This flying seems awfully expensive...

In the American south, at least you’re forewarned…



They darken the sky in the less desirable parts of Alaska.
To the OP, only you know whether or not it’s worth it for you. I don’t dare add up all my expenses and divide by the flight hours I get. My flight cost per hour would be an incredibly high number. Regardless, as long as I’m not having to borrow any money to support it and I can still get a medical I will be flying.
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They darken the sky in the less desirable parts of Alaska.
One summer I spent a couple of weeks in the Ungava Peninsula (arctic northern Quebec). You could actually make "mosquito snowballs". They would land so heavily on anything resembling life (like your thigh for example), you could scoop them up, pack them, and throw them like snow from a light snowfall. Looked about like your picture for 19 hours a day (sun hardly set too being that far north in June). People would ask how you could stand it, and I always got the same look, like they were speaking to a crazy man, when I said after a couple of days you got used to dealing with it.
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Flying has gotten too expensive for my budget as well. If my plane gets to the point of needing a pricey repair I will likely bow out all together. I still enjoy it but the cost has surpassed my joy.

The thing that finally kicked me out airport property was powerplant costs, full stop. Especially vis a vis insured hull values at my (low) level of the hobby. OEM prices are out to lunch. Everything 'downline' becomes derivative from their topline pricing, even if I never buy a new engine from them.

As I look at the experimental space as an alternate on-ramp back into the hobby, I am not too enthused with the proposition of being yet again tethered to certified OEM pricing by proxy. In fairness, I haven't fully researched to what degree experimental powerplants could be worked on by a wider and cheaper labor force (marine/auto et al) than the certified servicing folks, or what the "clone engine" overhaul market looks like vis a vis certified on the o/h labor/parts costs. Figured as clones, they don't enjoy any savings beyond slightly cheaper priced cylinders (no auto economies of scale advantage).

Auto conversions are still very much maligned, but I hope they too continue to mature and develop, as their pricing delta could offer reprieve. Even if the MTBF of either the engine or aftermarket reduction gearbox requires earlier replacement, from where I sit today it can't be any worse than that clownshoe 40K of a Hobson's joke to a couple broken studs I got served with last year.

LSA doesn't work for me unfortunately, there is a performance/mission floor under which I too walk away regardless of discount. I've already cut out the family from the hobby, and that was frustrating enough.