Guest Blog: Selling The Fun, Not The Gewgaws

  • E-Mail this Article
  • View Printable Article
  • Text size:

    • A
    • A
    • A

Life as a full-time news editor and marketing dude can get a bit boring. Did you know that company XYZ has developed product A, or expanded service to now include B and manager Joe Little and CEO Frank Big both think it’s the most amazing thing since dinosaurs walked on earth? Oh, and don’t forget to read the About Us tab. It’s been the same for nine years. Yawn.

Missing the audience and failing to convey a message that departs the norm and veers off the beaten path seems to have become the norm. People like me now make a living telling aviation companies that canned news releases and newsletters as well as Facebook and Twitter hashtags and other social media storms are short-lived vehicles to convey what we do with those we wish to reach. 

Pictures are great, videos are great, but they don't make people jump up and drive to their local airport to take flying lessons. Maybe we have to be more human in how we communicate, so that we reach more humans with what we have to offer. Language is powerful and—seriously folks—people on the outside just get blurry vision and then click on something that "gets them." 

Even those who exchange ideas, concepts or thoughts among their fellow pilots through forums and discussion groups appear to be a bit tired at times. Discussions have turned stale and repetitive. There's always one person who can one-up the other, either financially or with the number of toys owned. The tone often turns negative towards the very future of what we love and wish to sustain for future generations to come. 

Our fraternity feels discriminated against by regulators who don't understand what general aviation is all about, mistreated by the press and media, which often shows its bias and lack of knowledge, and bugged down by politicians who can't tell an airplane from a hole in the wall. Senator Schumer could have just zipped it, rather than involving himself in the tiresome helicopter debate. Rah, rah.

We live and operate in a complicated and highly technical environment that has mastered unique and tremendous challenges in its past. No question, we have huge challenges in front of us. Over the last two years, my own thinking has changed and these days I wonder if our focus for selling general aviation should be shifting to how we communicate about general aviation. I believe that how we communicate has much more impact than what we communicate. What is general aviation? First and foremost, it’s fun. It’s the freedom to discover and explore and experience truly endless beauty. 

So here we are, 10-plus years into the LSA and Sport Pilot movement with the heavily relaxed BasicMed process to get people back into the mix and yet our growth appears relatively stagnant. Again. Nothing seems to catch on. The old guys don't think it's worth jumping back in and the youngsters are so involved and focused on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and staring at their smartphones, that having a conversation at the dinner table isn't possible without functional Wi-Fi. We middle-aged people are no better, mind you. When was the last time you completely unplugged?

My new Bose A20 reads me my messages and emails on demand and I can watch my favorite movie right on my SVT HUD while clipping along at 210 IAS on the new S-TEC AP with the A/C on. Ever since I got that STC'd STOL kit and the 2850 XLs, her Vx and Vy is like ... Can someone from the general populace follow us when we talk about ADS-B, XPDRs, 14 CFR Part 91, certification standards, G1000XLi, EFBs, SBs and ADs? You get the point.

Having gotten nearly all the fancy badges on my own FAA certificate listing, I distinctly recall an examiner who stated that there are two kinds of pilots out there. There are those who chase bigger metal and more technology and those who chase adventure and fun and the flying contraption they use is simply a tool to experience and share just that. 

I always enjoyed and embraced the small airplane stuff much more than the information about Boeing's newest wide-body or Branson's plans to shoot people across the globe at warp speed for close to a trillion dollars per seat. I do appreciate the development in technology and all the crazy gadgets, really, but what I really want is stick-and-rudder, low-and-slow VFR flying fun.

Frequently, I hear that general aviation is competing with other, easier-to-learn and finance leisure activities like boats, Jet Skis, ATVs and motorcycles. And even RVs. Just like sport flying, all these things bond families together and provide endless fun. They all convey just that message in their marketing and advertising. Are we really competing? Can you fly a boat, Jet Ski, ATV or depart planet earth and climb above the clouds on a motorcycle without a notarized will? None of our competitors is free of risk, liability or cheap to insure. Each come with challenges of their own. 

We may need to relax on the mundane numbers and abbreviations based on highly technical BS nobody needs or wants to see and focus on what makes sport and general aviation flying unique and priceless. And why anyone not involved or caught by the virus is missing out on a lifestyle and passion that is simply impossible to match. Please don't let it be an autopilot. 

Is there hope for radical change in how we portray sport and general aviation to the public and among our peers? Would doing so change things? Hope springs eternal and we have to start somewhere.

Jason Baker is a marketing consultant and editor. He lives in Germany and edits www.seaplanemagazine.com.

Comments (36)

Hey Jason, I have an idea. How about promoting autonomous flight. That way you can bypass all the arduous education most pilots of today had to go through and just jump into a plane with little or no training at all. You won't even need to learn how to ride on two wheels. No training wheels required. Actually, you won't need any training at all. Why would you? Everything will be done for you.

People don't want to work for things anymore Jason. Just flip open any electronic devise and pretend you're flying. It's the new reality. If you don't believe me, just look around. I can do anything I want any time I want on an iPad.

Posted by: Thomas Cooke | April 1, 2018 6:20 AM    Report this comment

Back in the days when I flew 135, I wound up teaching quite a few charter customers how to fly. Sometimes you have to EXPOSE prospects to the adventure. You may find that they consequently will sell themselves on the idea of becoming a pilot; no pitch needed. Old YARSism: "Nothing is a good idea, until it's THEIR idea."

Taking a yuppie couple from DXR or HPN to Katama for a half-day at South Beach, followed by dinner in Provincetown, can comprise a remakably successful "stealth" intro flight... Am I right?

Posted by: YARS (Tom Yarsley) | April 1, 2018 9:12 AM    Report this comment

Aviation Techno Geeks? You're killing me Thomas. The aviation industry, under fear of ferment, is promoting the ultimate Aeronautical Techno Geek. The Zen Pilot. Incense smell in the cabin and all. Heels on the floor, close your eyes, achieve calm state, arrive at your destination. Yep, we toast kemosabe!

Posted by: Rafael Sierra | April 1, 2018 9:13 AM    Report this comment

It's progress to some Raf. Trying to achieve as much as possible while simultaneously expending the least amount of effort to acquire. Many times the journey is worth more than the destination.

Posted by: Thomas Cooke | April 1, 2018 9:54 AM    Report this comment

These young people are having a very difficult time picking a profession. Teenagers are being electronically carpet bombed with career choices. Every University, College and trade school is pushing their education programs. These academia's are going to communicate on the same trend level and have a greater influence then a bunch of grandpas that don't like rap music.

We just have to wait until the "return-on-investment" for training aviation becomes appealing to the academic world. The commercial aviation community is getting closer as each pilot retires to backing these training facilities with BIG money. Once the higher learning establishments get huge donation$ to their flightline we'll see the "Aviation Career Campaign" begin.

Posted by: Klaus Marx | April 1, 2018 11:54 AM    Report this comment

Thank you for this Jason - this gives me some hope that someone else out there gets this. I was beginning to think there was no one else.

The race to reach the unobtainable Holy Grail is of course one that always leads to an empty and ultimately disappointing end. No matter how many times you open your checkbook, or how cool you think your Instrument Panel of Acronyms is, the next guy WILL show up tomorrow and he WILL out-spend you.

A far more interesting challenge than that is to see just how far you can go for the absolute minimum. This is not only an interesting intellectual pursuit, but leads one to a for more satisfying appreciation for what they have and for what they are able to accomplish.

As the song goes "..When true simplicity is gained.."

Posted by: Ken Keen | April 1, 2018 1:10 PM    Report this comment

"What is general aviation? First and foremost, it's fun. It's the freedom to discover and explore and experience truly endless beauty."

I think Jason is on to something here. The GA industry should be marketing the experience of flying that is like no other.

Businesses live and die on marketing, and most marketing in the GA world looks pretty parochial from the outside. The big exception that proves Jason's rule, is Icon's big marketing push for the A5 as a fun machine designed to make its users feel good. The result was a huge sale (by GA standards) of pre-production positions. Vickers, by contrast, seems to be going nowhere with a similar airframe but a lackluster marketing campaign. GA needs to move beyond the airplane magazines and air shows and reach out to the non-flying public.

There are elements of a future of GA out there. The hot new airplanes these days are the Cub imitations designed for fun and adventure, not speed or cargo capacity.

On the inside, we can still drool over the latest ANR headset or speed modifications, but on the outside we need to sell the fun and beauty of flying.

(And easy-to-fly or self-flying aircraft wouldn't offend the newly-flying public, only the old guard who had to put so much effort into learning to fly those cantankerous old machines.)

Posted by: Rollin Olson | April 1, 2018 2:13 PM    Report this comment

Flying is not for everyman, never has been and never will be. Boats, motorcycles and RVs have the same limited appeal, but as Jason says, they seem to do a better job of reaching the masses and conveying their "fun factor". Being much less expensive to purchase and operate doesn't hurt either. How many people have to form a partnership to own a mototcycle or jet ski?

With all due respect, I don't think that modern knock-offs of the Piper Cub are what will draw young people into aviation. Most of the guys I see ogling Carbon Cubs are the "old guys", not young kids. It's kind of like putting a new paint job on a 1955 Buick. Icon did well because they melded slick marketing with a futuristic looking airframe that caught the attention of a younger generation. Having stable flying characteristics and fairly simple controls certainly helps. Unfortunately, their incredible price tag eliminates virtually all those who may be attracted. To me, the future of aviation lies with the LSA class of modern, sexy looking machines that have display screens and controls that appeal to today's youth. It's what they are accustomed to in video games and movies. The challenge is to motivate regulators to revamp the regulations and limitations of current LSA designs so that they can prove to be both fun flyers AND reasonable cross country transportation. The Europeans seem to be figuring it out. It's time the U.S. did as well.

Posted by: John McNamee | April 1, 2018 3:43 PM    Report this comment

John McNamee, it's my impression that the Chinese are the venturous lot. BUT, i agree, it's time for the U.S. to get sensible and practical. Keep it simple, "genius". Good work JaBa.

Posted by: Rafael Sierra | April 1, 2018 5:52 PM    Report this comment

"The big exception that proves Jason's rule, is Icon's big marketing push for the A5 as a fun machine designed to make its users feel good. The result was a huge sale (by GA standards) of pre-production positions."

Unfortunately, it was the "old guard" that bad-mouthed the A5 and their marketing of it. The unobtainable price tag for most of those who would be attracted to it doesn't help. But there are plenty of similar craft that are affordable (such as the Searey) and could benefit from some of Icon's marketing style.


"People don't want to work for things anymore Jason. Just flip open any electronic devise and pretend you're flying. "

I think this is what all older generations say of the new generations. Research generally finds that all new generations are far more capable than the older generations think; they just go about things differently. We do GA no service at all by calling the new generation "lazy". Why would they want to join what appears to be an old-guys-only club when a large portion of the group is always talking about how great it was in the old days? It makes it sound like those on the outside that GA isn't something worth pursuing because the best days are in the past.

Posted by: Gary Baluha | April 2, 2018 8:22 AM    Report this comment

Well said. GA has to re-invent itself. That comes from within first.

How many GA pilots transmits to the non-flying public the joys of flying? Most share the elitist side of flying...not the adventure of the views, the possibilities of getting "there" wherever "there" is quickly, and that these opportunities are well within the reach of the average citizen. Harley sells an image of a freedom loving rebel...that is attainable by the masses.

I own and fly an airplane that cruises at 150 knots, burns mogas, has an auto-pilot, GPS, and I can reach destinations that require 15 hours of driving in 4 hours or less...and I paid less than $25,000 for it.I burn no more fuel than my car requires for the same trip.

I know families that have more money in multiple ATV's than I have in my airplane. They drive trucks, SUV's or sports cars more expensive than my house. Yet, to them, flying is perceived as too expensive requiring the skills of an astronaut. The public thinks one has to be part of the country club set with a degree from MIT to own and fly an airplane. Most are quite shocked at how INEXPENSIVE flying is when told truthfully.

Selling an LSA at 100K-175K is not cheap nor inexpensive or "attainable" for most folks. However, getting into a clean 172, that seems like the space shuttle to the non-flying public, and showing it's usefulness, the view, and the opportunity to see over the next horizon, taking the time to introduce flight in the smoothest environment, and saying this can be accomplished for $15-30K...no that is not only attainable...but has a real "wow" factor to the idea of becoming a pilot and an airplane owner. The notion it has to have a glass panel to jar the video mentality mind is another "urban myth".

Icon does not sell it's glass panel. it sells the idea you can do this, and flying can be more fun than driving a watercraft, or riding a motorcycle. And they are tapping into the market that has the disposable income to buy them. However, there will never be 5,000 Icon A5's sold in one year. But there will be many more that 5,000 GA airplanes under $50K that will change hands if we make that possibility known to John Q. Public.

Marketing GA as fun, attainable, reasonably simple, and showing how inexpensive it can be will have a far greater impact on growing GA vs its present stagnate state. Harley are windy and noisy. Watercraft are windy and noisy. ATV's are windy and noisy. Musclecars are windy and noisy. Mountain biking is quiet but windy, dirty, sweaty. So, why are we worried the public will think our airplanes are too windy and noisy or not comfortable enough? What do you think they want? Status Quo or a taste of adventure? Bikers are enthusiastic about their hobby/lifestyle. Are we enthusiastic about ours?

Posted by: Jim Holdeman | April 2, 2018 10:23 AM    Report this comment

Well said. GA has to re-invent itself. That comes from within first.

How many GA pilots transmits to the non-flying public the joys of flying? Most share the elitist side of flying...not the adventure of the views, the possibilities of getting "there" wherever "there" is quickly, and that these opportunities are well within the reach of the average citizen. Harley sells an image of a freedom loving rebel...that is attainable by the masses.

I own and fly an airplane that cruises at 150 knots, burns mogas, has an auto-pilot, GPS, and I can reach destinations that require 15 hours of driving in 4 hours or less...and I paid less than $25,000 for it.I burn no more fuel than my car requires for the same trip.

I know families that have more money in multiple ATV's than I have in my airplane. They drive trucks, SUV's or sports cars more expensive than my house. Yet, to them, flying is perceived as too expensive requiring the skills of an astronaut. The public thinks one has to be part of the country club set with a degree from MIT to own and fly an airplane. Most are quite shocked at how INEXPENSIVE flying is when told truthfully.

Selling an LSA at 100K-175K is not cheap nor inexpensive or "attainable" for most folks. However, getting into a clean 172, that seems like the space shuttle to the non-flying public, and showing it's usefulness, the view, and the opportunity to see over the next horizon, taking the time to introduce flight in the smoothest environment, and saying this can be accomplished for $15-30K...no that is not only attainable...but has a real "wow" factor to the idea of becoming a pilot and an airplane owner. The notion it has to have a glass panel to jar the video mentality mind is another "urban myth".

Icon does not sell it's glass panel. it sells the idea you can do this, and flying can be more fun than driving a watercraft, or riding a motorcycle. And they are tapping into the market that has the disposable income to buy them. However, there will never be 5,000 Icon A5's sold in one year. But there will be many more that 5,000 GA airplanes under $50K that will change hands if we make that possibility known to John Q. Public.

Marketing GA as fun, attainable, reasonably simple, and showing how inexpensive it can be will have a far greater impact on growing GA vs its present stagnate state. Harley are windy and noisy. Watercraft are windy and noisy. ATV's are windy and noisy. Musclecars are windy and noisy. Mountain biking is quiet but windy, dirty, sweaty. So, why are we worried the public will think our airplanes are too windy and noisy or not comfortable enough? What do you think they want? Status Quo or a taste of adventure? Bikers are enthusiastic about their hobby/lifestyle. Are we enthusiastic about ours?

Posted by: Jim Holdeman | April 2, 2018 10:25 AM    Report this comment

"I own and fly an airplane that cruises at 150 knots, burns mogas, has an auto-pilot, GPS...nd I paid less than $25,000 for it"

What aircraft is that?


"However, getting into a clean 172, that seems like the space shuttle to the non-flying public, and showing it's usefulness, the view, and the opportunity to see over the next horizon, taking the time to introduce flight in the smoothest environment, and saying this can be accomplished for $15-30K"

It can be, but there is usually a reason those planes are that cheap: the avionics are lacking, the interior is ratty, and the paint job is the original one from the 70s. We're looking for a new plane for my flying club, and we haven't found any below $50k that meet our demanding quality requirements. We're also looking for at least 115kt realistic cruise and decent payload, which rules out any 172 less than 180hp.

I'm not saying you can't find affordable flying in the $15-30k price range, but many of those won't satisfy someone looking for a real traveling plane that isn't limited to VFR-only and/or 2 seats.

Posted by: Gary Baluha | April 2, 2018 11:14 AM    Report this comment

I'm saying that the $15-30K price range is in the folder labeled "You get what you pay for" category. Somewhere between the toilet and the septic tank. Gary, Gary, be realistic and shell out $60K+ to fly a clean, reliable and well equipped aircraft. Like a 1978 Cessna 172 with 160HP, WAAS GPS, ADS-B, A/P (S-TEC 30), overhaul mags, new ignition harness, fine wire spark plugs, and more.

Posted by: Rafael Sierra | April 2, 2018 12:37 PM    Report this comment

Gary,
There are plenty of C182's with IFR panels with mid-time engines and air frames in the 45-55K range. And the 0-470 powered ones ( which is most of them) run great on mogas. A 430W is relatively common as well as a 2 axis auto-pilot. Most that I have seen are decent inside and out. What your demanding requirements are, i don't know that is preventing your club from finding a nice airplane. However, the article was about the image GA has and what it needs to be to grow.

Obviously, being part of a flying club, all members do not need to be convinced about the merits of flying. Some members may be students others may be ATP's. But to get people interested in approaching flying, or a proper introduction to flying does not require WAAS, an auto-pilot, or a glass panel. But none of these personal desires or flying club needs prevents us in GA from offering a positive, realistic, and encouraging introduction to the world of GA..

And by the way, my airplane is a 53 D-35 Bonanza, E-225-8, electric prop, 250XL, S-Tek 30, EI instrumentation,with ADS-B out, and tablet for in. It is not a rat inside or out, it burns 9.7 gph at 2300 rpm at 150kts at 8,000ft. It has a 987lb useful load, and has been IFR certified for the last 10 years. You can find many others similar to it for 25-50K. And 50K will buy you a really nice one. 540hours SMOH and 5500TT....far from a wore out airplane. Plus, you will like the ramp appeal of a classic airplane.

Happy hunting, it's a buyers market, and there is plenty to choose from. And when you find the right bird, smile and take up a friend or neighbor, and show them what lights your fire about GA.

Posted by: Jim Holdeman | April 2, 2018 2:01 PM    Report this comment

It's really simple.
The cities see General Aviation as a noise nuisance and a source of pollution.
The government sees GA as a threat and they put up gates and barbed wire and security checks.
The Airlines and see GA as something to fly around and taking "their time" at busy runways.
The people think GA is unnecessary, wasteful, and dangerous.

Owing a plane these days is now akin to owning an AR-15 as far as everyone else is concerned.
People say "you don't need one" and it's "dangerous" and the feds treat it as a potential threat.
You just don't admit to owning a plane in civilized society, LOL.

Posted by: Mark Fraser | April 2, 2018 2:05 PM    Report this comment

"Gary, Gary, be realistic and shell out $60K+ to fly a clean, reliable and well equipped aircraft. Like a 1978 Cessna 172 with 160HP, WAAS GPS, ADS-B, A/P (S-TEC 30), overhaul mags, new ignition harness, fine wire spark plugs, and more."

That pretty much is what we are doing :-) Though we'd prefer a 180hp 172 or Archer II.


"What your demanding requirements are, i don't know that is preventing your club from finding a nice airplane."

An interior and exterior that doesn't look like it's 30+ years old, and a panel with at least respectable VFR capability. 4 seats, fixed gear, 160+hp engine, and payload of at least 800lbs. It also has to have no damage history other than hangar rash (lender's requirement, not ours). And preferably less than 8000hrs airframe (but that's not a hard limit).

Posted by: Gary Baluha | April 2, 2018 2:25 PM    Report this comment

Does anyone ever have a passion for aviation anymore, or, does everyone now a days need some sort of enticement to figure out flying is more than fun. Describing flying a fun is such a week description. I don't know... I just don't get it. Either you have the passion and pursue it at all cost or you don't. I don't now nor did I ever know anyone who flew because it was "fun." However, I do know a lot of people who fly because they can't help themselves.

Posted by: Thomas Cooke | April 3, 2018 6:56 AM    Report this comment

"I don't now nor did I ever know anyone who flew because it was "fun." "

Well I certainly don't fly because it's not fun! In fact, my reason for continuing to take helicopter lessons (which is quite interesting after having accumulated 1000+ hours of fixed-wing flying) is purely because it is fun. It is a challenge, but that is part of the fun.

There are plenty of legitimate reasons to pursue flying for more than just an undying passion, and ignoring those who aren't interested in living and breathing aviation all day every day just adds to the elitist club that those in GA sometimes give off. "You just don't have the passion, so you're not one of us!" That will only lead to the further decline of GA.

Posted by: Gary Baluha | April 3, 2018 7:55 AM    Report this comment

I saw some light and hope until you guys somehow managed to 7600 the topic and turn it into something negative. I wanted to see if we could collectively think and talk about trying something else, for a change. One has to wonder how many actually actively read the blog. Thanks for the feedback and nice comments here and via Email.

Posted by: Jason Baker | April 3, 2018 8:41 AM    Report this comment

Scuse me???

Posted by: Rafael Sierra | April 3, 2018 9:11 AM    Report this comment

"I wanted to see if we could collectively think and talk about trying something else, for a change."

It seems to be the same problem of the old guard poo-poo'ing new ways of thinking. Icon has their flaws, but they are trying to sell the fun of aviation, which I think is the way to go. But many people are opposed to that, and I don't know why.

My flying club is actually at the highest level of membership it's been at since I joined something like 8 years ago. That's especially encouraging given that it's basically still winter (we got snow yesterday, and might get more this Friday). Many of our new members (or prospective members who are coming with filled out application forms) are coming from other flying clubs, and the thing that attracts them to ours is the high quality we keep the planes in. This means a good-looking paint job and a refreshed interior, and a modern avionics suite. In other words, making them look like you would expect from a $60k+ car. People don't want to fly ratty-looking planes; especially so for their non-pilot significant others. And if you keep the significant others interested in flying, that means the pilot gets to fly more.

So how do we sell GA? By promoting the fun and adventure it brings, and keeping the planes looking good. You don't need to have shiny glass in the panel, but the plane itself does need to look shiny.

Posted by: Gary Baluha | April 3, 2018 9:29 AM    Report this comment

Yeah, what we mean is that we are into clean aircraft with meaningful geegaws. Then, while using the system, the next level of fun begins. Now, what is this knob for?

Posted by: Rafael Sierra | April 3, 2018 10:15 AM    Report this comment

Gary, I've been "selling" GA for over 40 years. I give free flights to anyone I meet and let them see what it's like to fly out for a lunch or explore the lakes. No charge. Hundreds of people. Everyone has enjoyed it but I can only think of one that's gone on and taken lessons and become a pilot.

Flying has never been for everyone and 99.99% of the people just don't seem interested enough to take lessons no matter if the plane is ratty or new. Heck, I WANTED TO FLY no matter if it was an old ratty Cub or old Tri-Pacer!.

Posted by: Mark Fraser | April 3, 2018 10:22 AM    Report this comment

I've been flying since I was eight years old. Used to climb up on the roof of our house and jump off all the time. It really was a thrill. Lousy glide ratio though.

Posted by: Thomas Cooke | April 3, 2018 10:43 AM    Report this comment

Hell, when I started flying I did not know what ratty and old was. They're called legacy aircraft now. Except with new paint, new upholstery, new avionics, new plastic, new engine conversions. Why, put some $100k into "ratty 'n old" and they're fun. New starts in aviation want "shiny" and "digital". So do I. Way of the future!

Posted by: Rafael Sierra | April 3, 2018 10:50 AM    Report this comment

Clean and neat sells to the customer, a.k.a new pilot candidate. I once had a very well dressed woman who decided that since she was an empty nester, she would learn to fly. She showed up in a white European sports car with white interior. She was wearing white as well. We talked a bit about the process and I offered her a discovery flight. We walked over to the beat up old C172 rent a wreck flight school working girl. When I opened the door, the aroma of dirty socks, sun baked barf and av gas was a bit overwhelming. She took a step back, looked at the ratty interior and said "I don't think so, thank you for your time" and left.

If we had a plane that had been washed within the last 6 months, had a clean interior, didn't look like an escapee from the bone yard, and didn't have an odor that would gag a vulture, we would have had a new student. Several years later we met by chance at another airport. After a bit of small talk, she showed me her late model Mooney. So, yes appearances do matter. I guess she had enough of the fire in her belly to find a more presentable airplane and become a sister aviator. How many potential students just drive off into the sunset and take up golf, buy a Harley or other recreational toy?

Posted by: Leo LeBoeuf | April 3, 2018 2:58 PM    Report this comment

Exactly my point, Leo! Some of us here may be perfectly fine training in ratty beaters (and I have spent some time training in such specimen), but the majority of people are not. If they're spending $10k or more and an average of 60 hours to get their private pilot, they want to spend that time in something nice. Driving up in a nice car to fly a ratty beater isn't their idea of fun.

Posted by: Gary Baluha | April 3, 2018 3:19 PM    Report this comment

That is so true Gary. I have had several high net worth clients go out and buy their own airplane to get their ticket. Once they had the ticket, then on to bigger and better aircraft. Their cars, motorcycles, airplanes and hangars all are in first class shape. One client even polishes his exhaust stack to keep it shiny.

These people were really bitten by the flying bug. Unfortunately, they are the exception rather than the rule. Too many just walk away. I don't think that it is as much the fancy gewgaws, as it is their perception of an orderly professional appearance.

Posted by: Leo LeBoeuf | April 3, 2018 5:55 PM    Report this comment

"She showed up in a white European sports car with white interior. She was wearing white as well"

LOL.
She wanted to fly without getting her dainty hands dirty or 100W on her sleeve.
Now that is funny.

Posted by: Mark Fraser | April 3, 2018 8:28 PM    Report this comment

Many flight schools in the 60's and 70's where aircraft dealerships. They would put the brand new planes on the flightline. After they knocked the new off, they would sell the newly minted pilot the plane they trained in at a small discount. A couple of my pilot friends still own the plane they purchased from their flight school.

How do we bring back those dealership/FBO's that sale slightly used aircraft?

Maybe soliciting the insurance companies to be financial backers? The aircraft manufacturer would obviously have to put up the aircraft on their dime.

How much would a five year old 172 with a run out engine be worth? Maybe under $100,000?

Posted by: Klaus Marx | April 3, 2018 10:19 PM    Report this comment

"How much would a five year old 172 with a run out engine be worth? Maybe under $100,000?"

The used market seems to indicate still in the $200k range...

Posted by: Gary Baluha | April 4, 2018 7:40 AM    Report this comment

Jason, you've made a valid point about fun vs gewgaw. I've balanced my career in operating high fast flying "gewgaws" with a 1946 Cessna120, the plumbing disconnected from the T&B gewgaw on the 120 - "fun"

Your frustration with being both a "news editor" and a "marketing dude" says much about the aviation press. Most of the time the aviation press functions as "marketing dude" rather than a subjective purveyor of aviation news. This frankly is an insult to the aviation "news" consumer.

Why don't you try being either a "news editor" or a "marketing dude" but not both?

Posted by: John Kliewer | April 5, 2018 8:21 AM    Report this comment

Hi John, thanks for the response. At the risk of sending a wall of text out into cyber space for another round of berating by my fellow aviation friends, here I go. A sad side effect of pilot talk is that 75% of the commenters generally miss the purpose or goal of an article. Many probably didn't read this one start to finish and rather focused on being zesty or busy with beating down someone else's opinion. We love doing that in aviation - always have. Barely one out there who can't one up at least one other person. I have a habit of never typing something I wouldn't dare to say or ask a person, company or government in person and not everyone shares this habit.

Doing both has a very simple reason. The marketing work I do basically affords me the ability to run the website as a news magazine. Launching something new and different in today's world is possible, but getting it funded is the equivalent of picking dried glue out of long hair. Marketing and advertising consulting is my more "solid" background, I am not a "learned journalist" and don't have a PHD in complicated writing, like some of my esteemed colleagues. I am also not a good politician.

In order to be a completely subjective purveyor of aviation news you have to fulfill three different criteria. 1. You absolutely can't worry about how your income is paid, ever! 2. You have to look at every news release as if you were 13 years old and had never seen an aircraft. 3. You have to have never seen the discrepancy between public relations fiction and facts or truth. Once you do look into the business side of news, you realize the abyss one step ahead. --Continued below --

Posted by: Jason Baker | April 5, 2018 9:50 AM    Report this comment

Truth is, each one of us (even Paul will probably acknowledge this) has things that move our heart and things that make us fall asleep. Show me a helicopter or drone or an airliner and I will slowly fade off. Can I write a standard news release for either? Yes. Do I care to? No. Then, show me a plane that has bush-wheels or can get wet on the bottom without creating a write-off and you have my almost undivided attention.

My site was launched as a hobby between two guys who both held full time jobs. We turned several companies away who wanted to advertise. It wasn't the various manufacturers or companies who sent us news for release who gave us the passion to kick it up a notch. It was hundreds of readers and a good number of PEOPLE who made us invest the time and effort and the generally open mind and hunger for getting news coverage from those who make the seaplane world tick, out there.

Taking selected business aviation topics up as part of the mix was a move on purpose, because the business aviation world is closely connected to what we like and what our readers respond well to. Unless its clearly marked as a paid advertorial, you won't see a SINGLE paid word on Seaplanemagazine.com. The reader of news is somewhat screwed up from the print business side of things, so I don't expect to go into a deep discussion about whats real and fake.

Some companies are not covered, simply because we don't hear from them or are not motivated enough to follow them on the only valid news outlet they use today: Facebook. I do not have paid staff to run after people and we don't have the advertiser money to pay people for fancy pictures or articles. For example, I am invited to no less than 14 aviation related events this year and have invites to test fly, flight report or factory visit a whole bunch of companies. I am doing two, maybe three events, if I am lucky. In order to land everywhere I am invited, I need roughly 45000 Euros per year in travel budget. -- Continued below --

Posted by: Jason Baker | April 5, 2018 9:53 AM    Report this comment

Complete financial independence is reserved for the fewest of the few. Selling the online advertising you see on AVweb.com, GAN, my SPM or elsewhere is about the most difficult endeavor you can ever undertake in aviation. All of us compete with Mark Zuckerberg, who wants to give a "real" or "fake" button to the 2.13 billion monthly users of a social platform that cleared $40.7 billion in 2017. But Facebook is free and will always be! Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn - all the same. All slowly killing us news people, all slowly draining the advertising funds out of news sites. Did you know that some aviation companies only advertise with "big social media players" out there?

Net result is that the reader thinks everything online is FREE while the advertiser thinks advertising its worthless and should be much cheaper. So, tell me what I am supposed to do? Kill the site? Try to find a Chinese investor and hope to be bought out? Tell Facebook addicts that visiting a website that dispenses news now costs money, even though the others somehow manage to do it for free? The reason I make my living the way I do is that more and more companies are waking up to the fact that this whole bubble is crashing down on them.

I'd love to tell you that my readers value my professional time and effort and help me be an unbiased news guy - a purveyor of aviation news. Truth is, they don't. Most would just locate the little red square with the white X in it if I asked them to pay just $5/ Month to help out. Truth is, if I depended on my readers, I'd weigh 30 pounds and kept alive by government paid life support Greetings from the Peanut Gallery.

Posted by: Jason Baker | April 5, 2018 9:54 AM    Report this comment

Add your comments

Log In

You must be logged in to comment

Forgot password?

Register

Enter your information below to begin your FREE registration