During the last 18 months, Sportsaircraft Australia has sold 5 x Flight Design MC aircraft. Four of these 5 MC’s have been bought by aero clubs and flying schools; MAF Missionary Aviation Fellowship –Coldstream, Victoria; Tumbarumba Flying School – Tumbarumba, NSW; Go Fly Flying School – Caboolture Airport, Qld; and the Parkes Aero Club – Parkes, NSW.
It is obvious that there is increasing interest in the use of LSA aircraft in a commercial flying school or flying club environment, which is clear when you look at developments in the USA, and now Australia.
For smaller flying schools and clubs, the initial capital cost involved in buying a new aircraft is often the biggest hurdle to overcome. This often overshadows the fact that, with a new aircraft, maintenance and other direct operating costs can be accurately calculated – and are a fraction of the operating costs of older GA aircraft.
With the different leasing or financing options available, combined with the considerably lower operating costs, it is possible for flying schools and clubs to run profitably, even taking into account that there will be some months in the year that the flying hours are low.
A major operating cost is fuel. The fuel consumption of a new Rotax 912 engine is in the range of 17-20 liters per hour and an incredible 12 liters during circuit training. Which, compared with the fuel consumption of a GA aircraft, is already a huge reduction in fuel costs.
Flight Design realize that an aircraft used in a commercial flying school or club environment has to be sturdy and strongly constructed, to be able to withstand the daily wear and tear that these aircraft undergo. Flight Design also realize that it is very important to have a spacious cabin, with room for an instructor and student of any size or height, without encroaching on each individual’s comfort zone.
With the above criteria in mind, Flight Design built the MC, which is the only LSA specifically designed for flying schools and clubs; it has the largest and widest cabin in the LSA market – 52 inches wide; and it has a landing gear that can handle the “arrivals” we see now and again from our students – and not only students, since I have had a few myself!