All Aviation Articles By Ray

Landmark Aviation Completes Acquisition of Ross Aviation

Image Courtesy Landmark Aviation

(Houston, TX – August 1, 2014) Landmark Aviation has completed the acquisition of Ross Aviation, a network of fixed based operations located throughout the United States.

Headquartered in Denver, Colorado, Ross Aviation operates in major cities and resort destinations within the U.S., including Denver (BJC), Santa Fe (SAF), Miami (OPF), and six locations in Hawaii. The acquisition has increased the size of Landmark’s network from 57 to 75 locations globally.

"We are very excited to welcome these 18 locations into our network," stated President and CEO Dan Bucaro. "They are geographically a good fit with their strength in the west and Hawaii. We also look forward to building strong relationships with the various airport authorities and being active in each of those communities."

The Ross locations will begin operating under the Landmark Aviation brand immediately.

About Landmark Aviation

Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Landmark Aviation operates a network of fixed base operations located throughout the U.S., and in Canada and Western Europe. The Company offers a wide range of services, including FBO, MRO, charter and management. Landmark is a portfolio company of The Carlyle Group. For more information, visit www.landmarkaviation.com.

About The Carlyle Group

The Carlyle Group (NASDAQ: CG) is a global alternative asset manager with over $199 billion of assets under management. Carlyle's purpose is to invest wisely and create value. Carlyle invests across four segments – Corporate Private Equity, Real Assets, Global Market Strategies and Fund of Funds Solutions – in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, North America and South America. Carlyle has expertise in various industries, including: aerospace, defense & government services, consumer & retail, energy, financial services, healthcare, industrial, technology & business services, telecommunications & media and transportation. The Carlyle Group employs 1,600 people in 38 offices across six continents.

Mayday, Mayday, Mayday! - the Origin of a Distress Call

In honor of May Day (May 1st, a holiday associated with the beginning of spring and the labor movement in many counties), I thought I’d take a moment to explore how the same word came to mean HELP in aviation!

The term Mayday is used internationally as a distress signal in voice procedure radio communications. It derives from the French venez m'aider, meaning "come help me". It is used to signal a life-threatening emergency by many groups, such as police forces, pilots, firefighters, and transportation organizations. The call is always given three times in a row ("Mayday Mayday Mayday") to prevent mistaking it for some similar-sounding phrase under noisy conditions, and to distinguish an actual Mayday call from a message about a Mayday call.

The Mayday procedure word originated in 1923 by Frederick Stanley Mockford (1897–1962). A senior radio officer at Croydon Airport in London, Mockford was asked to think of a word that would indicate distress and would easily be understood by all pilots and ground staff in an emergency. Since much of the traffic at the time was between Croydon and Le Bourget Airport in Paris, he proposed the word "Mayday" from the French m’aider.

Before the voice call "Mayday", SOS was the Morse code equivalent of the Mayday call. In 1927, the International Radiotelegraph Convention of Washington adopted the voice call Mayday in place of the SOS Morse Code call.

Other emergency calls include "Pan-Pan" (from the French: panne – a breakdown), or simply "declaring an emergency" – although the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) recommends using the two terms above to prevent confusion and errors in aircraft handling. The use of these terms without proper cause could render the user liable to civil and/or criminal charges.

Now to come full circle, I leave you with a related scene from one of your favorite aviation films.

Got Gas? Tell the World!

When scanning the airports on GlobalAir.com’s Airport Resource Center, you may notice that some FBOs are promoted at both the top and bottom of the website. Why is that? Read on!

Is your FBO taking advantage of websites that promote your services and fuel prices? It should be! Not only is this a (virtually) free medium to let pilots know who you are and where you are, but it lets everyone know your personality and puts a human face on your company. And if you’ve been in the aviation business for a while, you know the value of being known personally.

The great news – you don’t have to dump a lot of your valuable time into self-promotion online to get something out of it. Many of the services available you can spend as little as 5 minutes a MONTH to make work for you! Do remember that the more you put into anything, the more you get out of it – but in the fast-paced online world, having NO presence is a bigger crime than having a minimal presence. Think back 20 years and imagine not being listed in the phone book, and the impact that would have had on your company!

Possibly the easiest thing you can start doing to increase attention for your FBO is to frequently update your fuel prices online. I’ve heard too many times, "My fuel prices rarely change, so why bother?" Simple answer – pilots don’t know that! If they see that it’s been three months since you last updated your prices, they are going to assume that you don’t care enough to inform them long before they assume that the price is unchanged – are you sure you want to give that impression?

Every FBO that sells fuel should have their own page on GlobalAir.com that only they are allowed to update – and freely promote their facility. Make sure that all your information is accurate by going to this link, typing in your identifier code, then clicking on the link to your FBO to view how the world sees it. If there’s a lot of missing information, that’s easily remedied by logging in and adding what is missing.

Many points of interest can be added include which credit cards you accept, if you have courtesy cars or access to rental cars on site, what (if any) ramp fees you have, direct access to your website, and an interactive Google map to your location, and much more. Here is a great example of an FBO taking advantage of many of these free services.

Ok, let’s say you’re been around the block for a while now, and you’re ready to invest in the image of your FBO. Or you’ve taken the time to talk with your fuel provider and fuel card services to discover that they will reimburse you for some advertising you do (you HAVE done that, haven’t you?). Time to step up your presence by adding your logo, some photos of that facility you just upgraded, all the featured services and cards accepted and more – maybe even have your logo on the airport page itself! Here’s an example of an FBO that is going the extra mile to showcase everything they have to offer.

Finally, don’t forget to let all your friends know about your FBO using social media. While you can copy and paste links to your page, many sites like GlobalAir.com make it easy by including quick links to all the popular social media sites – just take a quick look around the page. You can’t get any simpler than this to let the world know where they can find the gas (and more) they are seeking!

Ready to show off your favorite FBO on social media sites? You will find quick links to do so on the bottom of the page!

The Race is On – Where Do You Play the Ponies?

Image Courtesy Oaklawn Racing and Gaming

Now that Spring has officially sprung, everyone that has a set of wings that they’re pulling out of their T-hangers and taking to the skies. And sure, there are a ton of aviation related events on our calendar, but what about other events. As our office is located in Louisville, Kentucky, and I personally live about a mile from Churchill Downs, one type of event that comes to my mind that comes to mind is horse racing. For my money, you’re not going to find a more exciting gambling venue than being trackside, right up near the action as the thoroughbreds thunder by!

Here is a list of some of the venues to which you may consider flying to experience the thrill of horseracing – airports that are close enough to the track that it’s worthwhile to land there:

Memorial Field Airport (HOT) – If you’re itching to start right away, fly into Hot Springs to hit up Oaklawn Racing. Better hurry though – racing ends halfway thru April!

Bowman Field (LOU) – As I mentioned, we’re not that far from Churchill Downs, and "the Greatest Two Minutes in Sports" known as the Kentucky Derby. This is the 140th year of the Run for the Roses, the first leg of the Triple Crown, and the biggest party you’ll ever find for a horse race. Festivities kick off with Thunder Over Louisville on April 12 with a huge airshow (featuring the Blue Angels this year) and the world’s largest fireworks demonstration.

Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshal Airport (BWI) – The second leg of the Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes, is rife with tradition of its own. Events leading up to the Stakes on May 17 include Sunrise at Old Hilltop, the Alibi Breakfast, and a Jockey autograph session. A flight to Pimlico may be in order!

Belmont Stakes on June 7. The day will feature a $1 Million Guaranteed All Graded Stakes Pick 6 and a $1 Million Guaranteed All Graded Stakes Pick 4. That’s a lot of $100 hamburgers!

There are obviously many more, and you can find many more of them at this link. If you want to win, place or show, these are all winning places to show up!

Selling Your Aircraft? Get More Inquiries

FSBO

The other day, a gentleman selling Cessna 172 called our office. It seems that the first time he placed the aircraft on our site, he got several inquiries from potential buyers. A couple of them even made offers. However, he held out for better offers since it was getting a lot of action. Maybe that was the right decision, maybe not. Regardless, after a couple of months the inquiries started to slow, and ultimately stop.

He wanted some advice on getting the response he was receiving initially. I figured that if he wanted these tips, several sellers out there could use this advice. I sat down and compared 25 aircraft that have received the most inquiries – not just views – to see what they have in common with each other. Here are a few of the things I found.


Photos, Photos, Photos!

Take a look at this Cessna 182. As you can see, there isn’t a lot of detail included – but there ten photos of the outside, the interior and the panel in the Image Gallery. "A picture is worth a thousand words" is an old adage for a reason – short of seeing the aircraft in person, nothing comes as close to putting potential buyers in cockpit like a series of clean, clear and bright photos. More photos also tells buyers that you have nothing to hide from them!


Summarize Thoroughly

Imagine you only have ten seconds to tell someone everything about your aircraft. Can you do it? You had better figure it out, because that is about the maximum length of time a person will look at text when they’re skimming. We live in the Age of Instant Access, so make sure you can attract buyers instantly.

Here’s a good example of a summary that’s making an impact – this 1978 Sundowner. They touch only on specific value-added items, plus appeal to the ease of taking this aircraft to the skies. Everything about this aircraft screams "turnkey and ready" – no wonder it has received over ten inquiries in three months!


Highlights

Speaking more towards the fast-paced society that we experience, sometimes you only have a few words to get out before that potential buyer moves on. The shiniest object in the room gets noticed first. This is where the Highlight tag (also known as Teaser Text) comes in handy.

Highlight Tags

When you drill down to a specific aircraft type, next to the photo on GlobalAir are a few words highlighted in red. Imagine this time that you only have two seconds to define the aircraft you have for sale. This should be a statement of value, such as "Only 130 hours SMOH" or "Price Reduced". Also effective are things that make your aircraft a rare find, such as "Totally Rebuilt" or "Millennium Edition". Even something as simple as "One Owner" or "Always Hangered" speaks to someone. The biggest crime here is leaving it blank, as you’ll be surrounded by aircraft that "speak louder" than yours.


Vote Early, Vote Often

While everything I’ve listed so far speaks to creating the most effective ad for your money, this tip speaks more to your continued involvement. The worst mistake you can do is believe your aircraft will "sell itself". It doesn’t matter if you have the most pristine, low-time and/or cheapest aircraft on the market – if you’re not actively pushing it, it will take longer to sell.

So how can you be more active in getting your plane in front of the passive buyers (the ones that wait for the right deal to present itself instead of going out to find it themselves)?

One of the easiest is with your social media pages. At the top of every page on GlobalAir.com you will see quick links to Facebook, Twitter and Google+ - log into your social media account, click on the link, and post your ad to your personal page, and encourage your friends to share it. You already do this when playing games or sharing funny cat photos – may as well use your friend network to spread the word!

Feeling aggressive? Another option is a broadcast GlobalAir sends twice a month called Plane Mail. Imagine your aircraft e-mailed to over 50,000 aviation professionals and enthusiasts at once! Even if they aren’t buying currently, they probably know someone that is. And it’s an astonishingly inexpensive approach!


So what is the ultimate takeaway from this list? It boils down to 1. Set your ad up right, and 2. Stay involved in promoting it. If you think that’s too much to do, be prepared to have that aircraft for a while the go-getters snag all your potential buyers.

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