Phenom Pilot Blog

Ready for a Photo Flight? Flight suit, negative. Helmet, nope. High level of Skill, yep! Photo flights and formation flying in business jets will require a level of skill not found in most business pilots.

During my pilot career with the United States Air Force which included a two year tour with Photo Flights and Formation Flying in Business Jetsthe Thunderbirds F-16 demonstration team, I had many opportunities to enjoy jet formation flying. After transitioning to civilian business jet flying, the flight suit and helmet were put in the closet. When I recently received a call from one of our clients who asked if we’d fly his Phenom 300 over Monument Valley, UT while renowned photographer Jessica Ambats flew in a photo ship and captured both still and video of the flight, I was delighted to do so.

Photo flights represent the biggest formation flying risk. By definition, a photo flight is a formation flight, but many pilots don’t even consider this fact. As a result, pilots with zero formation experience will still fly a photo mission. This leads to an unorganized process where briefs are often poor and not followed. In the air, pilots will attempt things beyond their skill level, because of photographer requests or because the camera pointed at them minimizes their situational awareness.

Other complications include dissimilar aircraft with very different flight characteristics and a constantly changing formation, with aircraft moving in and out of formation to be on- or off-stage. Don’t be tempted by the exciting air-to-air photos and try it yourself.

Photo Flights and Formation Flying in Business JetsClose formation is something that must be thoughtfully and thoroughly planned and briefed to a level of detail that goes well beyond the normal trip. Having flown hundreds of flights in close formation with as many as seven other aircraft, this trip was second nature, a pleasure to fly and our client was happy as well. Give me a call if this is something you’re thinking about. I can recommend photographers who will not only capture your aircraft and the setting you desire but will only employ experienced formation pilots to fly the photo ship.

If you are in need of a photo flight requiring a high level formation flying in a business jet contact me at (904) 631-0153 Dave Coffman


What are my Jet Type Rating Alternatives?

Type-Ratings: When it comes to business jet type ratings, many assume the only training option is the very structured and costly program offered via one of the major training providers.

We have Type Rating Alternativessuccessfully trained pilots new to the Phenom with experience levels ranging from no jet time to experienced airline pilots adding their Phenom type rating. We tailor a training program to fit your needs and your schedule. Try getting that from the “big box” providers!

We are here for you and our specialty is one-on-one training for the pilot whose schedule and lifestyle doesn’t fit the “spend two weeks, go to the building to get your type rating” of the major simulator training providers.

One of our clients recently picked up his Phenom and came to us for his training. He felt that getting away from the familiar surroundings of his business would help him to focus and earn his first type rating.

Give us a call and we’ll develop a training program for you and then assist with your FAA mandated Supervised Operational Experience (SOE) requirements. We’re here for you!

Higher Calling Aviation offers the best type rating alternatives!

Call us today @ 904-631-0153

Phenom Pilot, Mentor, Contract, Jet Pilot, Type Rating, Jet Ferry and Delivery Services

Dave Coffman and the Ride for the Day: The Phenom 100


Welcome to the inaugural edition of the Phenom Pilot blog!  Some have said that life is better to be looked at as a marathon rather than a sprint and so with that in mind I hope over the course of offering periodic posts on my experiences in aviation both present and some past to offer insight into my world as a professional aviator in a manner that allows me to always return to base with at least “bingo plus two”–simply put, I want to keep the posts fresh but I do fly for a living.

The Input

I hope to offer insights to my experiences in a thoughtful and interesting manner because the subject that I will write about is near and dear to me and I know has a similar appeal to you, my audience.  More than 30 years ago I began a career that has taken me all over the world in airplanes that I only dreamed about as a kid.  In addition to flying the highest performance aircraft in the world I have had the opportunity to meet some of the most interesting people in the world–aviators as well as non-aviators.  I plan to relay to you what I see in my travels that makes what we do so special:  the people, the machines and the scenery we see everyday.  Aviation is indeed a special calling and I hope to convey that unique bond through words, pictures and your comments as well.

Your Input

I welcome your feedback as readers of this blog–your comments and questions as well as input for future posts are welcome.  Thank you for reading and stay tuned for the next post, a story that all of us as aviators have faced at one time or another in their career–The Divert.  Stay tuned and thanks for reading.

Our Specialties are;

Phenom Pilot, Mentor, Contract, Jet Pilot, Type Rating, Jet Ferry and Delivery Services


In the cockpit sDave Coffman has been flying for over 30 years and has over 5,000 hours of accident and incident free flying. He began his flying career by soloing at age 16 and obtaining his Private Pilot’s license at age 17. He continued his education by earning his Commercial pilot’s license and instructor certificates by the time he was 21 and then completing his Bachelor’s degree in Air Commerce, Flight Technology from Florida Institute of Technology and later a Master’s Degree in Aeronautical Science from Embry Riddle University. “He served in the Air Force as an officer and aviator flying over 2300 hours in the F-16A/B and F-16C/D as an instructor and evaluator retiring as a Lt Colonel.””Today he is a highly sought after instructor and mentor pilot specializing in the Embraer Phenom executive jets.”

Contact him today for all your aviation needs;

David A. Coffman, ATP,CFII,MEI

Instructor, Contract Pilot

Embraer Phenom 100/300