What did your flight school do to cut costs...

Maurus

The Great Gazoo
...through preventative maint. and similar actions?

Kinda curious what ideas are out there.
 

Holocene

Well-Known Member
They stopped renting the plane wet, but neglected to tell me until the completion of a 3-hour flight wherein I topped off the tanks...:banghead:
 

Maurus

The Great Gazoo
Not pay JC for advertising? ;)

:sarcasm: or perhaps not.
Ha, I thought about telling my bosses to look into it, but they are much more interested in International students than domestic. Hmm, maybe we could toss and ad up for Diamonds... Who wants to buy one? Or 5 even?:p
 

jrh

Well-Known Member
These aren't all from my current school, but some techniques I've seen in the past...

If something breaks, replace it with a new part. Although a new part is somewhat more expensive than taking time overhauling or repairing an old part, the savings come from less down time on the fleet. Faster repairs and better reliability in the long run. Cancel fewer flights, bring in more revenue, ultimately results in a profit. This technique works best for busy fleets. The busier the aircraft, the greater the loss from down time, obviously. I'm not sure it would be worth it for aircraft that only fly an hour or two per day.

Also, make it SOP to lean mixtures on the ground, lean in the air rather than running full rich in the practice area, and cruise at 2100 or 2200 rpm in the practice area, rather than 2400-2600 rpm. These techniques can save a gallon or two per hour which equals a substantial savings when multiplied across 4,000 hours/year on a fleet. That could easily equal $16,000/year!

Write in to the rental agreement that fuel purchased away from the home base will only be reimbursed up to a certain limit on a price per gallon basis. There's no reason to reimburse $6.00/gallon when you can refuel at the home base for $4.00/gallon.

Encourage a culture of safety, but also a culture where instructors don't cancel flights unless there is a good reason. I've seen instructors unwilling to teach in IMC, in VFR with rain, in winds greater than 25 knots, with ceilings less than 2000 feet, etc. All of these cancellations add up. Even when the weather is less than perfect, students can oftentimes benefit from coming in and doing pattern work, crosswind landings, ground reference maneuvers, chipping away at their instrument time, etc. Make sure your instructors believe in this.

Be willing to invest in instructor currency. The price of paying for an instructor's IPC is worth it, compared to having them cancel ten flights because the field is IFR and they aren't instrument current.

Make sure the instructors are billing for the time they're teaching (don't under-charge customers) and make sure the instructors haven't set up "under the table" deals with customers, such as meeting at a coffee shop for ground lessons and the customer paying the instructor directly without billing through the school.
 

Chief Captain

Well-Known Member
I don't know if my school cut costs, but they increased their income by decreasing the size of my bank account:(
 

Barty

Well-Known Member
Mine closed one of its remote locations. They were keeping the aircraft rented out there, but I suspect the higher than average fuel prices there and the alleged high rents probably made it a barely break-even proposition when things were good. When things slowed down a bit a couple of months ago, it was probably running in the red and they cut it loose.

FWIW, I haven't seen any school survive for long at that airport (FTY). A vast majority of the tenants there are corporate operators or cater to corporate operations, so I don't think the county could care less about keeping a school running on the field.
 

JEP

Malko In Charge
Staff member
...through preventative maint. and similar actions?

Kinda curious what ideas are out there.
Not to much, to cut costs, but some of the chicken-#### ways of increasing cash in:

planes used to have a check list in them. that stopped and they started making every student buy a checklist.

even though the planes are rented 'wet', there is a fuel surcharge. never figured that one out. while quick to increase costs when fuel rises, I have yet to see that drop when fuel drops.

hire cfi's that don't give a rip about the customers. that may have changed now that regional hiring has slowed.

On a positive note, my flying club has just reduced our hourly rates (costs are 'wet'). Fuel goes up, costs go up. Fuel comes down,costs go down. It's a novel concept, at least some get it.
 

AirVenture

Well-Known Member
My school has gotten more and more into the aircraft sales business. However, I don't know if we've sold anything yet. We also closed a remote location where we just had one plane and a pilot shop. We're also still keeping our fuel surcharge even though fuel has decreased substantially.
 

CoffeeIcePapers

Well-Hung Member
chicken-#### ways of increasing cash in:

planes used to have a check list in them. that stopped and they started making every student buy a checklist.
That isn't chicken-#### unless you have worked the other side. My old school used to provide strainers and checklists in the aircraft, but they disappeared after about 4-5 flights. It adds up a lot.

I never thought a checklist, fuel strainer, flashlight, etc... should be provided. If you are that much of a cheapskate, you can certainly make your own or download.
 

BCTAv8r

Well-Known Member
We've never had a problem with the strainers, but people do tend to steal or destroy our checklists. Buying one is not that big of a deal. They could also keep them inside and check them out to students. If it is not returned the same way as it when it left, the student pays for it.
 

jdlilfan

Well-Known Member
My Employer...

Rental rates are still at the summer rate and it is a wet price. They raised the rate for instruction by $10 dollars an hour yet didn't give the CFI's a raise. Parked/took off of insurance a few of the planes that were close to overhaul or needed a larger amount of maintenance (avionics mostly). Not allowed to keep a stock of pilot supplies anymore because it is not immediately profitable (don't get this one because now students just go to sportys or amazon for books?). Some maintenance is being deferred such as transponders, GPS's, and broken instruments (AI, DG, TC) for what seems like forever. Also not allowed to make copies or buy office supplies, yet somehow we still do though? If tugs break, just go on to the next one. If major line service equipment breaks (such as deice) they would rather turn away customers then get the parts fixed or lease a new truck...oh and my favorite...FBO is not allowed to buy anymore coffee and the flight training side can't drink the remaining coffee.
 

BCTAv8r

Well-Known Member
My Employer...

Rental rates are still at the summer rate and it is a wet price. They raised the rate for instruction by $10 dollars an hour yet didn't give the CFI's a raise. Parked/took off of insurance a few of the planes that were close to overhaul or needed a larger amount of maintenance (avionics mostly). Not allowed to keep a stock of pilot supplies anymore because it is not immediately profitable (don't get this one because now students just go to sportys or amazon for books?). Some maintenance is being deferred such as transponders, GPS's, and broken instruments (AI, DG, TC) for what seems like forever. Also not allowed to make copies or buy office supplies, yet somehow we still do though? If tugs break, just go on to the next one. If major line service equipment breaks (such as deice) they would rather turn away customers then get the parts fixed or lease a new truck...oh and my favorite...FBO is not allowed to buy anymore coffee and the flight training side can't drink the remaining coffee.
I love it though when they try to cut costs by eliminating these things and when customer service goes down, they wonder why we lose so many customers. My FBO did the same thing until they realized how it was hurting business then they brought stuff back.:banghead:
 

JEP

Malko In Charge
Staff member
That isn't chicken-#### unless you have worked the other side. My old school used to provide strainers and checklists in the aircraft, but they disappeared after about 4-5 flights. It adds up a lot.

I never thought a checklist, fuel strainer, flashlight, etc... should be provided. If you are that much of a cheapskate, you can certainly make your own or download.
They never had a problem with them disappearing. The checklists always stayed with the tin for the a/c. They just decided one day to start charging for the checklists. Funny thing was it really wasn't a endless cash flow for them. As for it adding up, the lists were just printed on paper. It's not like they were using fancy stock. Once all the students bought the checklist that was the end of that.

As for the other things you mentioned, I cannot use a c172 checklist on a PA28. I could take the flashlight thought. Things such as flashlights should be your own.

It's not about being a cheapskate, it's about providing customer service and that is where they lacked and still lack. The school was getting plenty of my money, when the nickel and diming starts though, it gets out of hand.....

And yes, I did make my own. It was much sturdier or more convenient than the ones they were selling.
 

EDUC8-or

Well-Known Member
My flight school bought us a ream of paper and had us make paper airplanes and practice landings. Sometimes when it was foggy we'd throw them straight up for some IFR work.
 
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