Design to attract new homebuilders

Discussion in 'Hangar Flying' started by BJC, Apr 4, 2016.

Help Support HomeBuiltAirplanes Forum by donating:

  1. Apr 4, 2016 #1

    BJC

    BJC

    BJC

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2013
    Messages:
    9,562
    Likes Received:
    6,331
    Location:
    97FL, Florida, USA
    Every time I read a post on the 21st century VW, I have to remind myself that the OP objective there relates to a simple airplane that looks, and is, easy to build. Good objective. However, I want to start a related discussion, ergo, a new thread.

    Yes, airplanes are expensive, but young people are spending lots of money on hobbies and wants, so, if motivated, many could afford to learn to fly and obtain an airplane.

    Consider what the dream of the BD-5 did. It created the interest of thousands of new entrants into aviation. Just consider the raw numbers (from Wiki):


    PLEASE do not get on the bash Bede bandwagon - this is not about his shortcomings, but about attracting people into aviation.

    So, my question is: What, in the way of an HBA, either kit or plans built, would bring large numbers of people into recreational flying?


    BJC
     
    Battler Britton and cheapracer like this.
  2. Apr 4, 2016 #2

    cheapracer

    cheapracer

    cheapracer

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2013
    Messages:
    5,354
    Likes Received:
    3,603
    Location:
    Australian
    Of all the people throughout the forums, Head In The Clouds romantic, adventuring stories about the fun side of flying with STOL or Ultralights landing in fields or next to streams and similar posters grab me and that's who i would want at my stand selling the sport.

    The old traditionalist crews telling tales of tail-looping, oil in your goggles, "you're a girl if your plane has a BRS" are exactly who I would not want selling the sport, along with those who continue to preach that flying is some sort of elitist, good value sport.

    Better media education.

    More exciting planes, at least visually.

    Cheaper goes without saying.
     
  3. Apr 4, 2016 #3

    Little Scrapper

    Little Scrapper

    Little Scrapper

    Well-Known Member HBA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Messages:
    5,352
    Likes Received:
    3,280
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    There's plenty of designs in my opinion. I just think society has changed. We live in a time where people don't value the importance of saving money, and those that do, can't because of the increasing costs of life in general. A quick study of the wage picture in this country paints a pretty grim outlook. I don't think a "design" will trump those factors. No pun intended.

    Young people don't want to work for success. Older people are overworked.

    That said, I believe most people can afford flying but that requires a strong desire to want it. Again, I just don't think "design" is the factor in modern times like it was in the past when society had more of a balance.

    Look, I'll explain it this way. I own a plumbing business. I'm in 15-30 homes a week. My business has completely changed and I've watched this change slowly happen for 25+ years. I'll get calls from the younger generation where they can't afford a service call so I try and walk them through it to help them. Not only do they not own a screwdriver but they don't know how to use it. We live in a time where home improvement shows are at an all time high yet people lack skills. You see, people are more in love with watching TV shows about renovation than they are actually renovating.

    The older generation is currently fighting the wage war and the high cost of health products. Many of those people are on payment plans with my business. I have no choice, my business changed to the "new world".

    So the dynamic of modern society has changed to the point where a new design in airplanes isn't the game changer it once was.

    My thoughts anyhow.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016
  4. Apr 4, 2016 #4

    Little Scrapper

    Little Scrapper

    Little Scrapper

    Well-Known Member HBA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Messages:
    5,352
    Likes Received:
    3,280
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Recently a study came out that said teenagers spend 27 hours a week online. Adults spent 30 minutes a week online in 2005 and that's grown to 20 hours now.

    Imagine spending 30 hours a week building an airplane.

    Recently I checked out the Lonesome Buzzards forum. They list how much time users have spent online under a user name. People have spent 3+ years online. That's insane! 3 years of your life online and they can't seem to find time to build an airplane.
     
    Battler Britton likes this.
  5. Apr 4, 2016 #5

    Turd Ferguson

    Turd Ferguson

    Turd Ferguson

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    Messages:
    4,800
    Likes Received:
    1,720
    Location:
    Upper midwest in a house
    I be interested in guesses on how many people became interested in aviation during the early 1980's ultralight explosion. Ultralight sales were out the roof until the hatchet job by 20/20.
     
    bmcj, Joe Fisher, Topaz and 1 other person like this.
  6. Apr 4, 2016 #6

    dcstrng

    dcstrng

    dcstrng

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2010
    Messages:
    912
    Likes Received:
    323
    Location:
    VA or NoDak
    I think Scrapper has pretty well described the demographic at least – there is a very large segment of society that doesn’t come with the basic (and I mean very basic) skills we all took for granted a generation or two back; of course I don’t know how to shoe a horse like my grandfather either.

    Having said that I don’t think it is lack of skills, or lack of funds or lack of opportunity (at least not totally). I have dabbled in three other somewhat “active” sports – sailing, auto racing and street motorcycles as well – and all have gone through a bit of a metamorphosis in the past 15-years. All continue to exist, but in somewhat subdued fashion compared to the wild and crazy days when boomers were known as yuppies… the fact is the follow-on generations aren’t as consumed in the recreations we were/are is for probably the same reason – where will I ever use my horse-shoeing knowledge if I had it…

    Aviation is now just a mode of transportation (Airbus is not misnamed) that evokes little adrenalin for most, sailing is like watching grass grow to many and even I watch more NASCAR in 5-minute snippets on YouTube than at the track… The Bede-5 sold an idea (probably not achievable by many, but a titillating idea nonetheless) and that is what sells – grab my imagination and you’ve got me… we may leave the showroom with a Malibu, but we really went there to see the new Vette… figure out how to help folks make that jump and you’ve begun, but the folks who would passionately pursue a Volksplane, Legal Eagle or RV all know what they are looking at already… first we create the interest (no expense spared to creat the obsession), then light the fire (pare down the threshold costs/rites of passage), then keep it going in reality-land (convince folks that a CH650 is really just a thinly disguised F22 under the skin – or whatever their Top-Gun obsession is).
     
  7. Apr 4, 2016 #7

    D Hillberg

    D Hillberg

    D Hillberg

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2010
    Messages:
    1,158
    Likes Received:
    425
    Location:
    very low low low earth orbit
    Give them what they want
    Make it cheep
    Give them a lot of it

    J C Agajanian

    With the economy tanked most young bucks are under employed , unemployed or living on pops dime, No $$$$$$

    remove the ACA fee of $1600 per employee in Companies over 30 people and remove sustainability from government & lower taxes.

    remove the yoke of government from business you might have a chance of selling more machines, until then you're blowin smoke
     
    Joe Fisher likes this.
  8. Apr 4, 2016 #8

    BJC

    BJC

    BJC

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2013
    Messages:
    9,562
    Likes Received:
    6,331
    Location:
    97FL, Florida, USA

    I take it that you do not favor the behavior of the Imperial Government.


    BJC
     
  9. Apr 4, 2016 #9

    Little Scrapper

    Little Scrapper

    Little Scrapper

    Well-Known Member HBA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Messages:
    5,352
    Likes Received:
    3,280
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    I've always thought ultralights would/will make a comeback. I'm wrong a lot though. I still think tube & fabric is great technology. Haha.

    I don't know what the answer is. More cowbell?
     
  10. Apr 4, 2016 #10

    Topaz

    Topaz

    Topaz

    Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2005
    Messages:
    13,739
    Likes Received:
    5,420
    Location:
    Orange County, California
    I think posts #2 and #3 pretty much cover it. If you're talking about selling lots of anything, you're talking about selling lots of that thing to Millenials and the generation after them. There is maybe a 10-15 year window right now where the back half of the Baby Boom generation has flushed the kids out of the nest but haven't yet become too old to do things like learn to fly. They're a potentially good market, but one that's going to dwindle, literally.

    The only aspect of "design" that's going to matter here is looks. Think TRON: Legacy, not Taylorcraft. Want styling cues for a new airplane design? Hit a "tuner" auto show, not any airshow in existance. However much they get mocked for it by the incumbent pilot population, it's the one thing that ICON got right: Looks count.

    If you look at the common thread between those cheapracer's and Little Scrapper's posts, it's about the experience. These young people have little or no traditional shop skills, and live in a world where software-aided experiences mean acquiring new skills is a matter of minutes, not hours or days. You can say that they have no attention span, and you can say that they should "buckle down" and learn the way you did, but when they have perfectly viable alternatives for recreation that don't require washing airplanes for free for a week, just to get an hour's free instruction, why should they? Because it would be "good for them"? Yeah, "Eat your vegetables, kid," has always been such an effective sales pitch.

    You can say, "suck it up" all you want, and you'll just be killing sport aviation all the more.

    I see one really viable path to attracting new homebuilders, and it doesn't much involve any engineering solution or particular aspect of aircraft design. And that's flying clubs. Flying clubs allow "connectedness", which is something Millenials value more than even owning a car. GoPros in every club plane, real-time YouTube feeds, and highly-connected social network usage for the club. Most flying clubs are about as connected as a turnip, and they think they're pretty "hip" for having a Facebook page. Cluephone: Millenials and younger think "Facebook is for old people," and treat it accordingly. ChopperGirl's experience strikes me as pretty much indicative of her generation - you're not going to hold on to these kids with Robert's Rules of Order and getting a quorum to elect the club's next Grand Poobah. Look at the organizations the kids build themselves - YouTube and Twitter channels with hundreds of thousands of followers. Vine, Tumblr, Instagram, WhatsApp. I'm probably already behind the times with those myself. Flash-meetings where people come and go as interest waxes and wanes. Real-time events spanning the globe.

    Flying clubs also allow resource-pooling. Young people have never been able to afford airplanes, and that's not going to change any time soon. If anything, they have it worse off financially than any other generation in a long time, so resource-pooling becomes more important than ever. And, in apparent contradiction to my position in the VP-21 thread, this is where you CNC fans have a big role to play, IMHO. Clubs can pool resources and buy equipment that members can use together, and that they couldn't afford themselves. The social aspects of a club allows and encourages knowledge-sharing, which makes the training aspect managable. The multimedia-networking aspect of modern groups makes it even easier. Flying clubs with a goal of also building airplanes should be co-opting the local "Maker" groups with wild abandon, and with every shameless trick they can muster. Those groups already have the tools, knowledge, and facilities to enable much of airplane building, and they just need to be influenced to understand and believe that their equipment and talents are enough to build safe full-size airplanes. Might not be much of a push for some of them. Might be as simple as becoming a member and building an airplane within their club, and then reverse-marketing the heck out of it to get their members to do the same. HOW did airplane homebuilding let the Maker movement pass us completely by? You'd think we'd be at the pinacle of that movement, the "big project" to which you graduate when you're done making widgets and doodads. Instead, we're virtually unknown in that group or, at best, "old guys hand-building everything."

    The key point here is that we won't solve this with a clever design or telling the kids to "suck it up." Doesn't matter what we think about how it ought to be done. The target market has already decided how it will be done. If we can figure out a way to inject flying and airplane building into that world they're building on their terms, flying and airplane building will remain relevant. If not, personal flying and airplane homebuilding are going to die out with us.

    Engineering solutions and specific airplane designs aren't going to solve the long-term problem.
     
    Wayne, gtae07, Kiwi303 and 4 others like this.
  11. Apr 4, 2016 #11

    PTAirco

    PTAirco

    PTAirco

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2003
    Messages:
    3,477
    Likes Received:
    1,000
    Location:
    Corona CA
    I think one way of getting people into homebuilding is to offer an attractive kit, but with financing. Buying stuff with money you don't have is the norm now and nobody has any savings. Sure , some can put it on a credit card, but having an ad that shows an attractive plane and says "$199.99 gets you building!" seems to trigger something in this generation. Instant gratification, pay later. Would it make financial sense to the manufacturer? I don't know, I'm not a finance guy. You might make a fortune on "starter kits' but never see a complete airplane. Who knows?
     
    Battler Britton, Joe Fisher and Topaz like this.
  12. Apr 4, 2016 #12

    Autodidact

    Autodidact

    Autodidact

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    4,513
    Likes Received:
    799
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    An attractive kit with low money down for a hybrid powered, two seat, fly-by-wire quad copter would probably appeal to this newest generation. Include a computer sim in the kit down payment.
     
  13. Apr 4, 2016 #13

    SkyPirate1982

    SkyPirate1982

    SkyPirate1982

    Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2014
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Sugar Creek, MO
    Just like in selling any product, if you can sell someone on the IDEA of your product it will sell. Bede was good with the idea part. Icon appears to be doing the same thing, only time will tell on their execution.

    As long as the plane is a good design for its mission, it can work. The hardest part is getting people to listen to your message. If that were easy we would all be aviation tycoons.
     
  14. Apr 4, 2016 #14

    Little Scrapper

    Little Scrapper

    Little Scrapper

    Well-Known Member HBA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Messages:
    5,352
    Likes Received:
    3,280
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Funny thing though. Invite a kid under 10 to help on anew airplane and they love it. They thrive on it. Somewhere along the line they lose the desire once they get older.

    The Internet exposes the youth to adult problems far too early. It strips them of their childhood.

    Young Eagle kids are having a blast, but we have no build programs for them once the flight is over. It just ends.

    There's an opportunity here.
     
    Battler Britton likes this.
  15. Apr 4, 2016 #15

    Topaz

    Topaz

    Topaz

    Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2005
    Messages:
    13,739
    Likes Received:
    5,420
    Location:
    Orange County, California
    Amen to that.
     
  16. Apr 4, 2016 #16

    BBerson

    BBerson

    BBerson

    Well-Known Member HBA Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2007
    Messages:
    12,062
    Likes Received:
    2,355
    Location:
    Port Townsend WA
    The Sport Pilot rules do allow for kits up to 99% factory done.
    The problem is lack of desirable, affordable engines. And the SLSA standards are now too strict for the light end and single seaters. A BD-5 would not qualify for LSA. But a single seat ICON clone would qualify for LSA, either kit or factory built

    Other than LSA, a modernized ultralight is the way to go.
     
  17. Apr 4, 2016 #17

    Topaz

    Topaz

    Topaz

    Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2005
    Messages:
    13,739
    Likes Received:
    5,420
    Location:
    Orange County, California
    I have this vision of the future. It's thirty or forty years from now, and every airplane - every airplane - flies itself from point to point under central control of the Aircraft Control Government Corporation, and they're all assembled in minutes with absolute structural integrity and delivered to your driveway by drone after you've obtained the necessary advanced degree in Piloting and passed the 50,000-question Basic Competency Exam.

    And then some hairy bunch of bored college kids unearths this dusty old reg nobody's ever heard of that says they can not only build a flying machine without the Government Stamp of Approval, but fly it, too. One day, a rickety, barely airworthy, "flying lawn chair" struggles airborne in the early morning light under power of electric motors and supercapacitors scrounged from the dead "beater" car one of the kids got for HS graduation. And Part 103, the reg nobody remembered to pull from the books, lives again.
     
    Battler Britton and Joe Fisher like this.
  18. Apr 4, 2016 #18

    BJC

    BJC

    BJC

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2013
    Messages:
    9,562
    Likes Received:
    6,331
    Location:
    97FL, Florida, USA
    I fear that the EAA lawyers just signed the death warrant for thr YE program. l know that I will not fly anymore YE's.

    Too bad.


    BJC
     
  19. Apr 4, 2016 #19

    narfi

    narfi

    narfi

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2016
    Messages:
    754
    Likes Received:
    378
    Location:
    Alaska
    Why does a drone need to be delivered by drone? Couldn't it just as easily deliver itself?
     
    Joe Fisher likes this.
  20. Apr 4, 2016 #20

    Topaz

    Topaz

    Topaz

    Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2005
    Messages:
    13,739
    Likes Received:
    5,420
    Location:
    Orange County, California
    The redundancy appeals to me, thinking of that kind of world. If your drone delivered itself, you couldn't say it was new, could you? It's already used. How can you impress your friends with something used? Heaven forfend! ;)
     

Share This Page



arrow_white