LSA Co-ops Aim Is Flying Affordable
LetsFly, a company that has already established more than 100 flying co-operatives around the country, has partnered with EAA to promote extending the concept to LSA ownership. The co-ops are not quite the same as a fractional or flying club, according to LetsFly President Eldon Corry, but a unique concept. It's a bit complex in its options and operations, but in brief, it makes available a quarter-share in a small aircraft for a $2,900 initial investment. The share owner then pays a monthly fee plus an hourly rate, which vary according to the aircraft type. "For a brand-new ready-to-fly Light Sport Aircraft, the monthly fee would be $195 and the hourly rate about $24 to $28," Corry said. That includes maintenance, fuel, and all other costs. The pilot just shows up to fly. LetsFly arranges financing, insurance, maintenance, etc., even creates a Web site with online scheduling for each co-op. "EAA and LetsFly share the same goal, to make LSA affordable for everyone," Corry said, "so it makes sense for us to team up." EAA will feature LetsFly on its Web site and will help promote its services, and LetsFly will extend free EAA memberships to all of its pilots. Pilots can construct a co-op around any type of aircraft they like, from production singles to homebuilts or experimental LSAs. The initial investment would remain the same but the monthly and hourly rates would vary. For example, Corry said, a brand-new Grumman Tiger would cost $595 a month and about $55 to $60 per hour. But a kitplane like the E-LSA Sky Ranger, which sells for around $30,000 new, would run about $50 a month and only $19 to $20 per hour.