“Twice the fun, speed and safety.” That’s the promise of flyMustang.com according to its boss, Ruchir Gupta. Offering charters, fractional ownership, low-cost seats on ‘dead-head’ positioning flights and self-fly shares in Cessna’s Mustang VLJ, the company offers PPLs the chance to fly P1 in a light jet without spending millions to buy one.
Most pilots considering the self-fly option will already have plenty of experience operating sophisticated aircraft. For example, a typical would-be flyMustang PPL customer might be stepping up from a Cirrus SR-22 and have 500+ hours with an instrument rating.
Training consists, initially, of a two-week course at FlightSafety in Wichita, Kansas for the $20,000 FAA SIC rating. (“Realistically, we’re expecting most flyMustang pilots to be FAA certificated,” says Gupta.) With additional hours, you can get a crew rating and start to log P1 hours rather than P/UT. Although the Mustang is certified for single-pilot operations, with flyMustang, you’ll always have an highly experienced pilot in the right seat. Like the second engine, a second pilot is a valuable safety feature.
The self-fly fractional ownership scheme isn’t cheap except when compared with the cost of buying and operating your own Mustang. Expect to pay $316,759 for a 1/10th share in a jet and €30,637 a year for fixed operating costs for a fully-managed AOC operator to insure, manage, crew and hangar ‘your’ plane. Hourly variable costs run to €810 plus flight costs such as crew hire, handling, preflight inspections etc. – perhaps another €600-1000 per flying day.
If flyMustang’s scheme takes off, it will give private pilots a rare and exciting chance to fly in the left-hand seat of a hot jet. And while the cost is high, the experience is sure to be priceless.