A new concept in aircraft ownership is taking flight with the launch of DiamondShare, a shared-use program that seeks to make flying more affordable by spreading the costs around.
As you might have guessed, the idea is based exclusively on Diamond Aircraft products, specifically the four-place, single-engine Diamond DA40 XLS. The program matches aircraft owners with pilots who agree to pay the owner a fixed monthly fee to lease a certain number of hours per year in the airplane.
Once a pilot/owner purchases a new DA40 through the program, the DiamondShare team locates one, two or three “members,” who pay a monthly fee for access, typically covering 100 hours of flying per year.
Although the shared-use idea has been tried before in aviation, it's never been done quite like this, says DiamondShare creator John Armstrong.
“There have been significant advancements in general aviation aircraft capabilities over the past decade, but what hasn’t changed is the aircraft ownership paradigm,” noted Armstrong, who is also a Diamond Aircraft distributor. “A pilot buys an airplane, but only uses about 1 to 2 percent of the available hours. With just a small increase in utilization, the economics for the owner are enhanced dramatically."
Typically, the first two members’ payments roughly cover the monthly finance note, Armstrong explained. Members make a one-year commitment to the program, “and for that investment they have access to a brand new, fully equipped luxury Diamond DA40,” he said. Terms can vary from one program to the next and are tailored to meet the aircraft owner’s needs.
In the interest of full disclosure, I recently signed up to become one of the first DiamondShare customers and have been enjoying flying a brand new DA40 XLS from Essex County Airport (KCDW) in New Jersey as a member since the start of the year. I’ll be discussing the full details of the program in my blog next Thursday, including what it cost me to sign up.
Until then, the airplane I fly will be on static display this weekend at KCDW on Saturday, February 9, and at Westchester County Airport (KHPN) in New York on Sunday. To reserve a spot at either event, visit www.DiamondShare.com/events.