Mariusz Błachut, the Director of the Runway Board Sp. z o.o. tells about application of the tourist aircrafts in business.
What do you work on?
The Runway partnership is an aviation training center, certified by the Civil Aviation Office. We conduct a wide range of trainings – from the training allowing to obtain a tourist pilot license to the training, which gives a professional license, therefore a trainee can work for the professional airline carrier. For a wide range of pilots who obtained license and have not decided to purchase an airplane, we offer our airplane charter for business or private purposes.
The Runway partnership has six different types of planes. Two-seat Cessny 150 and 152 allowing to travel with 160km/h, and although their main purpose is training, they are popular because of it economy. An hour costs only 470 PLN total, including fuel. Four-seat Cessny 172 allow to take a family and baggage. We travel at the speed of 200 km/h and the 800 km range allows to get to any place in Poland without a stopover.
How one can use your services?
One can make an appointment, where we exactly discuss how the training look like, we present a typical training agreement – it is also possible to get a short demo if we are not sure how our body reacts on flying with the tourist plane. Then, one have to find some time for training, and after few months we can fully enjoy our new license of tourist pilot.
Who is the offer directed to?
First of all to the people with passion, willing to pilot plane on their own as privately as on business. The license opens such opportunity, for example, we wake up on Saturday, the weather is beautiful, we pack our friends and family and we fly from Cracow to Mazury, the sea or any place we want to spend a weekend. Other transportation means do not give us such an opportunity, including other airlines, which required a ticket purchase in advance, and the time of travel makes our trip meaningless.
The second group of our potential clients are persons, who want to become a professional pilot, our training programs allow to obtain license which allows us to apply for a pilot position at the airlines.
Application of the tourist planes in business allows to effectively use the work time. The connection between Warsaw and the biggest cities in Poland does not cause any inconvenience, using our domestic carrier – LOT, however, if we would like to go from Gdansk to different cities, the number of options is more limited, not to mention smaller cities, which contains airports and landing fields. In order to perform landing or a take-off, having a strip of earlier adjusted, grassy runway is enough. In Poland, more than 300 airports and landing fields are registered, and the infrastructure becomes better year by year.
What group uses your services the most, and what, according to you, causes their decision – passion or duty?
Definitely aviation lovers outweigh, as well as young people who want to get the professional license mostly lead by passion – the pilot occupation is not necessarily the most easy way to make money. Among our clients are young people after the baccalaureate and 50-year-olds. The clients who want to only obtain a tourist license, are typical middle class individuals – entrepreneurs, directors, specialists and free lancers. Individuals who only fly recreationally, should reserve about 20-30 thousand PLN yearly for the charter – the same for training.
What courses are the most popular and do you think why?
Tourist pilot courses are the most popular, on the following places are courses are related to broadening its permission to fly at night and with the special equipment, without ground visibility.
What does the standard course consist of? Could you describe it?
The course to obtain a pilot license starts with lectures. After theoretical training we start the piloting practice – the program predicts to fill 45h of flying. During the training we learn how to steer with the airplane in horizontal position, turns, soaring and going down. Than it is time to learn how to take off and land – we make so called circles around the airport – everything takes place under vigilant eye of the instructor. After learning above, it is time for a independent flight – it takes place around 15th hour of training! At the end of the course, we do directly to flights, including other communication airports. After finishing the training, it is time to confirm our abilities in front of the instructor – here as oppose to the driver’s license exams more trainee pass the exam, about 90 per cent.
Can everybody become a pilot and purchase a plane?
Practically the only limitation in getting and receiving the license is the health condition. In order to receive and extend the license, it is necessary to undergo a medical exam at predicatives of the aviation medicine. For an average person it is not a problem to pass the medical examination, at the same time, being an active pilot we are challenged to do medical exams once per 2 or 5 years, if we are under 40. Even the majority of eye diseases does not eliminate from flying – it only imposes having two pair of glasses on board.
The training itself is not designed only for people with extraordinary locomotive skills. Same as in learning how to driving, some individuals need more time to learn the skill, and practice makes perfect in this discipline.
After obtaining license we can start worrying about purchasing our own plane – here the only limitation is the state of our finances – or if we do not predict a purchase, we can rent in such facilities as ours or from different owners. Plane charter, by private owners, is a very common procedure nowadays.
If someone purchases the plane for its own, private aims, when the plane can be used?
Whenever we want to, at the same time obeying aviation rules and regulations and common sense. In practice, the most common limitation are the weather conditions, especially in winter. The most important and crucial skill of the tourist pilot is the ability to “read the weather,” using available forecast and its own judgment. After Poland signed the Schengen Agreement, ability to move around in the Europe area it does not involve too complicated formalities – we have to however, confirm our foreign language knowledge and pass a short exam, and then write it in on our license.
How does the organization with other airlines look like? The air space reservation?
The air space is divided into controlled, where the scheduled flights take place, and the uncontrolled one. The difference is – in the controlled space, the controllers of the air traffic are responsible for avoiding collision, and we are obligated to obey them – it includes the transportation airports and its environment. Our duty is to report the flight’s route an hour before the take off, if we are planning to use this particular airport and then listen to the controller’s instructions. The above skill we are able to learn during the training. The coordination of small and big passenger planes is not a problem. Sometimes we are asked to wait few minutes near the airport, obeying the procedures. The relocation in uncontrolled space is similar to using our own car, we get in, start the airplane and take off.
What does it make you special from using standard airlines?
The ability of independent flying gives you flexibility and availability. At any moment, we may decide to fly, taking into consideration the weather conditions. Piloting small planes gives an opportunity to use small landing fields, which most of the time are located in more convenient place. The most important, however, are the accompanied emotions and the fact that we have a window seat guaranteed. The excitement coming from independent piloting in indescribable – you just have to experience it and here we invite you to our school.
What is the future of this type of services? Will it become common practice?
The traveling by a tourist plane will not be common, however the pilots and the plane owners circle will grow along with the income and an improving aviation infrastructure. Even improving of road infrastructure will not change anything, because the long-distance travel will be more comfortable by small plane. In the air, we will not worry about the photo radars; and we will be able to focus on the views.