Skydive Cairns began commenced in 1993 with a Cessna 182.
As the business grew we made the transition to a Cessna 206 in 1995, then to a Piper Navajo in 1997.
Maintaining piston engined skydive aircraft is an expensive undertaking, and as we piled on the hours the cost in time, reliability and maintenance were taken in stride, as we incorrectly assumed it was a normal cost of doing business.
We thought about a turbine but the initial cost seemed out of our reach.
After sitting down with PAC Australasian sales director, Mike Finch and taking a long hard look at the cash flow, it was apparent that the piston fleet was bleeding us dry. The reality was we were doing more than enough business to justify a brand new turbine.
After some serious soul searching on how we wanted to see the business grow, we purchased the new Pacific Aerospace Corporation turboprop.
We chose our own paint scheme and went to work.
The new plane caused a sensation and we saw an immediate increase in sport jumpers.
It is cheaper to operate than the Navajo because of the fixed gear, the single engine and the fact that everything is new. In one step we went from "end user" of aircraft to first user, and what a huge difference that has made in our organization. Revenue is up, the pilot pool suddenly got bigger, and we don't pay for hundreds of hours sourcing spares.
We were very apprehensive making that first step, but now after only 6 months, we are negotiating another Pacific Aerospace turbine!
The basic airframe expenses compare with a 182 but we have the lift and climb rate that is worlds apart.
Todd Gerard, Colin Taylor Directors.