In my role at LifeStyle Aviation I have the distinct pleasure of meeting some of the most accomplished and interesting people you can imagine. Many of our clients have accomplished major things in their business, professions and often times in the realm of flight as well.
One such person is Adam Broome of Raleigh NC. Adam was my attorney in the 1980’s and went on to be corporate counsel for a company that pioneered LED lighting. Later in life Adam decided to learn to fly and after owning a plane or two decided he would accomplish his dream of flying around the world. We are keen for everyone to learn about the virtues of Jet-A piston engine technology for aircraft and thinking about flying around the world is fun… so, Adam’s global perspective regarding the nature of Avgas vs Jet-A in aircraft and his experience as a “Rounder” I thought would be an interesting read for our clients and prospects. His comments about flying around the world are below:
Planning to fly your own plane around the world presents a number of challenges that many pilots have not previously faced, including obtaining landing and overflight permits, arranging local handlers where needed or mandated, complying with customs, immigration, quarantine and other regulatory requirements, scheduling routine aircraft maintenance, and assuring availability of fuel and the cash or other means required to pay for it. In selecting a route, the driving factors include permits, aircraft range and fuel availability. As a result, most circumnavigations by light aircraft tend to follow well-established patterns. Across the Atlantic, there is a group of common northerly routes through Canada, Greenland, Iceland and the U.K., a less northerly route from Canada through the Azores to Europe or north Africa, and the southern route from Brazil or the Caribbean to the west coast of Africa (or the westbound equivalent of these routes). Across the Pacific, the traditional route choices are the mid-Pacific routes through Hawaii, the northern routes through the Aleutians, which requires pre-positioning avgas at Adak, Alaska, and the less used southern Pacific route through Easter Island, which, like Adak, requires pre-positioning avgas. The difficulty of obtaining permits as well as avgas leads most pilots to avoid flying through Russia and China, and the lack of readily available avgas in large parts of Africa pushes most pilots to fly instead through Egypt and the Middle East. Not surprisingly, in light of these factors, a very common eastbound route from the U.S. is across the North Atlantic, through Europe, the Middle East, India and southeast Asia, and across the Pacific through Hawaii back to the U.S.
Fuel availability is typically the most significant limiting factor when the aircraft to be flown burns avgas. The availability of avgas should not be taken for granted outside of North America, Europe and Australia. In India, for example, the website Earthrounders.com has long reported that avgas is generally available in only four cities in India (Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Nagpur and Kolkata) and, more recently, that avgas is no longer available in Christmas Island, Kiribati, which was previously a common refueling stop between Hawaii and Pago Pago. Obtaining avgas at airports that do not carry it in inventory requires buying drums of fuel in advance, shipping them to the destination, and arranging for storage and a means to bring the drums to the aircraft for fueling. Even when avgas is available in such areas, it is generally sold in drums with a nominal 200 liter capacity, so your quantity choices are constrained to 200 liters (one drum), 400 liters (two drums), 600 liters (three drums), etc. With enough drums on hand, of course, you can top off your tanks and simply leave the unused fuel behind as a sacrifice to the fuel gods.
Flying a plane that burns Jet A removes this limitation. While avgas has become less available outside of the U.S., Europe and Australia, Jet A is generally available at all airports, often at less cost. Aircraft range and permits must still be addressed, but flying a Jet A powered plane opens the door to visiting many more destinations and provides much more flexibility in route planning.
LifeStyle Aviation specializes in the marketing and sale of modern personal aircraft with Diamond Aircraft being one of the company’s popular brands. LifeStyle is a leading seller of new and used Diamonds in North America and also delivers aircraft worldwide. LifeStyle has invested in being the leading provider of diesel single and twin-engine Jet-A piston aircraft including the DA40 NG, DA42 and the all-new DA62.
LifeStyle Aviation created the LifeStyle Aviation Network that includes flight centers, aircraft brokers, affiliates and international partners to create a productive, pooled source for buying and selling modern aircraft, learning to fly, accessing shared ownership programs and transitioning from entry-level aircraft to advanced high-performance planes. The LifeStyle Aviation Network offers a wide range of quality, modern aircraft from Diamond, Piper, Mooney, Cessna, Cirrus and more. (see: LifeStyleAircraft.com)
For over a decade LifeStyle Aviation has been a Diamond Regional Distribution Center (DRDC) offering new DA20 trainers, popular DA40 gas and Jet Fuel burning aircraft plus the Jet Fuel burning DA42 and the new seven place DA62 twin. LifeStyle Aviation coordinates the ongoing development of the LifeStyle Aviation Network and its Partner Flight Centers. LifeStyle Aviation is also the creator of the unique DiamondShare program (DiamondShare.com) that provides attractive shared access to modern aircraft allowing people to justify the plane of their dreams and “Make the Dollars Make Sense”.