Sporty’s Eastern Cincinnati Aviation trains pilots in Batavia, Ohio, the headquarters of Sporty’s Pilot Shop where you can browse a sizeable selection of aviation apparel, gear, and just about anything on an aviator’s wish list. Now, they’ll even do the flying for you.
Sporty’s Air Charter launched with a Cessna 182 Skylane based at Clermont County Airport, home to the iconic retailer’s airport campus. The four seater is available with pilot (one of the Sporty’s Academy instructors) for about $2 per mile. A list of sample trips includes options for various Cincinnati-and-elsewhere city pairs, though the staff will cheerfully plan just about any flight you’d like to take in a Skylane.
“A 182 may not be the first airplane that pops into your mind for charter, but the Skylane allows access to a variety of airports often closer and more convenient than airline alternatives or even traditional charter aircraft,” Sporty’s Air Charter Director of Operations Eric Radtke (who is also the president and chief operating officer of Sporty’s Academy) noted in a news release. “It also offers flexibility for multiple destinations in a single day. The Skylane’s environment allows passengers to remain productive or rest and recoup the most valuable of all resources—time.”
Radtke said in a follow-up email to AOPA that customers have inquired about air charter availability in growing numbers, which the Sporty’s team attributes to an improving economy, “and more people placing higher values on their precious time.”
Radtke wrote that expanding the air charter fleet beyond the lone piston single will depend on utilization, and “time will tell” if there is demand for more Skylanes, or for other aircraft. Existing staff will fly the charter flights to start with, giving Sporty’s instructors experience beyond the daily routine of flight school activity. Radtke added that charter was a natural progression for a company involved in virtually all other aspects of general aviation, including airport management; maintenance, repair, and installations; aircraft management; flight training; concierge services; and, of course, retail.
“At this time, while we believe the demand exists, we are still learning how the charter activity will develop and to your point of staying with the core business, we do know light aircraft and believe a compelling story exists to make use of light GA aircraft, and take advantage of the vast network of general aviation facilities in communities across the Midwest not served by airlines and maybe not even served with what would be viewed as more traditional charter aircraft,” Radtke wrote.
Perhaps even pilots will find appeal in the prospect of flying GA without having to plan the flight, fly it, or tie down. Sporty’s will find out soon.