Saturday, November 15, 2008

Interest in GA not dead!

I thought this was a great story (and promotion for the flight school!). I read it in my edition of AOPA ePilot, which can be found online. Here's a portion (and it can be read in its entirety by clicking the link above).

Radio listeners grab 100 flights in 60 seconds By Mike Collins

Would you believe that a flight school could book 100 introductory flights in 60 seconds? US Flight Academy in Denton, Texas, did just that in conjunction with Dallas radio station KLUV. A special promotion offered discovery flights in light sport aircraft to the station’s listeners for $40, half the normal price.

Justin Shelley, the academy’s director of sales, heard about the radio station’s half-price promotion and contacted the producer. Shelley agreed to take five of the station’s announcers up for discovery flights, which are intended to be the first lesson leading to a sport pilot certificate. Enthused about their flights, the announcers raved about them on the air. They positioned the flights as a bargain at $40 and promoted them heavily for several days.

Listeners were directed to a special Web page at a specified date and time, and the station’s webmaster confirmed that all 100 flights were booked in less than one minute--setting a record for the KLUV program, which has been running for nearly two years.

The radio station listed US Flight Academy on its Web site, along with the phone number, and an additional 50 flights were booked directly through the Academy. The first several people to show up at the airport with their certificates announced plans to pursue a sport pilot certificate, Shelly said.

US Flight Academy offers training for the sport pilot certificate, as well as training for advanced certificates and ratings.

Note that the rides were in a a Light Sport Aircraft. You might wonder how that is different than any other airplane (from Wikipedia):

Several different kinds of aircraft may be certificated as LSA. Airplanes (both powered and gliders), rotorcraft (gyroplanes only, not helicopters), powered parachutes, weight-shift control aircraft, and lighter-than-air craft (free balloons and airships) may all be certificated as LSA if they fall within the weight and other guidelines established by the FAA.

Light-sport aircraft, or LSA, is a classification of aircraft specific to the United States. The Federal Aviation Administration defines a light-sport aircraft as an aircraft with a maximum gross takeoff weight of less than 600 kilograms (1320 pounds) for aircraft designed to operate from land, 649 kilograms (1,430 pounds) for seaplanes; a maximum airspeed in level flight of 120 knots (222 km/h); a maximum stall speed of 45 knots (83 km/h); either one or two seats; fixed undercarriage and fixed-pitch or ground adjustable propeller; and a single electric motor or reciprocating engine, which includes diesel engines and Wankel engines.

Aircraft which qualify as LSA may be operated by holders of a Sport Pilot certificate, whether they are registered as Light Sport Aircraft or not. Pilots with a private, recreational, or higher pilot certificate may also fly LSA, even if their medical
have expired, so long as they have a valid driver's license to prove that they are in good enough health to fly. LSA also have less restrictive maintenance requirements and may be maintained and inspected by traditionally certificated Aircraft Maintenance Technicians, by individuals holding a Repairman: Light Sport certificate, and (in some cases) by their pilots and/or owners.

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