Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Broker of record?

We still get asked why only one broker can get an aviation insurance quote at a time. So let me try and summarize this issue.

We shop all markets that are available for a specific type of aircraft. But, the aviation insurance industry is different than buying car insurance. In car insurance you can call all the agents on the same block and they can quote the same companies and all offer you a quote. Aviation insurance companies will release a quotation for your aircraft insurance to only ONE broker at a time.

If our agency has attempted to quote all applicable markets (except Avemco who is a direct insurance underwriter and doesn’t use outside agents) but has been blocked from getting quotes it is because another broker is doing the same thing.

Being blocked means you have contacted more than one broker and they have also been quoting your aviation insurance risk. By allowing more than one broker to get quotes, you have taken away each brokers ability to quote the same companies.

You are probably thinking that it doesn’t make sense or seem fair, but aviation underwriting is somewhat subjective and by limiting the number of quotes released, an underwriting company can be more consistent. Now, on a new insurance risk a couple of companies have started to let more than one broker quote. But that’s not a universal trend, yet. I think as more companies are come more computerized that will happen more often. The problem with computerized quotes, there is less of an opportunity to deviate from the guidelines. If the computer says no you can’t get insured, that’s all you might get from that company. No options or flexibility.

Our goal is to provide the best customer service possible and we hope to do that through competitive quotes, aviation expertise and personal contact. We do quote all companies available.

I believe we have a number of advantages over other brokers. We didn’t just get into the experimental market in the last few years as an agency; we have been working with the experimental aircraft market since I started in the aviation insurance business in 1985. I am a pilot, I have owned and flown experimental aircraft and I have been involved in aviation since I was a kid. I married into an aviation family and my wife grew up in an FBO and is my partner in the business. I have been an author and columnist for years on aviation topics and in aviation magazines. I still attend aviation events and give seminars for owners.

That’s said, if you have run into a situation where you contact more than one broker you might be asked to sign a "Broker of Record" letter.

This letter would tell the underwriters that you want one broker to be your broker and that all the quotes should be released to that broker. Hope that helps.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thinking of buying an aircraft?

Want to find more information about the history of an aircraft....go here.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Check out the seminars listing at St Pete.

Okay, I like the attention and the free publicity.

Take a look at the seminar listings for the St Pete Boat Show. If you get a chance to attend the show, stop by and say Hi!


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Travel agent

I am always trying to cut costs and make things easier for myself If I find something that is really good I like to make it avilable to my customers. Well I did it again.

I travel a couple of times a month and I need rental cars, hotels and even airline tickets. And that's just for business travel. If I want to vacation...although that's rare, I need a place to get away that includes all the same, plus more.

Well I signed up to be a travel agent and we have hired a new staff person that is also a travel agent.

Next vacation or cruise...call our office and see what kind of savings we can get for you.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


If you are going to be attending SEMA in Las Vegas, let me know.

I'll be there on the November 4th and participating as a member of a panel discussion about specialty insurance.

If you haven't been to SEMA, are you in for a fun and exciting show.

Like older boats?

If you like old beautiful sailboats and power boats you should check out this website. Classic Yacht Magazine is a great online magazine. Very nice articles and great pictures.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Progressive Boat Insurance Changes

Progressive Insurance has made a few changes in their boat coverage.

Just to name a few, they opened up the navigation limits, offering new payment plans and added new discounts and chnaged the maximum discounts allowed.

Give me a call if you want to more details.

Destination Resort

Think you need a place to go, a destination that is unique and provides a trip back in time? Check out the French Lick Springs and West Baden Springs resorts in Indiana. The neatest one is the West Baden Springs. Check out the history is really the part to look into. Check it out here.


Friday, September 26, 2008

Boat show season is here!

Since I attend a number of events each year, I thought maybe I could offer a few tips and ideas that work when you are preparing to attend a boat show.

First you have to ask yourself why you are attending the boat show. Are you attending as new buyer, as an owner looking to upgrade what you already have or just looking to add to your equipment?

My situation is even different from that. I am looking for new products, new models and new companies. I am interested in anything that might be of interest to my customers and readers. I like to keep up with the industry and review new products or designs. I am also looking for things I want for myself. Oh, I also look for shows that will allow me to give seminars and promote my books.

Of course, I am also looking for a show location that I like to visit. I like the local shows but that is not the same as taking a trip to a distant location and using it like a working vacation. (Just don’t tell my wife how much fun these shows are!)

Shows early in the season give me an opportunity to do a few seminars and look over new products that will be available. Many of the products have already been introduced via ads or commercials. Consumer shows are the opportunity for dealers and manufacturers to actually put new products in front of buyers.

It is probably best to decide why you are at the show and establish an agenda for the time you will be attending. Reviewing or looking at a boat/car/plane can take a significant amount of time. Plan your time accordingly. In most cases you will want to look at the model, listen to the sales pitch and, if possible, try it out.

Because it is a time consuming experience, do a little research early. Review models and manufacturers that you have an interest in. Go to the website for the show or event you will be attending and get a copy of the exhibitors list. Review the exhibitor list and rank the manufacturers or dealers by your interest. It sounds like a lot of work but if you prioritize the models you want to see, you can spend less time wandering the exhibit hall and more time shopping. You will also find that you will probably have more time to leisurely enjoy the show once you have achieved your “requirements”.

If you are looking at products or upgrades, it is a variation of the same agenda. Look through the exhibitor lists and develop a plan and route through the exhibit hall. It is also important to keep track of other things that might be of interested as you are looking at the exhibitor list or walking around. You can always come back to a booth or visit the company’s website later (or back in your hotel room!).

If you are attending a show that is or has an outdoor portion, check the weather reports. I hate attending a show with the intent of getting an in-water demo and have the weather be cool, windy or raining.

It is also important to go to shows that have what you want. Why waste precious shopping time at a sailboat show if you are looking for a new powerboat? Or at an experimental aircraft fly in if you are really after a certified aircraft. Completed your visits to the required list of vendors first and then visit the other areas if you have time.

If you are interested in education (seminars, forums, certification classes) make sure that you get the newest schedule of events right when you get to the show. I have attended a number of shows that have had last minute changes due to weather, speaker schedules and room availability. Last minute adjustments are not unusual.

Different shows try different things to keep the attendance up and growing. For example, the Miami International Boat Show offered the "Sunset Celebrations" on the weekends. Festivities included street performers, contests and prize giveaways.

Don’t know which show to attend? Start by checking out national organizations like the National Marine Manufacturers Association (www.nmma.org). The NMMA list shows that they participate in and they have links to other sites like www.boatshows.com. Use these and other links to see where the and when shows are.

One thing to remember about any show, you only have a limited amount of time. You might not be able to see everything in detail, even if you go every day the event is open. However, if you follow a schedule to see the things you want, you should have extra time to see the rest of the show. Once you have covered your list you can wander through the rest of the exhibits. Prioritize, write up an agenda, follow it and enjoy the show. Hope to see you there!

Friday, August 22, 2008

AIG Aviation Insurance increases hurricane coverage.

AIG Aviation insurance has increased the hurricane coverage from $500 to $1,000 for current policyholders with hurricane protection coverage.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Results of the 2008 AirVenture

Comment from EAA president Tom Poberezny:
* "The concern was that 2008 would be less than a banner year, because of questions and challenges in areas such as fuel prices and the economy, but it turned out to be an overwhelming week. Each day on the grounds was filled with outstanding activities that made every day at AirVenture a unique event in itself. This year's "Oshkosh" was the shot of enthusiasm, inspiration, and economic boost that aviation needed."

Attendance: Estimated 540,000 - A slight decrease from 2007 and nearly equal to 2006's attendance.

Comment from EAA president Tom Poberezny:
* "This year's attendance held steady for a variety of reasons, including superb weather, the substantial number of outstanding programs, a large number of aviation innovations unveiled at Oshkosh, and the importance of EAA AirVenture to the aviation community. Initial exhibitor response indicates that the majority of exhibitors reported good to record-setting sales."

Total aircraft: More than 10,000 aircraft arriving at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh and other airports in east-central Wisconsin.

Total showplanes: 2,516. That figure includes 972 homebuilt aircraft, 822 vintage airplanes, 404 warbirds, 114 ultralights, 131 seaplanes, 40 aerobatic aircraft and 33 rotorcraft.

Commercial exhibitors: 797 (up slightly over 2007).

International visitors registered: Up nearly 25 percent, with 2,128 visitors registered from 71 nations, with Canada (492 visitors), Australia (299) and Brazil (186) the top three nations. (NOTE: This total includes only non-U.S. visitors who register at the International Visitors Tent, so the actual international contingent is undoubtedly larger.)

Total estimated campers (fly-in and drive-in camping areas): More than 37,000.

Media: 865 media representatives on-site, from five continents.

What's ahead in 2009? Comment from EAA president Tom Poberezny:

* "We are already looking forward to 2009 with the expected attendance of Virgin Galactic's White Knight Two space vehicle, a reunion of participants from Concorde's five visits to Oshkosh over the past 25 years, and a salute to mission aviators who perform humanitarian work around the globe. Visitors in 2009 will also begin to see additional amenities and site upgrades that will make EAA AirVenture 2009 an even better experience and value as The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration."

EAA AirVenture 2009: July 27-August 2

For more information: Dick Knapinski (920-426-6523 or dknapinski@eaa.org).

Wednesday, July 23, 2008



July 22, 2008 - In a remarkable display of bipartisan support for recreational boating, both the House and Senate today passed S. 2766, "The Clean Boating Act of 2008" which will permanently restore a long-standing exemption for recreational boats from permitting requirements under the Clean Water Act.

The legislation now goes to the White House for the President's signature. Congressional action was spawned by a U.S. District Court decision in September 2006 under which an estimated 17 million recreational boats would have fallen under Clean Water Act permit requirements effective September 30, 2008. The permit would have dictated maintenance and operation procedures and potentially subjected boaters to citizen lawsuits as well as a penalty system designed for industrial polluters. "This is a fabulous victory for common sense and it just goes to show what can be done when the boating public, the marine industry and its representatives in Congress row together in a bipartisan way," said BoatU.S. President Nancy Michelman.BoatU.S. Government Affairs Director Margaret Podlich was quick to shower praise on a boatload of legislators who did much of the heavy lifting including Sens. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Representatives Jim Oberstar (D-MN), Steve LaTourette (R-OH), Candice Miller (R-MI) and Gene Taylor (D-MS).

A complete listing of all legislators involved will be available at http://www.BoatUS.com/gov soon.BoatU.S. has worked for more than a year with the National Marine Manufacturers Association and a broad coalition of stakeholders to resolve the problem before the permitting deadline. "One of the real keys to success here was our collective ability to activate the grassroots," said Podlich, noting that tens of thousands of letters and e-mails were generated by boaters and anglers over the course of the past 12 months.

BoatU.S. is the nation's leading advocate for recreational boat owners with over 650,000 members

Monday, July 21, 2008


If you are not going to be at Oshkosh, you are missing out on the fun. See you there!

EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wis. - (July 21, 2008) - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh is not only "The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration," it's also an outstanding value for families looking for a unique attraction this summer.
The 56th annual edition of the EAA fly-in convention is July 28-August 3 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, and will welcome more than 10,000 airplanes, including 2,500 showplanes.

EAA AirVenture features a gathering of airplanes that is unmatched anywhere else in the world, from the smallest ultralight to the largest cargo aircraft. While it is known as the ultimate annual event for those who are involved in aviation, EAA AirVenture also appeals to people of all ages who seek a spectacular, fun and educational getaway.

"EAA AirVenture has always been a family-friendly event and more than just a world-class air show, with aviation exhibits, entertainment, special presentations and personalities, and much more," said Tom Poberezny, EAA president and AirVenture chairman. "Families will discover that a day at EAA AirVenture is quite affordable. Admission and parking fees are less than those at many of the big events and attractions in Wisconsin, and admission includes almost everything on the grounds."
Among the activities designed for families and included in EAA AirVenture admission are:

* KidVenture: For the past decade, thousands of young people and their families have enjoyed aviation in hands-on projects and demonstrations. From glider and rocket building to flying control-line and radio-controlled aircraft, young people can discover more about flight.

* Air show spectaculars: From dazzling aerobatics and formation flights, to historic warbirds and modern military aircraft, amazing displays fly daily over the AirVenture flight line.

* Up-close and personal: There is no better public opportunity to see some of the world's most unique aircraft up-close and talk to the pilots who fly them. On AeroShell Square, for instance, it's possible to talk with pilots who fly supersonic in military jets or pilot some of the most unique airplanes on earth. Throughout the week, aviation's top personalities and legends also make presentations and answer your questions.

* Future aviators welcome: There are play areas on the AirVenture grounds where the youngest aviation enthusiasts can explore the flights of their imagination in pedal airplanes, aviation toys and crafts, and other activities.

* Evening entertainment: EAA AirVenture offers post-air show activities for all ages, including: Aviation films projected on a five-story-high screen at the outdoor Ford Fly-In Theater, presented by Ford Motor Company and Eclipse Aviation (with appearances by Harrison Ford and John Travolta during the week); music by Foreigner on July 28 and Gary Sinise's "Lt. Dan Band" on August 1; comedy by Jeff Dunham on July 30; and more.

"EAA AirVenture has always been proud of its commitment to provide activities for the entire family, allowing families to create their own traditions throughout the grounds," Poberezny said. "Families from throughout North America return year after year, forging unforgettable memories through the years whether it's during a one-day visit or camping on the grounds for the entire week."

The family-friendly atmosphere includes areas for diaper changing and infant nursing, as well as other family amenities. Another AirVenture tradition is that no alcohol is sold or allowed on the flight line, contributing to the family atmosphere.

EAA AIRVENTURE OSHKOSH is The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration and EAA's yearly membership convention. Additional EAA AirVenture information, including advance ticket purchase, is available through the World Wide Web at www.airventure.org. EAA members receive lowest prices on admission rates. For more information on EAA and its programs, call 1-800-JOIN-EAA (1-800-564-6322) or visit www.eaa.org.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Fantasy personal transportation may finally come true!

EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wis. - (June 30, 2008) - What its creators call "the most eagerly awaited personal aircraft man ever dreamed about" will be making its public debut on Tuesday, July 29, during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. The 56th edition of EAA AirVenture, "The World Greatest Aviation Celebration," takes place July 28-August 3 at Wittman Regional Airport.

After 27 years of research and development, the Martin Jetpack will be launched at 9.30 a.m. on Tuesday, July 29, at AeroShell Square on the EAA AirVenture grounds.

"Such a flying machine has been part of our imagination for decades, highlighted by science fiction movies such as "Buck Rogers" more than 75 years ago and by military attempts to produce a practical jetpack in the 1950s," said the jetpack's developer. "We have worked for nearly 30 years to develop this jetpack and are very much looking forward to unveiling the technology at Oshkosh."

The developers of the "World's First Practical Jetpack" state that their innovation is distinguished by a unique, patented technology. Capable of flying 100 times longer than the Bell Rocket Belt of the 1960s, it uses regular gasoline and complies with FAA Ultralight regulations.

EAA AIRVENTURE OSHKOSH is The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration and EAA's yearly membership convention. Additional EAA AirVenture information, including advance ticket purchase, is available through the World Wide Web at www.airventure.org. EAA members receive lowest prices on admission rates. For more information on EAA and its programs, call 1-800-JOIN-EAA (1-800-564-6322) or visit www.eaa.org.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Planes, Manes, and Automobiles

Thanks to the EAA for this news. As a car fan, Mustang Convertible owner and an aviation fanatic. This is a great event to attend.

Saturday, July 5, 2008
Planes, Manes, and Automobiles
This exciting annual event combines two classic examples of American engineering. It pairs P-51 Mustang Warbirds from WWII with a wide selection of Ford Mustang cars. (The event is also open to all other Ford-powered vehicles.)

The event takes place on the grounds of the world-famous EAA AirVenture Museum, which displays a collection of more than 140 immaculate aircraft, including the world's oldest surviving P-51 Mustang. Throughout the day, rides will be available in a variety of vintage airplanes from the Museum's acclaimed Pioneer Airport facility.

Outstanding cars will receive trophies and, on a space-available basis, all cars have the chance to 'pony up' to a P-51 for a picture. Event registration is $20, which includes Museum admission for all vehicle occupants. If you would like to come and see the show, spectator admission is included in regular Museum admission.

Pre-register through oursecure online registration to reserve your spot!

Or contact - EAA AirVenture Museum, 3000 Poberezny, Oshkosh, WI 54902 :: 920-426-4800

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

New extras available on collector car policies from American Modern Insurance

New 2008 Collector Car program options available.

Unused miles rollover into the next policy term from the annual mileage plan. Miles do not expire.

24x7 National Roadside Assistance option increases towing coverage, and adds lock out, flat tire, fuel service and more.

The Safety Glass option waives the deductible for replacing a windshield if there is no other damage.

Add extra Spare Parts coverage up to $10,000

“Nine to Five” option allows driving to work up to twice a week.

Not available in all states. Call for details.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Hot rodding has always been about passion.

Reprinted with permission from SEMA. Written by Jim Spoonhower, Vice President of Research

It all goes back to the earliest days of the industry when passionate young men met on the dry lake beds to see who could make their car go the fastest. Just talk to any of the icons of hot rodding and you will hear the same story. They were driven to find ways to make their cars go faster, they were hugely competitive and they enjoyed being in the company of other hot rodders. The relationships were so strong that they thought nothing of helping each other out. Push a fellow competitor’s car, loan another hot rodder tools, give another guy parts—it was all part of what the hobby was about.

Here we are, 70 years later, and hot rodding may be more sophisticated, but at its foundation, it’s still basically the same. Granted, speed isn’t quite the strong factor it was, but as you look at hot rods today, they invariably have the right equipment to go fast, even if they never do. People gather here and there across the country to show off their cars, see what others have done with theirs and build relationships. These are people who will invest thousands of hours and tons of money to make their favorite car look just so.

The people involved are still passionate about their cars, so much so that in 2007 they spent $1.06 billion on products for them. It's a passion that has caused retail sales to increase more than 66% in the last 10 years.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Are owners required to comply with a Service Bulletin?

Does my aviation insurance policy require me to comply with a Service Bulletin?

I don't know of any language in a policy that requires the owner to comply with a service bulletin. The policies will have language about having an aircraft that is in "current airworthiness". That brings up the question, "What is required to make the plane airworthy?"

I personally think a SB is a recommendation and not required for Part 91 operations. I do think it is required for Part 135 operations. Also, I believe that if it is required by the manufacturer that you meet the SB then, I suppose, it would make it indirectly required.

But, don't take my word on it. I would ask your mechanic or the FSDO office in your area

Thursday, March 20, 2008

NMMA Action Alert:

Help Stop Federal Boat Permitting. Urge Your Senators to Cosponsor S. 2766, the Clean Boating Act of 2008
March 17, 2008

The Threat to Recreational Boating. Unless Congress acts soon, every recreational boater in the country will have to obtain a federal or state permit in order to operate their boat. This means yearly fees, bureaucratic red tape, confusing and potentially state-by-state regulations, citizen suits and $32,000 per day penalties for non-compliance. These permits would apply to deck run-off, bilge water, engine cooling water and any other water-based, operational discharge from a recreational boat.

The Environmental Protection Agency, due to a sweeping court order, is already writing this unprecedented new regulation on boaters.

The Clean Boating Act of 2008. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) have just introduced S. 2766, the Clean Boating Act of 2008. S. 2766 would fully and permanently restore a 35-year permit exemption for recreational boat incidental discharges, such as weather deck run-off and engine coolant water, and works to protect the health of the nation's waterways by pursuing whether or not reasonable and practicable best management practices need to be put into place for some incidental discharges. This important bill preserves recreational boating and the boating industry, taking a balanced approached that recognizes that pleasure boat discharges are completely different from land-based industrial facilities and commercial ships.

What You Can Do Today to Protect Boating. NMMA strongly urges all its members and all boating industry employees to contact their Senators and tell them to co-sponsor S. 2766, the Clean Boating Act of 2008. You can quickly and easily send a letter to your Senators by visiting www.boatblue.org. Once, there, simply type in your zip code and click send. This is the most significant threat facing the boating industry today, and we need your help to solve it. Take 5 minutes to tell Congress to support S. 2766.

Contact your Senators

Contact Mat Dunn (mdunn@nmma.org; 202-737-9760) or Dylan Jones (djones@nmma.org; 202-737-9776) so we can follow up with your Senators.

Should you fly before you buy a plane?

If you sent a deposit to the seller and you made the effort to inspect the aircraft, you should get to fly the aircraft. Don't let the seller tell you, "there is no need to fly aircraft, they all fly the same".

Never buy an aircraft without flying it first!

Do you buy clothing, shoes or cars without trying them out first? You should apply the same consumer logic to an aviation transaction. If you can return the aircraft after you buy it, then your risk is reduced if you buy it without inspecting and flying it. But you usually don't have that option.

Some reasons a seller may not want you to fly it first is; because it doesn't have insurance on it, something is not functioning properly (not airworthy), it is out of annual and/or the owner isn’t current or qualified to fly.

If the seller won’t let you fly it before you buy it, how do you know it will fly home? You may not be able to fly as Pilot in Command due to the seller’s insurance policy but that shouldn’t prohibit you from being in the right seat. Single place aircraft raise another issue; you can’t fly with the seller.

Before you send a deposit or set out to inspect the aircraft, you should ask about test flying the aircraft and be cautious if you can’t ride or fly before you buy.

Friday, March 14, 2008


Reprinted with permission from the SEMA Website. Even if you are not involved in the automotive industry, but just a car owner, you should check out the SEMA website. Look up whats happening in your state on the SEMA site.

Pro-Hobbyist Street Rod and Replica Vehicle Bill Moves in Iowa; House Vote to be Scheduled Soon.

A version of SEMA model legislation (H.F. 2452) that would create a vehicle registration classification for street rods and replica vehicles was approved by the Iowa House Transportation committee and will soon be brought to the floor of the House for a vote by all members.

Introduced by State Representative Jim Lykam (Jim.Lykam@legis.state.ia.us), H.F. 2452 defines a street rod as an altered vehicle manufactured before 1949 or a vehicle designed to resemble a vehicle manufactured before 1949. The bill defines a replica vehicle as a reproduction of an originally manufactured vehicle with the substitution or addition of parts to update the vehicle for purposes of safety, performance or reliability. The bill allows street rods and replica vehicles to be assigned a registration designation bearing the same model year that the body of the vehicle resembles.

We Urge You to Contact Members of the Iowa House Leadership (List Attached Below) Immediately to Request Their Support for H.F. 2452.

H.F. 2452 provides specific registration classes for street rods and replicas.

H.F. 2452 provides that a street rod or replica may display registration plates from the model year of the motor vehicle or the model year the vehicle is designed to resemble.

H.F. 2452 provides for a registration fee of $10.

H.F. 2452 provides that the owner of a street rod or replica vehicle shall self-certify that the vehicle is in compliance with certain equipment specifications.

Iowa House Leadership
Speaker of the House, Pat MurphyE-mail: Pat.Murphy@legis.state.ia.us

Speaker Pro Tem, Polly ButkaE-mail: Polly.Bukta@legis.state.ia.us
Home E-mail: mpbukta@mchsi.com

House Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthyE-mail: Kevin.McCarthy@legis.state.ia.us

Assistant Majority Leader, Lisa HeddensE-mail: Lisa.Heddens@legis.state.ia.us

Assistant Majority Leader, Helen MillerE-mail: Helen.Miller@legis.state.ia.us

Assistant Majority Leader, Mike ReasonerE-Mail: Mike.Reasoner@legis.state.ia.us

Assistant Majority Leader, John WhitakerE-mail: John.Whitaker@legis.state.ia.us

Please e-mail a copy of your letters to Steve McDonald at stevem@sema.org

Monday, March 10, 2008

Yes, Virginia there is affordable LSA’s.

Before I go on, let me get on my soapbox. The Sport plane category has opened the door for a lot of people to get back into flying. Especially the target market, pilots without medicals. But what about adding to the pilot starts? You know, bringing new people into the market and getting them interested in aviation. I think that’s one thing that has not been marketed to…yet.

When I was researching my book, Ultimate Boat Maintenance Project, I discovered that the National Marine Manufacturers Association estimated that there were over 70 million people participating in the recreational marine industry. 70 million! Wow, think about that number and the clout that market has. It should be a powerful force when it comes to water front access, regulations, etc. Yet, the marine industry is worried about losing market share.

Why do you suppose that is? Cost of participation? Cost of entry level boats, maintenance or training that is required? I don’t think so. It’s not any different than aviation. We are all in the same boat (no pun intended). Sure all those items are a factor for boats and planes.

But, I think “time” is a bigger problem. Today we are more involved in activities than ever before. Kids in multiple sports, families eating in their cars, or even shopping online.

Technology has made it easier to do many things at once and technology has removed the need for the “real” experience. Why spend the money to actually take up flying when I can do more on a simulator. The average person can “virtually” take up any sport or activity through computer, video games and reality shows. Why are reality shows so popular? The public can vicariously participate without spending time actually doing the activity.

When the Sport plane market started I believed it was going to be a great entry level way for people to get into flying. The training requirements were almost the same as driver’s education requirements. Cost of the planes should be reasonable and maintenance could be performed by the owner like owning a boat or car. All of that was, and let me point out, is well and good, except we don’t see it.

The general public has not been the target market. The ads, the promotion and the marketing emphasis have been to existing pilots without medicals; it’s the old “preaching to the choir” problem. People in aviation, like aviation and want to stay in aviation. On a side note, Cirrus and a few other manufacturers have seen the new market, they advertise in magazines other than aviation magazines.

Until the aviation marketing guru’s put the sport plane into the general public market, they will not be seeing the increases necessary to maintain the industry. The Sport Plane category can compete with personal watercraft, boats, motorcycles and travel trailers. Most of the people that I have met participate in more than one industry. They have boats, cars AND snowmobiles. Adding a Sport plane can actually enhance their other activities.

I know what you are going to say, it is the cost of the plane. The feeling is that even though the market might be there, the cost to get in is too high. Sport planes cost close to $100,000. If you don’t buy a high priced new one, then your only option is to look for an old (I mean really old) antique plane that would fit the category. Not necessarily true.

There are more affordable sport planes. There are new and used sport planes that cost less than $100,000. In fact, there are many that can be bought for less than $60,000. If you are willing to put a little elbow grease into the building process, you can be in the lane at less than $30,000. Still too much?

You know our problem, the Cessna 150 spoiled many of us. You could buy used Cessna a150’s for $5,000, to $20,000. There are thousands of used ones available. They are the perfect plane for most people, except that they don’t meet the sport plane category criteria. Yes, it is a shame the Cessna 150 wasn’t approved for the sport category, but it wasn’t. So we have no choice but to look elsewhere.

So what else is there?

There are old planes like Champs, J3 Cubs and the Aircoupe. There are a lot of planes that can be built or bought that meet the sport category and many of them are tri-cycle gear.

I won’t got through a huge list but let me mention a few aircraft that come to mind. The Zenith 601 and 701 are basic straight forward aircraft. They are very comfortable and easy to fly. I really like the 701; it has all the short field performance of a helicopter. Okay, so not quite a helicopter, but what a fun off road airplane.

The Sonex and Rans aircraft are nice efficient, two seat planes that can be bought used, or built for a reasonable cost. But that’s not all, start watching for the older Kitfox and Avid Flyers. Check out the Pober Pixie and the “Ragwing” Pitts. I have customers that are building planes that are going to be in the LSA category although they were not originally designed as an LSA, in this case the EAA Biplane and the KR2S.

Just to makes sure planes like these were available, I research a number different models that were for sale. In a quick search I located a Sonex tri gear for $40,000 and an Avid Flyer for $10,500. Oh and I forgot a couple of older heavy ultra lights for less than $10,000. Also, don’t forget weight shift trikes and Para-planes!

Really want to see what’s available?

Make plans to attend Sun “n Fun in April. Sun ‘n Fun is always the season’s big kickoff show. The location in Florida is great, the atmosphere is relaxed and the assortment of planes is huge. This the second largest sport aviation show. Second only to Oshkosh! Attend Sun ‘n Fun and find your next plane so that you can fly to Oshkosh later in the summer. (And I hear the USAF Thunderbirds will be performing at Sun ‘n Fun!)

Remember, reasonable price is in the “eye of the beholder”. The range can be from $5,000 to $105,000. That’s something the buyer has to decide. These alternate planes will not be in the production numbers of the Cessna, but they are available. With a little patience you should be able to find a used aircraft that fits the LSA category and your pocketbook.