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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

2014 - miles under the wings

Frequent blogger Gary just posted his year in review (, which inspired me to do likewise:

Total time in 2014 (so far) - 88 hours.

Not so hot this year, although I might make 100 hrs by December 30th.  I had planned a trip to Las Vegas in September that fell thorough, the only other long cross countries were to and from Wisconsin, and to bring back the Cessna from North Carolina.  But my total time is now pushing 900 hrs, with over 200 of those as an instructor.  I've now given more instruction time than I've received (about 150 hrs)!  Since those 200 instruction hours were paid for my others, I suppose I could claim that my own flying instruction is now fully paid for - and that's something to smile about :)

Next year, I hope to top 1,000 total hrs!  That's my goal. 

January to March
Not much to talk about.  I flew my Bonanza 10 times, and shot three instrument approaches.

April to June
Formed a new Texas LLC (S&P Aviation), and seeded it with enough cash to buy a trainer, a Cessna 150 which I bought in Asheville NC.  I had a memorable flight to bring it back to Texas, flying IFR over the Smoky Mountains at 7,000 ft Westbound. The rest of the way was low and slow over the Tennessee and Arkansas flat-lands.  As part of the deal I gave an IPC to the seller.  No other instruction.

July to September
Took on a new student "J" who is planning to start his instrument training using my 150, and prior student "D" got his 172 back in the air after a major engine overhaul.  He and I did 10 hours of high power, mostly cross country flying to get his piston rings seated properly, and after some pattern work I signed him off to solo again.  "J" and I also flew the Bonanza to Oshkosh, a first for both of us.  I planned on flying the Bonanza to Las Vegas, but weather made me fly commercial instead.  The Bonanza also got it's annual in August.

October to December
Between J continuing to build hours, and new students "R" and "A", S&P aviation actually became profitable.  I did an IPC for "T" in his Bonanza, and once "A" got his G36 Bonanza airworthy we've started flying in that.  I used my Bonanza 3 times to fly my daughter to and from college in Arkansas.  Meanwhile, student R is flying my 150 and looking for a good 182.

Fly in the ointment: All through 2012, 2013 and most of 2014 I've been my own boss, working as an independent consultant able to schedule my own time. At the beginning of December 2014, I started working as an employee of a consulting company in Dallas (my wife is happy about the benefits), so my time is not my own.  I've made arrangements with an independent CFI to share the load and have her fly with my students when I can't due to work commitments.

What I have learned is that I can create a successful flying business, as long as my expectation is just that it will pay for itself and generate a little income on the side.  I've also learned that I can create a successful consulting business, something to consider down the road a bit.