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 10 secrets of personal flight management


10 secrets of personal flight management

1. Private aviation is more than fancy jets owned by celebrities, and if you fly mainly in the US, a Gulfstream is overkill. Corporations and individuals both use light piston-engine aircraft for many needs. 

2. Buy an aircraft that suits 90% of your trips. Very few aircraft can cover a 200-mile hop and a 2000-mile journey with equal efficiency. You can use a charter service or travel first class for occasional trips with 15 passengers or overseas.

3. Make sure you know what buying new means for you. Depreciation hits new aircraft hard, which could lose millions in just three years. If you like warranties to keep budget surprises minimal the first few years, then by all means buy new. Otherwise, you’re probably better off purchasing used.

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4. Age is just a number. Aircraft maintenance records are usually thorough, and many 50- and 60-year-old private planes are still in the air. A 20-year-old, well-kept aircraft with cockpit upgrades could be an excellent choice.

​5. Fractional programs buy you time on a fleet schedule rather than a plane, time that you have to share with at least 7 other people. If you can afford an 1/8th share or more through a national fractional program, you can afford full ownership of a similar aircraft with the right management.

6. Handing out your plane as a charter may make less sense than you think. In St. Louis, less than 12% of corporate jets are on a charter leaseback program. With the additional maintenance, insurance, administration, and personal costs, as well as strangers putting wear and tear on the plane, it’s rarely profitable. A well-managed aircraft will likely serve you better.

7. Keep operating costs in mind. You can buy a 2016 Cirrus single-engine piston aircraft or a 1983 Gulfstream GIII for $800k. But the Cirrus costs around $120/hr to operate and the GIII closer to $4000/hr. The crew will cost 6 times more, and maintenance about 20 times more! 


​​ 8. Choose your management company carefully. You need knowledgeable, experienced, and transparent professionals to ensure that your aircraft is safely, properly, and legally operated. Do your research, ask questions, and eliminate any candidates that give vague answers or refuse to explain.

​9. Structure your crew properly. If your plane is home more than away and you usually have a few days of notice before trips, then contract pilots may serve you better than a fully salaried operation. Again, do your research and ask your management company questions about your concerns.


​​10. Private aviation is about more than costs. Of course an economy seat on a commercial airline is cheaper, but you want more than that, right? No TSA, no lines, no missed connections, no snoring passenger next to you – just a short drive through a private entrance, a few minutes in a well-appointed waiting area as the crew loads your luggage, and you’re on your way. More nights at home, more time at your vacation spot, more comfort, more privacy, more productivity, less stress – these benefits have incalculable worth. Contact Gateway Jets to learn more and live more. 

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