COMMUTER CLUB

MySky operates 4 Pilatus PC12s to provide shuttle memberships for business travelers in the Southeast US

Single-engine turboprop costs are far below those of jets and keep commuters pleased to avoid use of airlines or driving.

By Cindy Youngblood
Contributing Writer


MySky Aviation Services Founder and President Elliot Mintzer greets customers boarding 1 of the company's 4 Pilatus PC12 turboprops at SGJ (Northeast Florida Regional, St Augustine FL).

Professional leadership, Pilatus PC12 aircraft, and a geographical market desperately in need of better travel options combine to create the perfect solution. At the helm is MySky AviationSolutions, a management company offering a monthly membership program in the Southeast US.

MySky's business model is designed for the business person who needs to travel 4 to 6 times each month to high destination cities. Without a company airplane, they're stuck losing time, whether flying commercial or driving. "It's a trifecta of success," says Founder and Pres Elliot Mintzer. "Our model provides a new way for the business person to travel in comfort, ease and style. No lines. No tickets. No stress."

Elliot Mintzer and the vision he made reality

Inspired by the 1980s hit television show about a small personal charter company, Wings, Mintzer dreamed of one day creating a similar operation. And his dream began to take flight in 2009 when he took a discovery flight. After that experience, Mintzer was hooked on aviation and today he says that he owes his new career to that introductory flight.

In his previous work as a building materials sales manager, Mintzer sold lighting products nationwide. At the height of the building boom, things were going great. Then the market crashed in late 2008 and his division was wiped out. That was when he got serious about flying and earned his Private Pilot's certificate.

Opportunities expanded when Mintzer met pilot Jim Lawson at St Augustine airport in 2010. Mintzer knew he wanted a career in aviation so, as an accomplished businessman with knowledge in sales and marketing, he offered to help Lawson. He would market his aircraft management company in exchange for flying the Pilatus and learning the business. The 2 have worked together ever since.

Mintzer continued working in construction to pay the bills while earning his pilot ratings. As he progressed in his new flying career, his construction colleagues kept asking him to fly them to job sites. And since doing so is against FAA regs, Mintzer created MySky Aviation Solutions to broker aircraft and earn a commission.

President and Founder Elliot Mintzer with one of MySky's Pilatus PC12s.

In 2012, Mintzer decided to expand and buy a Part 135 operation. Scouring the country with phone calls, he hit the jackpot on his 106th try when he found a single pilot 135 certificate with a Beechcraft Baron called Boomerang Air Charter. So he traveled to Kansas City, passed his 135 check ride and moved the operation to FL the next day.

After acquiring Boomerang, Mintzer developed a business plan for enhancing MySky with a membership model. "Living in Northeast Florida, we are surrounded by many high-destination cities. However, this region is underserved by low-cost piston twin and turboprop aircraft," says Mintzer. "Business travelers who don't have their own flight department have a big dilemma. You can either get herded into the commercial carrier hub and spoke system, or drive your car. But neither option is cost-effective. To meet the demand, I put together a trio of aircraft formed by the light piston twin Beechcraft Baron, a heavier twin Cessna 400 and the Pilatus PC12."

Mintzer further explains how the airlines have degenerated service to the point they have become under-efficient, meaning that, in order to make a connection, people are increasingly being forced into a hub where they don't really need to be. Often these routes add significant time and cost to getting from point A to point B, which, in many cases, justifies the alternative of driving.

MySky ops today

Cofounder and Director of Operations Jim Lawson posing with one of MySky's PC12s.

MySky Aviation Solutions is a consulting, management and brokerage organization that is adding a subscription travel program to enhance its brand.
Located in Northeast Florida, MySky shuttle service provides personalized, private class, easy-to-schedule, unlimited business air travel to high-destination cities in the Southeast.

It's a membership model designed for the business person who travels an average of 4 times each month. Mintzer discovered a niche where business persons traveling to regional destinations in the Southeast needed a better, more convenient and efficient travel option. It's a membership flight operation without the large upfront costs associated with fractionals or jet cards. "I believe there is a large pool of business travelers who need to fly several times per month but only want to pay for what they consume," states Mintzer. "I'm always looking at what people and businesses are doing to see how I can improve, and this travel model provides the perfect solution."

MySky is modeled after the successful Surf Air all-you-can-fly shuttle service in California. Surf Air began operations in 2011 with just 3 airplanes and 1 route: San Carlos to Burbank. Today the company serves 13 destinations and operates up to 90 flights a day. Both Surf Air and MySky fly Pilatus PC12s. "Surf Air has proven this model works with the right aircraft and routes, and MySky expects to achieve the same success in the Southeast," says Mintzer.

MySky is a management company that contracts with Boomerang Air Charter to conduct all movements.

MySky and Boomerang Air Charter began operating together in Feb 2012. They are now enhancing the program by adding the membership option. The change allows clients to book 1 trip at a time – as typical of charter – with the advantage of having the ability to fly unlimited as a member. "We didn't invent this model, we're just putting it in place in the Southeast, where it's needed," explains Jim Lawson, director of operations and training.

How MySky works

Each member may hold a set number of reservations depending on membership level. There are 3 of these tiers to choose from: (1) Platinum allows the member to hold 2 reservations (or legs) at a time for $1750/month, (2) Black allows 4 reservations for $2250/month, and (3) Crimson permits 6 reservations at $3000/month. The higher the number of reservations, the further out you can book. After flying 1 leg of a trip, once they land, members are eligible to reserve the next leg via email, text or phone call. It's as easy as that.

The company is also developing an app to simplify booking even further with a reserve–fly–repeat concept. It's a self-regulating program with no hidden fees for booking, changing or canceling a flight. Just simplified travel. Members can conceivably fly every day for 1 set price.

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