Is GA growing too fast?

Discussion in 'Hangar Flying' started by jedi, Oct 17, 2018.

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  1. Oct 17, 2018 #1

    jedi

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    Thought you might find this quote from Sport Aviation interesting.

    “If general aviation continues to increase at the rate it has been going in the past few years, we will not be able to build airports fast enough to take care of all those airplanes.”

    What year was this statement published? Just a few years prior to the Ultra Light beginnings. 1968

    I am trying to recall how the problem of excessive growth was solved but I believe it had something to do with poor quality control and rising prices by major manufacturers of light airplanes. Questionable FAA practices for training, numerous AD notes, and accident statistics also were said to play a part. Piper closed the Lock Haven plant in 74 after Hurricane Agnes flooded the Susquehanna River and inundated the Lock Haven plant in June 1972. Plant closing was in the forecast prior to the flood but was assured by the loss of all tooling and production parts.
     
  2. Oct 17, 2018 #2

    BoKu

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    The problem was addressed with regressive fiscal policies that transferred trillions of dollars into the pockets of the richest Americans while enforcing wage stagnation that ensured that most middle-class families could no longer afford general aviation.

    https://www.epi.org/publication/charting-wage-stagnation/
     
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  3. Oct 17, 2018 #3

    Turd Ferguson

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    Oil prices leading the global energy crisis had a lot to do with it. The wild growth period was fantasy land and while i came in on the tail end, glad I got to experience part of it.
     
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  4. Oct 17, 2018 #4

    blane.c

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    I was raised in California when I left in 1980 it would stand alone as the seventh leading economic entity in the world. Thirty eight years later it is bankrupt and demanding the rest of the nation help pay for it's liberal policies.
     
  5. Oct 17, 2018 #5

    BBerson

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    Airline deregulation in the 70’S and 80’S made cheap airline seats (and much more comfortable and faster above the bumps).
    GA couldn't compete.
    There was a big move by lawyers to sue manufacturers in those decades, also.
     
  6. Oct 17, 2018 #6

    blane.c

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    I am not allowed to voice my opinion about lawyers.
     
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  7. Oct 17, 2018 #7

    BoKu

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    Once more, with feeling: You're entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.

    Today we're the fifth strongest economy in the world, we have a budget surplus, and we pay more in federal taxes than we get back in federal aid and contracts.

    https://people.howstuffworks.com/wh...the-federal-government-which-get-the-most.htm
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2018
  8. Oct 17, 2018 #8

    lr27

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    The data I've seen indicate that it's a "donor state", i.e. paying more to the Feds than it gets back. Maybe not by a lot, but some. If you have solid data indicating otherwise, I'd love to see it. As far as comparing it to the economies of other countries, it seems to be doing better, not worse. Plus, the news I've seen indicates that California has been running surpluses for a few years now. Doesn't sound like bankruptcy to me, though things clearly aren't perfect.

    The following are just a few examples. You can find lots more with Google.
    https://www.politifact.com/california/article/2017/feb/14/does-california-give-more-it-gets-dc/
    https://www.businessinsider.com/california-economy-ranks-5th-in-the-world-beating-the-uk-2018-5\
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/arti...n-has-an-enviable-surplus-he-wants-to-save-it

    I live in Massachusetts, notorious for being liberal. We're a donor state too. Not exactly a hotbed of homebuilt aviation, I'll admit. But I'd put that as much to weather and population density as anything else.
     
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  9. Oct 18, 2018 #9

    pictsidhe

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    A lot of things can be said about California. That it is failing financially is not one of them.
     
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  10. Oct 18, 2018 #10

    Dan Thomas

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    I was born 50 years after the Wright brothers first flew. Aviation had made huge advances in those 50 years, going from flimsy, slow, stick-and-rag airplanes powered by awesomely unreliably engines to fast jet fighters. Numerous aircraft manfacturers were building airplanes for the masses. Boys born a little loo late to join the air forces in WWII were eager to learn to fly and own an airplane, and there were a lot of boys like that. They would be around 90 years old now, so a whole generation of that level of aviation enthusiast is mostly gone. They were the guys that sparked the homebuilding movement, too.

    And then a lot of things changed, besides the old guys leaving us. People bought airplanes and did stupid things with them and crashed and either they or their passengers or their surviving relatives sued the airplane manufacturers for big bucks, and often got them. The manufacturers had to hire expensive lawyers and buy expensive insurance policies and comply with a whole raft of onerous new certification requirements, and guess who had to pay for all that? Then other people came up with television and video games and flashy boats and motorbikes and various ATVs and motorhomes and computers, so most people then had a lot of other places to spend their money and their time. Then schools started dumbing down their curricula to make sure no kid was left behind, and study habits and basic knowledge suffered so that young folks found learning to fly just too much work. Car makers built cars with all sorts of fancy doodads to make operation dead simple and to keep the driver out of trouble, so not only do drivers not know how to operate machinery safely anymore, but they expect to buy and fly accident-proof airplanes that have autopilots and lots of colorful displays in the cockpit and parachutes and so on; they want to be known as "pilots" but want the airplane to know all the stuff so they don't have to learn it. We're getting airplanes more like that every day, and they're way more expensive, too, and someday soon the airplane will simply take over and tell us to sit still and shut up and it will go where it thinks we should go. The government might decide that homebuilding and the restoration of old airplanes should be outlawed because we'd have to fly them ourselves, and the human factor is just too dangerous, see? The bubble-wrap generation is taking control. Can't abide the idea of risk at all.

    Then there were the infrastructure changes. Many folks, especially those in remote rural areas, had airplanes so they could get to town for stuff they needed. Now we have good roads almost everywhere. Much cheaper than flying. When I was learning to fly there were numerous floatplanes at the airport (which was next to the river) and they were busy hauling fishermen and hunters and mining machinery and so on. Roads fixed that, too.

    And it's now 115 years since the Wrights flew. It's neither new nor fascinating to most folks. It's taken for granted. Just watch the passengers near you on the airliner, fooling with their phones and laptops instead of watching the action outside and the scenery far below. Listen to the complaints about the tight seats and stuffy cabin and lousy coffee and the fact that the flight is 40 minutes late; those folks haven't read of the Oregon Trail and similar ordeals suffered by those wanting to cross the country. Months and months walking in the heat and dust and rain and snow and wind and thunderstorms and hostiles and rattlesnakes and disease and a whole lot of other lethal hazards. Just to travel halfway across the continent. Now we do it in a few hours, in safety and comfort those pioneers could never imagine, and it's not good enough. Just another example of dumbed-down school curricula that doesn't teach history anymore.
     
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  11. Oct 18, 2018 #11

    lr27

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    Broad generalizations are always wrong. ;-)
     
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  12. Oct 18, 2018 #12

    Pops

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    Very, Very good. I was born in 1940 and been an airport bum since General Aviation started back up at the end if the war. While playing out in the yard and watching the bi-planes writing " Coke Cola" in the sky over the city, I was hooked and had to go to the airport. At that time every small town on the Ohio river had a sea plane base with lots of activity. Long gone. If you would land in the river today with a sea-plane, Do you want me to bring you smokes on visiting day?
    Glad I was flying doing the hay-day of aviation in this country. Far behind us now and going down fast. Far different people in this country today.
     
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  13. Oct 18, 2018 #13

    Pops

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    Except Dan is not wrong.
     
  14. Oct 18, 2018 #14

    BBerson

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    The airlines total concentration on a few hubs has left small towns without service. Even Oshkosh! It's a pain to get a flight to Airventure. I got a flight to Milwaukee but still need a rental car for the last 90 miles.

    Automated GA airplanes could return to usefulness perhaps if they had access to a small runway at the hubs.
    Apparently, small private airplanes are faster overall than airlines for trips less then 500 miles.
    But most don't need a plane that often to buy one.

    A book called "Free Flight" goes into this topic in depth and talks about how the Cirrus and Eclipse Jet were invented to revive GA.
     
  15. Oct 18, 2018 #15

    markaeric

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    Ah. Revive GA by pricing even more people out of flying.
     
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  16. Oct 18, 2018 #16

    lr27

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    He's not talking about ownership.
     
  17. Oct 18, 2018 #17

    BBerson

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    GA for transportation never made sense for anyone except business people.
    The idea of the Eclipse Jet was that 35,000 of them be operated by air taxi companies and would provide service to small towns. It didn't work of course. Ordinary people fly on big jets they can't afford to own. No different for small jets.

    The new mission is the Uber eVTOL. Which proposes urban transport for everyone, not just the rich. A bunch of money is going in to this now.

    Sport aviation can be "affordable" for a few enthusiasts. But not as transportation for a host of reasons.
     
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  18. Oct 18, 2018 #18

    markaeric

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    D'oh! Comprehension failure on my part!

    I can see quite a few reasons why such a service would be untenable.

    Urban aerial commuting on the other hand is quite a bit more realistic, imo.
     
  19. Oct 18, 2018 #19

    blane.c

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    GA is wasted on the masses. The trick is to make them pay for it anyhow.
     
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  20. Oct 18, 2018 #20

    Dan Thomas

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    There are some other factors we could mention. Homebuilding in the old days was scratch-building; there were very few kits, and those were material kits, not almost-completed assemblies. The builder needed to have, or be willing to take the time to learn, the skills to work with wood and glue, aluminum and rivets, or tube and fabric. He needed to be able to do electrical wiring. For many folks this wasn't a big deal, since farming and all the stuff that went with farm machinery maintenance was still largely a family affair in those days, and boys grew up doing that. Not so many girls, though there were a few. Even the town fellows were used to tuning up their cars, at least, and often doing some major repairs and rebuilding and hot-rodding. Kids built forts in their back yards. Some built go-karts. I remember alarming my parents when I pulled grandpa's ancient old chainsaw out of the basement and got it running. Can you imagine an 11-year-old doing that now? Dad soon took the chain off it and left me to it.

    Now those skills are rare. We find homebuilding to be overwhelmingly kit assembling instead. Paint-by-numbers. You guys who are scratch-building either your own design or that designed by someone else might not realize how rare you are. And you need to know, too, that holding a pilot license of any level makes you one in 500 people. One-fifth of one percent of the population. If you are a licensed mechanic, you are even rarer. The rarest is the pilot-mechanic, like me.

    There were a lot of airplanes being built, and though they were expensive, they weren't that expensive. In 1973 I asked about the price of a new 172; I was told that it was astronomical, around $23,000 Canadian dollars. That was around three years wages for a young guy starting out in a unionized sawmill. Now a 172 is maybe $450K Canadian, a lot more than three years wages for most people. If it still had a basic panel and radios and cheap upholstery like it used to, and 150 carbureted HP, it might be more sensibly priced, though it would still cost more just because of liability and more difficult certification standards. Anyway, back to the point: in the old days there were some older airplanes that were being broken up for parts, or had sat and deteriorated, or had been groundlooped, and their engines, instruments and landing gear were available at reasonable cost, and the homebuilders bought them. Now a new airplane is so expensive that the old ones are being repaired and rebuilt endlessly and that source of stuff has almost dried up. You can see how the price of a new airplane--and the common litigious mentality--affects the homebuilder.

    These days, especially in the cities, kids hardly go outside lest some pervert grab them. They don't learn any of this stuff. They can shoot the bad guys on their video games, but that skill doesn't lend itself well to building an airplane or anything else. Nor does it build any sort of courage for being outside and doing outdoors stuff like camping or hiking or learning to fly.

    Still, there's hope. There are enough young fellows who would like to fly, but they will have to buckle down, earn the money and work at it. They will have to put up with paying a lot to fly beat-up old airplanes that a flight school can afford. Those that keep going and get a commercial ticket and get some experience with a small operator are almost guaranteed an airline job, if their attitude is good. Pilots are getting scarce.

    Pay attention to the good attitude thing. A bad attitude kills many more people than mechanical failures or anything else. Airlines cannot afford your bad attitude and they will weed you out.
     
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