"Nationwide Fractional" U.S. Aviation Group

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U.S. Aviation Group claims to be the first nationwide program catering to general aviation pilots seeking fractional ownership of an aircraft. Each share begins with one pilot, in any community between the two U.S. coasts, according to the company. That pilot may purchase a 1/6 share of a 237-knot Mooney Acclaim, a Diamond DA40 XLS, or a 1/10 share in a light sport aircraft -- each to be held for three years. The company then finds five other pilots willing to put their money where their mouth is and fills in the rest of the shares. U.S. Aviation Group then applies a monthly fee ($587 for the Diamond) and maintains the aircraft's needs from hangars and insurance to maintenance and cleaning. The company then charges hourly use rates with a limit of hours per year (75 for the Acclaim). For LSA owners, use rates can be as low as $43 per hour.

At the top end, the Mooney will cost its pilot a $120,500 buy-in, plus a monthly management fee of $737.50 and an hourly rate of $129, according to the company's Web site. The Diamond has a buy-in of $66,000 and the LSA weighs in at $15,000 for its lesser share. After a checkout, according to the company, pilots just "show up and fly." The company covers "your initial transition training and regular recurrent training" as part of the program and includes Bose headsets for each occupant. Owners hold a titled interest that could be to their taxable advantage (they may depreciate costs associated with business use of the aircraft). At the end of the three-year period, the company sells the aircraft and divides the proceeds between the owners.