35 years of OSH

Discussion in 'Airventure' started by Jay Honeck, Jul 3, 2017.

  1. Jay Honeck

    Jay Honeck Touchdown! Greaser!

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    To commemorate 35 consecutive years of OSH, Mary and I have started sorting through a bajillion photos, straddling the film and digital eras. I thought it might be fun to share some of these memories with y'all.

    I will start by posting a few pix of planes we have seen in Oshkosh that will likely never be seen flying again.

    In 1992, we saw two Lockheed Constellations flying formation. To my knowledge, there are no airworthy Connies in the U.S.[​IMG]

    In 1997, we saw the awesome SR-71 Blackbird fly for the last time. They are all in museums now.

    [​IMG]

    In 2001, we saw the now-retired Grumman F-14B Tomcat. This was the year the Navy inexplicably sent a plane they randomly plucked from the fleet, rather than the spit-and-polish, specially prepared airshow planes they usually send. It was shocking for many to see how corroded these turds were, after a lifetime of saltwater.
    [​IMG]

    Also in 2001, we saw the amazing Vickers Vimy and the gorgeous Boeing 377 fly. The Boeing is now in the Smithsonian.
    [​IMG]

    The young man with the 377 is my son. He's now almost 27 years old! The years have flown by...
    [​IMG]

    That's it, for now. Gotta find my Concorde pix...
     
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  2. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Thanks Jay, those are great highlights!
     
  3. Goofy

    Goofy Line Up and Wait

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    Love those Jay, thanks!
    Saw, and heard (!), the last SR pulled out of retirement and flow up from SoCal one day at speed. Think it was the CIA needed it for something they thought a satellite couldn't do?
    My Dad took my terminally ill Mom to NY hospital in a Connie out of SFO when I was very little. Never forgot that beautiful bird...
     
  4. Badger

    Badger Pattern Altitude

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    How much was a day ticket 35 years ago? Lol
     
  5. Jay Honeck

    Jay Honeck Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Neother of us remember the price, but general admission wasn't too bad.

    However, there were two levels of admission back then. You had to REALLY want to get out on the flight line, because it required this pass, at extra cost.

    We couldn't afford that pass, the first few years.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Jay Honeck

    Jay Honeck Touchdown! Greaser!

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    OSH 1985 was the first year Concorde flew in.

    It's still the most beautiful plane I've ever seen in flight. And LOUD.[​IMG][​IMG]
     
  7. sourdough44

    sourdough44 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Time is getting close, I'll be ready rain or shine. My time there doesn't go back nearly as long. I do plan on bringing a few early teens this year, for an introduction.
     
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  8. Jay Honeck

    Jay Honeck Touchdown! Greaser!

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    OSH #1 for us, 1983. The Tomcat BEFORE Top Gun made it famous.[​IMG]

    Sent from my SM-T700 using Tapatalk
     
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  9. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 En-Route

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    Given you've attended consistently for such a long time, what would you say has been the biggest change you can visibly notice/pinpoint throughout the years as it pertains to the attendance, demographics, and/or the event itself? I'm genuinely curious if anything can be drawn regarding our avocation's makeup and prognosis, then and now, as a function of this event's attendance patterns and/or general landscape.
     
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  10. weirdjim

    weirdjim En-Route

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    Shucks, in the mid-70s all you had to do was stand by the fence and that one gate pass could get the whole CHAPTER in. Wristbands? We don't need no stinkin' wristbands. Besides, there was a office supply store downtown with a COLOR copier if you needed a dozen flightline passes.
     
  11. jwyatt

    jwyatt Filing Flight Plan

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    Hey! 83 was my first too...think I missed the Tomcat though, being only 3 months old :p Trying to decide whether to go over this year for some of the Apollo events. Had hoped to see Gene Kranz talk last year but he had to cancel.
     
  12. kyleb

    kyleb En-Route

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    I can't speak for Jay, but once upon a time, the barriers to entering the flightline were higher. Ma and Pa kettle from Madison couldn't drop in and become instant EAA members and have full access to the grounds. Beyond that, the crowd control lines were closer to 18/36 and you had a better view of the show. All in all, the changes have not been monumental on an individual basis. Cumulatively, things have changed substantially, but in the end, it is still a bunch of old white guys >mostly< on a week long campout.
     
  13. AKBill

    AKBill Pattern Altitude

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    Thanks for sharing. I camped out one year with my dog, met lots of friendly folks that were willing to share beer and burgers with a starving collage student...:) I think that was 1984 give or take a year. Have not been back since but would like to take my wife, took her to the Reno Air Race and she loved it.
     
  14. Jay Honeck

    Jay Honeck Touchdown! Greaser!

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    OSH 1986. We didn't call them Heritage Flights yet.[​IMG]

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  15. Jay Honeck

    Jay Honeck Touchdown! Greaser!

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    OSH 1986. The star of the show, the awesome F-14 Tomcat, does the slow and high speed passes. Never to be seen again.[​IMG][​IMG]
     
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  16. Jay Honeck

    Jay Honeck Touchdown! Greaser!

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    OSH 1991. Our son's first Oshkosh. 16 years later, he flew into OSH solo at age 17 in our old Ercoupe.

    Joe's made every one of them since, except for a couple of years when when the Army had other plans. He's now 26, a 2nd LT, married, with a house and the whole 9 yards.

    Time flies![​IMG]
     
  17. Jay Honeck

    Jay Honeck Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Oshkosh has been remarkably unchanging, given it's complete turnover of personnel over the last 35 years, but it is also completely different. Let me explain this strange contradiction.

    Here's what hasn't changed: It is still the preeminent gathering place for people who, like me, cannot live without General Aviation. If you want to learn, experience, or just plain enjoy aviation, Oshkosh has been -- and still is -- THE place to be in July each year. Like lemmings to the sea, we return, driven by some mysterious internal mechanism that most people do not have and cannot fathom.

    What's changed? Everything. In 1983, my first year at OSH, G.A. was still near its peak of popularity. The World War II guys ran the show, and they were EVERYWHERE. They were still flying in large numbers, and their attitudes and influences were imprinted in the DNA of the event, from the more relaxed attitudes about safety procedures to the fact that everyone (including me) still smoked pretty much everywhere EXCEPT the flightline.

    It was smaller, then, maybe a tiny bit bigger than Sun N Fun is today. There were no big exhibit buildings, and no Aeroshell Square (or whatever they are calling it now). In fact, the end of the exhibit area was West of where the buildings are today. The museum was not open yet. Forums were held in old army tents that smelled of wet canvas and tobacco smoke. And not just anyone could get into the flightline area -- it required a special pass that was NOT cheap by 1983 standards -- at least not to this recent college grad working his first full-time job.

    In fact, the event was so expensive for us that we could only afford to go on the field for one or two days. The other two days, we watched arrivals from a big earthen railroad overpass (long since torn down) that looked down Rwy 9 from the East. We also watched the show from the Oshkosh plant, still located on the West side of Rwy 36. Amazingly, I don't remember there being any security to defeat in order to get in there. I will bet THAT has changed!

    Homebuilts were kit-planes, built from plans. Van's, now so dominant, did not yet exist. Guys like Steve Wittman, Pappy Boyington, and most of the Doolittle Raiders were out walking the flightline every day. Bob Hoover flew every day. So did Paul Poberezny.

    Young guys like me -- wannabees -- were tolerated with a certain sort of resignation. The World War II guys were at the peak of their earning powers, the peak of their flying, and the peak of their political clout. A wide-eyed guy like me in his 20s was treated sort of like a dumb but necessary pet, but I eagerly lapped everything up. I had never seen anything like Oshkosh, and after a few days I really started to believe that maybe someday I really COULD fly! (It would take me another 11 years to achieve that impossible goal.)

    The attitudes were so different. Unlike today, everyone felt that GA, although down slightly from the 1970s, was poised for HUGE expansion. We all looked around and thought "how could this cool thing ever NOT grow"? Optimism ruled the show. The future looked bright.

    What is Oshkosh now? I have come to refer to it as "The Grand Illusion", where once a year pilots and enthusiasts still gather in numbers where we can all pretend that GA is healthy. We look at the new products, marvel at the airplanes, revel in each others company, have one HELL of a great time -- and then we all fly back to our dead airports, with their permanently closed hangars and deserted FBOs, and wonder why no one is flying anymore.

    And we wonder how much longer this can go on. How long will taxpayers tolerate spending millions on airports that are utilized by so few pilots? How long will the country let a shrinking group of citizen pilots roam the skies nearly unfettered? What's going to happen to the airplanes that never fly anymore? For every step forward (medical reform) there seems to be two steps back. (ATC privatization; GA manufacturers selling fewer planes annually than Lamborghini sold supercars). Pessimism now percolates just beneath the jovial surface of the event.

    Oshkosh has been my happy place for over a third of a century. I don't ever want it to end, and I will continue to do everything in my power to save it, and GA.

    I hope to see y'all there!
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2017
  18. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    This will only be my 26th (Margy's 25th). The amusing part is today is only our 19th anniversary. We went to Oshkosh together for 4 years before getting married.
     
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  19. Jay Honeck

    Jay Honeck Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yep, Mary and I went to OSH before we were married, too.

    It has been the one true and solid touchstone in our lives ever since, transcending and superceding births, deaths, weddings, job changes, and four different businesses.
     
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  20. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    A true story. If I wanted a vacation I pretty much had to go see my in-laws in Southern California. My FIL was a difficult man, and I didn't want to. I this didn't take a vacation of any sort for 7 years. But when I heard about Oshkosh I went there, and had such a good time. That was in 2001, and I've been there every year since but one, the year of the floods. I got sick while we were trying to get in. Got home with a triple digit fever.

    I now teach Origami there every year! If you want to learn come to the Craft tent.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2017
  21. ETres

    ETres Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Great photos, Jay! Also, thanks for your interesting and thoughtful answer to hindsight2020's question about change at Oshkosh. I guess I gotta get off my ass and go see it for myself someday.
     
  22. iflyforfun

    iflyforfun Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Is it just me, or were the late 80's the zenith of the kit plane development. The Vari/Longeze, Glassair and Lancair had shown the world what amazing things could be done. It seemed that every month there was some amazing new design. OSH was crowded with plans built planes but Kitplanes was loaded with these fancy new kit planes. The KR-2, the Velocity, Questair, White Lightning, GP-4 (I know, not technically a kit plane) ... there was something new and amazing every month. I remember just reading in awe of what was possible. My first trip to OSH was back around '93 and I'd read everything I could get my hands for years before my first visit. I was in absolute awe at the sight of all these planes that were so different from the 150 and 172 I'd learned to fly in. I can still remember how speechless I was seeing all those planes. I'll admit I was coming of age at the time, but it really seemed our Experimental aviation was growing by leaps and bounds at the time. Everything now is incremental or at the outer reach of even the truly wealthy.
     
  23. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    The golden age of Ex/Ab is right now. Not only are there literally dozens of kit makers, but there are all sorts of avionics for the Ex/Ab world that are pennies on the dollar of what can be put in a certificated aircraft.
     
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  24. Jay Honeck

    Jay Honeck Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Very true. Much of the innovation and energy has gone into the experimental homebuilt world.

    Unfortunately, this cannot hide the fact that GA is a mere shadow of what it was 35 (or even 15) years ago. We need a new generation of pilots to carry the flag forward, and they just aren't interested.

    What's funny and strange, to me, is that GA flying is SO much easier and more enjoyable now. Between ANR headsets, GPS navigation, and on-board weather, technology has made GA flying a snap -- yet it continues to decline in popularity.
     
  25. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    Yeah, flying GA is better than even when I started. In 2001 we had just the beginning of inexpensive handheld GPS. Now you can use consumer electronics to reliably navigate and get real time weather, unheard of back then sans radar. A pity more don't jump in, it really is better than it ever was before. The only down side is the airplanes are getting nothing but older.
     
  26. Steve Costello

    Steve Costello Pre-Flight

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    GA might be better (actually, no might about it, with the tech we have now, it's leaps and bounds better), but the limiting factor is still money, and it sure doesn't look like that is going to get any better any time soon.

    GA is quickly becoming something that only upper-middle class folks can really get into (note that I say get into... folks that have already been in it for a while got in while the getting in was good). A PPL these days will set you back several grand... and that's if you have access to a cheap rental and can hammer it out in a relatively short amount of time. If you live anywhere near a metro area, 172s rent for around $100... dry. Between the 50 hour work week plus "life," not many folks can hammer out a PPL in a month, which ultimately means more time required. What's the average PPL these days, all in? $7,000 or so?

    Then once you actually manage to get the PPL, now what? Stay in that $100/hr dry rental that gets daily beatings by students and fight the schedule? Get into a 1/4 share at $7,000 plus $150 a month plus $45 an hour on the tach plus gas at ~$48/hr? Let's not even get into straight ownership. I envy the folks that can swing that.

    Then there's all the other expenses that might not be mandatory, but sure are nice-to-haves. An iPad at $500+. A Stratus at $900. ANR headset at $900. The list goes on and on.

    There's no question that this is an expensive hobby. Always has been. It's just that it's becoming more and more expensive by the day. And at some point, folks are making the decision to prioritize a $1,000 a month hobby. Not a lot of people can justify that. I have a difficult time with it myself, and I'm squarely in the upper middle income bracket.

    Anyway... sorry for the rabbit trail. These are really amazing pictures. I wish I had been able to attend earlier Oshkosh. Seeing a pair of Connie's in flight would be truly amazing. Looking forward to seeing (and hearing!) the two B-29's this year.
     
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  27. 172andyou

    172andyou Line Up and Wait

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    Maybe you were exaggerating for effect, but Chicagoland has several clubs with low or zero buy-in that rent for about $100 wet, or nearly half the number you quote above.

    e.g. http://www.foxflying.com/fleet/
     
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  28. Steve Costello

    Steve Costello Pre-Flight

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    That's pretty great, actually. In my area (St. Louis), the rental options are fairly limited. The going rate for a decent 172 dry is around $100. There's a local 152 that fetches ~$100 wet. At least the 172 I usually rent (from Ideal) is relatively modern and not clapped out, and Ideal is really on top of the maintenance. It's not cheap, though.

    So, no exaggerations based on my local experience. Been looking for a share to pop up at CPS, but it very rarely happens.
     
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  29. Jay Honeck

    Jay Honeck Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Although money is always an issue, I just don't buy that it is the reason for GA's steep decline.

    I live 6 blocks from a marina that has tens of millions of dollars of boats parked uselessly in it. Hundreds of residents have no qualms about shoving out $800K for a floating private bar that goes nowhere.

    Funny thing is, when they hear I have a plane they think *I'm* the "rich guy". My plane is worth a tenth of their boat, and my hangar is cheaper than their slip. And maintenance? Not even close. Hell, what they spend having the bottom scraped by a scuba diver is breath taking.

    I just got back from the Hill Country. We flew there for a meeting and lunch. It took an hour each way, and I burned 19 gallons of gas. (I got 21.9 mpg, better than my truck.)

    Meanwhile, what did the boaters do? Answer: Got hammered. lol

    We've just done a terrible job of marketing GA. These are well-to-do, upper crust Americans, and they know NOTHING about general aviation, it's relative cost and it's incredible usefulness. Why?
     
  30. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach

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    I'll be attending this year only for 1 day though. Flying in the 21 and leaving the 22. I'll be flying in a 2017 SR22. Excited to see to what all the fuss is about!
     
  31. 172andyou

    172andyou Line Up and Wait

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    Stay for another three days and you might find out! :D
     
  32. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach

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    I'd love to stay but I have to be somewhere on the 23rd.
     
  33. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    $150 + $45 + $48 = $243

    So ONE hour per month of flying for you costs $243, not counting the 1/4 share because that depends upon how long you are part owner. Unless I'm missing something, if you fly more than two hours per month at that price per hour, you can "swing" ownership pretty easily. One doesn't have to own a brand new aircraft.
     
  34. HouTxPilot82

    HouTxPilot82 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Here in southwest Houston, a carbureted 172N with 160hp rents for just under $130/hr wet. Newer, fuel injected 172S/SP models with 180hp rent for an extra $20-$25/hr on top of that. Instructor rates are minimum $52/hour. At these rates, training out of a fairly busy Class D, under part 141 with stage checks, etc the 'all in' cost just to get the PPL is WELL BEYOND the $10k mark.

    Once certified, staying current is costly. For the longest time, there were no clubs nearby. Kind of defeats the purpose to join a club that is a good bit of driving away in Houston traffic, just to make the typical short distance sight seeing or breakfast flights that I typically go out for. It looks like there is finally a club nearby here but with the fixed monthly dues + the lower rental rate, break-even point is just around $650/month (for about 4 hours of flying) to come out ahead compared to those rental rates above.
     
  35. Jay Honeck

    Jay Honeck Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Fuss?

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  36. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    About the only difference between my boat and my plane is maintenance and insurance. The boat and plane cost me about the same to acquire. The boat actually runs me slightly higher in directly attributable slip fees (since my hangar is bundled into the house). The boat I can do my own maintenance (and typically do, yeah I know, get a homebuilt). The parts are much cheaper. The insurance is about a third.
     
  37. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    Airplane gets you to a destination. A boat is a destination.
     
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  38. Steve Costello

    Steve Costello Pre-Flight

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    I don't know how to tag admins, but perhaps the "why is GA flailing" convo could get put into its own thread? I'm sure there are already several... hell, you could probably dedicate an entire forum section to that...
    Now, this is actually a really great point. GA has not been marketed well. I rarely see advertisements for anything related to general aviation in anything but aviation rags. And the few times I do, it isn't for small planes, but for things like fractional ownership of bizjets. The marketing is really, really siloed. Think of all of the adverts and shows you see for boating or camping. They are every where.

    Flying is perceived to be only for rich, white dudes. And... to a certain extent, it kinda is, based on the population I see at every single FBO and fly-in/convention I've been to. But it doesn't need to be. More diverse marketing would certainly help. Efforts to diversify the pilot demographic would help.

    Another potential cause is that flying is perceived as being dangerous. A lot of people aren't thrilled about flying in a commercial jet. No way they'd get in one of those little Cessna suicide machines! GA is certainly more dangerous than, say, boating. It also requires significantly more commitment and money (while the costs of flying and boating may be similar, the cost to actually become qualified to do each respective activity is significantly different).
     
  39. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    As much as I love aviation and airplanes I cannot describe them as entirely useful. Mrs folks have to be back to work Monday. Can't necessarily do that in your own airplane.
     
  40. jsstevens

    jsstevens En-Route

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    jsstevens
    Yeah. I've tried to figure out usefulness and come up pretty much empty unless the cost of your time is really high and even then it's only for some pretty specific cases. If I'm traveling somewhere that doesn't get direct airline service and is in the 300-600 mile radius, I can beat door to door times. For example: Ft. Benning in Columbus GA. 6 hours by car. Realistically (including airport security, etc.) 5ish by commercial (MCO-ATL, rent a car, drive to Columbus). 3 hours by C-172 assuming weather holds. But flying commercial is about $100-$200 and the C-172 will cost $600. Of course, I live 20 miles from a major airline hub in Orlando. So I get lots of flights and lots of direct flights. And I have CLEAR and TSA-Pre so security is less time & hassle for me.

    I enjoy flying and will continue to do so as money & health permit. But useful? Not so much.

    Jay's case is different: He doesn't live by a major hub and he's a small business owner/operator so his time is very valuable.

    John
     
    StevieTimes likes this.