View Full Version : New Start (long post)

9th Jun 2009, 12:01

Before i begin can i have helpful replies only please. :)

I am at a point in my life where i want to toally change my career. I dont want to do the atpl to go to the airlines as i have a family.

I am contemplating doing a business degree and in the 3yrs that it takes me to do that , work part time also to save as much money as humanly possible to start my own flight school. I dont have my ppl yet. I have been into aviation for as long as i can remember and frequently visit my local airfield to just be in the atmosphere. I love nothing more than to go there and just unwind, consume the whole experience.
I want to get my ppl, then get the required hours and do my fi rating.

I have spoken to the airfield and expressed my interest in a few years to renting a unit and starting my own flight school and have been welcomed to do it. Was told i would pay a fixed fee for the rent and outdoor hangaage and could pay a fixed fee for landing fees.

Worked out the total costs and think i could make a good living out of it after 2-3yrs of being in it.

Do you think its feasible to do this.

A business degree will give me the skills to do the financial/marketing etc side of the business and my passion and money i have saved should hopefully give me the boost to make it a success.

Thanks for listening.

Matthew :)

9th Jun 2009, 12:19
The only way to make money in aviation is to start with a great deal more tha you want to end up with......

All I can say is make sure you really go into this with yours open. The grass is not greener in aviation just covered in oil and muck....

9th Jun 2009, 12:39
Speak to as many people as you can who have been there and done it, before throwing any of your hard earned cash at it.

I've spoken to a few (well two) people who have run smallish GA outfits and both said that the restaurant was what kept them afloat, with the flying struggling to break even.

If you're looking to keep it small, you may find that a microlight school is more profitable.

9th Jun 2009, 12:54

Sorry i should have been more precise. I would be doing microlights anyway i think. Well fixed wing (ikarus c42 etc)

I could do my own maintenance to a point then and the fuel would be less money.


9th Jun 2009, 14:02
Well if you want to do a business degree anyway, then good for you, but I don't really think it will make much difference to your success in your flying enterprise. Business degrees are more about impressing employers and self actualisation, than they are about entrepreneurial startups. If you can run a bank account, then you know all you need to know about financial planning, and since you're a flying enthusiast you are your own marketing case study. Use your common sense and FWIW here's some free (worth what you paid for it) advice.

In your business plan (projected costs and income !), assume your startup costs and time are double what you think, and that your income is half. Don't worry about the longer term, worry about whether you can survive to breakeven. Remember the difference between fixed and variable costs, fixed costs are what kill businesses.

And finally remember there are three reasons why a business fails. The first is that it runs out of cash, and the other two don't matter.

Good luck !

9th Jun 2009, 14:41

Thanks for the advice. I do have some savings and with 3yrs of savings would be able to buy my first aircraft and pay all the costs (hangarage, maintenance, landing fees and unit rent) in one go and still have some left.

Thats why i want to leave it 3 years to give myself the best possible chance of success.

As long as i go all guns blazing sales wise and have everything paid for year 1 i should be able to do it by my reckoning.


9th Jun 2009, 15:01
Thanks for the reply.

The reason i want to wait 3yrs is so i can save enough to put to my current savings and pay all my first year expenses in one go at the start (airplane purchase, maintenance, unit rent, landing fee contract, advertising etc(. If i can do that without the immediate expense and worry of trying to stay afloat then i virtually have a year to try my hardest enabling me to put my full attention on building the business and not worrying then i think i should be alright.


9th Jun 2009, 15:27
I'd be inclined to say get your PPL first, then think about business second.
a) Getting your PPL will give you a much better insight in to the flying school business, and b) who knows what your flying aptitude is.

9th Jun 2009, 16:41

Yeah i will do that anyway. Im pretty sure my flying aptitude would be good enough. Im a really careful driver, never had a smash touch wood, value safety and dont take silly risks.


9th Jun 2009, 20:15
I hate to say this Pilotnewbie, because I'd love to be totally enthusiastic, but you're thinking about this the wrong way.

Anyone who is reasonably frugal can save up enough money to buy an aircraft and pay a year's costs up front. You still haven't begun to answer the question of whether you have a viable business.

Rsuggit is right with his (a) point. You need to understand this market before you invest in it. Get the qualification, see how existing companies make money (or not !), then pick your niche.

At the moment, all you want to do is buy toys. Totally sympathise, but that ain't a business plan.

10th Jun 2009, 11:37
PN - you sound like someone who has been into a pub a few times, and had such a great time he decides to buy one. I know of several people who bought a pub for this reason - they all lost money, and then sold at a loss. I also know someone, a virtual non-drinker and non-smoker (before the smoking ban) who bought one pub, then another, and is now worth a conservative 15m - but purely because he had a business idea, a solid plan, the money to back it, and the drive to push it through.

Right now you've not even stepped foot inside a pub. Think hard.

Mr Man
10th Jun 2009, 13:23
I agree.You started by saying you want helpful replies only,well I'm hoping this negative reply is helpful.
The pub analogy is a very good one,I'm currently trying to talk my brother out of getting a pub too.Believe it or not,I am by nature a very positive person.
You say that you like nothing better than to unwind at your flying school,why dont you continue to do that? I almost guarantee you won't be doing much unwinding if you own the flying school.
As already advised,work in stages,get your PPL first,then enjoy flying.If after that you decide to go into the aviation business,then do so but bear in mind...........find something to help you unwind in a BIG way before you start!.........sorry :hmm:

11th Jun 2009, 06:10
I think a more positive attitude is required. True its not easy running a business but that goes equally for running a shop as for running a flying school.

The market for people to learn must be huge since only a minute percentage of people fly. Most people don't even know you can learn. So good marketing could bring in hundreds of customers.

Combine that with a nice office, staff trained in customer relationships to treat customers well you could be onto a winner.

Talk to someone who has tried this, learn the lessons and make a go of it. There was a chap Liam who posted about a kemble school, if you look him up you will get another view.

Good luck

11th Jun 2009, 07:29

Thanks for the reply. Yes i agree it should be the same as running a shop , or a takeaway or any other business in fact. Its all numbers at the end of the day. If i can bring in more money than my expenses are its a success.

I am going to do my PPL whilst doing a business degree. Then look into buying my first aircraft (ikarus C42 probably), do the relative instructor course and then start. I am a good salesman as i have 10yrs or more in telecommunications and have always been in the top 5% of sales.

Im sure with my sales skills, money to survive and a decent customer relations attitude i will make it a success.

I can understand peoples negative side as im sure lots of people ask the same thing and lots fail inthe first year.


11th Jun 2009, 08:14
Then look into buying my first aircraft (ikarus C42 probably), do the relative instructor course and then start

No problem purchasing an aircraft - All you need is money.

No problem doing the instructor course - All you need is experience, skill, knowledge and money.

It's the "and then start" where the wheels (temporary) come off your waggon.

As a new instructor you have to operate at all times under the supervision of an experienced instructor. You can not sent students on first solo or first solo navigation exercise.

Therefore you will have to either;

a) Find work as an AFI and gain experience and get the QFI; or

b) Employ an experienced QFI as your CFI and while you manage the business you can also work with them.

Finally if you are at the position you say you are at now, it is not just the current legislation and operations of training organisations you need to be looking at. What you need to fully plan for is the future and how eventually EASA rules will apply to not just your operation but also how such future rules will affect people in 10 years time who wish to learn how to fly microlights.

I recomend that before any outlay on an aircraft you get your NPPL with a reputable training provider, gain experience and do the AFI course. Then after working for some time as an AFI, ask yourself again about your business plan.



11th Jun 2009, 08:29
How long do i need to work as a fi(r) before being able to become a QFi?


11th Jun 2009, 11:25
"How long do i need to work as a fi(r) before being able to become a QFi?"

I dont know, but to be honest if you dont know already, you've not done enough homework to back up your business plan.

11th Jun 2009, 11:41
Jeez why the negative attitude? :confused:

I dont need to plan the business yet as im so far away from actually doing it. I have my ppl to do first , i have plenty of time to research the other stuff.

Someone told me this was a very judgemental and negative forum. I can see why.

Thanks to all that posted "helpful" replies.


11th Jun 2009, 11:54
Newbie I have been thinking of doing something quite similar. Where you looking to set up? Pm me if u want

Ian the Aviator
11th Jun 2009, 13:58
OK - so here goes with a non-negative posting......or at least thats how I intend it to be.....

Firstly, it is so good to hear of someone with a positive attitude to starting up in aviation when all we hear is 'doom & gloom' about the state of the world economy - Good for you !

Just as a thought, while you are waiting to start up your own club / school, why not get seriously involved with an existing training establishment - a good chance to learn all the pros and cons of the business. It may also help to have a 'friendly' existing school when you start (somewhere to 'borrow' advice, QFIs, etc).

Depending on where you are based I may be able to suggest a couple of contacts (either purly microlight or Group A clubs / schools) that may like to hear from you....

Finally - all the best ! The industry desparately needs some more people with a positive outlook !


11th Jun 2009, 15:13
Hi Ian,

I agree its such a negative industry. We need to be positive. Half full instead of half empty and all that.

Ive pm'd you my details.

Matt :ok: