ALTF4
Topic Author
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FBO Operations / Usage

Thu Aug 11, 2011 3:18 pm

Currently at 22 hrs total time, working towards my private certificate. The only dual time I need left is two more hours of hood time and unusual attitudes (which will be done together). So, that leaves me 15+ hrs for solo cross country time before I get to the 40 hrs required TT. I'll be taking my written in a week or two (school rule to take and pass the written before doing any solo cross countries), then I plan on flying as much as I can in cross countries so I can count that towards instrument rating in the future.

So far my dual cross countries have been to small airports with a ramp and no FBO, or for my night cross country we parked on the ramp when the FBO was closed.

Naturally, I'll be visiting a lot of FBOs, especially since I'd prefer to fly to a different airport for each of the cross countries. I've got a few questions:

1) Landing fees - I know some bigger airports charge landing fees (although my instructor says they are actually only ramp fees and the airport doesn't see a dime of that money?). Is this something I should expect at most places of decent size (KCHA, KBHM, etc)?

2) Parking - let's say I just wanted to run and grab a burger, or just stretch my legs. When I taxi up, do I just find a suitable parking spot? Obviously if a flight line person is directing me, I'd follow his directions.

3) Cost - how much do they charge for parking normally? Is it per hour, per day?

4) Do you have to "check in" with somebody at the desk if you're going off site, so they know who's plane is who's?

5) I've read about courtesy cars - something I should expect NOT to be able to use as a student? I'd assume they are reserved more for the corporate jet pilots who hang around waiting for their customers. Obviously if I did use one of the cars, it would be just for an hour or less to grab a bite to eat, and I'd put in plenty of gas.

6) Any standard tips I should be aware of, or other standard practices? I assume I should plan on paying all fees, etc (minus fuel, if I get any) in cash?

My instructor seems to be pretty close-lipped on these 'standard practices' - or maybe there aren't any and that's the reason  

I'd hate to get charged $25 to park for 15 minutes just to stop and stretch my legs and pull my next set of charts out of my backpack in the back seat... but if that's how things work, so be it.
The above post is my opinion. Don't like it? Don't read it.
 
canoecarrier
Posts: 2569
Joined: Sat Feb 14, 2004 1:20 pm

RE: FBO Operations / Usage

Thu Aug 11, 2011 3:52 pm

Quoting ALTF4 (Thread starter):
2) Parking - let's say I just wanted to run and grab a burger, or just stretch my legs. When I taxi up, do I just find a suitable parking spot? Obviously if a flight line person is directing me, I'd follow his directions.

I'd say that's a good rule of thumb. I worked line service at a regional and a municipal airport. Many times I was the only person working for the FBO and was too busy to get out and direct the plane taxiing in to a spot. Usually transient parking was located somewhere close to the FBO office. If no one comes out, find a spot somewhere up front.

Quoting ALTF4 (Thread starter):

3) Cost - how much do they charge for parking normally? Is it per hour, per day?

This depends on the airport. The two airports I worked at didn't charge a landing fee or any parking fees. You should be able to look that up on the internet before you show up.

Quoting ALTF4 (Thread starter):

4) Do you have to "check in" with somebody at the desk if you're going off site, so they know who's plane is who's?

If there's no landing and/or parking fee, there's no requirement for you to check in. If you're worried you parked in the wrong spot you could go in and ask someone before you walk off.

Quoting ALTF4 (Thread starter):

5) I've read about courtesy cars - something I should expect NOT to be able to use as a student? I'd assume they are reserved more for the corporate jet pilots who hang around waiting for their customers. Obviously if I did use one of the cars, it would be just for an hour or less to grab a bite to eat, and I'd put in plenty of gas.

In the 6 years I worked at an FBO we lent our courtesy car out to anyone from a student pilot in a 150 to corporate pilots that pulled up in a Gulfstream. My FBO was a little different than others, but I lost track of how many times I even lent my personal vehicle out to transient pilots when our official courtesy car was being used. My company even had a practice of giving employees $20 for every time they lent their car out to a pilot. Bring the car back with gas in it you should be fine. Nothing wrong with asking and many FBO's advertize they have a courtesy car available.

As a rule of thumb, I'd say the larger/busier the airport the more likely you'll have to pay some kind of fee for using the facility (e.g., parking, landing). Hope that helps.
The beatings will continue until morale improves
 
DashTrash
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Joined: Mon Aug 21, 2006 8:44 am

RE: FBO Operations / Usage

Thu Aug 11, 2011 3:59 pm

Sounds like you're in my area (HSV). If so, PM me and I'll talk with you for a while about it.

General rule, the larger airports are going to want money... usually the FBO collects a parking fee that may be waived or reduced with a fuel purchase. Signature HSV positively blows for parking fees.
 
Mir
Posts: 19092
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2004 3:55 am

RE: FBO Operations / Usage

Thu Aug 11, 2011 6:14 pm

Quoting ALTF4 (Thread starter):
1) Landing fees - I know some bigger airports charge landing fees (although my instructor says they are actually only ramp fees and the airport doesn't see a dime of that money?). Is this something I should expect at most places of decent size (KCHA, KBHM, etc)?

Maybe, maybe not. A lot of places will have a landing fee for larger aircraft but let you in your light trainer land free of charge. One way to find out is to check the A/FD for those airports - if there's a landing fee, it'll be posted in the remarks section (this only applies to airport landing fees - FBO fees won't be listed). You can also check airnav.com (which is a good site to be familiar with, as they post fuel prices as well as user reviews to help you decide which FBO you want to go to). Or just call the FBO.

Quoting ALTF4 (Thread starter):
2) Parking - let's say I just wanted to run and grab a burger, or just stretch my legs. When I taxi up, do I just find a suitable parking spot? Obviously if a flight line person is directing me, I'd follow his directions.

What I normally do is give the FBO a call on the radio when I'm about 20 minutes out and let them know I'm coming and what services I want (fuel, etc.). That increases the chances of a lineman being out there when I show up - if it's a small FBO they might not be listening to their radio, but most do. If one isn't there, I'll give them a call on my cellphone from the plane (on the ground, of course) and see if I can get their attention that way. If that doesn't work, then I look for painted lines and park where I think is most logical (next to other airplanes is a pretty good bet).

FBOs will publish their frequencies on their website (their phone number will be there also, of course). If it's a non-towered airport with only one FBO, the FBO frequency might be the same as the CTAF or Unicom frequency (try the Unicom first).

Quoting ALTF4 (Thread starter):
3) Cost - how much do they charge for parking normally? Is it per hour, per day?

It depends on the FBO. Some charge for parking (known as a ramp fee), others don't. Some will charge for larger aircraft only. Most will waive any charges if you buy a reasonable amount of fuel from them. If you don't buy fuel, you might pay a parking fee, but I wouldn't expect it to be more than $10-15.

Quoting ALTF4 (Thread starter):
4) Do you have to "check in" with somebody at the desk if you're going off site, so they know who's plane is who's?

I always check in with the front desk even if I'm not going off-site. Unless you want to be running around trying to find linemen to tell them what you need (and sometimes they can't be found, usually because they're busy elsewhere), you're going to making most of your requests through the front desk, so it's good for them to know who you are. Plus, saying hello is just a nice thing to do.

Quoting ALTF4 (Thread starter):
5) I've read about courtesy cars - something I should expect NOT to be able to use as a student? I'd assume they are reserved more for the corporate jet pilots who hang around waiting for their customers. Obviously if I did use one of the cars, it would be just for an hour or less to grab a bite to eat, and I'd put in plenty of gas.

As far as I'm concerned, anyone who flies into an FBO, regardless of what they arrive in, should be able to use a courtesy car. And most places follow that philosophy - I'd be reluctant to patronize one that didn't. You'll need a driver's license, of course (I had to turn down a courtesy car once when I was working on my instrument rating because I had a pilot's license but not a driver's license - fortunately the FBO gave me a ride to where I wanted to go and picked me up later on). You may or may not need to put gas in - it doesn't hurt to, but some places don't expect you to do it.

Quoting ALTF4 (Thread starter):
6) Any standard tips I should be aware of, or other standard practices? I assume I should plan on paying all fees, etc (minus fuel, if I get any) in cash?

Credit rules in aviation. It's perfectly fine to pay for everything with a card (in fact, it would be very unusual not to). If your flight school rents the plane to you wet, then it'll probably be a good idea to have the FBO charge you once for just the fuel (which the flight school will reimburse), and then a second time for whatever ancillary fees or charges there might be (which you'd be responsible for yourself). This, incidentally, is a good reason to buy fuel - you'll get the fees waived, and the flight school will cover the cost of the fuel.

Quoting DashTrash (Reply 2):
Signature HSV positively blows for parking fees.

Signature in general is pretty fee-heavy, I've found.

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
nws2002
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Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 11:04 pm

RE: FBO Operations / Usage

Thu Aug 11, 2011 7:09 pm

Quoting Mir (Reply 3):
Signature in general is pretty fee-heavy, I've found.

Signature has actually become more competitive recently, at least for those of us in the corporate jet side. They've started waiving the ramp fees with fuel purchases and their fuel prices have come down (at least contract fuel has). Now Atlantic Aviation has high fees unless you are a base customer.

Quoting ALTF4 (Thread starter):
6) Any standard tips I should be aware of, or other standard practices? I assume I should plan on paying all fees, etc (minus fuel, if I get any) in cash?

I've always tipped the line guys, but I work as a flight attendant on a corporate jet. The pilots and I pool our tips together and use that to tip the line guys. I don't know what to norm is for smaller aircraft.
 
DashTrash
Posts: 1266
Joined: Mon Aug 21, 2006 8:44 am

RE: FBO Operations / Usage

Fri Aug 12, 2011 2:55 am

Quoting nws2002 (Reply 4):
Signature has actually become more competitive recently, at least for those of us in the corporate jet side. They've started waiving the ramp fees with fuel purchases and their fuel prices have come down (at least contract fuel has).

Still my least favorite FBO aside from First at TEB.

Quoting nws2002 (Reply 4):
Now Atlantic Aviation has high fees unless you are a base customer.

Yeah, but they got Atlantic Bucks......
 
dw747400
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RE: FBO Operations / Usage

Fri Aug 12, 2011 3:26 am

Quoting Mir (Reply 3):

What I normally do is give the FBO a call on the radio when I'm about 20 minutes out and let them know I'm coming and what services I want

This is certainly reasonable, but it is always a good idea to arrange as much as possible in advance. In addition to giving the FBO more notice, it lets you be concise on the radio. The last thing you need at an uncontrolled airport where the CTAF is used by the FBO is someone going over their rental agreement while three or four aircraft are in the pattern unable to communicate. It has happened. As with everything in aviation--advanced planning and concise radio calls.

Quoting Mir (Reply 3):
As far as I'm concerned, anyone who flies into an FBO, regardless of what they arrive in, should be able to use a courtesy car.

I've only run into two FBOs with a "Jet A Only" policy on their cars. One went so far as to say the restroom was for corporate clients only. The policy, in addition to being in poor taste, is simply not good for business. The number of Cessna drivers who also fly/work with corporate jets is tremendous. When the option is there, flights I work with tanker at these two airports. That is tens of thousands in loss Jet A sales.

Quoting nws2002 (Reply 4):

Signature has actually become more competitive recently, at least for those of us in the corporate jet side.

They've got a few good contracts out there, but still I can normally do better elsewhere. Generally operators are willing to pay the extra few bucks for the consistency/reliability of the operation. Though in that regard, I don't think Sig is as good as they used to be.
CFI--Certfied Freakin Idiot
 
freeze3192
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RE: FBO Operations / Usage

Fri Aug 12, 2011 3:52 am

Some FBO's will waive all fees if you simply tell them that you are a student pilot.
"A passenger bets his life that his pilot is a worthy heir to an ancient tradition of excellence and professionalism."
 
canoecarrier
Posts: 2569
Joined: Sat Feb 14, 2004 1:20 pm

RE: FBO Operations / Usage

Fri Aug 12, 2011 4:05 am

Quoting dw747400 (Reply 6):
This is certainly reasonable, but it is always a good idea to arrange as much as possible in advance. In addition to giving the FBO more notice, it lets you be concise on the radio.

I'd forgot to mention Unicom. I don't know where the OP is intending to fly, but like I said I worked line service at a regional airport and frequently was by myself many times when people called in. I might have been in the minority but I carried a scanner with unicom, tower, approach, center and the two airlines air to ground frequency that served our airport on the scanner. I heard you, or them, I just might not be able to help you.

It wasn't that uncommon for me to be towing an airplane from x to z and just couldn't meet the plane when they pulled up. Or be fueling a DC-9 freighter and I just couldn't meet them. I'd start with Unicom, or a phone call in advance, but don't expect someone to meet you when you pull into the ramp. That said, it's not always that busy. Try talking air to ground first and see where they want you to go.

Quoting nws2002 (Reply 4):
I've always tipped the line guys, but I work as a flight attendant on a corporate jet. The pilots and I pool our tips together and use that to tip the line guys. I don't know what to norm is for smaller aircraft.

Oh how I wish you had flown to the airports I used to worked at. As a line service tech you generally get more around Xmas from people based there then you do all year long in tips. I did it for 6 years and could count the number of times I got a tip on two hands, and we routinely handled corporate jets as big as 737's.
The beatings will continue until morale improves
 
Mir
Posts: 19092
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2004 3:55 am

RE: FBO Operations / Usage

Fri Aug 12, 2011 4:07 am

Quoting dw747400 (Reply 6):
This is certainly reasonable, but it is always a good idea to arrange as much as possible in advance. In addition to giving the FBO more notice, it lets you be concise on the radio. The last thing you need at an uncontrolled airport where the CTAF is used by the FBO is someone going over their rental agreement while three or four aircraft are in the pattern unable to communicate. It has happened. As with everything in aviation--advanced planning and concise radio calls.

If it's something like a rental car, I'll have that planned out before departure. If I'm calling an FBO from the air, it's basically just to say I'll be arriving shortly and to have things ready. At an FBO with its own dedicated frequency (which most of the places I've flown into are), I can afford to go into more specifics.

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
HaveBlue
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RE: FBO Operations / Usage

Fri Aug 12, 2011 4:08 am

During my flight training out of Daytona Beach, FL and in the years following flying from the same area my experiences were pretty much like the above posters.

I never got charged a landing fee/parking fee, whether stopping for a quick stretch or for the proverbial $100 hamburger. I parked myself unless otherwise directed, and I never tipped a line guy (and I used to be one, but aside from perhaps marshalling me into a parking spot I didn't use their services). I never 'checked in' at the front desk unless I was doing a cross country training flight as a student, and needed a signature to prove I landed there. I landed at Palatka, FL and the airport was literally like a ghost town, it took me a fair amount of time to track down someone who could sign my logbook verifying that I went there. I worked at Daytona Beach Jet Center a decade before getting my pilots license, and I'm pretty sure we let anyone use the courtesy car regardless of aircraft status. I'm sure that is FBO dependent though.

Anyhow it was always fun flying to other airports and I never had a bad experience, the FBO's were always nice and accomodating and it never cost me anything. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!  
Here Here for Severe Clear!
 
DashTrash
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RE: FBO Operations / Usage

Fri Aug 12, 2011 1:09 pm

Quoting dw747400 (Reply 6):

I've only run into two FBOs with a "Jet A Only" policy on their cars. One went so far as to say the restroom was for corporate clients only. The policy, in addition to being in poor taste, is simply not good for business. The number of Cessna drivers who also fly/work with corporate jets is tremendous. When the option is there, flights I work with tanker at these two airports. That is tens of thousands in loss Jet A sales.

I'm dying to know where this was.... Sounds almost like the FBO on the north side of MLB.

Quoting HaveBlue (Reply 10):
it took me a fair amount of time to track down someone who could sign my logbook verifying that I went there

Who required you to get your logbook signed on X/C flights?
 
bjorn14
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RE: FBO Operations / Usage

Fri Aug 12, 2011 1:24 pm

Quoting dw747400 (Reply 6):
The number of Cessna drivers who also fly/work with corporate jets is tremendous. When the option is there, flights I work with tanker at these two airports. That is tens of thousands in loss Jet A sales.

   My dad used to fly into an airport in Nebraska for a fuel stop with a G350(?) and they'd give the pilots a box of frozen filet mignon. So then the family was driving out west and we stopped at this airport and they still gave him a box of filet mignon.
"I want to know the voice of God the rest is just details" --A. Einstein
 
sccutler
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RE: FBO Operations / Usage

Fri Aug 12, 2011 1:47 pm

Unless you choose very large airports in major metro areas, generally speaking, you'll pay no ramp/landing fee, and if available, the crew car will be yours to use. You may need to buy some gas for ramp fee waiver.

From my experience when I was a student pilot, you'll usually be treated just as well as the Jet Jock.

Oh, and line service tips? If you get good service, drop 'em a five; it's almost always hot, or cold, or wet, and (again, my experience) these folks really help out a lot. On overnights, I have been rewarded with gratuitous hangaring when storms rolled in unexpectedly, and that's gravy.
...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
 
26point2
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Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2010 6:01 am

RE: FBO Operations / Usage

Fri Aug 12, 2011 3:52 pm

Quoting bjorn14 (Reply 12):
My dad used to fly into an airport in Nebraska for a fuel stop with a G350(?) and they'd give the pilots a box of frozen filet mignon.

That would be LNK. A very popular quick fuel stop with the guys who can't get East Coast to West Coast non-stop. Grand Island, NE did this too I think. Haven't been for years so not sure this still goes on. I remember frozen lobster tails at the KBOS fbo many years ago. Certain they don't do that anymore.

Also look for free bottles of wine at Napa, CA, macadamia chocolates for all at Kona, HI, and hats or shirts at many others. Pilots love free stuff. Who doesn't?

For the OP...I suggest, with an airport diagram in hand, phoning the fbo you plan to visit so they can explain where they will want you to park. Often not as clear as one would like if no direction is given.
 
canoecarrier
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Joined: Sat Feb 14, 2004 1:20 pm

RE: FBO Operations / Usage

Fri Aug 12, 2011 4:15 pm

Quoting sccutler (Reply 13):
Oh, and line service tips? If you get good service, drop 'em a five; it's almost always hot, or cold, or wet, and (again, my experience) these folks really help out a lot. On overnights, I have been rewarded with gratuitous hangaring when storms rolled in unexpectedly, and that's gravy.

There's truth to this comment. Since I was the only person at the FBO on Friday nights and all day Saturday outside of our CFI, many a frequent customer showed up on a brisk Saturday morning to find I'd put his Bonanza in the heated hanger. Wasn't uncommon for me to let them pre-flight inside, get in, then I'd open the hanger doors and tow them out for taxi. Like any service based industry, if you feel you got good service a tip goes a long way.

Quoting DashTrash (Reply 11):
Who required you to get your logbook signed on X/C flights?

Not sure if it's a requirement, but I certainly have my signature floating around a lot of CMSU and Parks College grad's logbooks.
The beatings will continue until morale improves
 
N353SK
Posts: 824
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RE: FBO Operations / Usage

Sat Aug 13, 2011 3:08 pm

Since nobody else has suggested it yet, check out the airports on airnav.com. Usually there will be customer comments on each FBO giving you an idea of what to expect.

As for a crew car, most places have no problem lending it out to a piston driver, especially on weekends.
 
HaveBlue
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Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2004 3:01 pm

RE: FBO Operations / Usage

Sat Aug 13, 2011 3:08 pm

Quoting DashTrash (Reply 11):
Who required you to get your logbook signed on X/C flights?

It was school policy, and I thought it was common practice (though I didn't have anything to reference that against). It made sense to me as otherwise a student could just, theoretically just go put 2 hours on the Hobbs locally and claim he did his 2 seperate airport stops and 150 miles. In any case when I asked for those signatures at the various airports they didn't give me a puzzled look or ask questions, they seemed to know exactly what it was for which again led me to think it was normal practice. If its not, this thread will be me finding that out.  
Here Here for Severe Clear!
 
Maverick623
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RE: FBO Operations / Usage

Sat Aug 13, 2011 7:05 pm

Quoting HaveBlue (Reply 17):
It made sense to me as otherwise a student could just, theoretically just go put 2 hours on the Hobbs locally and claim he did his 2 seperate airport stops and 150 miles.

It happens, especially once a person has his/her private. The old saying goes "Fly what you need to be a good pilot, log what you need to get a rating".

*disclaimer: I don't encourage anyone to falsify their logbook, and I have never falsified mine. It's just something you'll hear from time to time.
"PHX is Phoenix, PDX is the other city" -777Way
 
dw747400
Posts: 1091
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2001 8:24 am

RE: FBO Operations / Usage

Sun Aug 14, 2011 6:50 pm

Quoting DashTrash (Reply 11):
I'm dying to know where this was....

Occurred at KMDT and KACY... I'll avoid mentioning the FBO by name, but since each airport only has one...  .
CFI--Certfied Freakin Idiot
 
Northwest727
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RE: FBO Operations / Usage

Mon Aug 15, 2011 12:06 pm

For the answer to almost all of these questions, its a good idea to look up the airport on Airnav.com and call the FBO(s) to find out their fees, fuel costs, and policies. Sometimes, its cheaper to go to another FBO. Other times, its cheaper just to go at another airport.

Landing fees are usually under $20 for a piston single, though I believe HTO charges $50.

Quoting DashTrash (Reply 2):
Signature HSV positively blows for parking fees.
Quoting Mir (Reply 3):
Signature in general is pretty fee-heavy, I've found.

   Signature sucks. I avoid them at all costs. A $15 landing fee, $30 parking fee, a $68 "Handling fee" (whatever the f--k that is, even if I park a Warrior for 5 minutes to drop a pax off), and overnight fees if charged will quickly add up to +$100. Oh, and they'll waive that for you if you buy 30 gallons of their exuberantly-priced fuel (like $8/gallon 100LL that one can find somewhere else for $5)

BOS is a prime example of a Signature-ruled disaster. When its all said and done, you'll end up owing $300 in extraneous fees. Note, that Massport charges only $15 to land at BOS, the rest is all Signature's doing.
 
HaveBlue
Posts: 2104
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RE: FBO Operations / Usage

Mon Aug 15, 2011 1:28 pm

Quoting Northwest727 (Reply 20):
Signature sucks.
Quoting Northwest727 (Reply 20):
Note, that Massport charges only $15 to land at BOS, the rest is all Signature's doing.

That is unreal, and sad. Hate businesses like that.
Here Here for Severe Clear!
 
ALTF4
Topic Author
Posts: 1154
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:01 pm

RE: FBO Operations / Usage

Mon Aug 15, 2011 5:18 pm

Thanks for all the input, guys! Airnav.com is definitely a good place, and I have been checking it. Just wanted to know if there were some "unwritten" rules that I should be aware of.

As an example, I didn't know that it is common practice for the instructor to cut the shirt tails off your shirt. Mine didn't, and when I asked, he said "oh, if you had worn a shirt with shirt tails I would have!". Neither did I know you're supposed to buy your instructor a Coke or something else to let him relax (heh!) while you fly your first solo. I'm sure I'm supposed to do something when I pass my checkride, but who knows.

Anyway, sounds like most places are pretty friendly and a simple phone call will suffice. Thanks again!
The above post is my opinion. Don't like it? Don't read it.
 
pilotpip
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RE: FBO Operations / Usage

Mon Aug 15, 2011 6:35 pm

Working on my ratings I went to a ton of airports and a ton of FBOs. Our school required us to leave every leg with full tanks so we always took gas. I also worked at an FBO for 8 years and while I don't deal with them at all anymore I can see both sides of the fee arguement.

Signature is known for charging for everything. If I ever get into GA flying again I will avoid them like the plague because of this.

However, the FBO I worked for charged a ramp fee that was waived if you took retail fuel, and were only there for a few hours. I have no problem with this for a few reasons. First, it's a business. Even if you don't take fuel and are only there for a short time you're still paying for the convinience of parking there, using their facilities, using a courtesy vehicle, and paying line service personel to safely park and service your aircraft and ensure it's not disturbed while you are away.

It never ceases to amaze me that people would squawk about parking their $200,000 cessna (or $20million Falcon) on the ramp for a day and scream about a $30-$200 (depending on size) a day fee but not bat an eye parking a $30,000 honda for $20 to go to a sporting event.

Tips are nice and I appreciated them, but I didn't treat anyone differently regardless of if I received one or not. I worked by myself a lot and if you had 2 or 3 aircraft waiting for service it got a little hectic but rather than buying favoritism I worked as quickly as I could and told all of the waiting aircraft I was first come, first served to keep things fair.
DMI
 
canoecarrier
Posts: 2569
Joined: Sat Feb 14, 2004 1:20 pm

RE: FBO Operations / Usage

Mon Aug 15, 2011 10:15 pm

Quoting ALTF4 (Reply 22):

As an example, I didn't know that it is common practice for the instructor to cut the shirt tails off your shirt.

I'd only seen a few of our instructors over the years follow that practice. But, it is done, depending on the CFI.

Quoting HaveBlue (Reply 21):

That is unreal, and sad. Hate businesses like that.

All this talk of unreasonable fees made me go check the comments on AirNav for my old employer. I'm happy to see they're still plugging along, not charging fees, getting great reviews and lending out personal vehicles to low HP Cessna drivers. Although I haven't checked with them lately, it was fairly common for corporate pilots to schedule their fuel stop with us on a long trip. Same went for military crews, although for different reasons.

Good customer service and low/non-existent fees over a long period only grows an FBO's (or any other) business. If you were a Lear 31 pilot and could pick a fuel stop where you were charged a number of fees and got no extra customer service I'd think landing at a large municipal or regional airport where you were loaned a courtesy (free) car and given a pizza would seem like a no-brainer. I also remember people I'd see once a year on their way to Oshkosh in a Luscombe specifically flight plan to stop over with us. Repeat business happened all the time, even if people went a little out of their way to see us.
The beatings will continue until morale improves
 
AmericanAirFan
Posts: 385
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 10:22 am

RE: FBO Operations / Usage

Tue Aug 16, 2011 7:06 pm

Pick an airport to fly to.

Check out airnav.com about all the FBOs on field. I always like to call and ask if there are any ramp fees. Every one I've ever called says it's like some amount of money or waived if you buy fuel. Sometimes so many gallons or just if you buy fuel period.

You can also ask about courtesy car limitations. Such as age requirement or time requirement. One FBO I know of you only had the car for an hour. Others you had to be at least 22 or 25 to take a car. Most places if you're 18+ and they have a courtesy car available though its yours.

These FBOs can afford the free snacks beverages, courtesy cars and tie downs because you buy their fuel and they generally make money off selling fuel and other things such as charts. etc. It also makes them more competitive with the other FBOs.

AmericanAirFan
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RE: FBO Operations / Usage

Tue Aug 16, 2011 7:32 pm

Quoting ALTF4 (Reply 22):
Neither did I know you're supposed to buy your instructor a Coke or something else to let him relax (heh!) while you fly your first solo. I'm sure I'm supposed to do something when I pass my checkride, but who knows.

Never heard of that, and in my case it would have been impossible. I knew my solo was going to happen soon but wasn't sure exactly when. My instructor and I were doing patterns at New Smyrna (EVB) and after a few circuits as I'm taxiing back out for another take off he asks me if I feel like I'm ready to solo. I said yes, he tells me to stop the plane right there on the taxiway (non towered airport at the time) and wishes me luck (he had a handheld transceiver for comms with me). I went out did a couple patterns solo and picked him back up. So it wasn't a situation where I could have bought him something, though as I say I never heard of that being expected.

Our school did have the practive of cutting off shirt tails, which happened later that day. Happened to be wearing an Air Florida Helicopters shirt too.  
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