Airwolf Aviation Services and Aviation Access Project have formed a partnership based at Greenville Downtown Airport (KGMU) in Greenville, South Carolina.
The A.A.P. Flight Center is designed to promote the growth and development of the pilot community in the Upstate of South Carolina by offering low-cost aircraft ownership with access to flight training from Airwolf, officials noted.
Flight operations will formally begin on Saturday, May 24, in conjunction with the airport’s Take Flight 5k, a fundraiser for the aviation-themed community park that is being completed on the airport grounds.
Airwolf’s Director of Operations Michele Rash likes the partnership’s focus on synergy.
“Aviation Access provides an amazing opportunity for our students to move immediately into ownership. Pilots who own their own aircraft fly more often and for more reasons. Those pilots will need continuing education and we’re here to provide it. We’ll also train Aviation Access owners who are not yet pilots.”
Mitchell West, A.A.P’s local Flight Center Director agrees.
“We want to provide our owners access to the best flight training in the Upstate. Our customers who need primary training or who just need to get checked out on their new airplane will work with Airwolf’s instructors. They are highly qualified and have an excellent reputation locally.”
According to both Airwolf and Aviation Access, a major factor keeping more people from learning to fly and owning aircraft is the high cost. The A.A.P. program provides for the sharing of both one-time and recurring costs among a group of pilot-owners. In a typical arrangement, A. A. P. sells 1/8 shares in an aircraft and charges a monthly fee that covers all recurring costs such as insurance, maintenance and storage. Each owner is allocated approximately 75 hours per year of flying time in the aircraft. There are no hourly fees, and the owner just buys his or her own fuel. Primary or transition training is included in the share price and Airwolf will now provide that training.
“New student pilots fail to complete traditional training programs close to 80% of the time,” West said. “Part of the reason is they have no real incentive to do so unless they can own an aircraft at the end of the process. We fix that, at a great price. If you can afford a good used car, you can afford a share in one of our airplanes.”
Aviation Access Project was formed as a result of the 2010 study on pilot training commissioned by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. Headed by veteran fractional sales and service executive Rick Matthews, A.A.P. is made up of a group of aviation and educational professionals who desire to double the number of active pilots and cut by half the dropout rate for new pilots by building a community of aviators built around an economical shared ownership model.