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Flying commercially

I personally prefer to go to places by SEP airplane rather than CAT, but unfortunately I’m not in a situation to live without CAT travel for various reasons. Being VFR only is the number one reason, followed by cost. Most of the time I have to resort to going by car in Europe, because there’s either no time advantage using CAT (too many layovers, having to go to Vienna first, etc.) or the weather is not good enough. But in many of my trips I’ve had an added comfort and flexibility going by SEP. One example is the route from Indianapolis to Atlanta I have taken often by car, airplane and private plane:

KHFY – KPDK (door2door from Greenwood to downtown Atlanta)
Car: 8-10 hours
CAT: 4-5 hours (non-stop flight)
SEP: 4-5 hours

Obviously CAT has the highest reliability, but SEP makes it that more flexible when the weather is nice. Linz to Berlin is also a great time saver for me when going by SEP instead of CAT or car.

Last Edited by Dominik at 09 Sep 20:56

Alex_ wrote:

This week I flew myself into Antwerp from Shoreham. I live 15mins from the airport

Jan did you read the above?

EGTK Oxford


have you read " " I usually fly from London City" "

or, more fully, " " I usually fly from London City or Eurostar to Brussels then train or car to Antwerp. " "

which I read as “be a passenger from London City (or (perhaps) Eurostar) to Brussels ; then train or car to Antwerp” while there is a far more convenient airline service from the already choosen LCY direct to Antwerp Airport which is closer and much more efficient than Brussels.

Last Edited by at 09 Sep 21:34
EBZH Kiewit, Belgium

That doesn’t mean he wants to….Do you know where 15 minutes from Shoreham is in relation to those locations?

Last Edited by JasonC at 09 Sep 21:37
EGTK Oxford

Sorry post may have been slightly ambiguous. If I fly from London city I do get the Antwerp flight. Or if Eurostar car / train from Brussels. The train to London City from Shoreham is easily 2hours door to door train to London then tube / DLR to London City.

There are also flights from Southend to Antwerp I saw when I was last there for some ILS practice!

Shoreham (EGKA) White Waltham (EGLM)

AdamFrisch wrote:

Commercial air travel has literally become the bane of my existence. I fly about 50-100 days a year, so as you can see it has me on the precipice of a nervous breakdown at times.

It’s interesting how this is a completely different story for different people – I suppose partly because of different circumstances and partly because of a different take on the subject.

As much as I love flying myself, like some others on this thread, I also belong to those who fly CAT regularly. In the last two years of having had the PPL, I’ve spent about as many hours flying myself as flying as PAX on an airline. The latter I’ve done for almost a decade and I still love it! In fact, rather than trying to reduce the amount of CAT in my life, I’ve taken up flying as a hobby simply to fly MORE and to be in control. It’s also just nice to sit back on seat 29F, knowing that I COULD have flown this flight myself if I had wanted to.

Regarding efficiency, nothing beats airline travel on any route that is served by an airline. Everything else is wishful thinking in my case.

Take my weekly commute to Hamburg from Düsseldorf:
- I set my alarm to get up 1:10 h before departure time. It’s 20 minute shower and dressing (too much information?), a 15 minute taxi ride to the airport, 2 minutes luggage drop-off (you get that when you fly frequently, obviously), allow 10 minutes for security check. I usually have time to get some breakfast at the Frequent Flyer lounge because boarding doesn’t usually begin sharp and I don’t need to be the first one getting on the plane. In fact, I like to be one of the last. I usually sit as far in the back as possible and as the planes are rarely fully booked, 9/10 times I sit more or less alone so don’t have to bother with the “people” problem.
- Flight time is 40 minutes, of which I spend 30 minutes getting some more sleep.
- Door to door, it’s 3 hours MAX to the office in Hamburg. No way I could do that by car, train, or SEP.

I’ve done the trip with a chartered plane sometimes. It’s great fun, but it’s a lot more hassle. I’ll arrive with possibly oily and dirty fingers and clothes (i.e. I won’t be wearing a suit while piloting a plane) so I actually need to get changed at the GAT. It takes longer because all the pre-flight stuff just takes time (and I can see how that is different, e.g. in the case of Alexis, who has a lot of routine in this) and the ground time (ATIS, taxi, run-up) takes longer than in an airliner, usually (given the same airport). The flight will obviously be longer, too.

Last Edited by Patrick at 09 Sep 23:13
Hungriger Wolf (EDHF), Germany

The things which make a huge difference to the utility of private GA are:

  • living close to an airport with good opening hours, say 7am to 9pm, and ILS (or LPV if you can fly it)
  • your customers being near ILS airports
  • you living within say 1hr of your base airport (I’d say 30 mins but some people like driving, and if you live in London you probably have 1hr to drive to say Biggin)
  • your customer visits not being “formal customer visits” on which not turning up is an absolute no-no (e.g. suppliers, exhibitions, distributors are all good)
  • your business is of a type where the party being visited is OK with knowing that you flew there GA (this is a no-no with most business e.g. one of my customers, owned by a large US company, uses a “supply chain manager” in Bulgaria whose “method” is zero price increases ever OR you are dead, finished, all business is off the table)
  • hops across the Channel are amazingly effective versus normal transport e.g. Shoreham to Antwerp
  • an aircraft with de-ice and radar
  • being prepared to pay for handling (saves time and greatly lubricates the whole process at most bigger airports)

There is a famous GA pilot (he told me he will never post on EuroGA ) who used to have a big pressurised piston twin with all the gear, and he ticked all the above boxes. I once went to a presentation of his showing 1 business trip a week for a year, and he “lost” only one of them, which was facing a solid wall of CBs on his radar which forced him to turn back and land. So his despatch rate was 98%. But, as I say, he ticked all the above boxes (to me, most notably the one about the type of client being visited and their attitude to “rich pilots”, and flying to a small selection of big ILS airports) and this is rare.

At a lower level and purely pleasure flying, the cross-Channel hop is wonderful. How else would you get to N France for example? You would simply not bother. In my insufficiently mis-spent youth I have done the drive to Newhaven for the ferry to Calais etc as a day trip to France to buy cheaper beer and come back with 1000 bottles of it in a Transit van, but that’s just pure masochism.

The Croatian islands is another example. In the TB20, 5hrs (in nil wind!) airport to airport. Mali Losinj would probably be a 2-day trip (drive to Stansted, airline to Pula, a boat to Losinj).

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

What I do is chain appointments one after the other and fly from one appointment to the next. You can’t beat the efficiency of flying yourself and doing a round trip through Europe that way. I can do a lot of work and appointments in 4 days and have lots of fun at the same time. That is that I get to schedule my own appointments and arrange them how I like. And I do not have to wear a suit :-)

EDLE, Netherlands

Flyer59 wrote:

Close the hangar, remove the cowl plugs and pitot cover, walk around once, 5 min, at the most.

So you don’t do a preflight check according to the POH? Most people would and then the 15 minutes at the airport could easily become 30. And you have to refuel the aircraft at some point even if you don’t do it before the flight.

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

Peter wrote:

living close to an airport with good opening hours, say 7am to 9pm, and ILS (or LPV if you can fly it)
your customers being near ILS airports

Why do you feel an ILS is necessary? Certainly, I prefer an ILS over other approach aids, but typically NPA minima are 2-300 ft above ILS minima and does that really make that much a difference to the dispatch rate for a light GA flight?

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden
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