Business aviation is an extremely valuable tool for a company our size. We have operated a number of airplanes throughout our history, beginning with piston twins and graduating up the chain as we grew. We currently fly a Beech King Air 200, having upgraded several years ago from an E-90. The King Air really shines when three or four of us need to make trips of more than 400-500 miles. On many occasions, we fly multi-leg trips, dropping in on clients and prospects as we work our way across several states at a time. If I needed to fly direct from Atlanta to Los Angeles, I would probably still take the airline. But, if I needed to work my way there with stops in Addison, TX; Wichita, KS; Flagstaff, AZ; and Reno, NV – The King Air would win, hands down.
Recently, though we have begun to cheat on the King Air a little. We added a Cirrus SR-22 to the “fleet.” As arguably the most successful four-seat piston single to come along in recent years, the Cirrus is proving quite valuable for short-haul or solo trips. Under 500 miles, the Cirrus’ time en-route is within an hour of that of the King Air – at a quarter of the fuel burn. And the Cirrus, with TKS ice protection, weather and traffic avoidance systems, and air conditioning, rivals the big turboprop in capability and comfort.
We are not alone. I have worked with several clients recently who have “upgraded” their hangars with smaller aircraft to work in concert with corporate jets and turboprops. Prices on piston twins and high performance singles have tumbled recently and high-quality aircraft are available at very reasonable terms. Insurance premiums are significantly down here as well, as insurers are happy to have the business.
Now might be a good time to consider integrating a little airplane into your flight operations plan. Give us a call – we would be happy to share a few insights on some do’s and don’ts that can help make this work.
Chappell, Smith & Associates