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Should you brand your airplanes?Should you brand your airplanes?

Your flight school customers are looking for a positive experience, which starts in part with a positive image of your airplanes. Your company logo or business name on the tail or fuselage give the aircraft a professional image. It makes the statement that you are proud enough of your equipment to put your name on it. These are not just any airplanes—they belong to a very important flight school, one that you and instructors and students can be proud of.

It is all about image. When branded with your logo or business name, your airplanes appear to be part of a larger and more sophisticated flight training business. Even if you operate only one or two airplanes, you should brand them to demonstrate you are serious about your business image.

Not only will your airplanes stand out on your local ramp, but when they travel, people will take note that your company airplane is in town. The brand advertises that there is an active flight school at your airport. Your name on the airplane can be a conversation-starter for students and instructors.

Vinyl signage is not expensive, because there are a number of vendors competing for your business. The estimated cost is about $50 per airplane. You need to make sure the vinyl is applied straight and without bubbles. On some airplanes, the aft fuselage works better than the vertical stabilizer. The doors are another option, but the least favorable. Make sure your company’s telephone number or website is incorporated in your branding.

Vinyl signage on leased airplanes usually is not a problem. Explain to your leaseback clients that the branding is intended to increase the utilization of the airplane. You can also tell them that it is part of your company image and all your airplanes are branded. The company or individual leasing an airplane to you must agree to let you apply vinyl signage to the airplane. Your lease agreement should specify that the airplane will have a modest vinyl signage display of the flight school brand. The agreement also should specify that the vinyl signage will be removed when the lease is terminated. Vinyl signs are easily removed with a hair dryer or heat gun.

When your flight school’s name and contact information are on your airplanes, your pilots, instructors, and students need to act professionally. This needs to become the established culture of the flight school.

Most small flight school airplanes are not branded, and if you brand yours that will set you apart from all the airplanes and flight schools on the airport. Vinyl branding is not expensive. Branding your airplanes will improve the image of your business and create a positive sense of pride in your students and staff. A new corporate culture can be built around branding your airplanes, and it can be important to your business.

Author Ed Helmick has been a flight instructor since 1988. He formerly managed a flight school in Spanish Fork, Utah, as well as schools in Scottsdale, Arizona.

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