Hopscotch Air Leaps in With Both Feet

Maybe you have to hop before you soar.

Andrew Schmertz is starting with one Cirrus SR22 flying what he bills as "air limo" flights out of Republic Airport in Farmingdale, Long Island, New York. He hopes to expand to as many as five aircraft in his fleet by the summer season, able to shuttle passengers, on demand, from nearby jumping off points to destinations within reasonable range. He already has one client from his home-base area who is building a boat in North Carolina, and another who routinely flies to Akron, Ohio. His business plan is scalable, and building a larger fleet will surely give him greater critical mass. That would enable lower fares, since he wisely does not currently give away the operating cost of his empty legs. More aircraft would enhance the opportunity for double-dip flights, especially to well-traveled destinations such as Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. Hopscotch Air could go the way of other starry eyed start-ups. But Schmertz, a graduate of Hofstra University and an avid GA pilot, has already exhibited his business savvy, building a commercial radio production business and then selling it to WNET. One of his bold strategies for Hopscotch Air is radio advertising in the New York market. And one undeniable benefit of even tiny air limo companies for all of general aviation: one lucky passenger can sit up front and see what a great way this is to travel. That makes us all look good. Visit the website at www.hopscotchair.com.