Founded in 2020, during the global pandemic, Sentinel Aviation delivers a superior, discreet and above all else, safe aircraft charter and management experience for private clients. All clients are treated as individuals and provided with a seamless, door to door and all-encompassing private charter service. Every charter is bespoke to the clients needs and meticulously planned and overseen from inception until well after landing. Sentinel also provides an exceptional, trusted, proven and completely integrated aircraft management service from purchase, through to crewing, operation, maintenance and sales.
Sentinel Aviation is owned and run by Roland Dangerfield. After 18 years as a British Army Officer, Roland left the army aged 36 and went from commanding Challenger battle tanks to flying Challenger business jets for UHNWI from Farnborough Airport. Much of the ensuing 12 years of flying was in the private sector, until he turned his focus to the creation of Sentinel. Roland has flown to over 200 destinations in over 80 countries, carrying royal families, politicians, diplomats and personalities of sport, film, television and music as well as ultra and high net worth individuals. As a result of this experience, he has extensive and in-depth operational knowledge of safe and discrete private aviation charter and management operations.
Roland is unique in that he is not only a pilot but also an Aviation Safety and Compliance auditor and an Aviation Human Factors instructor. Therefore he primarily selects Sentinel’s operator partners on safety and compliance grounds with cost, whilst still important, being a second-tier driving factor with professional reputation, financial stability and cost effectiveness.
Sentinel Aviation USPs:
Using Sentinel instead of a single operator with a large business jet fleet, clients have access to a greater choice of better aircraft rather than only a fraction of the charter market. This in turn means better prices.
Uniquely for charter consultants, Sentinel is run by former private jet pilots, who have extensive and in-depth inside working knowledge of the often opaque charter and private jet management industry.
As trained Aviation Safety & Compliance auditors and Human Factors instructors, Sentinel selects charter operators based on their safety and compliance first, alongside professional reputation and financial stability. In a volatile industry, charter operators come and go, often without notice. Sentinel ensure clients won’t get stranded or lose their money.
Sentinel Aviation is meticulous in attention to detail. The team remains on call 24/7 from flight inception until well after landing, in order to deliver the most outstanding personal service.
Private Charters & COVID
Both charter operators and clients have to be highly flexible to the daily changes on individual country regulations, travel corridors and travel bans. Sentinel Aviation prides itself on flexibility and attention to detail, to provide the best service to their clients.
For example, when the new covid variant caused France to ban all travel from the UK just before Christmas, Sentinel was contacted by a freight organisation to ship their cargo directly to Denmark by air when it normally goes by road.
When flying clients to Iceland for salmon fishing in the summer of 2020, this required them to download the Icelandic Covid App, register all personal details online, pay for covid tests online, and have confirmatory texts sent to their mobile phones. Sentinel carried out a dry run of the application process and established the correct mobile phone number format to be entered, and exactly what information was required, so that when the clients applied, the process was seamless.
Looking into 2021, Roland Dangerfield says, “I don’t imagine there will be a huge increase in numbers flying, because the world’s economy has taken quite a knock. We expect our clients to travel to more exotic, remote destinations, and for longer, rather than multiple shorter holidays.”
Sentinel Aviation can charter helicopters, turbo props and business jets, including ultra long range jets capable of 7,500 miles. Safety is key, and all aircraft are chartered from operators approved by their national regulatory authorities.
For simple short trips, facilities can be basic, with seating for 4 pax and one light roll bag each. For longer flights, aircraft can be fully equipped with flight attendant, WC & shower, divan beds, leather reclining chairs, satellite phones, in flight entertainment systems, broadband and full galley facilities. Catering is down to clients’ individual preference and can be anything from M&S or Waitrose Catering up to specialist private aviation catering companies, or even food from a favourite restaurant or chef. Wine and Champagne can be specially chosen by Sentinel’s own award winning Sommelier and paired with any catering requests.
No two charters are the same, and every flight is meticulously planned and overseen from start to finish, whether a 9 minute hop from Cannes to Nice, or 10 hours and 50 minutes from London to Hong Kong. This includes ancillaries such as airport handling and transfer services pre-departure or at destination. Whether it’s for 1 or 100 people, Antwerp or Antigua, Beach or Business, Sentinel Aviation will handle it.
Popular destinations include the Caribbean, LA, Las Vegas, New York, Miami, Moscow, Kiev, Dubai, Cape Town, Maldives, Zurich, Nice, Cannes, Paris, Munich, Rome, Sardinia.
As an example of costs:
London to Nice (return) for 4 people: circa £13k
London to New York (return) for 6 people: circa £100k+
Sentinel Aviation’s client base is roughly 50:50 weighting between corporate and private bookings. Corporate bookings are predominantly city to city, and Sentinel can arrange business trips door-to-door, including ground transfers at each end. Private bookings often include ski trips, beach destinations and fishing and shooting parties.
Sentinel Aviation speaks to every individual and third party that their clients are likely to come into contact with, to ensure the entire trip proceeds smoothly. Getting to know the client, to understand and establish their likes and dislikes, is imperative and results in Sentinel’s outstandingly personal service.
Roland says, “Most of our business comes through word of mouth, which demonstrates the faith our clients have in us. We dot every ‘i’ and cross every ‘t’ to ensure their experience is seamless. Having been a private jet pilot, I’ve seen the process first hand, from bad catering to bad organisation, and having tidied up the mistakes others have made, I know not to make them myself! When I was in the army, one of my jobs involved drafting visit programmes for members of the Royal family, UK Government ministers and senior officers from the MOD and army, and through this I learnt that attention to detail, briefings, timings, communication and execution of the programme were key to success.”