2014 Expo

If you're interested in all things Sport Pilot/Light Sport Aircraft, this is the place to be every January! Mark your calendars. http://www.sport-aviation-expo.com

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Nomore767
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Re: 2014 Expo

Postby Nomore767 » Mon Dec 16, 2013 4:56 pm

drseti wrote:
Nomore767 wrote:BTW…I think it's a bit steep having to 'pay' for the demo! Seriously?


Not sure I agree with you, Howard. These are mostly small companies operating with little to no margin. If they give free joyrides to everyone who wants one, how long will they stay in business? By charging the actual operating costs, they're reducing the burden to a manageable scale, and ensuring that the folks flying are actually prospective customers. And, most companies do credit the demo ride costs toward the purchase price.

BTW, in past years, the RV-12 rides were all given by Mitch, in his own aircraft, at his own expense (he's not a Vans employee). Why shouldn't he be reimbursed operating costs for providing this service?


Sorry Paul, I disagree. It's a business, they want you to buy, and you want to taste the goods. For 30mins @ 5pgh what's the cost? $10-15? I've heard Mitch is a nice guy and an advocate for Vans.
If companies' margins are so slim they need to cover the gas for a demo at a sales Expo then maybe they've got more serious financial issues? Getting a credit for the demo discounted from the purchase price is minuscule when the cost to the customer is $125k.

Not sure if Mitch's airplane will be the one used as Vans have said they're flying an SLSA to the show and have asked those interested to specify a color, from the new range, plus they plan a stop in TX and are looking for those interested to meet them there, on the way to Sebring. I look forward to talking with Mitch though.

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Re: 2014 Expo

Postby drseti » Mon Dec 16, 2013 5:22 pm

Nomore767 wrote: For 30mins @ 5pgh what's the cost? $10-15? .


Well, that's the cost for the fuel. As every airplane owner knows, then there's the other 80% of actual operating costs. Every half-hour flight brings you 1% closer to that next $100 oil change, 1/2% closer to that next $850 hundred-hour inspection, some small but unknown percentage closer to that next expensive mandatory service bulletin, and 0.025% closer to that next $20,000 engine replacement. Yes, these are small fractions, but they still add up to the half-hour flight costing $50 out of pocket, in real dollars.

Now, if the people getting the demo rides were actually pilots, or pilot wannabes, then they might constitute potential customers. But I've seen, dozens of times at various airshows, folks lined up 100 deep, who have no prospects of ever becoming a pilot, let alone a potential customer. What they mostly want is to get that $60 discovery flight for free. And, then they go from one dealer's booth to the next, to get another free ride. It's Disneyland with unlimited free E- tickets, and doesn't provide the aircraft dealer with a single sales lead.

There has to be a way to ensure that the people you're giving rides to are actual potential customers. If charging the actual $50 operating cost isn't the way, what is? And if a person isn't willing to pay $50 for a half-hour of stick time in a brand new plane, is he or she ever likely to buy a $100,000 airplane? Flying is fun, but business is business.

Here's one approach. Ask demo drivers to show a pilot's license. If they don't have at least a student certificate, ask them to come back when they do. Otherwise, you'll be subsidizing a lot of joyriding.
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Re: 2014 Expo

Postby drseti » Mon Dec 16, 2013 5:28 pm

Nomore767 wrote: Not sure if Mitch's airplane will be the one used as Vans have said they're flying an SLSA to the show


Then probably not this year, but for many years in the past Mitch gave demos in his personal plane, with no reimbursement from Vans, because he believes in the product line. Surely, you can't object to him getting reimbursed for operating costs by the folks he's giving the rides to?
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
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Jack Tyler
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Re: 2014 Expo

Postby Jack Tyler » Mon Dec 16, 2013 5:34 pm

Depends on what they are charging, Howard & Paul.

After hearing this constant chatter about 5 gals/hr for the Rotax - and remembering my RV-12 flight was about 30 mins, block to block - a small fee might be very understandable. But let's be clear: Mitch is not there as a volunteer. When he exhibits, he is compensated for his costs and I believe for his time. He is the East Coast Regional Rep (or some similar lingo) and I doubt his fuel costs come out of his own pocket, from the time his hangar door slides open in St. Mary's City until it closes again.

What's the fee, Howard?

IMO the best single reason to charge a small fee for the demo ride is that demo rides are unavoidably limited in number but some who seek them are serious LSA shoppers. Someone might not even be certain that a given model is desirable until AFTER a demo ride. Whatever the exhibitors can do to a) screen out the 'I haven't flown that one yet' crowd and b) offer a ride to those who are serious enough that it's worth a reasonable fee is - IMO at least - contributing to a successful Expo.

Vans spends massively to exhibit at Oshkosh, and their presence at Sun 'n Fun is bountiful, also not cheap. They are a GA success story, and deservedly so. Please spare me the 'they need $15 for each flight' speech. What's probably happeninghere is that they have decided to exhibit as an S-LSA and are working off a profit/loss spreadsheet for their (very limited) S-LSA sales budget. In a pure and righteous world, a builder should be told by Mitch that - if considering an E-LSA RV-12 build - his/her ride is free. But Howard, it's probably worth what they are charging. <g>
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Flocker
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Re: 2014 Expo

Postby Flocker » Mon Dec 16, 2013 6:06 pm

Great discussion on demo ride fees. While I completely understand the need to cover OPEX, I've taken 2 demo rides, in new planes, locally within the past 6 months and neither charged me a fee...

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Re: 2014 Expo

Postby drseti » Mon Dec 16, 2013 6:10 pm

Glad to hear that, Flocker. I suspect there's a world of difference between one pilot walking into a dealer's facility and asking for a demo, and hundreds of people lining up at a booth at an airshow and wanting rides.
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Nomore767
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Re: 2014 Expo

Postby Nomore767 » Mon Dec 16, 2013 6:15 pm

Here's the thing….my contact with Vans has come through their marketing department and because I've already expressed some interest in their SLSA. THEY contacted ME via my e-mail, so we've already established that I'm not part of the '100 in line for a joy-ride' at the show.
If they don't want to offer 'joy-rides' then don't. Schedule demos as they have with me. Then there isn't a line of hopefuls at their booth.

If they want to sit down with me at the Expo and discuss purchasing an airplane with me and at the end offer a complimentary 30 minute demo then I'm okay with that. If they know that they have a limited number of demo slots then the cost of that would/should have been included in their costs for doing the show. Vans have a demo SLSA scheduled which, if later sold, will have depreciated and be listed at a less than new price. Part of the cost of doing business.
As a potential customer I may have already flown in one for a ride as a passenger , or even flown one as a pilot. If not then the demo means a bit more to me. Even so, I know Mitch did the t/o and landing and the flying near the show airport in his demos , so how much 'flying' do you get in 30 mins anyway ?

Hey I'll pay the 'fee' but when my brother-in-law came over from the UK last summer he wanted to drive a Dodge Challenger big time. He was amazed that the local dealer not only let him do a test drive but it lasted nearly an hour and we blasted down I-77 at 80+ !! Awesome. The cost? $0.
As much as they tried to sell it to him, and I encouraged them (so I could keep it at my house and do the odd run to circulate the oil you understand :) )…..he didn't buy it. Cost of doing business, if you're IN business.

Cheers, Howard
Last edited by Nomore767 on Mon Dec 16, 2013 6:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 2014 Expo

Postby drseti » Mon Dec 16, 2013 6:23 pm

The Dodge Charger makes for an interesting analogy, Howard, but may not be apt. I'm sure Chrysler dealers are well subsidized by the factory for providing demos of their products. How many LSA manufacturers subsidize their dealers? Precious few, I would imagine. And, how many Chargers are manufactured and sold in a year? I suspect the number is somewhat greater than 12. So, economies of scale come into play here.

As for Vans, you represent to them a real sales opportunity, not a tire-kicker. So, I really do hope they see the value of giving yo a free demo ride! :) Please recognize that the purpose of a fee is not the money, so much as a way of vetting their prospects.
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
Prof H Paul Shuch
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Re: 2014 Expo

Postby drseti » Mon Dec 16, 2013 6:34 pm

BTW, Howard, I had a similarly exhilarating experience in Germany about ten years ago. I got a demo ride in a Smart Brabus roadster, on one of those German motorways with no speed limit. You don't even want to know how fast they go!

And, no, the dealer didn't charge me. But they did take a photocopy of my European driver's license, and made me provide proof of insurance. :wink:
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
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Nomore767
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Re: 2014 Expo

Postby Nomore767 » Mon Dec 16, 2013 6:37 pm

drseti wrote:The Dodge Charger makes for an interesting analogy, Howard, but may not be apt. I'm sure Chrysler dealers are well subsidized by the factory for providing demos of their products. How many LSA manufacturers subsidize their dealers? Precious few, I would imagine. And, how many Chargers are manufactured and sold in a year? I suspect the number is somewhat greater than 12. So, economies of scale come into play here.

As for Vans, you represent to them a real sales opportunity, not a tire-kicker. So, I really do hope they see the value of giving yo a free demo ride! :) Please recognize that the purpose of a fee is not the money, so much as a way of vetting their prospects.


Paul,

As I said, the path I've been down with Vans IS as a potential customer. As such I've already been vetted, as opposed to swarming the booth and asking for a ride at the show? Why even consider a line of potential joy-riders?

The size comparison between Chrysler and Vans is vast, but the principle is the same. Try and they 'may' buy.
I just don't believe that Vans is seriously in such financial peril that even if they can afford to fly a demo model from WA to FLA that just can't offer a small number of demo flights to potential buyers, unless they charge for it.

That's my opinion and I will ask them about it when I get there! :)

I wonder if I can get a demo on the Challenger all the way to Sebring……….it could work!!

Cheers, Howard

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Re: 2014 Expo

Postby Nomore767 » Mon Dec 16, 2013 6:39 pm

drseti wrote:BTW, Howard, I had a similarly exhilarating experience in Germany about ten years ago. I got a demo ride in a Smart Brabus roadster, on one of those German motorways with no speed limit. You don't even want to know how fast they go!

And, no, the dealer didn't charge me. But they did take a photocopy of my European driver's license, and made me provide proof of insurance. :wink:


And many parts of Europe have traffic cameras EVERYWHERE! If you see the flash you've already been caught and the fine comes in the mail, along with a copy of the camera photo!! No margin over the limit either!!

Paul..you may have just gotten away with it!!

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Re: 2014 Expo

Postby drseti » Mon Dec 16, 2013 6:48 pm

Oops -- my mistake. You said Challenger, and I replied with Charger. That's a Dodge of a different colour! :wink:

<Thread drift>Which reminds me - Howard, as a Brit, you may appreciate this. At a literary con, I once shared an autograph table with Terry Pratchett. (He had a long queue and a large stack of his books. I had a somewhat shorter queue and a much smaller stack of my own.). I had come prepared, bringing along my personal copy of "The Color of Magic" (US edition). Terry kindly autographed it for me, but also used his Sharpie to correct the spelling on the cover. </thread drift>
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
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Nomore767
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Re: 2014 Expo

Postby Nomore767 » Mon Dec 16, 2013 8:02 pm

I got a reply from Vans…there is NO fee for the RV12 SLSA demo flight.

I also had a reply from Darin Hart of Legend Aircraft. They'll have a new Super Legend Cub on floats, and an AL3 Cub (open cowl) on wheels.
Show up at their booth and they can schedule a demo in the morning or after the show. Don't know if there's a fee.


Flocker…are you interested in any particular types at Sebring and do you have a short list of possible buys?

For me I'd like to see the RV12, Bristell, Tecnam P2008, Sky Arrow, Sting and Legend Cub.

I'll also stop by the Lockwood booth and talk to the renowned Rotax gurus.

Cheers, Howard.
Last edited by Nomore767 on Mon Dec 16, 2013 8:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 2014 Expo

Postby drseti » Mon Dec 16, 2013 8:08 pm

Nomore767 wrote:I got a reply from Vans…there is NO fee for the RV12 SLSA demo flight.


That's great news, Howard! Maybe I should sign up for a ride... :wink:

Actually, if I were in a position to add another plane to my flight line, and were buying new, I'd have to seriously consider the RV-12.
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
Prof H Paul Shuch
PhD CFII DPE LSRM-A/GL/WS/PPC iRMT
AvSport LLC, KLHV
fly@AvSport.org
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Nomore767
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Re: 2014 Expo

Postby Nomore767 » Mon Dec 16, 2013 8:23 pm

drseti wrote:
Nomore767 wrote:I got a reply from Vans…there is NO fee for the RV12 SLSA demo flight.


That's great news, Howard! Maybe I should sign up for a ride... :wink:

Actually, if I were in a position to add another plane to my flight line, and were buying new, I'd have to seriously consider the RV-12.



Of the initial batch of 12 SLSA 2 went to a flight school which reports that they're flying often and are very popular.
So Paul, can you expand upon your comment regarding adding one to your flight school? Would you prefer one over say another Sport Star?

Comparing the RV12 to some of the Euro composite imports ( Sling, Sting, CTLS, Remos GX ), which I have to say 'look' slicker and smoother than the (can I say) 'kit-like' RV12, but also cost a whole lot more, what features and attributes do you like which would make you want to add one to your flight school ? Over, say another type?


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