Foxbat safety

Foxbat safetySoar Aviation – a major operator of A22LS Foxbat aircraft at Moorabbin Airport (Melbourne) and Bankstown Airport (Sydney) – place pilot & passenger safety at the top of their priorities. Recently, they approached me to write a short piece for them on what aspects I felt made the Foxbat a safe aircraft to fly.

Here’s a link to the article on their own blog – Safety in a Foxbat

Happy reading!

Lynton & David’s great adventure

Lynton and DavidIn the middle of January 2015, Soar Aviation took delivery of yet another A22LS Foxbat – this one, used but with very low hours, was from White Gum Farm, near York in WA.

Having made this journey three times myself, albeit via different routes, I can relate very well to their story, particularly being bounced around in big thermals 9,500 feet over the goldfields of WA.

This aircraft, 24-7979 – fitted with the latest Dynon SkyView digital instrument technology – is now doing the hours as a trainer at Moorabbin.

Click here for the story of Lynton and David, who flew the aircraft from WA to Tyabb in just over 3 days.

For a Trial Instructional Flight (TIF) or further information about learning to fly, call Soar Aviation on 03 9587 5020

FoxbatPilot blog – 2014 in review

2014 blog reportI have just received an annual statistics report for 2014 for the FoxbatPilot blog from WordPress. The blog started at the very end of March, so these figures are for the first 9 months.

Here’s a summary:

– the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed over 28,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at the Opera House, that would be more than 10 sold-out performances.

– the busiest day was 15 June, with over 850 hits on ‘World Cup Celebration – Brazilian Style‘.

– other high scoring posts were: ‘Spotlight on training – Soar Aviation‘, ‘Foxbat sunset & night landing‘ and ‘Foxbat bird-strike‘.

– overall, there were 98 posts and 184 pictures uploaded to the blog.

– the most popular posting day is Tuesday – I may need to change this as I’m told Saturday is the most popular day to upload a post.

– there were blog visitors/subscribers from 104 countries around the world; Australian visitors are the most common with USA, New Zealand and UK close behind.

– the top three referring websites sites are Foxbat Australia, Facebook and Netvibes.

Thank you to everyone for joining my blog since it was launched on 30 March 2014. Your contributions and pictures have been very welcome. I’m looking forward to further developing and growing FoxbatPilot during 2015 – any comments about content, design and style are welcome.

Best wishes for 2015, Peter

PS- if you like it, please send a link to people you know who might be interested.

Spotlight on training – Soar Aviation

SOAR 03Every now and again I’m aiming to have a look at an Australian based flying school or club, usually but not always, operating Foxbats. The first is Soar Aviation, based at Moorabbin Airport, Melbourne, and also in Sydney, Bendigo and Hong Kong. The idea is to give you a bit more feedback than the stuff available in brochures and on internet sites.

Soar is a young organisation – both in company and employee terms. The company was founded in 2011 and since then has grown rapidly and is now among the most popular flying schools in Australia.

Like many youthful organisations, Soar has targeted its marketing through an attractive, modern & interactive website, Facebook page and Instagram. Through these, they have quickly built a loyal following – their Facebook page alone has well over 4,000 ‘likes’. Not bad for an aviation organisation which is hardly three years old!

Their website, in particular, is the result of a great deal of thought and attention to the needs of the novice pilot and clearly leads the viewer through the various stages, from Trial Introductory Flight (TIF) through to night ratings, a commercial license and beyond. Soar also carries out charter flights,  from the heat of the Red Centre, to the snows of Falls Creek.

Soar has a broad mixture of aircraft, to cater for all flight training needs – two Foxbats, two Jabirus (you can’t win them all!), a Piper Warrior, a Cessna 172 and a Piper Seminole twin. Their first Foxbat – a blue one – was purchased used from an owner in Queensland earlier in 2014. Many people have commented to me about ‘that blue plane’ which always seems to be in the circuit at Moorabbin. Now it has been joined by a second – new – Foxbat, resplendent in bright yellow. Hopefully the two of them will continue to be frequent fliers at Moorabbin.

Recently, Soar acquired a flight training facility at Bendigo, north west of Melbourne. They are also very active in marketing to the growing Chinese market, through their base in Hong Kong. Apart from GA training, one of their key focuses is recreational flying, for which they have an exemption to enable flight training in RA-Aus registered aircraft at Moorabbin.

What immediately strikes you when you visit them at their Moorabbin base is their infectious enthusiasm and the excitement they seem to generate about all things flying.  From my own experience, I think Soar is bringing a fresh new and very customer-focussed approach to flying training.

Too many schools I’ve seen operate tired looking aircraft from tired looking premises, with instructors who seem to have very little enthusiasm for what they are doing. In particular, I recall visiting one recreational flying school during one of my Foxbat sales trips only a couple of years ago, where the school aircraft was low on fuel. So the student spent the first half-hour of their booking going to the local service station for 40 litres of fuel. At their own expense! The instructor thought this was good for the student and made himself a cup of tea, sat back in his armchair and moaned to me about the lack of business and how young people always expect something for nothing…

Soar couldn’t be more of a contrast with this attitude and I wish them every success in their enterprise – and not just because they might buy another Foxbat when demand keeps growing!

PS – Soar is currently looking for a Business Development Manager. If you’re interested – even excited! – by the prospect of joining this young, innovative organisation, SEEK here for more information.