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Customer Success Story: Jet Linx

Jet Linx

Jet Linx Delivers First-Class, FAA-Approved Airline Operations Manuals and Training via Mobile Devices, Web Browsers and Print Using MadCap Flare

location icon Omaha, NE

INDUSTRY: Aviation

A plane sitting in front of a JetLinx hanger

Goals

  • Enable Jet Linx employees to easily access manuals on the web and via their mobile devices.
  • Create an intuitive modern web experience for employees to find the information they need.
  • Keep pace with changes and updates to FAA regulations.
  • Facilitate content creation for Jet Linx authors and SMEs alike.

Solutions

Benefits

  • Anytime, anywhere access: Using MadCap Flare for multi-channel publishing and responsive design, Jet Linx delivers operations manuals that pilots, flight concierges, maintenance workers can access via their mobile phones, Apple iPads, and web browsers.
  • Modern web experience: Jet Linx relies on MadCap Flare and Capture to deliver an easy-to-navigate digital pub library with search, hyperlinks to related materials, diagrams, and more.
  • FAA compliance: Topic-based authoring, multi-channel publishing, search and replace, and TOCs in MadCap Flare have helped Jet Linx cut the time to produce FAA-compliant manuals, online and as PDFs, from 2 to 3 weeks down to 3 days.
  • Streamlined content creation: With the content reuse, Microsoft Word imports, and templates enabled by MadCap Flare, SMEs can work with familiar software, and authors can quickly produce new manuals—including a complete library for the MRO business unit in 4 days.
  • Support for audits: Version control via MadCap Flare’s integration with Git allows Jet Linx to easily track and document versions of the Help website to meet regulatory requirements and audits.

There are no shortcuts at Jet Linx where superior customer experiences and top safety practices form the core of its personalized approach to national private jet travel. In 2019, the business became the world’s only Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star trained and accredited private aviation company in recognition of its unparalleled service standards for the in-flight experience. Jet Linx is also an International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO) Stage 3, ARGUS Platinum, and Wyvern Wingman safety rated operator, an accomplishment earned by less than one percent of all aircraft operators in the world.

Jet Linx’s commitment to a first-class experience extends to the web- and print-based documentation that the company produces for a majority of the company’s operations—from jet maintenance to pilots’ flight procedures, to flight attendant and concierge services—many of which need sign-off from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Today, Jet Linx relies on the single-source authoring and multi-channel publishing capabilities of MadCap Flare to deliver this critical content in a responsive HTML5 format accessed via Apple iPads, mobile phones, and desktops, with the PDFs serving as backup.

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Jet Linx Logo Jet Linx Logo Jet Linx Logo

Modernizing Aviation Industry Documentation

Founded in 1999, Jet Linx is an end-to-end private jet company that manages flights, passengers and maintenance for about 110 aircraft. For years, the company followed the industry norm of creating its federally regulated content in Microsoft Word and then publishing PDF files. However, with an eye toward optimizing operations, Jet Linx wanted to modernize its approach to documentation.

At first, the aviation firm implemented a popular XML content creator tailored for the aviation industry. Not only did it carry a high overhead; it was also complex and content creation could not be done rapidly enough to meet Jet Linx’s growing needs... As the company looked at its remaining fleet of manuals, it became clear that using this industry-specific tool was not a sustainable approach.

“With Flare, I was able to jump in and start building out specialized templates that would work for all of the FAA regulations and elements that the FAA requires in documentation,” recalls Chris Bradley, director of publications & business continuity planning coordinator at Jet Linx. “At the same time, we wanted to get off of PDFs and print and into an HTML online world as much as possible. We have achieved that goal using Flare.”

The digital pub library Image

The digital pub library serves as the main online resource for more than 100 FAA-mandated Jet Linx airplane manuals plus another 20 general operations manuals.

Today, Jet Linx has a “digital pub library” that serves as the online resource for the majority of the company’s 500 employees. It includes more than 100 FAA-mandated airplane manuals plus another 20 general operations manuals and additional guides, training materials, and other documentation.

Powered by MadCap Flare, the responsive website delivers information to team members as HTML5 content that is easy to search and navigate. Additionally, where required, the digital pub library provides downloadable PDF files of the documentation.

“We use a Flare HTML5 project as our content management portal where everyone can access the entire library, and it works fantastic,” Chris says.

Mobile Content Delivery for Employees on the Go

More than 300 employees at Jet Linx, most notably flight, maintenance, and client service staff, need to access operations manuals and other content via their mobile phones or company-issued Apple iPads. For example, the company’s flight concierge team uses the training manual produced with MadCap Flare exclusively on their Apple iPhones.

“Safety is our number one priority, and having information at your fingertips when you need it is invaluable,” Chris observes. “Our manuals delivered using Flare range from a security manual on how to enter the building to pilot pre-flight checklists, flight concierge operations, and maintenance manuals for our planes to name just a few.”

“In the flight concierge role, having easy to access training documents and quick reference cards is of the utmost importance, but our local flight concierge teams are constantly on the move,” says Carla White, Jet Linx senior concierge trainer. “Putting the digital pub library at the fingertips of our local flight concierge teams and letting them view it from their phones has been a gamechanger for the role itself.”

Meanwhile, Jet Linx pilots rely on iPads, which they use to access the ForeFlight integrated flight application in addition to the manuals delivered by MadCap Flare—all which support pilots and flight concierges with a modern mobile experience.

“In the last 18 months, I’ve done a lot to minimize the page layouts for our mobile users, and I’ve probably done more testing and refinements in the mobile space than ever before. But with MadCap Flare, it’s been incredibly easy and intuitive,” Chris notes.

Simplifying Access to Information

Jet Linx has to balance easy online access with the FAA’s requirement for Word or PDF documents that have the agency’s official stamp of approval. The company addresses this by delivering its manuals as web content with side navigation to help users locate the information they need. Then if required, users can scroll down to a link to the downloadable FAA-stamped PDF.

“An aviation manual is never a lone resource. They typically reference all kinds of collateral and bulletins and other procedures and information,” Chris explains. “Using Flare, I built out web pages to put bulletins, forms and other collateral mentioned in manuals in one place, so employees have everything they need.”

For the digital pub library web pages, Jet Linx uses a modern HTML5 template that is already included with MadCap Flare and then has added graphics and skins to align the look-and-feel with the corporate website. The company takes advantage of drop-down menus and the out-of-the-box search functionality in MadCap Flare to help employees quickly navigate the online manuals. Additionally, Jet Linx makes extensive use of hyperlinks in the HTML5-based content to enable fast access to information.

“We don't want a maintenance technician on the tarmac in the middle of winter fishing through a paper manual. Now, they can get on their iPads, open the HTML5 library and search to get the content they need,” Chris notes. “We also have about 1,000 reference links in a 400-page airplane manual, so our maintenance team can quickly find the information they need to determine if an aircraft is airworthy.”

To create a more intuitive experience, Jet Linx also relies on MadCap Capture to incorporate diagrams and other images into the MadCap Flare-based documentation.

Chris  Bradley Photo

MadCap Capture makes it easy to import images and image call-outs into our Flare content and format them. We also use the thumbnail ability in Flare for the HTML5 versions since they render a bit better for the iPhones, iPads, and other smaller display devices.

Chris Bradley | Director of Publications & BCP Coordinator, Jet Linx

User Feedback for Continuous Improvement

Finally, Jet Linx encourages user input through a feedback button on the digital pub library, giving the company insights into areas that need clarifications or corrections. By adding this feature to the MadCap Flare master page, it has been easy for the team to apply the feedback button to each web page.

Operations Manuals Image

More than 300 employees at Jet Linx access operations manuals and other content via mobile phones or company-issued Apple iPads.

Overall, employee responses to the digital pub library have been very positive, Chris observes: “Our users are finding information so much faster, and they have loved the content we’re delivering with Flare so much that they are looking for even more ways to leverage this format.”

Our users are finding information so much faster, and they have loved the content we’re delivering with Flare so much that they are looking for even more ways to leverage this format.

Chris Bradley | Director of Publications & BCP Coordinator, Jet Linx

Keeping Pace with FAA Demands

As an airline that operates in the United States, Jet Linx needs to keep pace with the frequent changes that the FAA makes to its Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) requirements for Part 91 and Part 135 flyers. It is an extensive effort. Because Jet Linx manages a fleet of 120 aircraft that includes 32 different types of jets, the company has to work with manufacturers on 32 different aircraft specifications every time a regulation changes one part. Moreover, the manufacturers are making updates to the manuals for those jets, meaning Jet Linx has to update its documentation as well. Frequent changes related to COVID-19 safety, for example, over the last year has further driven the need to update Jet Linx operations manuals.

The FAA also requires airlines to maintain a revision history on a chapter-by-chapter basis, so the agency only needs to review sections of the manual that were revised, not the entire document. The topic-based authoring in Flare makes it easy to comply with the FAA’s strict change control rules. Three other features in MadCap Flare simplify supporting the FAA’s List of Effective Pages (LOEP) need to see the exact page numbers for when a chapter starts and ends: tables of contents (TOCs), variables and Cross References.

MadCap Flare’s simple integration with Git version control system also supports the need to document each manual’s change history, making tracking seamless. No Jet Linx documentation gets added to the digital pub library unless it is bound to Git.

Flare’s integration with Git is fantastic. We can see every single change to content, where it was interjected and why. This has allowed us to track down discrepancies, make a change, and then get FAA approval to fly a plane with a content change the next day.

Chris Bradley | Director of Publications & BCP Coordinator, Jet Linx

Image of the MadCap Flare powered digital pub library

The MadCap Flare powered digital pub library provides easy online access with the FAA’s requirement for PDF documents.

Once a manual is ready to publish, Jet Linx needs to ensure that content in the FAA-approved PDFs and HTML5-based versions is the same. Otherwise, the web-based content would be considered a different version. The multi-channel publishing functionality of MadCap Flare ensures consistency across the different outputs.

“All of our general operations manuals are stored and housed in one Flare project, and with single-source publishing, it’s just a matter of choosing my outputs to publish both the PDFs and digital content,” Chris explains.


Speeding Content Creation

At Jet Linx, several subject matter experts (SMEs) distributed throughout the organization contribute content to the manuals. Because MadCap Flare supports imports from Microsoft Word, the SMEs can continue to work with the software they know. Additionally, single-source templates help to ensure that the content is properly formatted.

“Single source templates are great! I’ll give our SMEs a Word template created with Flare with placeholders that they will fill out and then send back to me,” Chris notes. “Then I can simply import their content into our Flare project. They appreciate that they can create content without having to learn a new tool.”

Image of manuals as web content with side navigation

To help users locate the information they need, Jet Linx delivers its manuals as web content with side navigation.

Single source templates are great! I’ll give our SMEs a Word template created with Flare with placeholders that they will fill out and then send back to me. Then I can simply import their content into our Flare project.

Chris Bradley | Director of Publications & BCP Coordinator, Jet Linx

The ability to deliver documentation quickly with MadCap Flare played an important role in helping to onboard a company recently acquired by Jet Linx.

“Within four days, I was able to convert all of the company’s FAA manuals from Word to Flare and get them into our new templates in preparation for FAA submission,” Chris recalls. “When I showed the team their new documentation library, they said, ‘Wow, you’re taking us out of the stone age. We’re good here’.”

While the digital pub library has been highly popular with employees, the Jet Linx team has an eye toward using MadCap Connect for Zendesk to publish the airline’s MadCap Flare content directly into Zendesk HelpCenter.

With Flare, we could create manuals that are far more advanced than what our industry is used to in three days and at a fraction of the cost.

Chris Bradley | Director of Publications & BCP Coordinator, Jet Linx

“Zendesk is going to become our primary tool for all issues across the entire company, and with MadCap Connect for Zendesk, we’ll be able to put our Flare-based Help at the point it’s needed,” Chris explains.

“With Flare, we could create manuals that are far more advanced than what our industry is used to in three days and at a fraction of the cost,” Chris notes. “I’ve been working with Flare for a long time, and there is so much you can do with it; the possibilities are endless.”


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