As you evaluate different fractional aircraft programs and consider acquiring a share of a private plane, be sure that your expectations match up with how the program can accommodate you. Throughout your process you can expect our team to help you:
- Understand your options
- Prioritize your needs & wants
- Learn how flying with us is easy
- Feel confident about operations and maintenance
- Have a clear sense of the cost components
UNDERSTAND YOUR OPTIONS
Whether you’re considering private aviation for leisure or business, choices today are virtually unlimited. You can charter, buy pre-paid flight time, co-own an aircraft, buy a fractional share and/or own an entire aircraft. You can also combine two or more of these options. No one approach is the best for everybody since there are often large differences in individual wants and needs. The investment, regardless of the type of acquisition, is significant. Our philosophy is to help prospective clients focus on their needs and goals to ensure their decision aligns well with their expectations.
Resources we consider to be helpful tools for research along the way include the following industry groups, publications, and online resources: the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA, www.nbaa.org), the Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association (AOPA, www.aopa.org), the Pilatus Owners & Pilots Association (POPA, www.pilatusowners.com), the National Air Transportation Association (NATA, www.nata.aero), Business Jet Traveler magazine (www.bjtonline.com), Aviation International News magazine (AIN, www.ainonline.com), the Forbes special aviation issues (www.forbesbusinessaviation.com), the Barron’s special aviation issue as well as analysts that follow our industry such as Brian Foley (Brian Foley Associates, www.brifo.com) and Richard Aboulafia (Teal Group, www.tealgroup.com).
Family member, friends and colleagues who fly privately can also be quite helpful in understanding which alternatives might serve your needs best. In fact, a significant percentage of PlaneSense® share owners bought their share(s) based on advice from existing PlaneSense share owners.
PRIORITIZE YOUR NEEDS AND WANTS
Considering a fractional share in a Pilatus PC-12 in the PlaneSense program is driven by the utility of the aircraft combined with the very personal service for which our program is known. We often find that our conversations with prospective buyers cover the following topics:
Specifics about your flying needs: Airports, distances, timing, seasons, annual usage, passengers, pets, luggage, and anything else that impacts the total experience
Specifics about the PC-12, our program and our company: Aircraft attributes, specific program share options (since the size of the share determines the number of annual occupied hours made available), competitive comparisons, flight operations and customer service, aircraft maintenance and safety
Visits to our headquarters in Portsmouth, NH: See the operation and get to know the staff who will service your plane as well as schedule and support all your flying needs. (Click here for where we're located)
Demo flights: Fly to a destination of your choosing to experience the features of the PlaneSense program. Prospective owners typically schedule a demo flight when they want the in-flight experience to help finalize their decision.
LEARN HOW FLYING WITH US IS EASY
This part is easy. You are guaranteed to fly in either the Pilatus PC-12 in which you own the share or one identical to yours with as little notice as 8 hours when your travel is within our Primary Operating Area (POA). On the few occasions when demand exceeds our supply of aircraft and crew, we engage pre-qualified supplemental service providers.
We do run into times during the year when usage is in very high demand. Using historical data, we identify specific days and times during these contractual peak periods and ask owners to have flexibility in their schedule so that we can fill all of our owners’ requests during those times. These Peak Days are posted in January of each year, and have historically occurred around Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day and Thanksgiving.
Although flights outside of the POA only happen on rare occasion, our agreement with owners lets them take advantage of this option while ensuring that we can consistently provide high-quality, responsive service to all of our owners. To make that possible, we require a minimum of 48 hours notice for flights to and/or from airports outside our POA and charge positioning fees related to the unoccupied flight time while the aircraft is outside the POA.
FEEL CONFIDENT ABOUT OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE
We are committed to providing you and your aircraft the highest level of service and quality through our flight crews, operations and maintenance teams.
All aircraft in the PlaneSense® fleet are maintained by Atlas Aircraft Center, a sister company of PlaneSense, Inc. and co-located in Portsmouth, NH. Atlas has been awarded the prestigious Pilatus Service Recognition Award and is a long-standing, repeat winner of the FAA Diamond Award for Excellence, the highest and most prestigious level of recognition for employers who are committed to aircraft maintenance training and safety excellence in the areas of initial and recurrent training.
All of our technicians attend Pilatus and Pratt & Whitney Canada factory schools and follow a rigorous required in-house training regimen.
Finally, all PlaneSense pilots regularly go through our FAA-approved training program. It has been developed fully in-house, utilizing knowledge gained from years of experience operating the largest fleet of PC-12s in the world. Our training meets, and in many cases exceeds, the requirements of the Federal Aviation Regulations Part 91, subpart K.
HAVE A CLEAR SENSE OF THE COST COMPONENTS
There are several financial components associated with the PlaneSense fractional program. Share owners sign five year contracts, during which the major recurring expenses are predictable.
Acquisition Cost relates to the size share/portion of the aircraft and number of flight hours that best meet your flying needs. Similar to most programs, a fractional share in the PlaneSense program is available in increments of a 1/16th share. Unlike others, however, we help you choose the right share size AND the best usage option so you can achieve the most cost-effective solution based on your flying needs.
Monthly Management Fee is a fixed monthly fee which a share owner pays for the service infrastructure that supports the PlaneSense® fractional program. The amount is directly proportional to the share size purchased and is paid regardless of their flying activity. Annual increases in this fee are restricted to the greater of a CPI-U increase or 3.5% over the term of the management agreement.
Hourly Rate Charge covers the average hourly operating cost of the PlaneSense fleet when the owner is on board the aircraft as well as a standard charge for positioning time. It always includes six minutes each for taxi at take-off and at landing. Share owners only pay the Hourly Rate Charge when they fly. Annual changes in this charge are restricted to CPI-U changes over the term of the management agreement.
Hourly Fuel Surcharge covers the difference in the overall average fuel price PlaneSense has negotiated at its Portsmouth base and the various airports to which it flies on behalf of its owners and a contractually designated $1.95 per gallon. We negotiate pricing aggressively on behalf of our owners and update the Hourly Fuel Surcharge on a monthly basis due to fluctuations in the price of fuel. This hourly surcharge applies to the occupied flight time regardless of whether the flight is inside or outside of our Primary Operating Area and to positioning flight time outside our Primary Operating Area.
High Cost Airport Charge. Airport landing, ramp and handling fees are covered in the Hourly Rate Charge, except for those fees charged at airports annually designated by PlaneSense, Inc. as High Cost Airports, and for which a $250 charge is assessed. Airports are designated as High Cost Airports if the fees charged at the PlaneSense preferred FBO exceeds $350. The list of High Cost Airports is updated annually and currently includes 21 airports such as LaGuardia, New York, NY (LGA), Washington Dulles International - Dulles, VA (IAD) and Miami International – Miami, FL (MIA).
Pass-throughs are expenses unique to a specific flight or situation (e.g. customs fees, and/or special catering charges) which we pass along without mark-up and which are not included in the Hourly Rate Charge.
Positioning Charge covers the average hourly operating costs of the PlaneSense program fleet for all positioning flight time outside our Primary Operating Area in support of an owner’s flight.
Our team will be glad to calculate a draft program cost scenario for you, demonstrating the contribution of each of these expenses to the total cost picture, as they better understand your specific situation and private flying needs.