Is General Aviation Dying in the USA?

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

  1. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 En-Route

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    ...umm, that's what exp-AB is, but since the 172 wasn't built in billy bob's garage, the other exp categories you could throw it into do not allow the unrestricted destination flying use we enjoy of certified airplanes and Ex-AB alike, so it becomes a non-starter (exhibition, R&D, etc). Thence the part 23 re-write "primary non-commercial category" discussion we've been having for about two years on here. Welcome back, you're caught up now. :rolleyes::D
     
  2. FloridaPilot

    FloridaPilot Pattern Altitude

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    IMHO,

    Statistics doesn't mean anything if you are the one picked to die that day. EVERYTHING has risks involved. With that said:

    We have to build interest, (like previous posters mentioned). Nobody is interested? Why? because outside of the pilot community nobody knows that it exists. Airports have fences with security driving around them every so often.

    How did I know that EAA Airventure and Sun and Fun existed? Because of this wonderful site. The pilot community knows but outside of that? Not a chance. We have to reach the people outside of the pilot community.

    The reason why things are so expensive is because companies can charge what they want because there isn't much competition....that needs to change!
     
  3. Shepherd

    Shepherd En-Route

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    At the rate GA planes are crashing in the last couple of weeks I'd say "dying" is a pretty good choice of words.
     
  4. Tmpendergrass

    Tmpendergrass Pre-takeoff checklist

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    When most people find out I fly, they give me a weird look like I am spending my money on some sort of frivolous past time.

    I'll be honest, I try to avoid the topic of aviation when I'm around friends that are not as financially blessed as I am. Just makes me uncomfortable.

    So while lack of interest is a problem, it's hard to spread interest when the cost of entry is so high.



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  5. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Not exp, but Tecnam has that covered. P2006T.

    Renting locally for $245 wet.

    Looking at the performance numbers on it, it's only got a 250 fpm climb rate at sea level with 600 lbs of human on board and full fuel of 45 gallons, and doesn't fly any faster than a 182.

    The same club here rents their Seneca out at $305 and a C-310 at $500/hr. (I suspect the 310 is overpriced to keep people from training in it.)

    Same club has a C-182RG on the line for $165 wet and a special deal for Commercial or CFI trainees for $135 an hour wet, which from looking at my ownership numbers on a straight legged 182, may or may not be paying the bills on the RG depending on how well they are keeping up on maintenance.

    SR20 old school Avidyne around here there's piles of them at around $200 wet and there's two or three SR22T with FIKI going for $310... DRY. With a bunch of "in between" Cirri with Garmin panels for prices in between, depending on how desperate or crazy their owners are to hold on to them with the help of keeping them flying in leasebacks.

    Piles of the things. One club specializes in only Cirri, the other has six or eight of them now.

    The rental fleet in Denver is massive right now. And multiple mergers of clubs means that the remaining mega clubs and clubs doing airplane swap deals across town for all of their members means they have everything from multiple GOBOSH aircraft and a couple of "Piper" Sports to piles of Skyhawks and more than one Skykane to choose from, as well as two Decathlons and the above mentioned traveling and multi engine machines.

    That said, in reference to the topic of the thread... I don't know too many people who can afford $300/hr for a hobby. I know a number that can swing $200/hr painfully and $150/hr without crying too hard. If they can stretch to the $165 point, that 182RG is a pretty good deal until it needs landing gear parts. Then it'll be much higher.

    Interestingly... Not a single C172RG Cutlass on anyone's rate sheet right now. The training beat the living hell out of the only two left on the field and one was destroyed by hail a year or two ago. It's going to get very difficult to find single engine retracts to do Commercial ratings in, in the not too distant future.
     
  6. Tmpendergrass

    Tmpendergrass Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Isn't there some type of complex exception for the commercial if you use a "technologically advanced" aircraft or something. Can't remember...



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  7. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Last I checked it was only a proposal that never got off the ground. Can't say that I've looked into it more recently than many years ago.

    I'm toying with the idea of doing the Commercial so I indulged myself and looked at rental rates in the area, since the 182 won't get the job done. That's about as far as it's gone, so far.

    Right now I'm leaning toward taking the one club up on their $135 for ten hours in the 182RG offer. I want to check with the CFIs and see if that airplane still has gear issues that require coaxing to get the stupid things down once a year, which was the case the last time I flew it. Didn't happen to me, but had happened to my CFI in that specific airframe.

    Or I could just run the odds and maybe get some emergency gear extension "practice" during the training or even the check ride. LOL... Argh. Remind me to buy renters insurance before flying that thing again...
     
  8. Tmpendergrass

    Tmpendergrass Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Lol I've heard stories like that about several flight school RG planes that exist for the soul purpose of commercial training. I know flight school with an old Apache they rent for $215. Might get my multi commercial once I get some more hours.


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  9. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 En-Route

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    Arrows still abound on rental fleets don't they? There's tons of PA-28Rs in the market. Flight schools are not gonna run out of that shadow inventory any time soon I would think.
     
  10. Tmpendergrass

    Tmpendergrass Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Around here you can find 172RGs at most flight schools. They are not cheap (usually $160-$200) and are used exclusively for commercial training.


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  11. Dav8or

    Dav8or Final Approach

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    I agree. I avoid the topic altogether unless I'm around fellow aviation enthusiasts, or the topic is asked of me.
     
  12. Dav8or

    Dav8or Final Approach

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    Because of the expense and the build time. Two motors, two props, two engine mounts, two cowlings/nacelles, two sets of controls, more expensive engine monitoring and most people want their twins to be retrac, so there's that too. Combine that with the fact that the builder, who often has no pilot's license at the start, has to get a multi ticket on top of the private pilot.

    It's also tough to compete with the certified twin market right now. They're practically giving them away.
     
  13. MooneyDriver78

    MooneyDriver78 Pattern Altitude

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    And don't most schools just use the retracts for parts that it's required and then use 172s for the maneuvers?
     
  14. FormerHangie

    FormerHangie En-Route

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    One of the issues that those of us who live in a metro area is that we have to compete for a limited amount of airport space with some people who have a LOT of money. If Creflo Dollar gets his new Gulfstream, and he wants to expand his hangar space, there's not much some guy who's been paying $400- $500 per month is going to be able to do to keep his space.
     
  15. Anthony

    Anthony Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I do too. I've been scolded by wives at cocktail parties for talking to there husbands about it. But, them having a Harley is OK. :rolleyes:
     
  16. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 En-Route

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    Yeah, Gentrification is only "progress" when it doesn't happen to white people.... :D

    /stir
     
  17. FloridaPilot

    FloridaPilot Pattern Altitude

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    Not saying this to be confrontational but the people that I speak to that knows I fly think it's pretty cool and some were former pilots. What made them stop was because of the costs involved and red tape with medical. I told them about the LSA avenue. I also mentioned that I would take them up once I get 100 hrs and they are pretty excited about it.
     
  18. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 Pattern Altitude

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    That's the single engine climb rate.
     
  19. FloridaPilot

    FloridaPilot Pattern Altitude

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    The argument is:

    "At least I have control on the ground"

    So many things can happen to you on the ground you would be amazed!
     
  20. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    The one that counts up here where the airport is at 6000', yes. It's going down single engine here on a hot day, with full fuel. Just a matter of whether it can find a runway first before it does.
     
  21. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Scold them back. Ha.
     
  22. Anthony

    Anthony Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It was more like assaulted. I just went, and got another drink. ;)

    Most people think Regional Jets are "small planes".
     
  23. Jay Honeck

    Jay Honeck Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Heh. I'm just the opposite, continually singing the praises of how affordable getting into flying can be.

    Of course, I'm usually talking to someone driving a $65K Beemer, or towing an $80K boat. These are the people who drop $200/night, plus meals, to stay on our island -- and they could easily afford flying -- if only they understood it.

    Most people have two completely wrong perceptions about flying, believing that:

    a) All airplanes cost millions of dollars.
    b) Learning to fly takes superhuman ability.

    Once they learn that my aircraft costs about the same as their luxury car or boat, and that flying is easier than driving, the possibilities start to open up before their eyes.

    Somehow, some way, we need to get this message out to the masses.
     
  24. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    The masses that are driving a BMW, you mean? ;)
     
  25. drotto

    drotto Cleared for Takeoff

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    Where I live BMW's are almost a dime a dozen.
     
  26. Jay Honeck

    Jay Honeck Touchdown! Greaser!

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    BMW sold 339,000 cars in the US last year.

    That's a pretty nice sized market for GA.
     
  27. SixPapaCharlie

    SixPapaCharlie May the force be with you

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    Someone at work asked me about flying today. (I have a plane screen saver and he asked)

    I talked to him and his jaw kinda dropped when I talked about cost.
    He said "I figured bottom line plane was 6 figures minimum".

    Nope, 1/2 the price of your F-150 will get you a dependable plane.


    I am going to take him up when it cools down.
    He seems interested.
     
  28. mjburian

    mjburian Cleared for Takeoff

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    I tell people that my share in the flying club cost me less than my first car in high school.

    Of course, it costs slightly more to fly per hour than that POS cost to drive...
     
  29. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    That's almost identical to the numbers we currently have flying/have pilot certificates, you realize?

    There's eight million people within 100 miles of me as I type this and I'm in a flyover State.

    339,000 is **** ant numbers in American marketing and sales. You need a target market both capable and willing of at least ten million to even be a blip on the national scale radar.
     
  30. Mike Smith

    Mike Smith En-Route

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    It doesn't take driving a BMW, I drive a 2008 Toyota Tacoma 2WD 5 speed. I am solidly middle class and I am looking for an airplane to buy. While I cant afford what others can, I can certainly afford to fly a modest 4 place airplane and keep it in good shape. I believe it costs less to own and fly a PA28-140 than it does to own and use a bass boat. I cant afford both, but I don't really like boats anyway.

    EDIT, yes I understand that a Cherokee 140 isn't really a 4 place airplane.
     
  31. Dav8or

    Dav8or Final Approach

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    Oh you will find out otherwise when you actually do buy your plane. I would gladly trade with great joy my annual expenses on my plane for that of anybody's Bass boat expenses.
     
  32. FloridaPilot

    FloridaPilot Pattern Altitude

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    GA IS dying in the USA!

    The good news is: It won't totally be dead in any of our lifetimes!

    The bad news is: If we don't promote it somehow it will be lower than how we left it.

    People need to see "SUCCESSFUL" flights getting to where you want to go and how cool it really is. So many times the masses see airplane crashes which are unfortunate.

    Flying is easy until something is not working! To this extent this is when you realize how good your training is. For some that is too late!

     
  33. Dr. O

    Dr. O Pattern Altitude

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    Humph - well the single point of agreement is that GA is in a death spiral...

    Wait till the bear trap in Obamacare bites the middle class in the *** come 2016 and you will see another big swoon and more planes out of annual and for sale as they slowly sink into the weeds behind the hangars. And isn't it interesting that the trap only springs after Obama's term is over.

    The government is paying the interest on it's unpayable debt by bloating the dollar month after month to cover the interest, which makes everything more expensive month after month - yeah, I know they claim there is no inflation - I also took Economics 101 at the U back in the day.

    I went flying today. It took $220 in gasoline - which is about an average weekend. Now I can afford it because I worked like a dog for 50 years and lived like a church mouse. But the fella with a good middle class job, and kids, and a mortgage, and car payments, yadda yadda is about to discover that his medical premiums are going to jump another 40% four months from now and that he has to set aside $6500 for each person in the house. Yeah he has insurance. No he can't afford to use it because the first $6500 from his pocket has to be paid up front. My agent says my medical premium will jump 50% (senior citizen) next year.

    All your other insurance premiums are going to buck like a bronco on Jan 1, 2016. I could go into detail but it boils down to Obamacare. Case in point is loss coverage for fire on my farm buildings and machinery. Four times what it was. I nearly had a stroke. I charged into the insurance office waving the bills. After I quit quivering he said it is the anticipated medical costs for injuries incurred in a fire that s bloating the bill - the new rules under Obamacare are predicted to increase the insurers medical costs by 4 times over historical levels.
    There will be things uninsured next year. Some items I can't drop because they are leased (buildings primarily) but everything I own will have be scrutinized to see how I will be ahead by insuring it at the new premium rates.

    All of this increase in overhead feeds through to parts, and electricity, and mechanics fees, and landing fees, and on, and on. It is the perfect storm.
     
  34. N5922S

    N5922S Line Up and Wait

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    You hit the nail squarely on the head. What small advantage we may have earned by hard work and study will be stolen by these sorry *****ists. Did you ever see the movie "Idiocracy"?
     
  35. overdrive148

    overdrive148 En-Route

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    ...Brought to you by Carl's Jr.
     
  36. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    I actually thought of that film yesterday...

    ...as a place and time where the words "President Trump" might actually make sense!
     
  37. narchee

    narchee Line Up and Wait

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    Ah, yes. It is Obama's fault.

    :rolleyes:
     
  38. Jay Honeck

    Jay Honeck Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Obama isn't the cause of anything.

    He's the symptom.
     
  39. Mopauly

    Mopauly Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I don't see anything to truly complain about in GA. Show me another country where you can buy a plane for less than $25k, get up in the middle of the night, and fly it across the country without ever saying a word to anyone.

    Your average mechanic now charges upwards of $100 per hour for labor. People spend over $100 for a purse or pair of shoes. I can rent an aircraft, full of fuel, and fly it for an hour. I think perspective has gotten a bit out of whack.
     
  40. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator En-Route PoA Supporter

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    I don't think we want to be like another country, we just see the costs of FAA regulation, lawyers, etc making it impossible to sustain at some point.

    If the car market were so restricted that everyone had to drop $56K to buy a new car which was the equivalent of a 1975 Chevy Nova, would you think it was reasonable? Seriously, it's a pretty accurate comparison.

    The 1975 Nova was around $3K new in 1975, and the Cessna 172 was around $16K. The 172 has had no markedly-significant changes aside from panel stuff and extra weight since then. Yet, it costs $300K today, 18.75 times as expensive. In reality, the Chevy Malibu (roughly the same class as the Nova) is $20K new, so 7 times as expensive.

    I wouldn't consider purchasing a $56K car of any sort, personally, nor would most middle class Americans. However, you say it's "nothing to complain about" when you have some acceptable used aircraft that will meet your needs.

    Sure, you can buy used aircraft for cheaper, maybe a $30-35K 1975 172 with worn paint/interior. However, at some point, the pool of used aircraft will shrink to a point where there aren't enough decent examples to consider purchasing, and new aircraft are too expensive and low-volume to make up for the disappearing used aircraft.