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HOW TO ATTENDED LSA REPAIRMAN WORKSHOP ON A SHOESTRING BUDGET

As you are probably aware by now, the successful completion of the 3 week Light Sport Repairman Maintenance (LSRM) workshop allows you to perform the maintenance, the annual condition inspections, and the 100 hour inspections (required on aircraft used for hire) on Special Light Sport Aircraft and Experimental Light Sport Aircraft and even charge for your services if you would like. The course is offered by Rainbow Aviation in Corning, CA.

The cost of aircraft maintenance, in itself, is a huge incentive to attend. Unfortunately, there are always two challenges: time and money.

If you are anything like most of our attendees and many SLSA owners, you would love to attend the course – but you are concerned with the travel, and lodging costs. Many say, “If it were close enough to drive there I would sign up...” However, the savings tips here, on your lodging alone, will more than compensate for the cost of an airline ticket. Whether you are an individual attending for your own education and training or if you are a business focused Entrepreneur who is interested in setting up your own LSA repair and maintenance shop, these tips apply!

STAY ON THE AIRPORT GROUNDS

Although most believe their only option is a designated hotel, there are several cheaper alternatives. First, if you are flying in commercially, our EAA members rent their privately owned RVs, Campers, and Trailers. These are parked on the airport grounds and rent starts at just $10.00 a day. Often there are two participants who will share one motor home, saving even more. Of course, you may also park your own RV or tent camp on the airport grounds for free! There is a small $5.00 a day fee to hook up to electric. An onsite restroom with shower is available for both tent and RV campers.

RENTING A ROOM IN A PRIVATE HOME

Additionally, our local EAA members host attendees in their homes for $200.00 a week. You can also save on meals by cooking at home or eating with your host family. Some even go “home” for lunch or bring a sack lunch to class. As an added bonus, you will be able to do your laundry with ease.

SIGNIFICANT DISCOUNTS AT OUR LOCAL HOTELS

If you prefer the comfort and privacy of a hotel room, we have unbelievable rates at several local hotels: for example, the Holiday Inn only charges $52.00 a night and the Super 8 is a bargain at

$49.00 a night. Both offer free break- fast and high-speed, wireless Internet access. Many choose the Holiday Inn for a few reasons. First and most influential are the priority miles that some folks use when they book. Additionally, they have an exercise room, a sauna, outdoor pool and whirlpool.

THE BUDDY SYSTEM

If you do not have reward points to use for air or lodging, consider signing up to bunk with another participant and split the cost of a room. It will be a great way to get to know someone and have a buddy to run around with; not to mention a pen pal to stay in touch with when the workshop is finished. I can’t tell you how many participants have made friendships that will last a lifetime.

SHARED TRANSPORTATION

Rental cars can add up! Not only do we have special discounted rate with both Enterprise and Budget, but the real savings comes with sharing transportation with a group. During our class last May, we had 16 attendees in just four cars. We helped to organize and connect all attendees and they formed “transportation” groups. On occasion a person driving their own car will even form a group - eliminating the need for a rental car altogether.

BUYING YOUR AIRLINE TICKET

The cheapest day to buy airline tickets is Tuesday - 3 p.m. Eastern and it turns out that Saturday is one of the cheapest days to travel. Since the course starts on Monday, consider flying in on Saturday rather than Sunday and allowing a day to adjust and learn your way around.

The cheapest time to fly is typically the first flight in the morning. Of course the absolutely cheapest time to fly is on those limited red eyes. Don’t shop too early or too late: buy your ticket at least 6 weeks in advance, but not earlier than 4 months out. Take a look at bigger city “hubs.” We like to fly into Sacramento, but often participants will fly into San Francisco to save on the airfare.

Travelocity is a great comparison site to search for low airfares. The site allows you to mix and match airline companies, often allowing for lower rates. If you select “flexible dates” and “search nearby airports,” you can compare fares and options. Flexibility is key in low airline rates. Don’t forget to check low cost airlines like Southwest and Jet Blue neither allow ticket prices to be quoted on comparison sites. And, finally, this is the perfect time to use those miles or points you have accumulated. If you do not have enough, you can buy them on many airline sites.

FLY TO THE TRAINING IN YOUR OWN AIRCRAFT

Some participants enjoy the experience of flying to the workshop in their own aircraft. As an added benefit, many of the course activities, such as weight and balance, compression checks, and the like, may be accomplished on your own aircraft. Ground transportation is solved by joining a rental car group.

The cheapest time to fly is typically the first flight in the morning. Of course the absolutely cheapest time to fly is on those limited red eyes. Don’t shop too early or too late: buy your ticket at least 6 weeks in advance, but not earlier than 4 months out. Take a look at bigger city “hubs.” We like to fly into Sacramento, but often participants will fly into San Francisco to save on the airfare. Travelocity is a great comparison site to search for low airfares. The site allows you to mix and match airline companies, often allowing for lower rates. If you select “flexible dates” and “search nearby airports,” you can compare fares and options. Flexibility is key in low air- line rates. Don’t forget to check low cost airlines like Southwest and Jet Blue- neither allow ticket prices to be quoted

WORK WHILE ATTENDING

It is common for flight instructors to provide flight training before and after class and on weekends, or for manufacturers to bring an aircraft and offer introductory flights. This is not only a wonderful opportunity to gain some fantastic exposure; it helps to provide a little extra income during the course. Others just stay connected with the office and work nights while attending the work- shop, minimizing their time away from the office.

Some of these may not be exactly applicable to you, but think outside the box. For example, you might consider reaching out to a few of your favorite aviation clubs and see if they would like to sponsor you as their “light sport mechanic”. They pay your travel; you offer a discount on their inspections!

Before you write off going to a LSRM workshop due to funds (or lack of), give penny pinching some thought. The experience and networking is well worth some creative financing. 

Light Aviation July 2013

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