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Switching from charter to whole ownership

Texas entrepreneur considered more than cost

For busy executives like Mike McVean of Dallas, Texas, chartering an aircraft offered a good value and a variety of benefits when he first started using business aviation.

“After 9/11, flying commercial became very restrictive and time consuming. You have to be at the airport two hours early, go through security, worry with your luggage — it all takes too much time. Charter gave me back that time along with the flexibility and convenience of flying on my own schedule,” McVean said.

After two years of chartering, McVean began to explore the idea of owning an aircraft. While every operator is different, typically, businesses chartering 200 to 275 hours per year consider purchasing as the costs become comparable.

For McVean, the tipping point came much sooner and for different reasons. While he hadn’t yet reached 200 hours annually, McVean wanted more flexibility and control over his schedule to tend to his flourishing real estate business and spend more time with friends and family.

While shopping for that first aircraft, the Texas entrepreneur fell in love with flying and began to take lessons. Purchasing and managing his first aircraft proved far easier than McVean expected.

“I hired an experienced pilot, and he took care of everything — renting a hangar, getting insurance, negotiating a fuel discount, handling the FAA paperwork and scheduling maintenance,” he said.

Today, McVean is a 1,700-hour pilot with private, commercial and ATP licenses. He owns a Citation® V Ultra® and a blazing-red Citation Mustang®. Each aircraft logs 200 to 250 hours annually, far more than the early days of chartering.

“While chartering, I flew about 35 hours a year. With my own aircraft, I fly some 200 hours a year.” Mike McVean, co-founder of Stream Realty Partners

McVean is co-founder of Stream Realty Partners in Dallas. Stream Realty acquires, develops, manages and leases commercial and multi-family properties in 10 U.S. cities. The company’s 650 employees conduct $1.6 billion in real estate transactions annually. For McVean and his business partner, Lee Belland, managing offices in distant cities makes the business aircraft invaluable tools for saving time.

“When we have a large group of customers or employees to transport, we take the Ultra. The Mustang is like my car. I take it everywhere,” said McVean.

McVean most appreciates having even more control over his schedule. The flexibility to leave at a moment’s notice allows him to conduct business as usual, especially when commercial flights would otherwise be cancelled.

“The biggest advantage is control. I have absolute control over a meaningful part of my life. That control gives me a higher degree of influence over whether or not something succeeds. A simple example: I needed to be in Orlando first thing Monday morning for flight training. The weather forecast on Sunday in Dallas where I was departing from called for ice and snow,” said McVean. “If I had planned to fly commercially, my flight would have been cancelled. All flights Sunday afternoon and evening were cancelled. But, because I’m a pilot and I have my own airplane, I can adjust quickly. I flew out earlier in perfectly clear weather and easily made my appointment. That’s the advantage of owning your own airplane.”