Safety Publications/Articles

Packaging's potential

The benefits of bundling your services

Training trends

June 2005

Student pilot certificates are the number of student pilot certificate applications processed during the month of June, and includes renewals as well as original issuances. Airline pilot hiring is all professional pilot hiring during June as reported by aviation career consulting firm AIR, Inc. and includes major, national, and regional airlines as well as fractional operators.

Student pilot certificates Airline pilot hiring
I love to meet long-time CFIs who still enjoy--and profit from--instructing. One such is Greg Koontz.

There's a good chance you have heard of Greg, or even seen him fly. He flies airshows around the country in his silver Decathalon, and he does a "Crazy Cub" routine that will scare you to death and make you laugh at the same time.

Greg, with his wife and high school sweetheart Cora, operates Greg Koontz Airshows, based at their private airstrip in Ashville, Alabama. I met them there when I was acting as onscreen narrator for six safety DVDs produced by Florida Film and Tape for the FAA initiative called "Safer Skies." Director Brad Fuller flew his Piper Saratoga to the Koontzs' airstrip for the video about aircraft upset recovery.

You see, Greg also operates a flight school of note, and one of his areas of expertise is teaching upset recovery. He and Cora operate a bed and breakfast for students right there on the field, and it really is a beautiful place. Greg offers flight-training packages for spin training and aerobatics in addition to upset recovery.

Here is one pilot who lives the dream. He has a beautiful home on his own airstrip. He gets paid to fly airshows in two airplanes that he loves, and he teaches the kind of flying that he loves. Folks, as we say down South, it just don't get no better than that!

As an instructor, Greg specializes. He teaches those areas of flight wherein he has the expertise to charge enough to earn good money instructing. There's not a whole lot of expert competition in the field of upset recovery, spin training, and aerobatics, so Greg can charge a fair price.

And, Greg sells packages. There are so many business advantages to selling a package that we cannot begin to list them all here. In the first place, it is safer. Greg has been at this long enough to know what the student needs, and that's what he offers. Packages draw the better students, instead of the ones who want to haggle over every dime. When packages are presold, students don't drop out or delay lessons because money is tight this week.

Funny thing about selling packages--it works well at all levels of instruction. I have seen it work for solo courses through ATP. Look in any aviation magazine and you will see some of the older and more successful schools offering training packages for just about any rating imaginable. Seaplane, multiengine, instrument--you name it and someone is successfully selling the package.

People like to buy packages. They like to know exactly what they need to learn, what they need to do to learn it, and what books and supplies they need to buy. They come in with all of those questions and worries, and packages provide all of the answers. They walk into the flight school confused, and they leave with a student kit and a track to run on.

Greg Koontz can teach us a lot about selling packages. He can also teach us that instructing can be a rewarding part of an aviation career, no matter how high you climb in other areas of aviation.

Ralph Hood, an aviation speaker and writer, has been flying since 1971 and has amassed more than 3,000 hours of flight time. He is a multiengine commercial pilot with an instrument rating. Visit his Web site.

By Ralph Hood

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