Share a plane: What do pilots say?

Ken Anderson, a software developer from White Plains, N.Y., has been an AirShares customer since 2002. Before joining the fractional program he owned a Piper Arrow and a Saratoga, but found that he did not fly enough to make ownership worthwhile.

“I was flying maybe 100 hours a year and, with the cost of maintenance and insurance, the annual costs didn’t add up to the aircraft being a worthwhile expenditure.

I once had an $11,000 annual on the Saratoga and that was too much,” he recalled.

With fractional ownership, the cost savings are across the board.

“I figured out that it costs me 50-60% less to fly the SR22 than it does to fly the Saratoga,” he noted. “I buy a block of time for the year, say 75 hours, and then use the time like you use cell phone minutes. What’s more, my costs are very well defined in AirShares. If something is going to increase, like when the cost of fuel went up, I get an email letting me know. On another occasion our insurance went down because we have an accident-free history and they passed it right back to the customers.”

Another advantage of fractional GA ownership is the ability to have the aircraft for extended trips, owners say. At most rental operations overnight trips are discouraged since the operator only makes money when the Hobbs meter is turning. With fractional programs, customers get a certain number of overnight trips a year.

For Keith Ruskin, of Westport, Conn., buying in to AirShares Elite was a cost effective way to upgrade airplanes. A little over two years ago he was looking for a step up from the Piper and Cessna models that he had earned his commercial license in, but was wary about buying a high performance aircraft for himself.

“I fly about 75 hours a year, which isn’t a lot, so I was wary about buying an airplane of my own,” he said. “You know what happens to airplanes when you don’t fly them a lot, so I was looking for a way to fly an airplane that got flown enough to keep it healthy.”

The fact AirShares uses both the Cirrus SR20 and the SR22 also caught his attention.

“I liked the idea of starting in the SR20 and then progressing to the SR22, which is a faster airplane,” he said. ” If I owned my own plane I’d have to sell it when I was ready to upgrade. This is much easier.”

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