Shpadoinkle’s September Situation

Aircraft – Our most exciting acquisition is a new Embraer ERJ 145, a regional jet airliner with capacity for 50 passengers! Getting a “large” jet airliner has always been a goal that I’ve sidelined due to correctly prioritizing FBO acquisitions. The FBO market has been not very good for the past few months so with the help of some personal flights and passive profits (more on that below) I’ve saved up enough to snag one of these puppies. I would have liked an ERJ 170+ series with the under wing engines (I’m a real boy!) but the FSE Board of Director has made its position on larger RJs very clear – allowing ownership was a “mistake” and future large RJs will only be considered for all-in jobs.

Repositioning – We’ve stationed the ERJ at KSJC and moved some other aircraft around: the ATR 42 is now on the KMAF-KHRL route, and the ATR 72 has been repositioned to the ZWWW-ZMBS route, where its 68 passenger capacity has the highest chance of high utilization due to rich amount of system passenger jobs.

Profitability – For the past few months, the DKL network has managed to turn a passive profit, thanks to ground crew fees from high value cargo jobs and the pilots who fly them. This is great news for our shareholders (me), but whether it is good for the fseconomy economy as a whole for FBOs to be so profitable is yet to be determined. My network was not profitable just 7 months ago, but my network is also heavily biased toward large airports located at nation/state capitals, so my experience is not representative of every FBO owner. So with these caveats – FBOs have become better investment vehicles than the money sinks they were in the past, at least for me.

Network Changes – After being on the market for months, the FBO at ZJSY has finally found a buyer. We’ve also expanded the FBO at NZOH to the full 3 lots at great cost. My profits have been reinvested in increasing the fuel reserves at our FBOs, and I’m no longer considering liquidating the Antarctic FBOs. Our current 7 continent, 44 FBO network will stay the way it is for the forseeable future.

The One Map – FSE now has a new feature, The One Map. It’s pretty cool that FSE has moved to an Open Street Map based platform where the map doesn’t have “development purposes only” watermarks. The downside is the old aircraft map link no longer works. The FBO map link still works however.

Microsoft Flight Simulator (2020) – is released! It’s pretty cool, and the best features are 1) photorealistic default scenery (of course) and 2) the AI copilot that can complete an entire flight unassisted. It’s a demanding game though, my Ryzen 3900x/ RTX 2080ti can barely handle it – but it appears better optimized than X-Plane. I personally haven’t yet tried to fly MSFS 2020 with FSE.

There has been a massive influx of activity as a result of the MSFS (2020) release, although I do not foresee a proportional increase of profit. The biggest effect of additional sign ups is reduced job availability and increased use of my rental aircraft, the latter of which I’m happy to see. I’m waiting to see if/how the FSE BoD plans to increase FSE’s capacity, both in terms of real life infrastructure and virtual properties/jobs.

The MSFS MSRP is pretty steep so I’m happy to stick with the base version offered by the xbox game pass- an excellent value if you plan to play more than one game from their offering of many AAA titles. I have not tried to mod the game yet, but I know from my attempt to rip the Hearts of Iron soundtrack that the Game Pass installation folder is locked down and difficult to access.

Covid – this virus has bigly delayed my RL development but I’m getting back on track. If nothing else bad happens in the next month or so (lol) I could be getting a shiny new rating

Shpadoinkle’s Worldwide Ferry Network

ferry networkEvery labeled stop is a Shpadoinkle ferry stop. Ferry Stops offer the following: $3.75 100LL, $3.5 Jet A, Bulk fuel trading (buy and sell), 10000 Gallon fuel restock threshold, 5% maintenance markup.

Ferry stop airports have 5000ft+ runways and are verified to exist in stock FSX and XP11, with their FSE identifier. Ferry stops are located within 3000NM range of 99% of airports in the world.

Ferry legs, indicated by red or green lines, have a distance of less than 3000NM per leg. Green ferry legs provide cost offset assignments to save money without adding detours or stops to your route. Travel from any Ferry Stop to any Ferry Stop can be achieved in 6 legs or less.

If you want to ship crated aircraft, choose our network for your crate and uncrate point! If you ferry aircraft or transport goods and assignments long distance, choose our network for your enroute fuel and maintenance needs!

DC3 hub ops profitability review

When I leased Shpadoinkle Airway’s DC3, I did it for variety to try to attract pilots. Given the DC3’s higher operating costs compared to caravan ($800/hr vs $500/hr) and slower speed (allegedly, you can go about the same speed if you run it at WEP and pretend the engine is made of titanium). I expected to fly with most of the seats empty, since Shpadoinkle’s Quebec network is only low volume 2 lotters. 8 pax to, 4 pax back. In short, I expected it to do worse than the single engine, fuel efficient Caravan. BUT, I was pleasantly surprised when I realized I hadn’t even considered the full implications of 26 seats (that FSE’s DC3 operators have probably known for years):
In a regular 2 lot hub and spoke network that anyone can have without a huge amount of wealth, the set up is as follows:
You have your hub, usually somewhere in the center of the network to minimize distance from the satellites. Then you have your focus airport which is the airport you concentrate all your hub airport’s passenger terminal firepower on. This is the route you fly the most since it will produce the most income/flight, optimally 24 pax in 2 flights or 12 pax/flight. Then with the rest of the satellites, you have a PT capacity of 12 pax total per satellite.
With the 13 seat caravan, if you’re very lucky, and jobs to 2 airports near each other spawn exactly 6 jobs each, you can have 2 satellites together to fly a triangle route. At airport A you have 6 pax going to B and 6 pax going to C. At airport B you drop off the 6 pax going to B and replace them with 6 pax going to A, at airport C you drop off the 6 pax going to C and pick up 6 more pax going to A, then you return to airport A dropping the 12 pax from B and C, delivering 24 passengers in 3 flights or 8 pax/flight before needing to return to the hub. Under optimal conditions.
Under normal circumstances where pax don’t spawn evenly, you have to fly A-B-A-C at an average of 6 pax/flight, which costs time and effort, since in addition to making an extra flight, you will also have go through the process of holding and loading passengers to prevent the wrong pax from occupying the correct pax’s seats.
But with a DC3, you are guaranteed a triangle – even if there is a total passenger imbalance and the 2×12 pax from 2 satellites all spawn at the hub, you can still deliver them all in 3 stops. Under optimal conditions… you can start out with 4×6 pax and visit 4 satellites, delivering 48 pax in 5 flights or 9 pax/flight. Or better, you can start out with 2×6 pax to 2 satellites + 12 pax to your focus airport and deliver 48 pax in 4 flights, or 12 pax/flight.
The only downside is of course, the booking fees.
You won’t get too rich flying 2 lot networks in a DC3, but I made v$23,000 over 4 flights which, while only marginally higher than my numbers flying the Caravan in Shpadoinkle’s Pennsylvania network, took much less effort. Its nothing like the profit you would get flying the DC3 in conjunction with 3 lot property (~$10k/flight on a good day), but considering the very low cost of a 2 lot network, the DC3 gets my full recommendation from a business standpoint.