Iraq War Didn't Hurt... Much
Near the end of
September, pilot prospects generated by the BE A PILOT program in
2003 stood at 26,683, down just 3.2% from 2002’s strong
“Despite the Iraq war and a difficult economy this year,
the program recovered from a very rough spring to near 2002
levels,” said BE A PILOT president / CEO Drew Steketee.
TV Results Close To Last Year’s
Response to BE A PILOT TV ads is at 22,168, down just 1% from
the same period and same spending in 2002. (At the end of
August, response had been down a net 5.5%, or 8.7% less response on
3.2% less advertising. However, as TV advertising continues,
results continue to improve.)
Cost per TV lead (a major BE A PILOT performance statistic)
declined to $32 by the end of September, just 1.4% higher than for
the same period in 2002. Judicious media buying countered
early-year fears of a 10% cost increase.
Some TV advertising will continue into the fall, either in BE A
PILOT’s experimental “per-inquiry” advertising on
the Turner South Network, or in fall programing related to the
Wright Brothers 100th Anniversary this December.
Among the most productive cable TV networks this year were
Discovery Wings and The Discovery Channel, followed by Tech TV,
three ESPN sports channels and the CNBC financial channel.
Record Consumer Media Exposure Focuses on Business Travel
Media interest in
learning to fly is outpacing even 2002’s record pace.
Reporter interest this year is centered on learning to fly for
“This year, with airline business models and service
patterns in flux, the consumer media is looking at General Aviation
for alternative business travel possibilities,” said
The trend started in the normally quiet winter months and has
continued strong all year. BE A PILOT’s business travel story
has appeared in scores of business magazines and newspaper business
“These stories on GA business travel should illustrate for
sponsors and potential sponsors alike that BE A PILOT represents
the ‘concept sell’ for all of GA,” said new 2003
BE A PILOT Chairman Jack Olcott. “This is not just about
light singles and primary flight training.”
BE A PILOT’s media communications agency, Barton Gilanelli
and Associates of Philadelphia, has generated 2003 coverage in more
than 170 media outlets through early September alone. Some 200
stories may be published or broadcast by year-end, bringing to 500
or more the media outlets who have covered BE A PILOT and learning
to fly since April 2001.
Other 2003 coverage included week-of-air show coverage in some
39 markets this spring and summer in cooperation with the
International Council of Air Shows. (In addition, ICAS air show
announcers read BE A PILOT public service announcements at air
Other 2003 media promotions targeted college audiences,
outdoor/active lifestyle magazines, regional and metro magazines,
women’s titles, minority media and more.
Year-End Programs Continue To Boost Results
BE A PILOT plans programs through year-end in conjunction with
the Wright Brothers 100th Anniversary in December.
Beyond additional TV advertising, BE A PILOT will emphasize its
popular Christmas Stocking Stuffer campaign promoting the
“Gift of Flight” for the holidays. (The BE A PILOT
Introductory Flight Certificate makes a great last-minute gift,
since it can be printed out at the last minute on a home computer
right from the website.)
In a new program, USAF Aero Clubs will conduct a BE A PILOT
promotion among military personnel and their families at 23 Air
Force bases beginning November 1.
BE A PILOT will launch the next educational component of its web
operation at AOPA EXPO 2003 in Philadelphia November 1.
“Places Pilots Know” will illustrate the adventure and
mobility advantages of a pilot license, citing some 100 special
places to fly.
Nearly 667,000 visitors have used the site through September, up
4.1% over this time last year.
Early “Data Mining”
Initial research comparing BE A PILOT prospects to new pilots
entering the FAA Pilot Registry again underscores that the program
is yielding measurable results.
Comparing the FAA registry against only BE A PILOT prospects
from September 2000 through May 2003, the research found that an
average of 7.1% of new pilots or student pilots had come to
aviation as BE A PILOT prospects during those two years and nine
Among those BE A PILOT prospects who had registered with the
program at least 12 months prior to a given month of new FAA data,
the proportion of BE A PILOT prospects among new pilots or student
pilots was as high as 15%.
In another selection of 66,857 recent BE A PILOT prospects,
nearly 5,000 were found to be on the FAA Pilot Registry. Among
them: 3,296 Student pilots, 1,363 Private pilots, 222 Commercial
pilots and 40 ATPs.
By the end of 2003, nearly 200,000 pilot prospects will have
registered with the BE A PILOT program since operations began in
1997. "The base of everything we want to achieve in aviation begins
with student starts," noted BE A PILOT chairman