What does the aircraft fleet tell you about a flying school?
Not a day goes by that I’m not asked the question, ‘when is the next Soar Aviation barbecue? The last one was a cracker!’
The other more important question I’m asked repeatedly is, ‘why doesn’t Soar Aviation train pilots in Cessna/Piper type conventional aircraft?’
I want to focus for a minute on the word ‘conventional,’ which has led me to write this blog in order to help explain our philosophy. Grab a coffee first. Are you sitting comfortably? Ok. I’ll begin…
Not too long ago some crazy person had the idea of starting a car company during what was probably the worst time in automotive history, due in large part to continuing increases in the price of fuel. Over the last decade and change, many car companies watched as sales plummeted, forcing them to close manufacturing plants as governments around the world scrambled to bail out an industry hit hard by the global economic roller coaster.
The reality was that fuel-guzzling cars weren’t just unpopular; they were downright impractical. I mean, c’mon! Who wants to pump 80 bucks into their car’s fuel tank when they’d prefer to put that cash towards new clothes, a kick-arse HD TV or a subscription to Tuba Player Monthly magazine?
So why the hell would you want to launch a new car company in this atmosphere? I’ll tell you. Because that new car company sells electric cars and their name is Tesla. Maybe you’ve heard of them?
In the last 10 years, Tesla has sold more electric cars than any other electric car manufacturer in the world. The reason for this is very straightforward: The car is electric, not a conventional fuel guzzler. That doesn’t sound so crazy anymore, does it?
Car manufacturers like Ford and GM were fine when the cost of fuel was less than 20c per liter, but that was long before it skyrocketed to $1.40 per liter. It wouldn’t be hard to envisage the cost of fuel growing by 100% in the next decade.
So what has all this got to do with Soar Aviation?
Soar Aviation draws inspiration from Tesla. We don’t have the capacity to build electric cars (although that would be pretty sweet!), but what we can do is invest in the aircraft of the future, i.e low operating cost, fuel efficient and safe aircraft.
Cessna and Piper aircraft are built with engines manufactured by Lycoming, a company considered the Grand Poobah of aviation engine manufacturers. They are reliable, conventional engines from a company we have a lot of respect for; one that has stayed committed to a simple design philosophy: ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’
But it’s this very philosophy, although noble, that has prevented the company from producing a more fuel-efficient variant of its engine. The planes we knew and loved have become the fuel-guzzlers that now cost a fortune to keep in the air.
So along comes engine manufacturer Rotax. This Austrian company has invested all of its resources in developing aircraft engines that are lighter, stronger and more fuel-efficient than conventional engines.
Our mission here at Soar Aviation is to not only make flight training more accessible, but also make the aviation industry more attractive to people who may have previously shied away from the very high operating costs of conventional aircraft operators.
In line with this ideal, we have invested more than AUD$1 million in replacing our fleet of Jabiru planes, which use Jabiru engines, with brand new Foxbat aircraft, powered by Rotax 912 ULS engines. They purr like a kitten!
By keeping our costs to a minimum you can keep more money in your pocket, which means you can spend more time in the air.