Four Journeys from Aircraft Ownership to Co-Ownership

If you’re considering Partners In Aviation’s program, PIA Managed Co-Ownership, you might be wondering what our customers have to say about their experience. Have their expectations been met? Has the program delivered the financial benefits they expected and mitigated the inherent risks of DIY partnerships?

Allow us to introduce you to four PIA clients. Their individual journeys from sole-aircraft ownership to co-ownership are unique. But you may be able to relate to each one, especially if you own an aircraft and have considered selling it outright or thought about bringing on a partner.

If, by chance, you’ve come directly to this post and are unfamiliar with us, we encourage you to take a look at this 2-minute video explaining the basics of PIA Managed Co-Ownership.

Keep the Company Jet Without Reinventing the Wheel

Don Dahlgren is an Oklahoma-based entrepreneur with a 40-year track record of success in the real estate and energy sectors. He grew up around airplanes, got his pilot’s license while still in high school, and went on to own aircraft that he used for business – and just for the joy of flying. He progressed to a turboprop and then a light jet before buying his current aircraft, a Cessna Citation CJ4. 

“I like having my own plane,” Dahlgren says. “I was very familiar with the ins and outs of aviation, and I knew that coming up with a good partner can be hard to do.” Dahlgren also points to the recent impact of COVID-19 on influencing his decision to consider options. “During the early days of the pandemic, the oil business was especially hard hit, and the expense was wearing on us. I considered selling the whole aircraft. I looked at fractional ownership. But nobody really wants to sell their jet and lose that convenience.

“My aircraft-management company connected me with Partners in Aviation,” continues Dahlgren. The matching process was particularly smooth. “The person I ultimately co-own with now was also familiar with PIA and had been chartering in the past. We checked each other out thoroughly, but we live in the same city and are both pretty well-known in the community.

“I was particularly impressed with PIA’s well-thought-out co-ownership agreement,” Dahlgren concludes. “These things could get complicated and cumbersome, but we didn’t have to reinvent the wheel. My aviation attorney was minimally involved, which ended up saving me even more money in the end.”

Navigating Efficiency in a Remote Locale

Richie Morgan is a business owner in a region of Northern California that is, shall we say, underserved by commercial air travel. “The lack of reliable air travel where I live prompted me to purchase a Pilatus PC-12 turboprop for my business, but I was looking to be smart about aircraft ownership from the get-go,” he says.

Like many owners, Morgan explored ways to be more efficient. “I was new to aircraft ownership and tried to defray some of the costs with charter, but that wasn’t working out for me,” Morgan says of his early experiences. “Partnership made more sense. I put some feelers out, but really didn’t know how to go about it.” 

Morgan read about Partners In Aviation and contacted them to discuss his specific situation. “I was a little concerned that my remote location was going to create a problem finding a partner,” Morgan continues. “But PIA really screened potential candidates for optimal location. My co-owner is just a 30-minute hop from me, and things are going well. I’m not sure I would have found him without PIA. I put a lot of trust in their vetting process.

“Overall, PIA Managed Co-Ownership is a great way to manage an asset. There are so many fixed expenses when you own an aircraft, even when it isn’t flying. Sharing the costs makes the approach a much better business decision.” 

Juggling Travel Requirements During Business Cycles

​​Jim Ostrum is the owner, CEO and president of Wisconsin-based MilkSource, a multistate dairy operation whose travel needs have evolved significantly over time. CFO Tim Olson says, “We entered a phase of facility expansion, and the prolonged travel and drive time involved was just overwhelming. We tried some occasional charter, but that wasn’t particularly efficient. In the meantime, we had acquired a new facility in Missouri with an airstrip right next to it that we couldn’t use – frustrating.” So the company purchased a jet.

The Cessna Citation XLS performed yeoman service for MilkSource during the company’s expansion, but the rapid growth eventually slowed. The jet was used less and less, and company leaders began to consider options. “We had a preference for some kind of ownership-partnership,” Olson continues. “Our president, Jim Ostrum, approached colleagues in our area, and one party was interested but just not quite ready. It can be hard to find someone you trust. So we investigated selling the aircraft, which wasn’t the ideal solution from our point of view. And then we began speaking with PIA about co-ownership.” 

The CEO and CFO were impressed with the program and the service. “We both liked the comfort level, legal structure, and guidance PIA brought to the process,” Olson concludes. “As the CFO, I can tell you the billing process has been flawless, and ditto on the aircraft maintenance and management. Everything has been going very well. Without PIA’s help, I imagine doing this on your own would be a pretty difficult experience.”

Embracing a Smart, No-Compromise Ownership Alternative

Allen Sirkin, the former CEO of Van Heusen, personally owned a super-midsize Gulfstream. “I enjoyed sole ownership but became a light user and wanted a smarter way to own,” Sirkin says.

So he contacted Partners In Aviation to explore PIA Managed Co-Ownership and see whether the program would work for him. “PIA was the solution,” he says. “I sold half my Gulfstream to a gentleman and his wife, introduced by PIA, and now I fly the same trips I always have – at half the cost.”

What We Do – Every Single Day

PIA has successfully assisted aircraft owners like Allen, Jim, Richie and Don – people looking for a smart solution to a specific need, and we would welcome the opportunity to assist you. We’ve amassed an extensive database of interested parties that enables us to find and vet qualified matches for you to consider. Today, PIA co-owners are operating coast-to-coast in every category of aircraft, from turboprops to heavy jets.

If you’d like to learn more, please schedule a consult. We’d enjoy hearing from you and discussing options available to you. We’d also be happy to connect you with PIA clients who can share firsthand how we helped them achieve their goal of operating more efficiently.