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The Community of Flying

THE COMMUNITY OF FLYING

Steve Blonstein, General Manager WVFC sblonstein@wvfc.org

Twin-Engine Training Aircraft 

 

As many of you already know, the club (that is the membership) already owns two “like new” Cessna 152s.  They’re likely the nicest rental 152s in the Bay Area. Members often ask why the club, as opposed to regular members, own these planes.  In a simple word, economics.  The economics of ownership are somewhat complicated. (If you’re interested in knowing more, I would highly recommend attending one of our quarterly ownership seminars).  The bottom line comes down to whether it’s economically feasible to support certain makes and models. For planes like older Cessna 172Ns, Mooney’s, Bonanzas etc. the math doesn’t add up anymore.  These types of planes used to be commonplace on the flight line but over time they became less and less practical for owners to keep and support in the club.  One by one they left, likely not to return.

 

But there are certain makes and models that enable the club to be more appealing.  Our mission, after all, includes maintaining a broadly diversified fleet and the Cessna 152s are a part of that picture. The club can break-even on these older planes and can thus justify keeping them and actively promoting them to the membership.  These planes are not a threat to existing aircraft owners as they don’t directly compete with various makes and models that do make financial sense for their owners.

 

Which brings us to twin-engine training aircraft.  Twin engine aircraft are notorious for being expensive to operate, consume lots of fuel, require a lot of maintenance, and rent on a somewhat limited basis.  This, again, makes such a platform not that attractive to regular members to own and operate because they’ll likely end up writing big dollar checks each month to keep the plane operating.  That won’t last for long either. The club leadership has spent an extensive amount of time exploring the possibility of WVFC owning and operating a twin-engine training aircraft.  We have concluded that it’s a worthwhile experiment to acquire a twin-engine aircraft and see if we can operate it at break-even or better and once again increase the diversity of the fleet and attractiveness of the club.

 

The success of this program depends upon a few factors.  First, we need to find a decent training aircraft, likely from the 2000’s, not from the 1970s or 1980s.  The older twins will likely have poor dispatch reliability along with high or very high maintenance costs.  Second, we need to get the plane to fly enough to make sense.  That’s where the existing membership, that is you, seizes the opportunity to fly the twin whether it’s to attain a multi-engine rating, or to leverage it as a serious cross-country machine.  These planes are often quite capable, are surprisingly fast, and exhibit good climb characteristics.  Lastly, the club can leverage the asset to attract a new group of members who are specifically looking for twin-engine training aircraft. Currently they move right past WVFC because we have nothing to offer.

 

Stay tuned as we start our search, and if anyone has additional thoughts and suggestions on the matter, be sure to reach out and let me know.

 

Fly Safe.

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