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Own Your Own Private Plane with Nik Tarascio

George Grombacher May 25, 2023

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Own Your Own Private Plane with Nik Tarascio

LifeBlood: We talked about private plane ownership, the private aviation landscape in the US, the different costs of owning an aircraft, the different types of planes, and what ownership actually looks like, with Nik Tarascio, CEO of Ventura Air Services, author and podcast host.    

Listen to learn why private plane ownership is a lot closer than you think!

You can learn more about Nik at VenturaJet.com, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Get your copy of Own Your Own Plane HERE

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Our Guests

George Grombacher

Nik Tarascio

Episode Transcript

george grombacher 0:02
Leffler This is George G. And the time is right welcome today’s guest strong and powerful Nick Trost. Yo, Nick, are you ready to do this?

Nik Tarascio 0:08
Absolutely happy to be here.

george grombacher 0:10
All right, let’s go. Nick is a pilot. He is the CEO of Vinciguerra. Air Services. They’re a company specializing in aircraft sales, maintenance at private, private charter services. He’s also the author of own your own plane. It costs less than you think. Nick, excited to have you on. Tell us a little about your personal life’s more about your work, why you do what you do.

Nik Tarascio 0:33
Man Oh, man, that’s a big question. Personal life so very much involved in music. As you can tell by I don’t know if this is actually going to be a video cast. But the guitars hanging on the wall are pretty good indication. See, I’ve personally it’s a lot of spending time and self development, trying to figure out how to be optimal self Get out of my own way. A lot of thinking about when I’m the conduit, what can I create? Right? I think a lot of people come in with a vision for I want to build some particular thing. I like to see what things want to become on their own. So whether that’s music, the business, just allowing things to kind of take their own shape. I know it’s a little bit abstract. But that’s generally how I see myself in the world is I actually don’t like to know the answer. A little bit like watching a movie.

george grombacher 1:23
I appreciate that. How long have have you been cognizant of that of letting things develop on their own?

Speaker 2 1:32
Um, you know, I think I didn’t realize that that was what I liked. So I suffered it for a long time growing up, I was like, Why is everything always taking a left turn? And then I was like, oh, it’s because I want it to take a left turn, I actually really need that to be intrigued and interested in to be in flow.

george grombacher 1:51
Yeah, it’s an interesting thing. I know that I have a really hard time letting things come to me, I hear that all the time, you got to let things come to you. I’m like, No, I, I want to go do the thing. So it’s taken me a long time to sort of figure that out. And then to be able to step back and give something that space or the air, it’s kind of breathe a little bit.

Speaker 2 2:09
Exactly. I mean, and again, the business is a good example of that, for me in it. It’s my parents business. So I grew up in a flight school. It really was my dad’s dream to build this thing. And when I stepped in, it was kind of a lesson in that because it wasn’t something that I had the vision for it was, how do I help his dream turn into whatever it’s supposed to grow up to be? And that was kind of the unintentional lesson. And it was that I tried to force my hand that like, I want it to be this or I want it to be that, instead of sitting with and going, well, who are you? Who are you as a business. And I think that’s been even in, you know, writing songs is a great way of doing that. It’s like, I can try to make something and say, This is my fingerprint. And this is my style. Or I can pick up a guitar and say, What sounds do you want to make today? What do you have to share?

george grombacher 2:57
I think that that’s a great, great way to think about it and look at it. Because yeah, I can’t imagine that in artistic endeavor, like writing a song, it’s going to be super effective when you manufacture it too hard.

Speaker 2 3:11
That’s exactly right. That’s exactly right. And you could feel it, you can feel the difference between someone who forced their hand versus someone who’s and many, many amazing artists have said this, they go I finished the song and I realized I don’t even know where that came from. Because it didn’t come from me.

george grombacher 3:26
Yeah, you you invite the muse. It’s as Steven Pressfield would, would would would call it to come in and and sort of CO create with you exactly. Like it. So parallels between flying an airplane and playing guitar. Are there any

Speaker 2 3:44
everything so you know, when when I got into flying originally, like when you start any flying and ever, it’s really about looking out the window and just kind of flying visually in you know, you look at the ground and all that. But as you come more experienced pilot, a lot of people go on to get into your mind, you got to trust the instruments. And if she could already hear the parallel here, but it was always like no matter what happens in your in the clouds, and you think like it, what’s on the other side of this? Can we even handle it? Where are we going, you just have to keep going back to trust your instruments. And I think I found the same thing in playing music and playing guitar was you just have to go back to the fundamentals. When things get hard, you don’t know what to do. And when you’re in a live performance situation, and something takes a left turn. Again, you just gotta go back to trusting the instruments, all those things we trained for, and we do, we trained for everything. But what I’ve noticed is in the same way, I’ve watched people in an airplane like this is a pretty crazy story. There’s this guy, Bob Hoover, he was one of the world’s top test pilots. He was the guy that would like fly new military aircraft that had never been flown before knowing full well it was probably going to crash because it just had never been and he was like pushing it to the envelope, seeing when it stalls and when it breaks and all that stuff. And he has survived more airplane crashes than just about anybody He said, That’s what he was doing for a living. And they said, Bob, how do you do it? And he said, I fly the airplane as far into the crash as possible. And I think there’s something to be said for that some people let go of the wheel well, before, you know, they still have authority, they still have the ability to have an influence, but they already see some negative outcome and throw their hands up and give up. And so I think that’s been an amazing lesson is like, no matter what happens, no matter how scary the circumstance in front of you may seem, you fly the damn thing as far into the crash as possible. Maybe it’ll work out, maybe you’ll find a clearing, maybe you’ll be able to get the engines to start again, or whatever situation is going wrong for you. And I think it’s the same thing for music. Have you ever watched someone make a mistake on stage and they pause and they freeze, and then they go, and they run off the side of the stage. Versus Hey, there’s a moment have a little fun with the audience, this moment to play a little and show them like, I’m such a professional, I don’t even care if my guitar falls off with me, which has happened, by the way. It’s like now I have another opportunity to interact with the audience. And they go, Wow, I feel so lucky to be at this show where that thing happened. And I got to watch someone roll with it. They created a really special experience. So I think I live life on those two parallels. And that’s something I’ve always seen between the two is, it is a performance. In both cases, whether you’re in a cockpit or you’re, you’re on a stage.

george grombacher 6:18
I love it. Like that’s super powerful. And yes, when there is imperfection, that’s that, that that’s when things are memorable and better. It’s like, oh, how was the Rolling Stones concert? Oh, everything sounded exactly the way that I expected it to versus Oh, my gosh, Keith Richards, you know, to the, to the strings on his guitar pop, but they still finish the set. It was amazing.

Unknown Speaker 6:40
Yeah, I mean, that’s rock and roll, right?

george grombacher 6:43
Yeah, it’s exactly right. And the same thing goes with to your point, I think it’s just a wonderful parallel with everything, you can hit eject way too soon, and miss out on lots of important information or data. Or you could write your plane if you get out too fast or whatever. So I think that that’s super powerful stuff. So you are with with matura, you’re helping people to figure out the right travel schedule and stuff like that, but actually buying a plane. I think when when I don’t know how many people actually own a private aircraft. But your to your point, the point of the book is, it’s more accessible than then people realize.

Speaker 2 7:29
Yeah, I think the reason why I talk about that is again, I grew up around this with my parents starting a flight school. And we always talked about, you know, kids would go to the fences and kind of stare through the fence and watch the planes take off and land. But it was never something that was accessible to most people. And yet, I grew up around. It wasn’t fancy private jets. It wasn’t like, you know, Jay Z and Oprah money with $65 million private planes, it was little for cedars that cost at the time. $18,000 To buy, right, and it’s like, oh, you go train for 10 grand or eight grand to become a pilot, there was really affordable ways to interact with private aviation. Now, when you have a small plane like that, you fly to the same terminals as the guys with the $65 million jets. Right? So you there’s this whole crazy ecosystem in America that people don’t even realize of, there’s about 300 commercial airports, and there’s about 5500 Private airports all over America. So it just opens up the whole canvas for people. So the book really talks about, hey, look, if you have a vacation home, that’s three, four or 500 miles away, you don’t need a private jet necessarily. You could buy yourself a small prop plane and hire a pilot to fly you back and forth. If you want to learn to fly, you can make that pilot an instructor and have them teach you as you’re going back and forth with your family. You can even buy a jet like we’ve, for a while we were buying and selling jets that were 300 to $500,000. And these were seven seats that went 500 miles an hour and flew all the way from New York to Puerto Rico. So there’s a whole world there that most people are too intimidated by because of the way that we portray it is like oh, this is for the uber rich. But that’s really what the book was touching to is that everyone has the opportunity to interact in some way with private aviation. Even if it’s just taking one flight lesson, even if it’s just buying a small plane, whatever that might be.

george grombacher 9:10
Interesting that it certainly makes sense that we’re we’re intimidated by unknown things. And ambiguity causes us to to not do something or certainly procrastinated on it for a really long time. And that’s probably if we’re climbing a mountain or going under the ocean or certainly flying an aircraft. So that that makes sense. And it also makes sense that, you know, it’s an entire ecosystem or world that if you’ve never interacted with it, you have no idea about it. So 5500 Private airports. That’s a lot. It’s way more than that. I would have guests, guests, and there’s probably way more kinds of airplanes to your point as well.

Speaker 2 9:49
Yeah, yeah, exactly. And it’s an industry that by design has been not inclusive, right. They’re like, Oh, this is only for a certain kind of people that have a certain kind of X And I think that’s it’s just not true. But you know, it’s, it’s I think a lot of people want it to keep the majority out because it’s it is private aviation, you don’t want 1000 People in the terminal, you have five people in the airport terminal when you go through.

george grombacher 10:16
And as we’re talking, I’m, now I’m thinking about different organizations or companies that have popped up over the past couple of years. And I’m not going to be able to pull any of them. But it’s like, you can buy fractions, or it’s kind of like Uber, you understand what I’m getting at?

Speaker 2 10:33
Yeah, so that’s, there’s, like, NetJets is an example of that company, they’re the biggest player in the fractional space, where you can buy an eight share a 16 share of a brand new airplane. And again, it’s the, for some people, that’s the dream of ownership without all the responsibility of it and kind of sharing the load across a bunch of other people. It’s an expensive way to fly, though, I’d say, you know, when you say only your own plane cost less than you think that might not be one of those cases.

george grombacher 10:58
Okay. So that is that is not effectively doing that. So, what is what are some of the main costs of, of owning an airplane or maybe just private, private aviation.

Speaker 2 11:16
So the two biggest costs to owning an airplane are generally the pilots and the fuel. Everything else is pretty much a fraction of that. So like as an order of magnitude, Nago, complete extremes, I have a little four seat prop plane that I recently flew to just north of Atlanta, and we burn, like 11 gallons an hour on that airplane, and fuel $6 a gallon, so doesn’t cost me all that much, right? It’s pretty, pretty minimal in the grand scheme. $66 an hour and fuel, the whole round trip for me was maybe four or 500 bucks. And that was with four people. So you’re like, well, that’s actually not that bad. Now, again, I’m the pilot, so I come at a very good cost. But in the case that you needed to hire a pilot for a day, you’re probably going to pay between three to $500 a day for a pilot, if you get yourself a good local flight instructor. So again, you look at that and go, this is not that crazy, the plane I was flying in probably cost about $140,000. So even that not that crazy, anybody that could buy a high end car to probably justify financing, one of those may last a lot longer than a car, this plane is from 1983. So it gives you an order, again, you’re talking about 40 year old airplane that we keep refreshing and renewing. But then you go into jet equipment, you’re like, Well, I don’t want to deal with that. I want to have jets and fancy seats and all that stuff and be sitting in the back and hanging out, then you’re looking at somewhere between the two to $4,000 an hour experience. And again, in that case, the fuel is very expensive, because jets are burning three to 400 gallons an hour. Right? Very, very, very big difference. The engines alone cost about $500 an hour to run because you put it into a service program. And again, pilots for a jet, you generally need to unless you’re using a really small one. So you’re looking at somewhere between three to $4,000 a day for crew. So pretty big range in order of magnitude. Now again, there are a lot of ways to offset that some people take their airplane and they give it to a charter company like us, and then we fly a bunch and drive revenue, and then they can offset their cost of their personal flying. And then on top of that they get crazy tax benefits. So if you buy a jet, even if you finance it, and only put a small percentage down, you get to depreciate the entire asset, and save all that you literally end up cash positive because you save more on taxes than you spend on the on the down payment of the airplane.

george grombacher 13:34
Fascinating. So when you say buy a jet, and so on, if you are go to jets.com and look at the world of jets that are available. What is sort of the medium? Is it a 15 year old jet? That is a certain size? Probably hard question.

Speaker 2 13:59
I mean, the media and I’ll just use those kinds of categories is very light, jet, light, jet, medium jet, heavy jet. And then like ultra long range like those are, that’s the Jay Z type stuff. But you’re looking at really kind of a mid size jet is probably there’s a lot of stuff that’s like early 2000s that has seven or eight seats, flies 1500 to 2500 miles. And you’re looking at a purchase price anywhere between 1 million and $4 million dollars. And to keep in mind that those same airplanes are still mad, you’re fractured today. So you could buy a brand new as an example. And this is what’s really interesting for people is you could buy a 2002 airplane, let’s say for 2 million bucks. You could go out and buying new for about $14 million. You’re like wait a minute, I’ll save the $12 million, maybe put a little bit into paint interior, maybe some new avionics and still have a massive arbitrage there.

george grombacher 14:53
Yeah, okay. And so that million dollars. That’s what I was about to ask Question, but we probably don’t need to get into the weeds, there are big tax opportunities that are there. And if I wanted to have it for my personal use two times a month, or something like that, or what are what are some of the common sort of ways that that people are using versus then coming to you to say, Hey, can you also try to get this thing out and renting it, for example, so I can get some more money back.

Speaker 2 15:30
So the average, the average user uses the planes maybe 75 hours a year, so 50 to 75 hours a year in an airplane, on a charter fleet can fly 800 hours, let’s say if you really want to push it. So maybe the average person offsets with three to 400 hours. But again, what that will do is, in many cases, people will say, I still have to pay for my airplane, I got to pay for the note to buy it, I may have to pay for some maintenance. But all of my personal flying was funded by the charter revenue that came off of it. So we see circumstances like that, in extreme cases, everything’s paid for. But that’s not as common. That’s I mean, we had a crazy market for the last three years. So you saw a lot of really interesting stuff happen. But in the average case, we just say you could pretty much fund your own flying.

george grombacher 16:12
Got it? Nice. So why, why wouldn’t I do that?

Speaker 2 16:19
There’s a lot of reasons people don’t do it. One, it’s really scary. Because it’s like people with money are smart with their money, right? They invest where they know that they understand things. So to say to someone that you know nothing about this industry know nothing about airplanes, trust me, this is going to work. So what you’ll see is there’s a lot of people in the industry, unfortunately, that understand that you can prey on the hopes of people with lots of money. And so historically, there’s a lot of stories of people that put money into airplanes and lost a lot on it. There’s jokes that say, if you want to make a million in aviation start with five. And I think because of that, we set out to really say how do we change that narrative? How do we create more transparent business models? Because it could be years before someone realizes we’ve been I’ve been subsidizing this charter company, I’ve been subsidizing customers, I had no idea because it’s so complex. So I think from that perspective, that’s that’s one of the hardest parts. And there’s a couple of companies out there actually quite a few, there’s quite a few companies that are really working in the same way we are, which is educate, create transparency, show people what this is, because it’s such a great opportunity when it’s done. Well.

george grombacher 17:25
I appreciate that. And that’s, that’s something that hopefully, anybody who’s doing a good job with client in mind or customer in mind is is trying to do, but then there are a lot of bad actors out there who are not trying to do that. So. So I appreciate that very much. How many? How many is Do we know how many individuals out there actually own private planes? Is that knowable?

Speaker 2 17:57
Roughly, yeah, I mean, I could probably spit ball a number, but it’s a little challenging. Because you do have fractions, you have some like the NetJets planes of eight to 16 owners. And then depending on what the plane is, that you figure, there’s probably, again, orders of magnitude be 10s of 1000s of private jets in the country. So if you multiply some partnership model, on top of that, maybe it’s 40,000 owners in the country, something like that, for private jets, not like little prop planes. There’s, there’s a lot of those too. But it’s a lot. It’s a pretty big pool of people, when you think about how elite you would think it would be. There’s a lot of people participating in this world.

george grombacher 18:36
Nice. All right. So for people who are we’ve piqued their curiosity, what what will they get when they pick up a copy of on your own planet cost less than you think?

Speaker 2 18:48
Ultimately, the book kind of just shows the different ranges. So it’s, you know, if you want to be the person that takes flight lessons, and flies yourself all the way up to the person who wants to buy a heavy jet to fly to Europe, it kind of gives you the different levels. And the goal of the book was to say, I’m in all these entrepreneurial communities. And people always come to me and say, How much money do I need to have before I go buy a jet? I’m like, you probably already have enough you just didn’t know it. So the idea is to say, when you figure out what lifestyle you want to have, as it might relate to aviation, I just want you to know what that number is. So when you set your financial dreams and goals, you are realistic, versus like, I thought I needed to make $50 million before I could do this, like you could have done it when you had five.

george grombacher 19:27
I think that that’s super powerful. And I appreciate that very much that instead of just asking a question, How much money do I need? Well, let’s actually do a little bit of work on the front end and back into based on what it is that I’m interested in doing the kind of lifestyle am I interested in having, and how would this improve it? And then once I figure that out, oh, okay, it’s actually going to cost this much. So I love it. Nick, thank you so much for coming on. Where can people learn more about you? Where can they get their copy of own your own plane?

Nik, thank you so much for coming on. Where can people who can check out

Speaker 2 20:05
the book on Amazon? Oh, sorry, I think something. pause there for a second. Can you hear me? Okay? Yeah, go ahead. All right, cool. Yeah. So if people are curious about the book, you can check it out on Amazon. And you want to learn more about us. You could check out Ventura jett.com for the company. Or you could find me on Instagram. It’s just Nick to rasio.

george grombacher 20:27
Excellent. Well, if you enjoyed as much as I did, show, Nick your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas, pick up your copy of owning your own plane, it costs less than you think on Amazon, go to Ventura jett.com Check out what Nick is working on in that part of his life. And then you can find Nick Terrassa on Instagram as well. I’ll link all those in the notes of the show. Thanks. Good, Nick. All right. Thanks, George. Be well. Until next time, remember, do your part by doing your best

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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