Blog about aviation & marketing

Privatizing the Air Traffic Control system – why this is a good idea!

Aviation Thoughts 2 Comments

Not to sound like a Trump fan…try looking at it as a view from my side as to how Capitalism saved the planet.  For those who went to public schools, I challenge you to do some research on Capitalism, it is truly the mechanism for creating wealth, equality, and opportunity.  But I digress.  Privatizing the ATC system will benefit the airlines, general aviation, the general public, because it will expedite the integration of technology and innovation into a system that is outdated.  I will quickly reference the Flight Service Station evolution, and how the personal computer has solved the problems of weather briefings, and how much better the system actually works. Read More

Cheap Flying Fun!

Aviation Thoughts 9 Comments

Recently I was carousing around on YouTube, looking at some EAA Airventure videos from this year, and happened upon a video about a trip to Alaska from a small airstrip near Dayton OH.  This video was taken in 1960 on 8 mm film, and converted to a digital format, so the quality is a little less than today’s standards, but still quite good.  As I watched the video’s, there are two of them, I couldn’t help but think about how much fun that trip was as a lifetime memory!  AND it proved you don’t need a pressurized twin to make the trip, and have fun. Read More

The future light twin for General Aviation – it is this type of thinking that we need more of!

Aviation Thoughts 2 Comments

I recently was reading in Aviation International News (http://www.ainonline.com/), about a concept business airplane that would be part hovercraft, part corporate King Air with ducted fan technology. The airplane concept is seeking funding, and if you would have an interest in being a part of the development, just visit here – http://www.xtiaircraft.com/trifan-600/ The problem is, the reality just isn’t here in my opinion, as VTOL aircraft have been in the dreams of many, only to find that you just can’t make a practical VTOL airplane to work.  The required thrust is such that even a very efficient turbine engine isn’t going to give you the capability to make it work.  But…there are some ideas out there that SHOULD be sought after, that have real possibilities and can be put into production.  Lets take a look at this! Read More

The business cycle and general aviation

Aviation Thoughts 52 Comments

How is the economy?  There are so many sources available, each putting more weight on one category over the other.  Nonetheless, as far as general aviation aircraft deliveries go, according to GAMA figures it was down approximately 4.5% in the first half of the year.  Most of these deliveries involved the larger global fleet that has satisfied demand for growth in the world…needing to get places that are flights of long distance.  Now that demand has slowed for the global jet market, what is the future for general aviation in the next 18 months?  We can look at recreational flying and conclude that it will be relatively flat, which is a good news/bad news scenario, but the real big number I want to focus on is this –  Corporate spending on equipment, structures and intellectual property decreased an annualized 2.2% after a 3.4% fall in the first quarter.  How does this affect general aviation? Read more to find out how business use of the airplane is what drives this industry. Read More

The future of the drone industry – why drones will change the way we do business.

Aviation Thoughts 2 Comments

Not one of my favorite subjects, as I am not into the drones as much as I am into airplanes and aviation, but since the drone will impact aviation, I thought we should look at the subject.  As the drone industry starts to mature, the applications will be enormous AND the drone will become more of OUR airspace system, therefore transponders, ADS-B tracking etc. will become part of the technology that will be used with drones. Read More

Recreational Aviation in 2015 – a year in review and why hasn’t this been the best year ever?

Aviation Thoughts 32 Comments

Not long ago I was reading a business journal regarding how fantastic recreational sales have been in 2015!  This was for the sales of – YACHTS, MOTORCYCLES, and high end RV’s that are expensive and represent disposable income, and I wondered…why single engine piston sales, light sport airplanes, pilot starts, and recreational flying still on a downhill skid?  Is it that the era of excitement has left aviation, or is it that we deem ourselves to smart to embrace good marketing tools and sales techniques?  Knowing what I know, we have a lot of work to do to turn this ship around, here are some thoughts. Read More

A five time speed record holding airplane that was never built – part 5, the last of the series

Airplane Business, Aviation Thoughts 12 Comments

There are very few airplanes that don’t make it into the marketplace if they are an exceptional performing airplane.  The last airplane we will analyze in this series, is an airplane that when it was first one to be built, set five speed records in the first two years of it’s existence.  It is an airplane that not only had exceptional performance, but was in the hottest category of piston aviation at the time, and that was the six place high performance category.  At the time, Beechcraft was turning out Bonanza A36 Bonanza and the V35B, Piper was building the Piper Lance II, while Cessna was selling the Cessna T210.  They called them “King Kong Singles” because they all featured the largest piston engines at the time, they had six seat with the exception of the V-tail Bonanza, and had performance that was very close to most of the light twins of the day. You won’t believe the performance of the airplane we are going to examine, and it is a real head scratcher as to why this airplane isn’t currently in production, but we will try to discover why! Read More

Airplanes that were innovative, but never sold in the market – Part 4

Aviation Thoughts No Comments

So…an innovative airplane is one that takes engineering to a new level.  Sometimes these challenges are something that general aviation seems to gravitate from, as in “we can build it, let me show you it can be done!”  That is a great attitude to take, but lets slow down and figure out what we want to do with the airplane once we put all our talent into it.  Because in reality, general aviation needs to take the approach – what does the market want?  In other words, do we have demand for the product once we build it?  If you aren’t going to be able to sell the concept, whether it is an invention, or an airplane, it won’t be around very long. At the end of the day –  it is MONEY that makes an airplane fly!

For Part 4, we take a look at an innovative airplane, with a very talented designer that took the view – how cool would this be, I KNOW I can build it!  Fantastic, and when you look at the technological innovation, it was very ahead of it’s time AND satisfied the method of proving the design can fly.  This is the paradox of being an engineer and designer, in that you need to bring the business aspect of not only does this make sense, but how to find the buyer that is willing to step up and buy the airplane.  This has never been more evident today, when we have these unique airplanes being introduced into the market, whereby there has not been a demand study or a projected sales forecast that gives the go/no-go for the project.  THIS analysis has to be strongly considered when attempting a project that will take tens of millions of dollars just to bring it to the market.  My question is – are we currently going down the wrong road toward expanding general aviation piston flying, or is it that we are just trying to have fun regardless of making a real business of building airplanes? Read More

Five great airplane designs that never took off! – part 1

Aviation Thoughts 3 Comments

There are many unique airplane designs, or just practical airplane designs that never made it to the marketplace, or were set up for production and never built in any numbers that made it a profitable airplane.  This series will examine these five airplanes that had an approach to the marketplace, but never were put into serious production or taken out of production because of a company decision.  The point of this series, is to demonstrate how important the market place is relative to the uniqueness of the design.  In reality, the only way to be successful is to produce a product that ultimately sells, which leads to a long production cycle and continued refinement.  MONEY is what makes an airplane fly, aerodynamics is a close second if we can smile at that. Read More

Is General Aviation business completely backwards? Here are some changes that need to made for this industry to survive!

Aviation Thoughts 3 Comments

Reading the latest AvWeb news (http://www.avweb.com), I noted a discussion about the pilot-less airplanes that will be in our future.  I am hoping it never comes to that, but as I kept reading the comments, there became a discussion about how much engineering talent has to do with the health of general aviation.  While I wholeheartedly agree that engineering is a strong focus in aviation, it also is a reason that aviation and specifically the light aircraft division, is why nothing is moving forward.  Although I would agree that certification standards, liability concerns, availability of aviation fuels is the strongest reason for the decline in general aviation, I believe we approach the business completely backwards from a normal business!  We need to focus more on consumer demand for the product style – THEN provide the product to satisfy that demand, not the other way around. Read More