I am new to this forum, but impressed with both the SR22 and the pilots that fly them and I am thinking of becoming one thru fractional ownership. (Coincidentally, since starting this quest, AOPA and other pubs have shown an interest, too - sounds like the wave of the future.) I reviewed the one old June, '02 thread, but it seems the business has grown and more pilots are doing fracs. Who out there has experience with fractional ownership? Even better would be someone who flys with Ourplane, as they are expanding to my neighborhood. Pls note, I understand the concept, read all there is to read and talked with all the companies, so I have the concept down - I was hoping to hear from someone on the frac frontline to see how the hype matched the reality. I also would be interested in a partnership, and will post that in “Marketplace”. Thanks in advance!
Our own Bob Price is involved with the NY section of AirShares. Bob can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org. He personally owns an SR22 and now that he is with AirShares, he can give you the view from both sides of the street.
Not sure where you’re located, but OurPLANE can put you in touch with some of our owners for their first-hand fractional experiences. Contact Mark Hughes at OurPLANE, 877-R-PLANE-1 or email@example.com for more information.
AOPA did a story this month about this very subject. It’s pretty good, hope this helps…Ed
There are several AirShares members here. I can speak at length about AirShares but don’t know as much about OurPlane. I am generally satisfied. I am fairly vocal (Ok, loud and annoying) about my gripes but they take the comments with a sense of humor and have taken responsibility readily when things haven’t gone well. I can answer questions in detail if you wish. Overall, I am very satisfied and actually happier with the decision now than when I signed up.
The basics are that I have never had trouble getting a plane although on numerous occasions it was another plane than 913CD. Costs seemed very high when I first looked into it. Then I found out what it would cost to own all of an SR22. Ouch! After flying in one of the AirShares planes my wife shot down my idea of an older, more affordable plane. Her exact comment was “I want a fast plane and I want a comfortable plane.”
I really like the idea of a fleet of the same planes. Once they brought a plane over from Birmingham to cover some unplanned downtime on another of their aircraft so I got to fly 912CD (not 3). Also, the staff seems to be a class act with people trying to do a great job but with occasional growing pains.
One thing that has surprised me is the frequency with which small things go wrong on the Cirrus. That is why I am actually happier now. I have never wasted any time getting a plane worked on. With two small children and a crazy job, time is precious.
A “must read” is the Aviation Consumer article on fractional ownership. It covers AirShares and OurPlane. It is a better article than the AOPA one. The table that compares AirShares to partnerships on a used Mooney and a used Bonanza was enlightening. I have no association with Aviation Consumer other than finding it the most useful flying publication I read.
One more thought, be honest about your flying. I don’t see fractionals for the 300 hr/year pilot. For me I decided to continue some training in a 172 (cheaper) and use the Cirrus for fun flying. I have too little free time to fly much more than 75 hours outside of training.
I flew an SR20 for a while with OurPLANE out of PAO. I am not familiar with the details of Airshares.
The OurPLANE folks did their best to make it work well within the framework of their set-up and in the context of the fact that they were managing it long-distance (from Toronto to Palo Alto). I have no complaint about their efforts.
However in the end I found it did not meet my needs. I fly 150-200 hr per year, mostly on weekends, with 2 or 3 one-week or longer trips per year. Of course, the plane was consistently booked up months in advance on weekends, and idle much of the week. They badly needed a subset of owners who would fly during the weekdays, but they were hard to come by. Such are the leisure time demographics of the Silicon Valley: work like hell during the week and play like hell on the weekends.
In their promotional literature, the fractional ownership outfits will state that their planes only fly an average of a few hr per week, say 10-15. This is literally true, but that figure is not relevant to the issue of availability. First, it is averaged over the entire year, winter and summer alike. Flight hr per week in the summer will be higher, and correspondingly lower in the winter. Second, what really counts from the customer’s point of view is how many hours the plane is actually reserved by other owners. I recommend that you ask to view the reservations calendar for the specific aircraft you are proposing to share, for the preceding three months as well as advance bookings into the future 2-3 months. This will give you a real idea of availability. If you are buying into a fleet of 2 or more identical planes, then ask to view the bookings for the fleet as a whole for that same time period.
Had I been able to utilize OurPLANE fully, the costs (fixed and variable) would have been about the same as owning and flying my own 260se. It was certainly NOT less expensive than owning if you fly as much as I do, even factoring in depreciation, engine & avionics reserve, etc. On balance, fractionals do save you the time of dealing with MX, insurance, etc. If your time is really tight or you hate dealing with those things, then this has value. In addition, you are shielded–at least financially–from the chance horrific unexpected maintenance disaster.
Their insurance–$1M smooth–was not enough to meet my needs and might have ultimately been a deal-killer for me in any case. They did try to get more coverage but the insurance market would not allow it.
I would have much preferred it if they stuck to just one type of airplane (e.g. Cirrus). That way it would have been easier to get another plane if one’s particular craft were already reserved. Their other plane was a 182, with plans for a Bonanza, and it would have been a hassle maintaining currency in each of their types.
My final take was that, if one flies only 50-100 hr/year AND has a flexible schedule for flying, it could work well. If you fly more than 100 hr/year and/or your schedule is not too flexible, I would think twice about it. At only 50-100 hr/year, sole ownership of a new aircraft borders on the financially ludicrous anyway.
I have been with the AirShares Elite scheme out of PDK (Atlanta) since the early days - I bought my share in an SR22 in June 2001.
For the type of flying I do the system has worked extremely well for me - I have rarely found that a plane was not available when I needed one, and that was only when I was trying to book one with VERY short notice - e.g. later the same day.
In the 16 months I have only flown “my” plane twice - but as all the others in the fleet are identical, that has not been a problem.
I did not consume all of my 75 hours in the first year - but as they have “rolled over” into the second year - that is OK - and I do seem to be flying significantly more this year.
I like the fact that AirShares at PDK is linked to the Elite Flight Center school - this means that there are a number of very good SR22-qualified CFIIs - and I have used them a great deal - I believe in getting some sort of refresher training (IFR or VFR) every 8-10 weeks.
I was impressed initially with the people at AirShares - and still retain that view … they are genuine people who seem to “get it” - i.e. if you do the right things for your customers , the business will “take care of itself”.
I, like some of the other people whose replies you have received, have very little time due to business and family, and like the fact that all the hassle is taken care of with the planes - the scheme with AirShares works well for me.
Thanks to everybody for the responses to date. Especially to you Paul - sounds like we’re in similar circumstances even w/ respect to time, kids and wife;o). The fracs seem attractive to a segment of the population that has limited time, decent resources, and the desire to fly w/ minimal hassle. That sums me up.
First, this thread is getting pretty commercial and probably would have been better in the MarketPlace forum. But, it is a little late for that now.
Since the thread has included comments on both AirShares and OurPlane, it might be worth noting the following about the AirShares program:
AirShares only offers shared ownership in new SR22s. All aircraft are identical.
AirShares emphasizes having a fleet of 5+ SR22s in each market served. Until that number is reached, the number of owners / aircraft is limited to ensure availability. Once a reasonable size fleet is in place, the statistical advantages of having a fleet contributes to higher availability for the Owners.
AirShares actively develops corporate and business clients who utilize the aircraft during the week. Helps with the weekend scheduliing problem.
Hope the above is helpful.
Ok Bob, your post may border on commercial since you are affiliated with AirShares but since I am just an AirShares customer I feel this message area is fine for my posts. I am commenting on AirShares as an end customer.
I do agree with you comments. It is what I consider a major strength of the AirShares concept and why it is working well for me.
Off topic, I clicked on your name to check if you were with AirShares. It says you are the NY regional manger and are located in Hilton Head, SC. Could I get some career management advice from you? Care to explain this? ;-))