Tuesday, August 4, 2015

My Experiment

A Scientific Method

The scientific method is a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry is commonly based on empirical or measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning. 

  • The steps of the scientific method are to:
    1. Ask a Question
    2. Do Background Research
    3. Construct a Hypothesis
    4. Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment
    5. Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion
    6. Communicate Your Results
  • It is important for your experiment to be a fair test. A "fair test" occurs when you change only one factor (variable) and keep all other conditions the same.
Open for Business
  1. Question: Can flight training be fun and affordable? Does new technology enhance the flight training experience? Can an LSA be a platform that can survive the training environment? Will students see value in the Sport Pilot Rating?
  2. Research: I went to visit my Mentor, Dr Paul up in Lock Haven. He had successfully started AvSport a few years earlier and was a font of information. I can not thank him enough for the encouragement he provided. However his talents extend beyond my own. He has the ability to perform his own maintenance, which I am not prepared to do. My enterprise would have to be different. I looked at a variety of business models and subscribed to many on line forums for insight and ideas. Patrick was especially helpful sharing business information from the company he runs at US Sport Aircraft. Of utmost importance was Kathy's ability to ask questions about the unforeseen circumstance.
  3. Hypothesis: A one plane/one instructor flight school can be financially successful if based upon modern LSA technologies and will be attractive to students otherwise turned off by older, standard category aircraft. Furthermore, students will have fun learning to fly in this type of aircraft.
  4. Test: The Light Sport Adventure was started in April 2013 when I got my CFI/CFII Certificate from the FAA. I was still based at Butter Valley (7N8) which was not particularly attractive for new flight students, nor convenient to a population center. Harry was very helpful getting the word out, and his help generated some Flight Reviews. It was a start. However, it wasn't until the Airport Manager at Quakertown asked me to move to his airport that the school got busy. Without Mike's help this experiment would have failed.
  5. Conclusion: Its been 1 year and 1 month since I moved Sally to Quakertown. We have prospered. We survived a very long difficult winter. Many weeks I canceled more flights than I flew, but we continued to reschedule and to see students make progress. Everyone leaned from the experience. We had fun and we grew the number of students learning to fly. ...and Sally survived. My experiment was successful.
Departing Runway 29er to the South
One of the many, many things we learned is that the flying season in Pennsylvania is too short.  So we have decided to correct that. It's time to "change a variable". This month we will cease our Pennsylvania operations and move south to Florida to start A New Adventure.

I'll keep you posted.