.
Chris and I went back to Orlando to check out a couple of area airports. Our friends from Aviation Marketing Experts (Blue Island Digital) are also based there. We have done work for them, including writing for their newsletter. Our visit to Orlando Executive Airport to see private jet charter companies turned out to be quite a surprise.
Our plan was to stop at Stratos Jet Charters but instead we found Northern Jet at their location. As we soon learned, Northern Jet is a recent merger of SpeedBird (Orlando, FL) and Northern Jet Management (Grand Rapids, MI). We also found out that Stratos had moved to the other side of the airport (more on that later).
We were delighted that the Sales Manager, Henrique “Ricky” Guagliardo talked to us. We are always amazed how courteous, even busy, people can be to share their story when they are passionate about it. That was the case with Ricky. Like us, we could tell, he loved his work.
We learned a little about the new company and how in many ways it sounded like a match made in heaven. Both SpeedBird and Northern Jet Management operate their own aircraft. One based in the Southeast and the other in the Midwest. This creates great aircraft positioning. SpeedBird clients are mostly on demand and Northern Jet Management has a strong card membership program.
As Ricky explained, the new company now has a combined fleet of over 40 jets, including:
- Cessna Citation CJ3s
- Learjet 40/45/70/75s
- Citation Xs,
- Challenger 300/350s
- Challenger 605s
And a team of over 200 employees, including 98 pilots.
The Northern Jet customer terminal at Orlando Executive Airport looks like a great experience for travelers. From its “Brews & Bites” area to stylish modern décor, it reminded us of some of the nicest FBO locations we have ever seen.
They even have free decks of personalized Northern Jet “casino quality” playing cards at the counter. Nothing like a hand or two of 5 card stud on your flight.
We liked this visit so much our plan is to return with a video crew and get a tour of one of their fleet. We’ll set that up with Ricky and keep everyone posted.
Now on to Stratos Jet Charters. As mentioned, when we went to their address on Google Maps, that is where we found Northern Jets. Chris checked their website and found there was a new address: 3051 E Livingston St, Suite 401 Orlando, FL 32803. This is the Sheltair FBO building.
We went up to the 4th Floor and found Suite 401. We opened the door to what appeared to be about a 300 sq. ft. two room office. There was no sign but there were 2 men inside. Clearly, they were in the process of moving, as there was no furniture, just a computer in pieces on the floor.
We introduced ourselves and the man proceeded to tell us that they were busy with meetings and couldn’t talk to us. We asked if there might be a time we could come back and the man said he would have to talk to the owner, he motioned toward the other room, so we assumed that was the other person we saw.
We gave him a business card. Yes, we have cards. Haven’t heard back as of yet.
On to the next adventure (Sanford International Airport) …
And as always if you’re in the aircraft business, contact us and maybe we’ll come visit you too !
Our Visit to Orlando Executive Airport To See Private Jet Charter Companies