Can Mooney and Cirrus save General Aviation?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by FloridaPilot, Apr 9, 2017.

  1. gsengle

    gsengle Pattern Altitude

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    Yep one that is faster and has more range ;)


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  2. Tantalum

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    Sorry, that wasn't a dig at Mooney. I actually really like Mooney's. I meant that against Piper and Cessna who are selling their slow planes at $400K new. Why would anyone other than a giant flight school buy a new Skyhawk or Archer??

    Mooney's design choice is like that of Porsche, its look is trademark and I don't think a "this-is-a-Cirrus-copy" is Mooney's answer. Their issue is management to be honest. There is no reason those planes shouldn't be flying off the shelves. I really think Mooney's woes come down to marketing and company culture problems
     
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  3. gsengle

    gsengle Pattern Altitude

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    What I always scratch my head at is a G1000 172, the 105kt airliner :)


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  4. Tantalum

    Tantalum Pattern Altitude

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    I haven't been able to find a data source I can trust for that. People seem to focus on NEW plane sales as a gauge of GA health, but used plane sales as you note are key indicator too. The difference is, buying a used plane doesn't necessarily mean that GA is growing, unless the person who solid it to you goes and buys a new plane, for example. Used plane sales though to show overall interest and activity
     
  5. gsengle

    gsengle Pattern Altitude

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    And even if you can get quantities there is no way to get prices. Not everyone provides sales prices on bills of sale.


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  6. coloradobluesky

    coloradobluesky En-Route

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    Average length of ownership 10 years. One out of 10 sells per year? 200,000 airplanes so 20,000 sell. Hmm that seems high. Maybe 10,000. The FAA keeps Bill of Sale info. Is that accessible? How many change hands in one year? Seems like it would be.
     
  7. Tantalum

    Tantalum Pattern Altitude

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    What about data on volume of new US pilots getting licensed, and percentage of population that holds at least a PPL? Many people can't afford, or *think* they can't afford a plane, so even sales of old and new can be dubious health indicators
     
  8. gsengle

    gsengle Pattern Altitude

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    A lot of folks write $1 or other consideration on their bills of sale...


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  9. coloradobluesky

    coloradobluesky En-Route

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    But at least they have how many.
     
  10. gsengle

    gsengle Pattern Altitude

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    You can get that from the registry


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  11. FloridaPilot

    FloridaPilot Pattern Altitude

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    I totally agree, if you copy Cirrus (A company that has been doing it since 2001) you have a lot of catch up to do.......What has Mooney done well in the past? They have made FAST and Fuel efficient airplanes what owner wouldn't want that? I'd say try you hand at Diesel.
     
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  12. FloridaPilot

    FloridaPilot Pattern Altitude

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  13. FloridaPilot

    FloridaPilot Pattern Altitude

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    I would like to see other manufacturers following suit, (Mooney, Beechcraft, Piper...etc) If Cirrus is growing the business the other manufactures can as well. They just have to get a better idea of what the customers want and to also make it "an event" If I'm dropping 1MM on an airplane I want to enjoy the experience because it's a heck of an accomplishment.
     
  14. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    I don't agree. The market for new 4-6 place piston aircraft at the price point manufacturers have to charge is very limited.

    Single pistons from the 172/182 and Cherokees to the Grummans, Mooneys and Bonanzas were the core and heart of the new light aircraft market for about three decades. Those days are gone for good.

    What we have today is a bifurcated market with more new entrants opting for an affordable LSA, which I regard as today's equivalent of the Piper Cub or Cessna 140; the now ubiquitous 100 hp Rotax 912 replacing the venerable Continental 0-200 of yesterday.

    The other end of the airplane market has to cater to high net worth buyers who quite naturally want and demand luxury and performance for the huge dollars they are shelling out. The change at the airport I base out of has been dramatic. Pressurized Malibus, TBMs, and quite a few owner flown small jets (Citations seem particularly popular). Twenty-five years ago there were almost none of these. I think this trend continues, and we may see that the Cirrus jet proves that buyers shelling out a $mill or more won't long continue to endure the compromises an expensive non-pressurized, single piston aircraft forces on them...no matter how fancy the paint or how aromatic the interior leather.

    In the same fashion as the turbine Malibu consistently outsells its piston counterpart, I think there is a good chance the Cirrus jet may in a few years time regularly outsell the SR22.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2017
  15. FastEddieB

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    Maybe not where you are, but Eclipse jets seem to be quite popular, and to be filling a niche. Especially as a step-up for Cirrus owners. And there’s much heated debate about comparisons with the new Cirrus jet.
     
  16. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    I don't think it can be said Cirrus is "growing the business". In 2016 it sold less than half the airplanes it sold a decade earlier. And to flog about 300 airplanes a year the resources it has to devote to marketing, promotion, training, customer support and so forth are undoubtedly far greater than they were a decade ago.

    This is not a reflection on Cirrus; it is a reflection on what is happening to the market for new light aircraft, and Cirrus is responding with products and organizational capability somewhat better than most of it's competitors in a shrinking market. But it is interesting to note that in 2006 Cirrus had 26.2% of the total piston aircraft market, and despite the agony, the bankruptcies in the industry, and Cirrus' considerable non-manufacturing investments to keep moving their airplanes, in 2016 Cirrus had only moved that needle to 27.8% of the total piston market. It would not appear, from that statistic, that Cirrus is wildly outperforming its competitors efforts to hold on to their share of a declining market.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2017
  17. GRG55

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    We don't have any at our airport, and I can't say I've seen one anywhere around these parts. I can imagine the modified 500s being popularly priced, but they are long out of production so there is a fixed, aging supply and I doubt they are any real longer term competition for a new Cirrus jet.

    I can see the source of comparisons being the association with Alan Klapmeier, but other than that it would seem misplaced. Eclipse has produced maybe 30 units total of their only satisfactory product to date, the 550, before the announcement early this year production is to cease? The 700 looks to be some ways off before it will hit the market. And in the meantime it would seem the HondaJet, the Phenom 100 and the Citation M2 will continue to entrench their market.

    Airplane manufacturing is a brutal business. I am not optimistic about the future prospects of Eclipse, unless it continues to secure essentially zero cost capital from the Middle East or China.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2017
  18. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    Mooney having financial worries is nothing new. Being outsold by Cirrus is nothing new either. It would help Mooney if they had a relatively inexpensive trainer, which is what I think the M10 was supposed to be. I hope they're able to manufacture them. I really doubt they can sell that many airplanes as I doubt they can actually make that many airplanes, they haven't for decades. There are still more M20c's flying than all the long bodies combined.

    We're I looking at a new aircraft I'd probably tend toward Mooney. They're fast, efficient, stout, and a truly proven airframe. I'm less a fan of Cirrus as the interior looks like a car.

    What is sort of funny about Cirrus is it isn't named for its designer like other aircfaft like Mooney, Cessna etc... I guess calling them The Klap would have hurt sales.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2017
  19. GRG55

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    Mooney announced at OSH the M10 program is back on after announcing earlier in the year it was cancelling it. I thought it was curious it didn't have an M10 prototype at their display to support that announcement, as they had a couple of years earlier the last time I was at OSH.

    I tried out the M20 cabin mock up, and that left side door makes a huge difference for a person my size. I hope they do well in the market with the changes they are making!
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2017
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  20. Challenged

    Challenged Cleared for Takeoff

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    I like what I've seen on the M10J so far. 160 knots cruise from a 155hp diesel, but only a 1,200 hour TBO. It's just so difficult to purchase a new airplane for personal use. My airplane is about 10x cheaper than even a new 172, but it's faster, roomier and can carry more. To me there just doesn't seem to be a way to justify a new airplane purchase for personal use unless you just generally aren't concerned about money.
     
  21. Tantalum

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    Agree. Costs have increased thanks to regs, etc., but in general I feel like most industries now are better at spending money than actually building something lean and efficient. Elio motors has burned through something like 100M and has effectively nothing to show for it

    When you spend other people's money there's very little desire to do it efficiently..
     
  22. MetalCloud

    MetalCloud Line Up and Wait

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    Cirrus and Mooney? No. Cirrus is doing it on their own. Mooney has a long way to go before they even get close to playing a part in saving GA. They might be more relevant in 5-7 years. But Mooney hasn’t done anything exciting in a long time. A second door? Not exciting. A trainer? Maybe. But that won’t be a game changer for GA. It might help Mooney though.

    A jet? Now that’s exciting. Even if you’re not in the market for it, it adds to the perceived value of cirrus and their longevity and innovation. They’ve done a ton for GA, even if the overall market is “down” ... that’s a market issue, not a company issue. Hence the jet. A new piston is going to top out at $1M. And they sell a lot of them. But... most buyers who would buy that would buck up double+ for a jet. But if not, you’re going with a company that builds a fantastic airplane that provides an experience. And it’s an incredible community to be a part of. And they keep you excited and safe with excellent training, even if you aren’t a new buyer. Who else does that?

    THAT is the type of stuff that will save GA. Providing an experience. Mooney has a looong way to go and IMO won’t ever get there.

    Side note, there’s no effing way I’d consider a new Mooney. Notwithstanding the fact I find them uncomfortable... who knows if they’ll be around in a year or two to honor any warranties. Not to mention the fact that the value of new ones will drop like a hard slip in a stiff headwind. And besides being marginally faster, they just don’t provide the same features (FIKI and AC and 1150 Useful?). They need to go back to the drawing board as a company and as an aircraft designer. They need to save themselves before they or anyone can think about them saving GA.

    That said, there’s also no way I’ll get another new cirrus. Next plane is a turboprop.
     
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  23. FloridaPilot

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    I agree for the most part but I do believe that the market is there for piston aircraft as well, possibly very thin but again Cirrus sold over 300 NEW airplanes last year, just under 1MM. My point is Cirrus has two options out there now because you are right it's possible the market could be changing to light jets, what are the other manufacturers doing? Why are they not selling in the 300's...at least?
    Did you go to OSH this year? over half a Million people showed up which was better than last year. When 500K+ people show up somewhere there is interest. Now getting to those buyers is challenging, much different compared to 30 years ago. You can't just be "out there" and expect people to know who you are....there are TOO many distractions out there today compared to 30 years ago. The good news today is Marketing can be a lot cheaper today. Here is a fun fact, if you have a Facebook account go on and search for a Piper group...Nada (There are Piper pages you can like but that is about it) Cirrus has support groups all over the world including COPA which I'm a member of, Beechcraft? Nope and I'm a member of the Society. Mooney? Nope and I'm a member there as well. There are 2 Billion Facebook users can you find some members who are interested in Piston Aircraft that would like to buy...I'm sure you can.

    (Laughs) that is probably true or the "Klapper" just clap your hands and the doors will open...or anything that sounds like a clap.
     
  24. Tantalum

    Tantalum Pattern Altitude

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    Agreed

    Cirrus isn't just another plane, it's a whole new paradigm for GA. A comfortable, modern design, with (now) a very strong safety culture. The planes are advanced and simple in all the right ways. No RG, easy prop and engine management, FIKI, AC, etc

    Everyone else is tweaking a design from 1950s, which, without Garmin let's face it they'd have run out of ways to tweak their product..

    For my price range a couple years old used Cirrus or Mooney is only thing I'd consider, mainly for speed and ramp appeal. No time in a Mooney, but the more time I spend in a Cirrus the more I like it

    Still.. if Tantalum Aircraft was a thing we'd do everything possible to get a comfortable entry level GA bird flying for $100K with in-house financing and leasing. Paying $400K for a 182 or Cherokee (err, whatever it's called now) just seems absurd
     
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  25. FloridaPilot

    FloridaPilot Pattern Altitude

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    That goes to show you how bad the marketing is. I didn't know Mooney was bringing back the M10J and M10T until informed on this thread.
     
  26. FloridaPilot

    FloridaPilot Pattern Altitude

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    I believe this is a step in the right direction for Mooney. The M10T also sips between 4 to 5.3 GPH from a 42 gallon tank. That is HUGE! almost 8 hours of flight time for a trainer.
     
  27. Dav8or

    Dav8or Final Approach

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    You are totally missing what's really happening. It's not bifurcated, it splits three ways. LSA, Certified and E/AB. The later is clearly the future and the way forward. More new airplanes reach the roster this way than the other two. What I learned at Oshkosh this year was that the FAA has really relaxed it's attitude on kit planes. You no longer need to spend 2000 hours and 5 years of your life putting one together. You can get factory builder assist as well as professional builders to do it for you and the FAA is OK with it. The net result is a brand new airplane at a fraction the cost of certified and about the same cost as LSA, but with way more capability.

    This is where GA is headed and this is what will sustain it. Not more certified airplanes with parachutes and not better sales and marketing.

    As to Mooney, I have said many times before, that Mooney should quit building certified airplanes. The old M20 design, no matter how you tweak it, is still just a money pit and drain for Mooney. It's an out dated design that can't compete and an extra door isn't the fix. They don't have the money to design a new certified competitor to the SR-22. They couldn't even get a trainer certified.

    What Mooney should do IMO, is focus on parts and support of it's legacy planes first and foremost and then work on an all new, easier to build model to be released as a kit with Kerville builder assist programs. I see no other way they can survive. I know it sounds crazy to some, but a legacy aircraft company moving into the world of kit building is the way forward for many of them and for many of us.
     
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  28. hindsight2020

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    If they commit to making it a 4-seater kit for RV-10 money I'm game, otherwise meh. ExAB scoffs at the family traveling demographic, and I would rather endorse Cirrus before I support further expansion of a 2-seat experimental market that's already well-served and gives young people a hand 4 fingers short of a high-five.

    Other than that, your point is right on, builder assist is the way to go. Rolling up the cost of labor into a wink-wink by professional builders with the benefit of prior experience and a facility cranking units, would make me more comfortable about putting my family in an EXAB than whatever extra performance I could get by committing to the folly of building my own death trap or buying someone else's. :D
     
  29. Dav8or

    Dav8or Final Approach

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    Wow. Bitter much? E/AB has never "scoffed" at four seaters. In the last 20 years since I've been paying attention to kit planes, four seaters have been available. They just haven't been popular. The free market has just spoken over the years. A two seat plane is cheaper, easier to build and suits the needs of most pilots. If you were committed to spending a crazy amount of money and about five years of your life, you too would probably reconsider the need for the back seat.

    This is of course back in the day when you actually had to build over half of the plane all by yourself. That seems to have changed, so I expect you'll be seeing more and more four seat offerings in the future.
     
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  30. donjohnston

    donjohnston Line Up and Wait

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    You should actually research E/AB aircraft before making inaccurate statements. I have 4 seats in mine. And there are others.

    It's not that the manufactures are giving the middle finger to "family traveling". A lot of E/AB aircraft are two seat because that's what a lot of builders are willing to pay for. You know, the whole supply & demand concept.
     
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  31. wayne

    wayne Line Up and Wait

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    According to Kitplanes' buyer's guide there are 78 models of 4 seaters, only 43 of those show up as "current". And some of those are variants, such as the Velocity series; there SE-FG/SERG, XL-FG-/XL-RG/TXCL-RG. Hmmm, I don't see the new Lancair Mako in that list.

    I don't think a two seater is that much easier to build than a four seater. It might take a little longer to build the four seater, but it shouldn't be harder. I think cost is a bigger factor, as four seaters tend to use IO-540/550 engines and the two seaters tend more towards the IO- or O- 320/360 engines or other smaller, less expensive engines. For the cheap and fun crowd the two seaters are often VFR only planes with less avionics; less of a traveling plane and more of a fun plane. Get into a four seater and more people are thinking traveling plane and that more often involves full IFR avionics.

    While building a plane is cheaper than buying a new one, it's still a considerable amount of money. Then there is the time commitment. So, who's building these? I'd bet a fair amount of people without kids at home. Single, DINK or empty nesters. Why would most of those people need four seats? Yes, there are families that build experimentals, I am commenting on a significant portion of the builder segment.

    To me the biggest limitation is not being able to use ExAB on Angel Flight missions. Although I would swear I've seen a couple of RV-10's on multi-leg missions, and I don't see a limitation on the Angel Flight Soars website. Other Angel Flight pages have the limitation explicitly listed. I fly about a dozen or so missions a year now and could easily see myself flying more once I retire; one retired 80 year old pilot flew 50 missions last year!
     
  32. tspear

    tspear Cleared for Takeoff

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    I disagree. Cirrus and Mooney actually teach the pilot to fly the plane, not bounce it down the runway.
    Cessna 172s encourage sloppy flying and energy management.
    And if you are trained to CISP standards, even better.

    Tim
     
  33. tspear

    tspear Cleared for Takeoff

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    The best part of the Cirrus is it teaches you to feel more about what is going on with the plane using all your sense. Not just your hand. It does speak to your hand, but kinda muffled.
    Listen to your butt, your inner ear, your eyes.... Look outside the window.

    Tim
     
  34. Dav8or

    Dav8or Final Approach

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    I think the C-150/152, Tomahawk, Skyhawk, Warrior, etc are still ideal primary and instrument trainers. However the Mooney would make the ideal Commercial trainer. It does hold one to a slightly higher standard than the C and P brands with regards to energy management and landing finesse.
     
  35. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    So does a Piper Cub.
     
  36. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    Many years ago Van wrote a really good article in the RVaitor (this was back when it was a printed newsletter mailed to subscribers) about the challenges of designing a four seat amateur build airplane. He was, at the time, trying to temper the petitions for a 4-seat RV.

    4 seats means more load, which means more weight to be carried, requires a bigger cabin and airframe, which means more weight to be carried, which requires a larger engine, which means more weight, which requires more fuel capacity, which means more weight...
     
  37. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    In a way, this thread is rather nonsensical. It isn't the job of Cirrus or Mooney to "save GA". Their purpose is to build and sell airplanes. Actually, their purpose is to make money, but they do that by making an selling airplanes.
     
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  38. wayne

    wayne Line Up and Wait

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    It was so challenging because no one had ever designed and built a 4 seater before then. :rolleyes:

    Van just didn't want to. Hell, people had to apply a lot of pressure to get him to design a side-by-side two seater. He didn't know why anyone would want that. The RV-6/6A became the most popular model.
     
  39. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    I recall similar reluctance to creating the nosewheel RV-6A variant as well.

    To be fair, it's not because he couldn't do it. In his view a 4-seater wasn't consistent with his concept of "Total Performance". Back then I never thought I'd see a 4-seat RV. But as the company has matured the shift from "what Van wants to design" to "what the market wants next" has been notable.
     
  40. wayne

    wayne Line Up and Wait

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    I think the side-by-side was the same thing, because of the larger frontal area it wasn't as efficient as the tandem. To Van it was "why would someone want to sit side-by-side and go slower. You can still talk to them on the intercom in a tandem." (Not an actual quote)