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Come to Papa: Airbus and the C Series

“So … our cousins in Montreal have a little problem.”

Conceiving, designing, prototyping and launching a great airplane isn’t enough.  You need buckets of money.  Container ships of it.  Some connections with the mob, won’t hurt either.  Better yet, if you are in a big hurry, a rich and connected European aunt or uncle.  Perhaps the best, simplest overview of how it all went down can be found here.

That way, when Boeing comes after you, you can run to the only other safe harbor in town – Airbus.  A good lesson for early entrepreneurs here (not that Bombardier has the “hey… Armand.. make me a snowmobile, esti!” feel to it anymore) is that being heavily diluted and living to talk about it is better than being cut off from the US market and certain death.

If I was an aviation tarot card reader I would say something smart like, “There was no other way for this to work.  It was written!”

For us scrappy people of the start up world, this is a great story if only for how it ended.  While Bombardier to some may no longer be the epitome of agility, brilliance or innovation, it is nice to see a relative “little person” find safe harbor from the sledgehammer of abuse, myopic policy, and too many litigious hit men in the boardroom.

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Boeing v. Trudeau

Boeing Super F-18.

I’m not a terribly patriotic Canadian, but I think this is an interesting story worth following.

Hegemony, aerospace, and the military industry industrial complex make for great reading when trying to understand the 51st State “nort of de border” as we say in Maine.  Richard Aboulafia writes extensively about the link between US prime contractors and the Canadian companies that play second fiddle as subcontractors for US aerospace manufacturing.

It is really hard to fight when we are so intertwined.  Bonne chance Justin.  Donald, more reading recommended.

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How To Buy An Airplane Like a Pro

My old flame – 07P in Greenville, ME.

One of the pleasures of being a flight instructor, consultant and occasional contract pilot is that I get to spend a lot of time around pilots keen to buy a taildragger, turboprop and occasionally a jet.  Even existing aircraft owners express a desire to upgrade, re-evaluate, or simply sell their existing aircraft for something else.

Yet, in the general aviation world, there’s a frequent recurrence of casualness around aircraft acquisition that can lead to wasted time, effort, and money etc. never mind the frayed emotions and harumphing.  In the turbine world, it leads to lawsuits and varsity level harumphing.

Three questions to help think about avoiding such pain:

  1. How do I make an offer on an airplane that I can’t even see in person?
  2. What is a reasonable sequence of events from first contact to closing?
  3. How do I make an offer that is fair, but not insult the Seller if the asking price appears way over market?

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What Should You Charge as a CFI?

More money is safer.

As a new, old, or “returning” (in my case) CFI, a nagging question might be:  “WTF should I charge?”  And stumped you should be, since general aviation can be an opaque place that doesn’t love you back as much as you love it.  So you ask yourself, “How can I do this for a living?”  The answer is you can, but it takes a few key ingredients, rumination and simple action.

What a flight instructor is paid has a huge range and your question might be, where do you belong?  And how can you belong, appear, smell or act in such a way that you can ask for sustainable income?

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Astronaut vs. Bus Driver (Part 2)

Image credit to therogueaviator.com

For those of us that extract money from airplanes and aerospace related things, the evolution of the pilot archetype fascinates me.

Jeff Friedrich outlines the current trend of the marginalization of skilled labor in one of the best articles on the subject.  Labor, regulation, technology and business models conspire to forsake a key ingredient – people.

While many debate that automation will do us in anyway, why not have some competent people around just in case?

If Elon Musk has anything to say about it (prediction), it might not be a bad idea to keep them even better trained and fed too.  The car you can park.  For critical aircraft failures, why not have a pilot with a compass and watch? And throw in some half decent training and compensation for good measure.

Posted in Air Taxi Part 135, Airline Part 121, Aviation Industry Experts, Aviation Labor, Aviation Training and Simulation, News | Leave a comment

Sanity Prevails

DHC 2 Beaver near San Francisco

Thank you to the many pilots and supporters that turned out yesterday at the Marin County Civic Center.  Common sense has prevailed and Richardson’s Bay will continue to have Seaplane Adventures operating as part of the fabric it has been there for 70 years.

This also means I can keeping adding seaplane ratings to private and commercial tickets.  Bravo Aaron and the rest of the gang.

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