In aviation’s early days, long-distance HF communications used wire antennas trailing behind the aircraft. Stored on a reel inside the fuselage, the 100- to 200-foot antenna was usually hand-cranked out and back in. Reeling in was important–to keep the antenna taut when trailing, its end carried a heavy lead weight, which became a lethal weapon if the antenna remained extended while landing.
Aviation International News » August 2003
Embraer’s Legacy is an impressive corporate version of the company’s venerable ERJ-135/145, some 700 of which are currently the workhorses of many regional airlines around the globe.
What is fractional ownership in Europe? Judging by the way the concept has morphed since it started to appear in the continent during the second half of the 1990s, the answer might well be “whatever sir or madam would like it to be today.”
The only really successful helicopter fractional operator is not in the U.S. as one would expect, but rather in South America–or, to be more precise, in one city in Brazil. That city is São Paulo, the financial capital of the wealthiest state of Brazil. With nearly 20 million people, São Paulo is the most populous metropolitan area in South America and, according to some census compilations, the fourth largest in the world.
Increasing size provides economies of scale for any business, but for fractional operators attaining “critical mass” in terms of fleet size and flight crews is essential to the model working at all. Profitability then depends on the details of pricing and cost control.
“What’s the difference between fractional helicopter operations and fractional business jet operations?” asked one fractional sales professional rhetorically. “Well, it’s like comparing a rare tropical orchid with dandelions. The orchid can grow and prosper in only a special and rather rare environment, while the dandelion sprouts up just about anywhere there’s sunlight and water.
As fractional ownership programs grew in size, complexity and number, considerable controversy within the aviation community arose as to their appropriate regulatory structure. The main question was whether they should be conducted under FAR Part 91 or, as in the case of on-demand charter operators, Part 135.
At first glance, the fractional industry, like the alien menace in a sci-fi thriller, appears to be morphing into a menagerie of hybrids. But in reality these hybrids are essentially sales and marketing programs of existing operations, both fractional and charter.
The concept of fractional ownership in the transportation industry is nearly half a millennium old. From the 1500s to the 1800s, it was common practice for owners of trade vessels to use fractional-ownership arrangements.
Executive Jet Aviation owner and CEO Richard Santulli brought the fractional-ownership concept to the business aviation community in the mid-1980s. Santulli created a program called NetJets, selling aircraft in shares ranging from 1/16ths to halves.