Episode #193 "Finicky in the 10's"

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mmike
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Episode #193 "Finicky in the 10's"

Postby mmike » Fri Jul 16, 2010 8:04 am

A huge AMEN to Jack's well-reasoned and well-spoken comments about where the larger aviation firms need to invest to grow the number of pilots. It's about funding for the people who already want to fly...would LOVE to find a way to fly. It's not about convincing the unconvinced.

An unsecured loan for primary flight training is possible, but expensive; and a secured loan for a sailboat or some other kind of toy is a different animal. How about a fund that matches the principal ($1 match for every $3 put up by the student), plus an interest subsidy, like the feds do with Stafford college loans? (I know more than I wish I knew about college loans....)

hmltnrgr1
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Re: Episode #193 "Finicky in the 10's"

Postby hmltnrgr1 » Fri Jul 16, 2010 8:32 pm

Two comments to add:

1) Unfortunately it's not just the cost of training that keeps the public's interest low in learning to fly. It's also the high cost of flying, beyond training that scares a lot of folks away.

It's expensive to own & operate a plane when all fixed & variable costs are accurately accounted for and rental isn't a much lower cost option on an hourly basis, particularly if the FBO's charge daily minimums...for example, I'd love to fly rather than drive to Oshkosh this year but it would cost me a small fortune to rent a plane for that lenght of time.

Don't get me wrong, I paid the cost of a PPL two years ago and am slowly working towards an instrument rating & ownership, albeit, likely a very unsophisticated plane, although I'd prefer a fully IFR capable cruiser but that's more a function of my budget constraints and not a lack of desire; however, when I talk to others ie: boat/motorcycle owners, about the cost to buy/rent airplanes they look at me like I'm absolutely nuts.

Of course, it takes a different mindset to own an aircraft...my idea of an ideal Sunday AM which I'm striving for would be to ride my MotoGuzzi to the hanger, pull out a nice J-3/J-4 and go do some low & slow and I'm willing to pay the price for that...but the majority my friends & co-workers while relatively well-off can't justify the expense compared to other pursuits.

2) I too found the whole AOPA "wine club" idea just not in keeping with trying to grow GA...it smacks of eliteism and fits too well the whole stereotype of GA as being a "rich man's" endeavor. In fact a couple of weeks ago I couldn't resists "tweeting" on the subject of having my valet, "Jeeves", drive the limo to my vineyard to pick up a bottle or two of a servicable Bordeaux rather than have to deal with the riff-raff public at the local wine store...enough said, I don't want to belabor the point...time to put on the formal wear for dinner with the lady of the house ;-)

hmltnrg1, aka SkiandflyUtah

kswim94
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Re: Episode #193 "Finicky in the 10's"

Postby kswim94 » Sat Jul 17, 2010 12:58 pm

On the topic of ELT's - let me start by saying that I agree that 406MHz ELTs are superior to the 121.5 units. But, as always, the cost of the unit is far from the total you'll pay to have a unit installed. My understanding is that the new ELTs require a switch that is easily accessible from the cockpit, for which, the wiring and installation represents the true cost of installation.

So I'm curious to see what other folks who have taken the plunge, if there are any out there, have experienced as far as what it costs to install these new units.

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jackhodgson
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Re: Episode #193 "Finicky in the 10's"

Postby jackhodgson » Sun Jul 25, 2010 3:41 pm

hmltnrgr1 wrote:Unfortunately it's not just the cost of training that keeps the public's interest low in learning to fly. It's also the high cost of flying, beyond training that scares a lot of folks away.


No question that flying is a bit expensive, but it's not substantially more expensive than boating, sailing, or high-end motorcycling.

Part of my issue here is that we're asking people to commit to a $6-8,000 expense (flight training), before that can realistically determine if and how they want to bear the operational expense of flying.

If you had to spend that much before being able to ride a motorcycle, or drive a large boat, those pursuits would have the same kind of adoption problem.

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champguy
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Re: Episode #193 "Finicky in the 10's"

Postby champguy » Sun Jul 25, 2010 4:02 pm

You can drive a boat, a dune buggy, or even ride a motorcycle after a beer. All part of having a good time.
Flying a plane takes an altogether different level of responsibility. A full on commitment to knowing what you are doing, and being fully present in your work.
Not everyone is prepared for that.
My two cents on the real reason more people don't learn to fly and become pilots.
Remember, not all who wander, are lost.
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mrdavedog
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Re: Episode #193 "Finicky in the 10's"

Postby mrdavedog » Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:22 am

champguy wrote:You can drive a boat, a dune buggy, or even ride a motorcycle after a beer. All part of having a good time.
Flying a plane takes an altogether different level of responsibility. A full on commitment to knowing what you are doing, and being fully present in your work.
Not everyone is prepared for that.
My two cents on the real reason more people don't learn to fly and become pilots.


Whole heartedly disagree. The first comment out of peoples mouth when I tell them I'm learning to fly, and this is universal, is "Wow you must have a lot of money" or "I wish I could afford to do that".

My answer to them is, well it's all about what you want to spend your money on. Now, I agree that once you get your ticket, flying is just as expensive as any other hobby that involves an engine. However, getting there requires a substantial cash outlay. I spend about $350 a lesson, give or take. Flying the recommended two times a week, that's $2800/mo. Granted I'm in the SF Bay Area, I'm training with one of the best instructors in the area and the airport I'm flying out of is the most expensive avgas wise around, so you can do it cheaper, but really, in my area, not that much.

Point is it took me a long time to save the cash to do this, and frankly, I'm not so sure I'm not going to run out before I finish. In today's world with the collective attention span of about two seconds, the downward pressure on the middle class, the economy, etc, etc, ad nauseam. Aviation does not look very attractive, when said person can finance as Jack said, a boat or Harley and ride away the same day. I have no end of people lining up on the flight line to come tool around with me when I can tote people around. I have a subset of those, that are interested in aviation enough that they wanna know how this or that works, or listen to me geek out talking about it. I have yet found someone who's willing to save for a few years to actually become a pilot.

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Soccer-Jock
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If it were easy or cheap... everyone would do it.

Postby Soccer-Jock » Tue Aug 03, 2010 7:17 am

Dave, it hurts to admit... I agree. In 3 years I have been successful in sparking interest, but no one yet has been willing to save up (as I did) to do it.
What's worse is the "pie in the sky" offering of Light Sport. The thought was that this would bring flying to a more affordable price for people. Arguably, with less time involved to obtain your license, it does. However we expected the Light Sport rentals, when they finally showed up, would be less expensive and that turned out to be "pie in the sky".

Reality: You can rent a Cessna 172 for about $110-120 / hour. I have been able to rent an old Piper Warrior for about $105 / hour.
A local air strip now offers the A22 Valor Light Sport... for $99 and hour. And a place south of my city now offers the PiperSport for $100 / hour.
Less expensive? Yes... by a couple of bucks.

Perhaps it's just a sign of the times and the types of people the general population has become... if it's not instant, and it's not easy, people just skip it and move on.
There will always be the few that desire it enough to work for it, save for it, and modify their lifestyle to accommodate it. In this respect I compare it to college:
There are those that are lucky enough to get it easily (parents pay, or they get a paid scholarship). There are those that will work very hard and change their lifestyle to save and work to achieve it on their own - sometimes even taking longer then planned. And there are those that have committed their minds to believe that it's out of reach and just don't do it.

In three years I have only found one way that learning to fly could actually be justified beyond an "expensive hobby" (sans someone wanting to be a commercial pilot) and that is to have a plane for your private business or related to your career where you can account for the costs as a business expense. There, the cost-benefit can be realized in a number of ways including efficiency, flexibility and time.

So what's my story? I wanted to do it so bad as a child, that as an adult I modified my habits to save up and be able to do it. It is expensive, but this is what I want to do. I cannot explain the fascination, but the feeling of accomplishment is second to none.

"Pardon me, is that pig wearing Revlon?" :shock:

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champguy
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Re: Episode #193 "Finicky in the 10's"

Postby champguy » Tue Aug 03, 2010 7:15 pm

You've gotta want it bad enough to make the problems go away.
Three options:

1) Get paid to fly...
2) Build a buisness that needs a plane and pilot...
3) Find a plane and or situation that you can afford out of pocket now. It may not be much, but it will be yours.

your option

Each of us has made serious accomodations to be where we are.
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Dave Higdon
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Re: Episode #193 "Finicky in the 10's"

Postby Dave Higdon » Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:31 pm

kswim94 wrote:On the topic of ELT's - let me start by saying that I agree that 406MHz ELTs are superior to the 121.5 units. But, as always, the cost of the unit is far from the total you'll pay to have a unit installed. My understanding is that the new ELTs require a switch that is easily accessible from the cockpit, for which, the wiring and installation represents the true cost of installation.

So I'm curious to see what other folks who have taken the plunge, if there are any out there, have experienced as far as what it costs to install these new units.


Good points, kswim94, good points...let's take a look...the TSO for the only eligible 121.5 MHz units also requires that switch and wiring and has for years...thankfully, it's actually relatively simple to install and hook up since the majority use the same kind of wire set that connects a phone to the wall plug...haven't been able to buy or new-install the ones without for a long time...

Now, if the airplane already has that panel switch and wiring, some of the new 406MHz units will work with it -- just bolt in and plug in. There is a difference in antenna -- again, many will use the same footprint as the old...

For aircraft that need the switch, wiring and antenna done, these are not terribly labor intensive -- but they do take a couple of hours; when we updated our last airplane from a TSO 91 ELT to the then-new TSO 91A (panel switch, different impact switch, outside antenna, etc...) the install costs were about $200...It may be a bit more today if the full boat work is needed...but not a lot; buy the ELT from your local shop (as opposed to buying out of a catalog and taking to a shop) may actually get you a break on install...shop around.

And here's a hint picked up at AirVenture last week; some contacts inside the avionics business tell me they expect new 406 MHz with GPS in about six months -- units that should break the $500 barrier...when they tell me "inside six months" my brain translates that to "at AOPA Summit in November"...two new units were unveiled at Summit last year, so seeing that again this year wouldn't surprise me...

Stay tuned...

Thanks for the comments -- and for listening, kswim94...

Dave

Dave Higdon
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Re: If it were easy or cheap... everyone would do it.

Postby Dave Higdon » Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:35 pm

Soccer-Jock wrote:Dave, it hurts to admit... I agree. In 3 years I have been successful in sparking interest, but no one yet has been willing to save up (as I did) to do it.
What's worse is the "pie in the sky" offering of Light Sport. The thought was that this would bring flying to a more affordable price for people. Arguably, with less time involved to obtain your license, it does. However we expected the Light Sport rentals, when they finally showed up, would be less expensive and that turned out to be "pie in the sky".


Good stuff, Soccer-Jock...you're one of our "success stories" who listened, put the calculator to work, and put themselves in an airplane...was intriguing talking to some folks at AirVenture who expressed surprised at seeing airplane for-sale fliers for airplanes less expensive than the cars they drove back home...basic, mostly VFR but some basic IFR...and faster than they could drive their cars...

Conversely, they balked at the idea that the industry lacks the creativity to solve its own population problem -- and found satisfaction at looking at very worthy, new, LSAs under $90K...fit their feeling that they prefer "new" -- and didn't cost more than their homes...like the A36, SR22, 206, etc, etc...

You broke the code -- now you can reap (fly) the results...waytogo!

Dave


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