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There is a Fine Line Between Passionate and Pollyanna

 

 

General aviation is a bit like teenage sex. Lots of people talk about it, even when few are doing it. Survey data is not anywhere close to being as valuable as being in the market and following real money. Consumers are fickle, and humans are terrible at estimating utilization. Long before we launched OpenAirplane, we surveyed thousands of pilots. They told us they would fly an average of 10 hours a year more than they do today. That did not come to pass. Demonstrating to us at least that surveys are a terrible way to capture intent. While the idea of OpenAirplane won us praise, fans, and even super fans, the reality is that too few pilots took to the skies to make the operation sustainable.

 

https://medium.com/@rodrakic/contact-ground-point-niner-a4d013e0c850

 

 

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Open Airplane offered rental information around the US which allowed a hire service with the same simplicity as hiring a car.

 

You got off  an RPT flight to, say Sioux Falls, Montana, walked across  to the light area and picked up the keys to a serviced Cirrus.

 

You had a record, so no test flight or references were required and the owner had the assurance that you knew how to do the engine management on a Cirrus, or not overheat the turbine on a Caravan.

 

Where they went wrong was in the business model survey.

 

I can remember doing surveys on new trucks where we asked whether operators wanted about $10,000 worth of new technology.

 

All the major fleets said Yes.

 

When I asked a second time aksing them whether they wanted it if the price went up $10,000 they all said no.

 

If I want to fly when I go to the US, I hire an Instructor with the plane. He does the radio and legals, so very relaxing.

 

 

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I think they also went wrong on the idea. Renting aircraft is not like renitng cars. I have been looking into firing up something similar in Europe, especially since the Single European Rules of the Air, and the logistics and economics just don't stand up to any real assessment. First, there simply isn't tthe critical mass of pilots who need to rent; Second, the ability to even utilise a planned rental has a much higher risk of not materialising due to weather or servicabiity than a car. Third, like Turbi says, even if you are insured to fly, it is easier for an unfamiliar area to take an instructor to ensure one remains legal and safe; forth - if a multi-office car rental firm ends up with too many cars in one location, they just load them onto a truck - it;s a relatively painless and cheap exercise - can't simply reposition planes that are left at other locations as they renter has had to hop on a plane due to delays in being able to get fly themselves back; and so on. ANy repositionng would either be at the renter's expense, making it uncompetitively expensive or simply eat whatever profit one eeks out...

 

So far, this sort of renting model seems to work better: https://www.eglk.co.uk/

 

 

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They would want to be pretty careful about how they go about that,  though IF they have them on a lease arrangement with private owners, the $$$ s might have a higher priority for those owners, encouraging them to seek to utilise them MORE and get some cash. Insurance goes up if the conditions are more relaxed. There's a lot types of planes you might find difficult to hire unless you've got a good record of  pilotage. Like T/W  and such.. Getting them in and out of hangars each day is a risk of "hangar rash" that scares me with a lot of these situations. Nev

 

 

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Has to be cheaper than owning.

 

If you have the license or cerificate that is, if still learning, they may want your house as garantee you don,t bend it.

 

spacesailor

 

Plenty of schools have aircraft on the line from private owners.

 

The student phase consistently comes in as the safest in flying, and the flight schools and clubs usually have insurance in the hire fee, so no draconian house forfeits needed.

 

Hiring is thousands of dollars a year cheaper than owning if you are only a casual flyer.

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Interesting to read this... Thanks for sharing

 

How does  Open Airplane compare with services like Gobokko? If a business model where the company takes a share of the rental fee doesn't work because of econcomies of scale, has does a free service like Gobokko stay afloat? Advertising?

 

I've only used it twice to book BFRs, but believe its still operating

 

PS.  Perhaps the title of this thread should be 'Closed Airplane'

 

Alan

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Once I was asked if I wanted to rent my glider for an international competition being held in Australia. After thinking it over, my conclusion was that even a small amount of damage, like a scratched canopy, would make me regret hiring it out.

And with a plane, there are more things to damage, for example with bad engine management.

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