Primarily for general aviation discussion, but other aviation topics are also welcome.
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By MichaelP
Just musing about what I can do.
I’ve agreed to rent a place within easy distance to Branscombe, Dunkeswell, Watchford Farm, and Stalag Luft Exeter Airport.
What I could offer is pickup from these fields and trips to interesting places.
It might be a fun thing to do, providing a service to my fellow aviators, and it could help me pay my rent!

What do you think?
By TopCat
Potentially quite interested in this. I love Branscombe - we flew down and camped over night last August, but obviously there wasn't much to do other than walk down to the beach, eat, and come back.

Which was excellent, albeit pretty knackering on the walk back up as the weather was extremely warm. But it would be nice to be able to do a bit more.

What sort of thing do you have in mind? I don't really know Devon at all.
User avatar
By MichaelP
I bought a Honda CR-V to be able to move stuff... The little MX-5 is not a load carrier.

So the idea would be to take people to local tourist destinations, or even into Honiton or Exeter for shopping.

Lyme Regis is not far away, the Jurassic Coast for fossil finding...
The World’s your oyster so to speak, with the opportunities to do something.
In Canada when I obtained my CPL the school had two Aztecs and a Navajo, and so likewise I aimed to put these to use for tourism purposes, but alas the Canadian way of going bust meant the school losing these aeroplanes.
I have some experience doing this sort of thing for visitors.

Devon has many places to visit... Even a trip to the Dart Valley Railway should be practical.
I think that the flexibility to go anywhere with a lower cost and inconvenience than taxi rides, it is a service that could be a very good idea.
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User avatar
By MichaelP
@MichaelP care required not to be deemed an unlicensed taxi with potential to invalidate insurance. :wink:

Like all business ideas, first one must gauge the need, develop a plan, and then conform with the regulations.
Like my aeroplanes I aim to be fully insured if I run a business.
Between friends is one thing... It’s a bit like sharing costs when flying, I’ve done this many times, but never with people I have not known before except through a business permitted to do it.
Like taking people up for their first flights, and teaching them to loop the aeroplane... Give them a certificate saying that they have learned to loop, but not authorised to fly, done under the auspices of an OC, (AOC).
Taking football players on chisel charters is not my game!

I have a few friends who I am prepared to do this with before embarking on something more serious.
In Canada I took people to many places in the Vancouver area. Devon has more to offer than Vancouver believe it or not.

I think there’s a need. Having been to many airfields with nowhere to go...
I think of Le Touquet, and Honfleur. How nice it would be to arrive and have a fellow aviator take you for lunch in their locale.
Devon is well served by airfields, but it’s difficult to go anywhere when you arrive at them.
With “Staycations” this summer, you probably won’t want to be driving yourself down there, and then there’s the problem finding accommodation. Could be a turn off I suppose, but I think there’s still space away from the madding crowd with easy in and out in an aeroplane.

I might even consider obtaining a caravan reserved for aviation use...
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By Miscellaneous
MichaelP wrote:Between friends is one thing... It’s a bit like sharing costs when flying, I’ve done this many times, but never with people I have not known before except through a business permitted to do it.

I have a few friends who I am prepared to do this with before embarking on something more serious.

MichaelP wrote:It might be a fun thing to do, providing a service to my fellow aviators, and it could help me pay my rent!

I don't mean to pour cold water on your plans, however care is required even with friends.
User avatar
By Miscellaneous
MichaelP wrote:Let’s see if there’s a business case for doing this first.

I considered it here in the Highlands a number of years ago. Got as far as running the idea past a local hotel as a potential offering for guests and doing some beer mat number crunching.

There are numerous service providers offering bus tours around the sights tourists feel they must just tick the box for. I thought there had to be a demand for a more upmarket and personal service tailored to the requirements of the client. Visiting the less well known attractions and/or those that don't conveniently sit on a particular tourist route for efficient use of the vehicle. From asking a few questions and taking note my view is that there is a demand. However, I stopped my research before reaching any conclusion about the extent of the demand and how that relates to £££££ in any meaningful way.

Here's what put me off.

As interesting as I believe the 'job' would be I don't want to become committed and/or under pressure. It's easy to say well I'll just work what I want to, it's a great theory. In practice I don't believe that would have worked for me.

My initial thoughts were running something like a Range Rover, that was going to have a cost, that cost would have to be met before there was a surplus to call income. Likewise increased insurance costs, as well as marketing/advertising costs. That all results in working so many hours/trips/miles just to cover costs. The idea of working a couple of days a week seemed less practical.

Having an association with a hotel(s) would make it difficult (but not impossible) to pick and choose when to work. The nature if the beast is you have to work when the demand is there. How often the demand being there would coincide with when I wanted to work, well...

Then there is the personal difficulty in saying no to an enquiry that would pay handsomely.

The season coincides when I want to be free to fly/kayak/hill walk. I concluded there were going to be too many demands on my time to be able to meet the costs and turn a profit, not to mention being able to offer a proper service.

Of course each scenario will vary, it may well work for your personal circumstances in Devon. Particularly if you intend using an existing vehicle. :thumright: I'll be interested to here how you get on.

Best of luck. :thumright:
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By MichaelP
For many years now I have been mostly at the bidding of others, and so I am used to it.
The positive is that I stay busy and interested.

I continue to solve problems for people in aviation. Much of this is unpaid, or at best low profit, but at least it keeps my mind active.

Within this community I do not see assisting people in this way as being any different to people booking me for flight lessons, aircraft ferrying, or any of the other things that have required my time.
I see it as a small business, an interesting way to subsidise a life if there’s the right amount of demand.
If there’s excessive demand, then I’ll have to hire someone to help! I know that’s a complication, but then I’ve hired instructors to work for me in the past too.
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By Miscellaneous
@MichaelP I'm sure there will be a demand in Devon, whether the demand from pilots alone will be sufficient is another question. I wonder if they'll gladly pay you generously and gripe about Dunkeswell's £12 landing fee all the while? :wink:

A couple of years ago I was at a hotel bar buying a drink on an island off an island (we were there for my birthday) and got chatting to the fella sitting at the bar. He was a chauffeur to a mid/late 30s American couple and their young son. How they found that particular hotel, or what the attraction was I don't know. I don't recall how long he was with them, however it was for their whole trip around Scotland. It's not uncommon. Some folks have money to spend. Hopefully you help them with that in Devon. :thumright: