Is General Aviation Dying in the USA?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Tarheel Pilot, Apr 28, 2011.

  1. Dav8or

    Dav8or Final Approach

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    Be very aware when you get excited about this upcoming C4 that the super low, low price estimate is predicated entirely on an anticipated part 23 rewrite that will make certification much easier like it is for the LSAs. You will notice that all the new planes that people are promising are sort of on hold right now. They are waiting for the Feds. If the rewrite doesn't happen, this plane will cost the same as a 172. There is no secret sauce in aviation.
     
  2. LoxaBagels

    LoxaBagels Ejection Handle Pulled

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    The FD C4 is getting EASA certification under CS-23 rule not waiting for the FAA. https://www.eaa.org/en/airventure/e...aks-new-ground-with-c4-certification-approach

    The plane will be sold and have final assembly in the USA. The company will provide a contingent FAA Part 23 'fix' under warranty if the difference turn out to be significant, which they likely will not be...

    The plane will mix certified Garmin GTN 750 with Garmin G3X touch screen PFD and MFD under the joint agreement rule.

    The price point may change, but not by much. Also, final test flights have been completed and the specs are firming up. It does appear they are going to have a product and it will be 50 to 60% less price of Cessna product in the same niche.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2015
  3. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Well, the SR-22s took around 10 years to depreciate 75%. You can now buy them for $125k with a fresh chute.
     
  4. mikea76

    mikea76 Pre-Flight

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    DING DING DING! We have reason number 1 why GA is dying right here.


    It used to be that a wider segment of the population could afford a hobby like GA, back in it's heyday when costs were spread among more pilots middle class people could afford this hobby. A guy with a good union job could afford to get his PPL. Now you need to be upper middle class or higher to realistically afford it. So in reality the economics are attacking GA from both ends. Fewer people with the means to fly means less people fly, less people flying means costs go up to those that can fly this causes even less people to be able to afford to fly.
     
  5. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 En-Route

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    Asking prices for the oldest 22s with the frag grenade tanks still hover above 180K.....
     
  6. Tmpendergrass

    Tmpendergrass Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I've heard non glass 20s/22s don't get anywhere near asking. Not sure about $125k though


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  7. Art VanDelay

    Art VanDelay Pattern Altitude

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    Enormously sad just the same. The next solution would be to stop electing lawyers to run government.
     
  8. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 Pattern Altitude

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    I'm skeptical of the significant stated price disparity but we will see.
     
  9. Dav8or

    Dav8or Final Approach

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    Yeahbut...

    If this new "harmony" doesn't occur, Flight Design will either have to forgo US certification, or spend a whole lot more on traditional part 23 certification. We shall see. I do hope the FAA, the Feds, the congress, or whatever lame government entity is standing in the way of progress can get it together.
     
  10. FormerHangie

    FormerHangie En-Route

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    It's not just cost.

    Yes, aviation is expensive and it looks like it always will be, but there are other issues as well.

    • It's dangerous. Last year, there were 253 fatal GA accidents that killed 410 pilots and passengers, and nine on the ground. Also last year, there were 593,000 licensed pilots. Included in that total are 150,000 ATPs, some of whom never fly GA, and 120,000 students, many of whom have stopped flying altogether, so let's say there are 500,000 active GA pilots. That's one death for approximately every 1200 active pilots. Compare that to highway deaths. There were 32,700 roadway fatalities, and approximately 215,000,000 licensed drivers in the US in 2013, which is the latest data available. That's one fatality for every 6500 drivers. Want to make it look worse? Look at the fatality rate per mile. The FAA estimated that there were 18,100,000 GA hours flown last year. That's 36 hours for each of our 500,000 pilots, so maybe the average pilot covered 5000 miles in his 36 hours aloft. The average driver covered more than 10,000 miles, so the per mile rate is now somewhere around 10 x what the automotive rate is. If we really want to scare people away, how about calculating the per hour rate? I'd venture to say that the average driver drives a minimum of five times as many hours per year than does the average pilot, and that makes the per hour fatality rate something like 25x what the automotive rate is. That's worse than motorcycling, hang gliding, paragliding, and skydiving. BTW, part 135 operations have an accident rate that is less than one sixth than the rest of GA.
    • It's of limited utility. Depending on what you're flying, there's a fairly narrow range where GA is an effective means of travel. If you're looking at a 172 or equivalent, if the trip is less than 200 miles, it's usually no faster than driving, and for more than 500 miles, it's usually slower than taking an airliner.
    • It's demanding to learn. Much has been made of the slow acceptance of the sport pilot ticket. I suspect a large part of that is that it takes a certain amount of time to learn to fly, and the minimums allowed for sport pilot are below what most people need, so the cost for going on and getting the private aren't that much greater, and that's what students do.
    • It's demanding, period. If you don't like what's going on in your car, you can be stopped in a few seconds. Once you have taken off, you will have to continue your flight to its conclusion. If you're flying a single and the engine quits, if there's nothing hospitable withing gliding distance, you're gonna crash. If you stumble into worse weather than you expected, you either figure out how to get out of it, or you crash. An all weather capable airplane is out of the financial reach of 99 percent of the population.
    • It requires regular practice to remain proficient. We go out and rent a boat a few times per year. I'm a perfectly safe boat operator with that limited amount of time on the water, because operating a boat is simple. Only fly three times per year? No way.
    • It's very weather dependent. There are maybe 12 hours in the average year where I wouldn't feel safe operating my car. As a VFR pilot living in the southeast, I can't tell you how many times I had to reschedule.
    I get the impression that there are people on this board that think that there are just hundreds of thousands of people who would like to become pilots, and that we just have to get the word out, or there are hundreds of thousands of people who are wanting to fly and would if we could get the cost down by 20 percent or so. I don't think that's the case, the vast majority of the population is not interested in what GA offers. There was a time 30 or 40 years ago when more people were interested, but those days are gone. I spent 14 years of my life doing amateur sports car racing with the Sports Car Club of America. Now, there are considerably fewer amateur sports car racers than there are pilots, so that was an even smaller group. One thing we all understood was that we were the odd people out, that the vast majority of people didn't want to do what we did. Pilots need to understand the same is true about GA, most people don't want or need it. What you're looking for is someone who is interested in aviation, has sufficient resources, has the need or want to either travel regionally on a regular basis or just wants to fly locally, and is willing to take the risk. That's not a lot of people.
     
  11. Dav8or

    Dav8or Final Approach

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    That is a great idea. Sadly, that is mostly who runs. People don't get a lot of choices and the choices they do get are poor.
     
  12. Dav8or

    Dav8or Final Approach

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    I don't know what to say, other than this is spot on. :yes: This is why I believe that the rebirth of GA won't come until the airplanes are so automated that anyone can run them with minimal training. If it becomes simple, easy and reliable, a great number of people will finally see utility in an GA airplane. It will happen one day in the future. Until then, we are among the last of the first wave.
     
  13. Jay Honeck

    Jay Honeck Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Afraid so.

    But what we can all do is to encourage the growth potential that we have in GA. I grow weary of the guys who think that flying is "hard", and strut around like peacocks, acting like the ace of the base. This attitude has turned off too many potential student pilots, especially women.

    Flying is fun, challenging, useful, and safe, if you take into account just a few very basic measures. Like motorcycling, it's possible to improve your accident rate dramatically by taking a few common sense steps:

    1. Don't drink and ride/fly.
    2. Don't hot dog.
    3. Don't ride/fly in bad weather.
    4. Don't skimp on maintenance.
    5. Keep enough gas in the tank.
    6. Keep your head on a swivel.

    Following those six steps has kept me alive through 38 years of motorcycle riding, and 21 years of flying.
     
  14. Jimmy cooper

    Jimmy cooper En-Route

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    Also consider what aircraft were equipped with thirty, fourty years ago. No glass cockpits costing thousands! you had a few charts and a wristwatch. The charts were free. Today, many pilots could hardly make a simple flight with this type of equipment. Add to this many pilots reporting that a two, three thousand foot runway seems very short even though they are flying say, a 172! ......sad.
     
  15. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    As soon as I saw "fatality rate per mile" not adjusted to account for the different speeds of the vehicles, I once again appreciated my college level statistics course for helping me tune my meter. You know which meter.

    One of the few courses worth the price of tuition.
     
  16. Bob Noel

    Bob Noel Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Well, when one considers the level of training, skill, and judgement of the typical driver vs the level of training, skill, and judgement demanded of the typical pilot....
     
  17. Challenged

    Challenged Pattern Altitude

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    The deaths per participant seems like a pretty good comparison, since those numbers should be fairly accurate, I imagine, but I'm no statistician. Once ADSB is in use, will that give us more accurate count of GA flight hours?
     
  18. 1600vw

    1600vw Pattern Altitude

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    Only if you fly into and out of controlled airfields. There will still be a lot of airplanes in the sky that will not have to use ADS-B for they have no electrical system or they do not fly into or out of this airspace that requires this equipment.

    Tony
     
  19. FlyingIsGood

    FlyingIsGood Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I just found an old receipt in my logbook for a rental flight I took 10 years ago. After cross referencing it with my log book entries, here's what I've come up with:

    2-Jun-2005 1.4 Hours (wet) PA28-161 $120.40 (tax included)
    7-Aug-2015 1.4 Hours (wet) PA28-180C $158.27 (tax included)

    That's a $37.87 (24%?) increase over 10 years. The Warrior was a rental from a flight school. The Cherokee 180 is from a flying club. So, after 10 years, I'm paying $37.87 (24%?) more for the same rental time, but getting more aircraft.

    Seems like there are other factors causing the decline. Like I've mentioned before, the perception of limited access to aviation due to the public associating aviation with long lines and TSA molestations is what I believe to be a major culprit. I'd also include the lack of welcoming attitude at GA airports - to outsiders. It just "feels weird" to show up, unannounced at a GA airport and start asking questions because 99% of the time, folks will be suspicious, or not want to divulge any info.

    Lastly, it's that folks want something new and shiny, not some 50-year old rag that is going to cost a fortune to house and maintain. If costs have anything to do with it, it's the notion that you'll shell out huge $$ for aged, entry-level equipment. Have you browsed TaP or Barnstormers lately? People are asking $25-$45k FOR A 40-year old CESSNA 150/152! GTFO! It's an absolute joke.
     
  20. Bob Noel

    Bob Noel Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Contrast that with what can happen at some other types of activities. For example, my two gun clubs each hold an Open House every year as well as a Ladies' Day each year. These are open to the public and are intended to introduce the public to the various shooting sport disciplines. We also offer junior programs in archery, smallbore, and air rifle/pistol.
     
  21. FormerHangie

    FormerHangie En-Route

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    I'm not familiar with the concept of fatality rate per mile adjusted for speed, can you elaborate? I can certainly understand that it's not correct to compare accidents or fatalities per hour for vehicles going a vastly different speed, but I think that fatalities per distance is the most correct measure.
     
  22. Acrodustertoo

    Acrodustertoo Ejection Handle Pulled

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    I will chime in on the TOPIC of this thread:

    Is aviation dying in this country? Yes it is, the prices are out of reach of most folks lifestyle. My father has been with a flying club for close to twenty years. The club had seven aircraft and are now down to three, yes three! in a town with well over 100K people that include one of the biggest hospitals in the U.S. so no shortage of money there. The only way i will be able to fly is to build an airplane. That is what i am doing simply because of the staggering cost to own a certified.

    Can most people own an airplane? Yes they can but that will have to be their only "hobby" and will soak up all their disposable income and then some. Is twenty or forty grand for an engine a reasonable cost? How much does a boat motor cost in comparison? How much does an RV cost? Do you have to have your boat, motorcycle, RV, 4x4, or go cart inspected every year costing you thousands of dollars? You do the math and it doesn't add up any more. Thank the lawyers for that.
     
  23. Bonchie

    Bonchie Cleared for Takeoff

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    It's misleading because millions of cars/miles driven in this country never go/happen over 40mph (regularly) but are there to dilute the statistics on deaths for cars. I live in DC. I drove 20 miles today to a job (it's in McLean) I was almost never in a situation where a fatal accident could occur because it was traffic the whole way. Plenty of people in major cities, large parts of California, etc. are adding lots of miles traveled to the stats while never being really exposed to deadly situations.

    It's much more dangerous to go drive a car at 70mph on an interstate then the statistics might bare out when guys like me who are in the city are factored in. My risk is practically zero while the guy on the interstates is more even though the general stats say we carry the same risk. If we could somehow compare that situation vs. GA, it'd be a more realistic picture of risk when traveling at high speeds.

    But we don't have a way to really do that accurately. Keep in mind, I'm not claiming GA is still even close to driving in safety. I'm just saying it's not quite as bad as it may seem.

    The fatalities figures for GA are also skewed by location and choices. Places like Alaska have much higher fatality rates (1 in 7 deaths in all 50 states happen in Alaska). People who tangle with weather and fly in the moutains have much higher fatality rates.

    1) Don't fly in Alaska 2) Don't fly around or in bad weather 3) Have personal minimums for where you'll fly (like don't fly out/into airports with no outs on takeoff, really short runways, over moutains, etc.).

    I personally don't observe #3 because I fly out of VKX. We have no outs the first 700 feet of climb. It's a risk I'm taking though to finish my IFR training.

    It'll never be as safe as driving a car, but it's not as unsafe as it's made out to be if you manage the risk.

    I think if we were more forthright about the dangers it'd help. Be honest and tell people that yes, GA is dangerous in general. But also teach the multitude of ways in which risk can be greatly reduced.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2015
  24. Everskyward

    Everskyward Administrator Management Council Member

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    There are comparatively few people who possess the interest plus time plus money. I just attended my 40th high school reunion where others introduced me as a pilot (probably because it seems so strange). I only met one other pilot, who is an airline pilot. No one mentioned being a GA pilot although one person had flown across the country a few times in a GA airplane with a friend. I got the feeling that many of my classmates who attended have more than enough money to pursue this as a hobby but I didn't notice much interest. On the other hand, no one mentioned the dangers of GA. Surprisingly, one mentioned being in an an airline accident (World Airways overrun in the early 1980s), and sadly, I learned that one friend's husband was killed in the Colgan accident in Buffalo.
     
  25. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 En-Route

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    How exactly does a 500K Cirrus help any of that? They're the closest to a pedestrian blankie (automotive ergonomics and "Save me Johnny the plane is ACME falling!!" wife parachute) as they come and they ain't exactly flying off the shelves. In 1968 Vero Beach was cranking PA-28 variants at a rate of 7,000 units PER YEAR. They weren't 500K inflation adjusted either.

    An SR-20 costs more to maintain than my Arrow and it's barely 7-10 knots faster on the same gas (I've flown it, hold on to your hats!!...oh wait, 140-143TAS at 9gph, wah wah....), so the claim that new is free from the labor costs associated with maintenance and inspection kabuki is just a tired canard.

    No hay dinero playa'

    show me.jpg
     
  26. FlyingIsGood

    FlyingIsGood Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I'm with you in thinking that new aircraft are ridiculously over-priced, but the SR-20, or any Cirrus aircraft, isn't comparable to a PA28. Piper's modern base model PA28 (2015 Archer TX) starts at $345k MSRP. A major chunk of that is in the G1000 glass, Aspen EFD-1000, WAAS GPS, etc. A looong way from a 60's/70's, steam gauge PA28. And most of those frills have nothing to do with actually flying an aircraft.

    I can't believe they sell ANY of them for that kinda dough.

    When the Sport Pilot regs came out, I remember all BS talk about $60-$75k, factory new aircraft being available everywhere. Did that ever happen? No. The market targets were for older guys who are established enough to squeeze for at least double that, and they set those prices accordingly - while killing off the majority of the Part 103 world. See those stats on Sport Pilots license issuances to see how that's working out.

    The liability issues tend to get the blame a lot, but why hasn't the AOPA lobbied to change that?Instead, they get the bright idea to clean up a C150/152 and sell it for $100k. "That will save aviation!" :rofl::rofl::rofl: What a joke!
     
  27. Jay Honeck

    Jay Honeck Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I don't think AOPA (or any lobbying group) has the power to influence our lawyer-run government. That would be money wasted, IMHO.

    What I DO want to see from AOPA is marketing. Where is the national ad campaign, promoting private pilotage? Why haven't they teamed up with EAA and the aircraft manufacturers to make ads to sell the concept of becoming a private pilot and aircraft owner?

    Sometimes it seems like the people who are most jeopardized by the collapse of GA aren't even trying to save it.
     
  28. drotto

    drotto Cleared for Takeoff

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    Better solution is taking something like a PA28 and putting the experimental garmin stuff in it (and pray they get approved like the C4 is).
     
  29. Tmpendergrass

    Tmpendergrass Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Exactly. Just allow us to "de-certify" our Cessnas, mooneys and pipers.

    $30k for a spam can of choice
    $15k for a full IFR G3x system
    $15k for new paint and interior.

    That's one heck of a bird for less than the cost of a new BMW.



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  30. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yup. It's the same thing as the people who are low-income but vote for certain candidates who advocate lessening the tax burden on the rich - They want to be rich someday, so they don't want the rich to be taxed, but 99.999% of them will never be rich and vote against their own interest because of the elusive dream.
     
  31. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    FTFY. Without the plaintiff who hired the lawyer, there would be no lawyer.
     
  32. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Yup, that alone would probably make me think about buying an aircraft. Shelling out $60K for a 6-pack 4-seater with mid-time engine, dated interior and iffy paint doesn't sound appealing. However, give me the ability to spend $45K on one, but upgrade the avionics and interior for $10-15K, and the appeal of the aircraft just went up. I love the experimentals, like RV-10's, etc, I just don't have the time/space to build one of my own.
     
  33. Anthony

    Anthony Touchdown! Greaser!

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    As the fleet grows, there are more and more on the secondary market. Buy one already built.
     
  34. Tmpendergrass

    Tmpendergrass Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Everyone loves the RV10 but it's price point is out of reach of a lot of people. The only 4 seat experimental on the market for under 100k I can think of is an older velocity(which isn't for everyone).

    Off topic:
    Why don't we see more multi engine experimental stuff? (How awesome would it be to have a twin engine RV-10 or something powered by a couple of rotax 912s!)


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  35. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator En-Route PoA Supporter

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    True, but it being a (relatively) newer model means there are fewer to purchase, and they have been priced accordingly. You can generally find them between $150-$200K, but that's still a little rich for my blood given that you can pick up certified aircraft for much less. Get them into the $75-85K range and it would be worth considering. It won't happen for another decade until there are enough built and the model has started to depreciate a bit more.

    My personal concern is not the age of the airframe, just the ability to modernize it with non-certified equipment. I can't afford a $150K RV-10, but I can afford a $55K Piper Comanche if I were able to upgrade the 1960's panel for $10K. I think it would open the door to a lot of aircraft if at least the avionics were allowed to be changed out. I'm not sure how I'd feel about an LS6 in there in place of the Lyco/Conti, at least from a one-off standpoint.

    LS6 in an RV-10 designed for it from the start? Sure!
     
  36. Anthony

    Anthony Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That's the problem right there as you have articulated it. Modern avionics to upgrade the panel for certified aircraft are just stupid expensive. It really is prohibiting a lot of people from doing it, and even buying a plane that needs new radios. There really is no economically viable solution when your radios cost more than what the plane is worth.

    Experimentals are the way to go, but yeah, there are not many RV-10's out there yet. I'd like to get a 6, 7, or even and 8 like Jay's, but that's not in the cards right now.
     
  37. SixPapaCharlie

    SixPapaCharlie May the force be with you

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    Pardon what is probably a really dumb question.

    Why can one not just go buy a 172 and start hacking on it themselves in exchange for changing it to experimental category?
     
  38. Tmpendergrass

    Tmpendergrass Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Cuz thems the rules. Hopefully the part 23 re write will allow exactly that.


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  39. Bob Noel

    Bob Noel Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Bob Noel
    Because the 172 wasn't amatuer-built. But, I believe you can convert it to an experimental, you just won't get the advantages that an amateur-built aircraft would enjoy.

    (I know, it doesn't completely answer your question)
     
  40. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator En-Route PoA Supporter

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    SoonerAviator
    Well you could do it and be fine until your next annual inspection. The inspection is help to the certified standards, so at that point the C172 would no longer be considered airworthy due to the non-certified equipment/hacking and the aircraft is grounded.