The flight school which I have trained with for 4 years in Milwaukee has grown in less than 12 years from a one plane operation to almost a 20 plane fleet employing almost a dozen instructors. Spring City Aviation has become one of the largest part 61 flight schools in Wisconsin and will continue to grow. Recently they purchased the other competing flight school on the Waukesha Co. Field. And you know Wisconsin, people from as far as West Bend drive to Waukesha for Spring City’s services, despite there is another flight school on field at ETB (West Bend Municipal).
How are they this successful? Simple, going above and beyond in Cusomter Service. I have never felt as being put “second” as the flight instruction is as personalized as it can get, and if you are on the schedule to rent a plane it will ALWAYS be ready. If it happens to be down for maintanence they have always had a swap. Planes can be kept overnight for no additional charges, and the only request is you log 2 hours per day it is rented overnight.
I apologize if I sound like a salesman, because I am not an employee of Spring City, nor is that the context of this post. However, my point is quality customer service (the type of service Spring City offers) seems to be difficult to come by in the aviation world; at least for me.
I occasionally rent from another place when at school, and am disgusted with their lack of plane avalibility. They offer one C172 which does not even have an instrument panel and from the look of the plane I felt compelled to throughly view the maintenence logs several times before hoppin in. Furthermore, when I was a freshmen at school and wanted a C172 checkout the instructor ended up canceling twice because he was the “on call” charter pilot.
I am currently having similar experiences with another place with two locations in Quad Citites. Although the CFI seems like a good guy and a great instructor their rental process is a nightmare. The last few weekends I have shot around the midwest in their Piper Warriors and have conciensiously kept the fuel recipets for reimbursment. However, upon presenting them to the desk clerk twice there has been confusion on how they should be processed. This last weekend I arrived with two receipts and it took an hour for them to figure out how to process them. Additionally, they would only refund the fuel for $4.00/gallon. (Hardly comparable to what I payed for it in the Chicagoland area.) I could understand them reimbursing the fuel at the Muscatine fuel rate, but reimbursing only $4.00 a gallon yeilds them unnecessary profits when conciencious pilots want to make an extra fuel stop on an x-country.
Also, I scheduled a rental for the 4th of July weekend several days ago. Today I wanted to schedule another plane for Friday and again confirmed I was still on the schedule for the 4th. However, the receptionist said, “I think that plane will be down for maintanence on the 4th.” I asked “When were you expecting to inform me of this.” She responded by explaining it was “hit or miss” and would depend on the Hobbs and Tac times, so they couldn’t say for sure if it would be unavalible. This meant I could show up the morning of the 4th only to find the plans I made a month ago runied. What terrible service!
Has anybody else had these troubles? In my experiences it appears when flying institutions attempt to cater to both charter and general aviation, us GA pilots get the short end of the deal.
Edited to remove names of FBOs*