August 28, 2013
By Jim Moore
Yes, you will be able to fill up on avgas at Redbird Skyport in San Marcos, Texas, for $1 a gallon in October. No, it is not a stunt, nor a loss leader. Several prominent aviation firms, along with local municipal officials, have banded together to gather data on general aviation flying habits, and hope to determine how fuel prices affect them.
Timed to coincide with AOPA Aviation Summit Oct. 10-12 in Fort Worth, Texas, and the Migration Flight Training Conference being held Oct. 28-30 at Redbird Skyport, the experiment will require customers to participate in a survey, with possible follow-up surveys of flying habits.
“When the month is up, we expect to have fresh insight into how fuel price really factors into the many forces affecting how often GA pilots fly,” said Redbird spokesman Jeff Van West in a news release.
There is one other string attached: customers seeking $1 avgas must fly in for the deal, not drive (or walk) in with empty cans in hand.
Several firms are collaborating to sponsor the experiment, including Aspen Avionics, Avemco Insurance, Bad Elf, Bendix King, Brown Aviation Leasing, the Experimental Aircraft Association, ForeFlight, Garmin, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Hartzell, Jeppesen, King Schools, Phillips 66, Piper Aircraft, and Sennheiser, according to the news release. The city of San Marcos and various local businesses are also contributing “significant support,” according to the news release, “underscoring how savvy municipalities understand the economic impact of aviation.”
Redbird Skyport was charging $6.09 for a gallon of avgas on Aug. 28, according to the FBO website, and Redbird expects the October deal will draw significant participation.
The key question will be, how much does the deal stimulate flying activity? By tracking pilot activity during and after the October fuel deal, organizers hope to better understand the role of fuel prices, and learn if other factors are prompting pilots to limit their seat time.
AOPA Online Associate Editor Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot who enjoys competition aerobatics.
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