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Other Issues in an Aircraft Partnership

by Andrew Czernek,

Advantages of Partnerships
Disadvantages of Partnerships
Financial Issues
Other Issues
Legal Organization

Agreement for a Non-Profit Corporation
Agreement for a Lease Corporation
AOPA Resources


Some partnerships resolve scheduling problems by setting up a weekend each month for each of the pilots, as well as allowing a week or more block of time for long-distance travel. Even with six members in the Cessna partnership we never found that necessary, instead relying on an answering service to leave messages with reservation time/date. One call would usually yield 3 or 4 reservations and then you could book your own time.

Later, we set up a web-based reservations page. If the group is small, for last minute reservations you can check in via cell phone or a quick e-mail. The first thing that we did when a new partner joined the group was to issue a phone card with home/work/cell phone and e-mail contacts. We flew together so often that the call was often, “I’m going up to Friday Harbor for lunch. Are you free?”


A change in pilots will often increase the insurance, particularly with a Mooney and its retractable gear. It’s not unusual to have the newest partner pay whatever premium there is, at least for the first year. Partners who have joined us in the Mooney have done so with the intent to gain an instrument rating, and in one case they attended Flight Safety International’s Mooney proficiency course.

One year, AIG indicated that if all three pilots underwent recurrency training before the beginning of the year, they’d upgrade insurance from $250K per seat to $1M smooth coverage, so we made sure that all three completed a BFR.

Managing the Airplane

There are dozens of issues that come up with respect to flying the airplane and it’s virtually impossible to get them all in the bylaws. Some things to consider:

  • is the aircraft to be financed?
  • how often does oil get changed?
  • what owner maintenance is allowed?
  • what equipment failures take the aircraft out of service?
  • how is the engine run?
  • what’s done about engine cool down?
  • what are pilots’ attitudes about flying into likely icing?

A good idea, in order to keep your FBO happy, is to have your most-mechanically-minded person appointed as maintenance officer. It makes sure that one person is on top of all current maintenance issues and is authorizing repairs.

The MAPA Safety Foundation periodically runs Mooney maintenance workshops, which are well worth the expense, particularly if you’re a long way from one of the lead Mooney service centers. Jerry Manthey took all three owners through potential issues on our Mooney 201 shortly after we purchased it. There were 36 service items identified – some requiring immediate action (our emergency gear extension cable was sticking) and some just alerts for attention at the next annual.

Revision: 10/28/2010