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Old 07-21-2011, 04:37 PM
FixedWing172 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toucan View Post
It's hard to differentiate (performance wise) Patty Wagstaff from Mike Goulian or Sean Tucker from the late Jim Leroy, all incredible pilots by the way. But if you put them in unmarked aircraft you wouldn't Know who was flying.
I understand the points you make and thanks for letting us know what is going on with your project. I would however respectfully disagree with one thing. I have seen all four of these pilots perform in person and there is no doubt I would know which aircraft was being flown by Jim Leroy. He was one of a kind in my opinion and simply the best airshow performer I've ever seen.
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Old 07-21-2011, 05:30 PM
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From a "MAcro" viewpoint... the average Schmoe could not tell the difference...
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Old 07-21-2011, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by fmichael View Post
Sweet I want to see it Hover. weighs 1650 lbs and has almost 3000 lbs of thrust
me too
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Old 07-22-2011, 02:33 AM
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Soap Box........

Greetings Guys,

Thanks again for all the comments. This is my last soap box spew, so thanks for listening in advance! Had a little time this evening to just ramble, so I hope I don’t bore or insult anyone in the process. I'll try and work backwards from what I have read from the posts. The point about not being able to differentiate between the four pilots mentioned was for laymen, not you all. Totally agreed that Jim LeRoy was an incredible entertainer/pilot and friend. He was also considerably more aggressive which ultimately left him zero margin for being human and making mistakes.

I want to try and reinforce that you all, as savvy as you are about flying, air shows and pilot/performers, you all represent probably less then 2% of our target market. And though the Toucan might be very stale to you all, the other 98%+ of the world have never heard of it. You all were introduced to it because of our relationship with Quique (a wonderful guy btw). We did our best to support his effort before we ever had a licensing deal with him, which ultimately never happened. Long story there but it had absolutely nothing to do with Quique, but with our attorneys.

Yes, we do have a website and it generates a lot of traffic but we have made virtually zero push marketing wise publically, just to a niche aviation grouping. As we mentioned before, why create a buzz when our sponsors can't take advantage of it. We’re in the marketing business, not in the personal ego gratification business. Campaigning the plane without a sponsor would be so wrong on so many levels. And is why we decided to sit out this bad economy and resist any attempt to generate interest (at a cost) when sponsorships are on the decline.

And speaking of sponsorship marketing, a little marketing insight from real world experience. We have met with over 50 Fortune 500 CMO's and only two of them have ever been to an air show. Most could not differentiate the Toucan from a Cessna 152. The notion of making a name for yourself so you can attract a title sponsor is a myth. In the real world, there is not a single celebrity air show pilot. The closest thing you will find to that is Sean Tucker, another friend of ours. As incredible as he is, and the wonderful contributions he has made to the aviation world, he is still not a household name. The same 50 CMO’ s we met never heard of him. Frightening but real.

Sponsors care about demographic and geographic reach, at venue attendance numbers that are verifiable and media reach, period. The idea of a logo on a plane and making identity (brand) impressions makes a very weak business proposition. It has to be a great deal richer experience and program then just a logo on an aircraft. Trust me on this, we have spent the last 20 years in a marketing capacity for Fortune 500 companies including Disney, NBC, Kraft, BP and the list goes on, so we are not pilots wanting to be marketeers.

Vupilot made an interesting comment about campaigning the plane before we have a sponsor. The comments are very inline with most aspiring air show pilots and even seasoned air show performers, but also the VERY reason most if not all don’t have sponsorships. I can only think of one pilot in the air show business that legitimately earns 100% of his revenue every year from the business of being an air show pilot and that is Sean Tucker. I’m not including the Red Bull Racing in this, that is/was a different animal.

For the other 99%, it is a hobby, and an expensive one at that. The problem with the air show business is the very fact that nobody really earns a living doing it. It’s hard to call it an industry when nobody’s making money (performer wise), right? Some do it purely for ego (and are independently wealthy), some do it to express their love of flying and others do it to inspire their audience. Whatever the reason, it is funded almost entirely by the pilot/performer.

If you look at this as a real business then you have to factor in the cost of the aircraft (an off the shelf Edge 540 is $400k), the cost of maintenance, annuals, spare parts, fuel, insurance as well as calculate all the associated costs of off season practice to stay sharp. Then there is a support team and aircraft, travel expenses for repositioning multiple aircraft. With all these expenses, the idea that $10k-$12k a weekend will pay the bills and provide a real salary is absolutely laughable. And at that $10k figure a weekend, you’d have to be an elite level performer.

The cost of campaigning the Toucan compared to the illustration I just made is exponentially more expensive. The cost of the aircraft is more then twice that of an Edge 540 to develop. We burn 60-70GPH of Jet-A and the list goes on and on. I think you can understand why we don’t make it a hobby.

A performer would have to make two to three times the $10k weekend earnings to have a real business; we’ve run the number and are intimately familiar with the financials. And even with $30k a weekend earnings, nobody’s going to get rich doing it. What gets me going even more is the HUGE risk factor involved with performers with surface waivers. They literally are putting themselves in harms way and paying for the privilege to do so. Hard to make business sense of that, from our perspective.

I agree that there needs to be a way for aspiring pilots to develop skills and work through the ranks to get to an elite level status. No argument there but the current system doesn’t seem to work very well either. And when you do make it to the elite level at your own expense, you’ll be competing with Sean Tucker who doesn’t charge the venue a dime because he is corporately sponsored.

BTW, our air show pilot is Sean Tucker’s chief pilot and has run Sean’s aerobatic school for over ten years now. He is one of the world’s premiere aerobatic pilots and his name is Ken Erickson. Most have not heard of him because he is NOT ego driven. He provides world-class instruction to elite level aerobatic pilots and air show performers alike. He is the exact kind of talent suited for our endeavors.

Believe me, it is absolutely painful to be on the sidelines but until we feel the market conditions are improving, its what we have to do.
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Old 07-22-2011, 02:45 AM
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Great post!

I'd still love to have a set of 3-views to make a foamy...

Jon
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Old 07-22-2011, 07:36 AM
Flyfalcons is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jack01 View Post
Guys,

Toucan made a really good point about sponsors and such. If the airplane is "released" and marketed right now, many of the potential sponsors will say "Wow, that's an awesome airplane and I'd love to have my name on it, but we don't have any spare cash right now". By the time those sponsors do have money to spare on advertising, the buzz has died down. Incredible as the airplane is, from a sponsor's perspective, it's yesterday's news. Its just like being a car salesman. If the customer (sponsor in this case) walks off the lot without buying something, they probably aren't coming back.

Airshows can pay a chunk of money, after you've spent two chunks getting ready for it... I don't know what engine they have on it, but the overhaul on a PT6A can easily go over $250,000. With the modifications this plane has, there's no telling. It takes a lot of airshows to cover that....
Meanwhile the rest of the airshow world goes on, business as usual. Some companies choose to run and hide and some companies choose to take full opportunity of a situation.
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Old 05-29-2018, 09:06 AM
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So..... hoping to see this soon at an airshow near me!!!
Any progress?!?!
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Old 06-05-2018, 01:52 PM
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Seems to have disappeared from the radar early in 2015. Website is still up so possibly it never sold?

http://www.aero-news.net/index.cfm?d...e-4255d9594108
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Old 11-11-2019, 08:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin K View Post
Seems to have disappeared from the radar early in 2015. Website is still up so possibly it never sold?

http://www.aero-news.net/index.cfm?d...e-4255d9594108
Purchased by Kenneth Kirk in Newton, Iowa and being put together as we speak. Search "Turbine Toucan" on FB and you'll find the page.
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