Airplane for the Common Denominator

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BJC

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most can not bear the responsibility of Freedom and are but too happy to exchange it for Security, for not having to Think.
That is a problem.
There is also another "little" thing: keeping things in perspective in a kind of moral way.
Is one right to sell something for 100-1000 times its intrinsic value just because the circumstances allow to get away with it? Stupid Greed will not hesitate to do so, Smart Greed however... Smart Greed transforms easily into Stupid Greed,
See referenced Cicero quote in the link.


BJC
 

gtae07

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While many a RV are 100k, most think of it as all the money right then and fly tomorrow. While not cheap, a kit, a used engine with fixed pitch prop and basic instruments will add up, but it will take at least ten years to build.

That puts it up at $350 a month.
And how much will it cost to operate?

Lots and lots of focus on the initial purchase/"capital" cost of buying/building an airplane. Very little on what it's going to cost to run said airplane. I submit that the latter will cost much more in the long run (and will require higher average outgoing cash flow in the process).

I suggest that someone looking at building figure out how much they can afford to put into their flying hobby per month and ensure that the resulting figure is at least equal to (if not greater than) a realistic and at least slightly conservative estimate of total ownership costs (fuel, oil, maintenance/parts, overhaul reserve, insurance, hangar/tiedown rent, taxes...). Then start putting that money away in the bank. It gets you used to the budget so you don't get surprised when you finish your cheap airplane and realize it's costing you more money to keep it than it did to build it. I would suggest a ballpark minimum of about $450/month for an "average" homebuilder with an "average" airplane--i.e. a two-seat airplane with modest horsepower, renting/sharing a hangar at a public airport, and doing their own maintenance.

Pretty soon I bet you'd have enough to start building a subkit. Keep going, and assuming you have things like a job and kids (so your build isn't a full time job) you'll probably spread it out over a few years and be able to afford more than you thought.


I hit on this strategy a few years ago and as it turns out, between my build going slower than planned and a timely opportunities for extra pay at work (a differential for working four years of weekend shift) I was putting money in faster than it was coming out. I was able to afford the "luxury" stuff I wanted but wasn't sure I'd be able to have right off the bat--a second display, a smoke system, and an IFR GPS--thanks to having a couple more years to save. (the nice seats were a hard requirement from the wife). I'm now to the point where all I have left to buy is paint, and my projected operating expenses are actually lower than the rate at which I'm still saving up in the airplane account.
 
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Pops

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I consider my flying to be the greatest expression of personal freedom, so your “deeper question”, for me, may be restated and generalized as “Does society benefit by more people exercising and enjoying personal freedom?”

My answer is “Yes”. I wish that other areas of the world cherished personal freedom more. It would make for a better world.

This reminds me of the discussion here Flight Helmets?
Yes, Yes, Yes.
 

Tom DM

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See referenced Cicero quote in the link.

Over 2,000 years ago, Cicero wrote, “Each should attend to what benefits himself, so far as may be done without injustice to another.”

Studied Latin in school (until 16), the known quote is -to me- heavily flawed: (In) Justice can not be defined nor stable in time or place.
 

Tom DM

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And how much will it cost to operate?

where all I have left to buy is paint, and my projected operating expenses are actually lower than the rate at which I'm still saving up in the airplane account.

With all due respect - been in quite some (aircraft) beancounting situations, both recreational as commercial- : the cost to operate is unknown but varies from mildly expensive to unpayable. Figures are soooo easy to manipulate.

Predicting is far from easy and always tends to be over-optimistic to downright delusional. About the only truth is that if an airplane flies more, the cost per hour descends. Experiance shows that when you jump, you fall ... it can be that you don't hit the ground hard as the jump was not from high, the longer you miss the ground can be both good or bad.
 

Daleandee

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Then I suppose the Common Denominator is One that can afford a $60,000 to $100,000 airplane.
Most of us would be considered less-than common, then.

I managed to get a two place aerobatic plane that has a fair cross country speed for short hops at less than half the price point you mention.

It isn't an RV, but for the money ... I'm OK with that.
 

TFF

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Add up what one wasted in the last ten years. My $350 a month for ten years, builds you an RV8 basic in your home garage. Operating is what that costs. That’s moving to a new segment. $450, probably, unless you tie it down and have liability only insurance. $150 a month then.

An RV is a useful airplane. A two hour radius from most home bases gets you somewhere new. It can go five. Loops and rolls. You don’t need 5000 ft runway. You don’t need special skills to maintain or special parts. A competent pilot should have no problem flying one. If you have broken away from the Cessna Piper world and don’t buy a Mooney, it’s the choice. Any faster, and costs go way up. Any less useful, and it’s not competent across the categories. If it was certified it would cost the same as a Extra 300.

Most people don’t have the focus to pull it off. Instant gratification issues more than money. Do I own one, no. Doesn’t mean I don’t respect how good they are.
 

Toobuilder

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My first airplane was the Hiperbipe because it was good at many things and checked all the boxes. It was the right airplane for my particular mission. Quite a bit faster than the Cardinal I was flying, was a taildragger, and fully aerobatic. I knew about RV's but dismissed them based on the often undesirable culture among the faithful. Almost cult like in their devotion, I wanted the "pure" flying the rag and tube Hiperbipe offered. But after a few hundred hours of flying, an RV-8 dropped in my lap and it too was fast, aerobatic and comfortable. But in different ratios. The Hiperbipe was an aerobatic airplane that could be used for cross country, while the RV was a cross country airplane that could be used for aerobatics. Turns out I liked both, but the bias was more toward cross country speed than hanging upside down from the belts. The Hiperbipe spent more time in the corner of the hangar and the RV became the preferred mount. Without knowing it, my true preferences bubbled to the surface, and I was forced to acknowledge the incredible flying qualities of the RV. The owners continue to be nuts in many ways, but the airplanes are every bit deserving the hype.

Bottom line is that the Hiperbipe was purchased because it checked the boxes, and the RV won me over because of the performance, and the Rocket... Well thats just an RV x100 as far as Im concerned. None of them were passion driven purchases, and I have no brand loyalty. I think too many people confuse passion for airplanes with a buying decision. And I suppose thats a good thing, because if everyone just ran the numbers we would see nothing but RV's. And that would be a shame.
 

J.L. Frusha

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So, your 'common denominator' is to price things out of reach of the 'common man'. How very gauche. Talk about snobbery...

Glad I don't give much of a d!*& about such an attitude and approach.

Oh, wait... I'm not supposed to be intelligent enough to design and build an aircraft, anyway...

Guess what? I start next week.
 

Toobuilder

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In this context, "common denominator" denotes a set of capabilities that must be met by a very wide section of the pilot population. Thats the bar. Period. Dot. That set of capabilities has a cost, and there is no way to get around that. Period. Dot. Once you have priced an ultralight to "affordable", the capabilites you have to strip away to reach that price point render the final product well outside the set of capabilities that the common denominator pilot demands. You have become an edge case, which is by definition the exact opposite of the intent of this thread.

If you can only afford an ultralight, you are NOT the common denominator pilot. Thats not snobery, thats life.
 

J.L. Frusha

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As a builder/pilot, I'm part of that pilot population, yet y'all continually try to raise the bar beyond what most can afford.

Y'all have gone from 'common' anything to executive pay scale... $100k for a plane, plus all the expenses. That adds up to a 2nd home... Pretty exclusive pay scale, there. Doctors, lawyers, bankers and such have those kinds of funds. How would I know? My stepfather was an Orthopedic Surgeon. Mother was an LVN in the ER (that's how they met). I have 2 brothers that are bankers.
 

Toobuilder

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100k does not buy a "home" anywhere within 100 miles of me. "Might" get you into a single wide trailer in a friends back yard.

And BTW, I have several mechanics (non degrees, non engineer), working for me that pull down six figures of base pay (more with overtime).
 

Toobuilder

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Exactly my point. Income must be balanced with the cost of living to determine if someone is better off than another. And by the same point, the "value" of an airplane is tied to its ability to consistently deliver its mission capabilities. The "cost" of aquisition is largely irrelevant, and certainly not tied to "value".

If you fixate on an arbitrary aquisition cost as the sole determinant of value, then you are indeed missing the point of "common denominator"
 

WonderousMountain

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Anticipated Costs on Stubby so far:

500+$ Spinnaker fabric
1,-2,000$ engine bay prop excluded.
(Price varies depending on tuner parts)
1,000$ Wood Stock & adhesive ]no spruce[.
250$ Hardware of fine quality.
500$ Kart sourced Landing gear all new.The common category would be sub 300Kg 661#s.

2-300$ Miscellanious ornamentation.
2-300$ Electronic embellishments.
250$ Spun Fuel tank
2-300$ Naca Cowl & Acrylic sheet.
Artwork not included in budget.

5,1-5,400$ Initial cost incurred.
 

1Bad88

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I agree that the RV class checks off the most of the boxes in the right proportions. The ideal plane is the one you have. I am grateful for what I have; it isn't the fastest sexiest thing on earth but it's mine. I know that the RV's are less of a compromise when it comes to specifications but I feel like my plane checks the right boxes for me one of which is budget (acquisition, upgrades, fixed, and variable).
 

Toobuilder

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We each have certain limitations and biases that drive us to a particular choice. Thats expected and if managed realistically results in the "best" choice for you. But for most, this one point is not stagnant - it evolves with increasing knowledge and personal situation. The guy who buys a 172 because he has a young family and thats all he could afford at the time is unlikely to remain happy with that choice as the kids move away, his skills increase and his wife's appetite for travel increases. But just because we have made the "best" choice for us does not mean we are in the fat part of the bell curve... We may be extreme outliers, or not even in the game. I think my personal mission requirements are very desirable to a fat part of the homebuilt pilot "wish list", but if the playing field changes to cabin class turboprop owners, I'm not even on the board. Cant afford it. Thats life.
 

1Bad88

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I think you missed my point. I was agreeing with the concensus on this thread in regards to RV's and I was suggesting that being an outlier is okay. Being content and grateful is the most important aspect in wherever you are on the bell curve.
 

Tom DM

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Indeed. Many of us take God, country and family very, very seriously. Best not to trample on those concepts if this is to remain a civil place to discuss airplanes.

Will keep that in mind and not respond to your statement as the answer would not be linked airplanes, homebuilding and such.

It is thus far better to keep those concepts out of " a civil place to discuss airplanes" in the first place.

BR
 
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