This article first appeared in the January 2016 issue of AvBuyer.
LIVING THE DREAM WITH A PILATUS PC-12
Roberts builds communities with the aid of a Pilatus PC-12
Roberts Resorts & Communities is expanding successfully with hands-on management able to find locations outside the limited sphere of cities served by Scheduled Airlines, observes Jack Olcott… And it’s all thanks to a Pilatus PC-12.
Scott Roberts is the second generation of family management to guide the progress of Roberts Resorts & Communities, a developer of properties and dwellings for families seeking the benefits of home ownership. Founded nearly 50 years ago by his father, the firm was conceived to offer affordable homes for families of any age, with emphasis on those nearing or in retirement.
The goal was facilitating “The American Dream” to a broad segment of society. From its initial effort in California focusing on parks for recreational vehicles as well as RVs for those locations, Roberts Resorts expanded its business model to include locations in Arizona, Alabama, Colorado and Texas with park models (i.e., RVs) and manufactured homes.
The market for manufactured homes is well established, but many developers in that business concentrate on locations they can access via the Scheduled Airlines since prospecting for new sites and managing facilities requires active involvement by management.
“My parents were licensed pilots, and the use of Business Aviation was an integral part of their approach to market expansion,” notes Scott.
“They started with a Cessna 340 and progressed through a series of twin-engine piston aircraft from a Cessna 414 to a 421. I am second generation management and an active pilot, and I fly a pressurized Cessna 210.
“Utilizing the company aircraft, my parents grew Roberts Resorts into four locations in Arizona, several more in Texas, an Alabama development and another near Colorado Springs, Colorado. Now we have 14 communities, and at least once per month we visit them to assure quality control and to support our customers.
“With our goal being responsible development and pursuit of new opportunities such as Florida locations, we considered our need for greater speed and carrying capacity than the Cessna 421 provided,” he continues. “We knew we required more capability, but we did not wish to move into a business jet at this time or grow our aviation effort beyond the owner-flown system that had worked so well for us in the past.”
Enter the PC-12
With the assistance of Tempus Aircraft Sales & Service, a Colorado-based aviation service organization with facilities in Arizona and California, Roberts Homes was introduced to the Pilatus PC-12 single-engine turboprop. “We found the PC-12 suited our needs particularly well,” Scott explains.
“The aircraft provides more interior volume that we had previously, and it has sufficient speed to fulfill the marketing and management missions of our company. With its ability to use smaller airports coupled with its load capacity and speed, the PC-12 fits right in.
“We can leave the company’s home base in Scottsdale, Arizona and do business in Austin, Texas within about three hours; then fly to Daytona Beach, Florida in another three hours, accomplishing two site visits within just a few days.”
“Considering our mission,” he adds, “we feel the cost-benefits of our PC-12 solution are superior to what we would obtain from a business jet.”
Scott Roberts recently transitioned from his Cessna P210 to the Pilatus turboprop. A 2,800-hour owner-pilot with 18 years’ experience in single-engine aircraft, Scott finds the PC-12 quite stable and easy to fly. In particular, he feels the cockpit layout and avionics are particularly easy to manage as a non-professional pilot. FlightSafety International provided his 11-day transition training, utilizing its Level D simulator for the Pilatus. Sixty hours of mentor flying followed his checkout.
Scott says that obtaining insurance for his operation of the PC-12 did not present a problem. While hiring a professional pilot dedicated to the aircraft might still be an option, he is pleased that he can continue his use of Business Aviation as an owner-pilot to manage existing properties and expand into new markets beyond the current reach of Roberts Resorts & Communities.
“With the PC-12 we plan to travel further and grow, particularly into the Florida region. The Southeast represents great opportunities for our manufactured homes and managed communities,” Scott adds. “The Pilatus allows us to use our time quite efficiently. Although the Cessna P210 was a great aircraft, I did not feel it offered the capability we needed to capitalize on growth opportunities. The PC-12 does.”
Many entrepreneurial companies such as Roberts Resorts & Communities find that Business Aviation in all forms, from professionally flown corporate jets to owner-operated singles, provides a competitive edge. Throughout the USA as well as in many areas of Europe, business aircraft are able to access more locations than can be reached quickly and efficiently by Scheduled Airlines.
Companies serving customers and shareholders understand that maximizing profits is facilitated by Business Aviation.