Blog about aviation & marketing

Flight Schools – Why the profit motive is so important

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I subscribe to the AOPA Flight Training Magazine, the on-line edition.  This magazine has been around for a while, it teaches flight schools good operating practices, and other flight instruction related techniques.  Recently I received the latest copy about proper management of a customer base, and realized if you don’t get this, there is a reason you aren’t in business. I don’t have the direct link, since I had received it a while back, but the concept kept floating in my head as to the REAL problem in aviation – too bad it took 25 years for everyone else to figure this concept out, since it is quite common in other business sectors!  https://www.aopa.org/membership/aopa-digital-editions Read More

General Aviation Business….what is the plan? How about – Show me the money!

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So I have been reading some interesting perspectives about the health of general aviation, specifically the light plane industry, and I have to think it isn’t pretty.  Most journalist that have always been oblivious to the reality of general aviation, are seemingly putting more thought in – what do we need to do to stop the decline of pilots, and why aren’t more Light Sport Aircraft selling?  From my perspective, the question is WHY hasn’t this been the #1 topic of conversation from a REALITY position?  It seems everyone in the industry loves airplanes, why doesn’t the other 299,000,000 people in the United States care?  It is because Aviation has an intoxicating emotion to those who have discovered it, while the rest of the world seems to be quite content spending money on all forms of recreational activities.  How do we change this perspective? Read More

A dwindling pilot pool – Take note AOPA, NBAA, EAA, and GAMA…the problem is easily solved!

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Kind of a bold statement, but that is what we do here 🙂  Instead of the lost in the woods approach, and the “feel good” about doing nothing to reverse this trend, lets get down to the seriousness of a dwindling pilot population, both recreational and professional.  Although there are a few ideas to jump start single engine piston airplanes and the private pilot that will fly them, the answer is not all that obvious, why?  It is because the industry is ASSUMING the flight school knows what they are doing! A very dangerous approach, and is why general aviation piston airplanes and the number of pilots is in serious trouble. Read More

The bad and the ugly truth why General Aviation cannot survive as it is!

Flight Training 20 Comments

Ok all the wizards of smart out there, lets really figure out what is going on with general aviation business.  My contention is that General Aviation cannot survive if we keep doing business the way we have been doing it the last fifteen to twenty years.  Most people in the recreational aviation industry view the cost of flying as the #1 problem for growth…when in fact, the #1 reason is the flight school needs to incorporate true business principles.  Since this segment of the industry is so fragmented, there isn’t any leadership or guidelines for these small enterprises to find the winning formula for success.  Cost of flying isn’t the problem, as you will soon discover! Read More

How flight schools are failing the avaition industry and keeping it down!

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Most flight schools are operating on a very thin margin, because the lack of marketing and sales knowledge, these flight schools are the #1 reason why general aviation is failing.  In the context of saying “aviation goes as the economy goes”, is simply an excuse to the incompetent operating of a flight school…most meet that criteria.  Harsh?  Yes.  True?  Absolutely!  While most other industries that are disposable income recreational types, they are doing very well at this point.  Boat sales, up huge!  Motorcycle sales, up huge!  None of these are cheap to own and maintain, yet boats and motorcycles ownership continues to be a strong market force, while general aviation flight training wonders around and wonders why there are fewer pilots???!!! Read More

Private pilot license Vs. Light Sport pilot license – what is the cost of learning to fly?

Flight Training 24 Comments

The question is, “why has the light sport pilot license been such a failure?”, and the answer is “the flight schools don’t know how it benefits them!”  That being said, the light sport pilot license should be a huge success, and if it was understood and had real marketing attached, I don’t think the general aviation pilot community would be contracting at all.  Although the disappointment about the light sport category was that the airplanes would be $50,000 new, when in reality that price will never be available for a new airplane.  However, the light sport category offers some very unique positives, and if the flight schools would understand how to capitalize on this category, the pilot population would be experiencing a boom! Read More

The aviation flight school – can it be a profitable business?

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Currently Rod and I are working on a project with a flight school, with the objective of maximizing the overall profitability of the school.  It becomes obvious early in the information gathering stage, that there are opportunities that need to be identified, that will lead the school to a much more profitable venture.  Keep in mind, the flight school business alone is a tough way of making a solid living, but putting it all together, the opportunity exists if we start learning how a business operates.  Although the flight school in reference has talented people with skill and are very intelligent, the fact is that by hiring an aviation business development consultant, you can identify these opportunities and make bank while enjoying teaching people how to fly.   Read More

What Albert Einstein taught me about aviation – Operating a flight school

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It is the year 2013, and as I read about predictions and forecast for the year, I had to think about Albert Einstein and his theory of relativity and time travel.  As I reviewed the physics of mass-energy equivalence, I was reminded about the laws of aviation, specifically the poster you probably have seen that makes the statement “Aviation in itself is not inherently dangerous. But to an even greater degree than the sea, it is terribly unforgiving of any carelessness, incapacity or neglect.”  This applies to aviation more today than ever before, especially the aviation business of doing business, as it is very unforgiving and needs to be fine tuned.  Aviation business, more-so than any other business, requires a very focused and extremely professional approach to be successful, otherwise you will end up looking like the airplane that has crashed into the only tree that is in the picture frame. Read More

Operating a flight school – can anyone say PROFITABILITY?

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I was recently going over a few aviation subjects with a non-flyer, and the person was astounded by the number of people who start flying and never complete their pilots license.  I was quoting somewhere in the 87% range, which was an amazing stat considering most people show up at the airport knowing the amount of training and money it will take to achieve their goal.  The industry believes this is a problem with the CFI, when in reality this is a flat out management problem that needs to be fixed.  The answer to the drop-out rate of student pilots:  Flight schools need to start tracking their results like a business, and operating the flight school as a business. Read More

Could this be a fix for the declining pilot population – A flight school that is a franchise!

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As private pilot certificates continue to decline in numbers this year, I often wonder if we are going to get serious about turning this trend around?  As I look at the statistics from AOPA, and see the washout rate of student pilot starts, compared to the number of students finishing the private pilot certification, the truth is the problem isn’t with the flight instructors, its the management of the flight school that is the problem.  The way to fix this, is a market brand for flight schools that help outsiders identify quality flight instruction, along with the school offering an airplane worthy of the cost per flight hour, with actual published results of success…guess where the student pilot population would go?  You guessed it! Read More