Quantcast

Reversing the Decline of General Aviation

HomeBuiltAirplanes.com

Help Support HomeBuiltAirplanes.com:

fredoyster

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2012
Messages
333
Location
Monterey Bay, CA
Calibration

I am not sure it's as wildly more expensive to get basic pilot training as people say. In 1979 it cost me just under $3,000 or 40% of my year's gross pay to get a PPL, at a completely conventional FBO that also sold and rented airplanes. I was working full time at a university and had to start a side business to pay for flying. The next year I made a little more, so it would have been about 25%. Today's PPL is much more complex than it was then, maybe just a little more involved than today's sport pilot. Whether you index by CPI or average income, is it really that much more expensive today? CPI alone takes that figure to nearly $10,000 -- does it really cost more than that for someone to get a license?

I don't think the problem is the price barrier, I think it's lack of cool-factor pull. Unless people want to fly for the fun of it, you won't find the fraction of those who can afford it.
 

12notes

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Log Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2014
Messages
1,085
Location
Louisville, KY
I did talk to 5 of them. The instructors they recommended were working for airlines or just not instructing anymore.
 

Dan Thomas

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2008
Messages
5,406
Re: Calibration

I don't think the problem is the price barrier, I think it's lack of cool-factor pull. Unless people want to fly for the fun of it, you won't find the fraction of those who can afford it.
That's it. Flying was 70 years old when I started. Now it's 113 years old (almost) and the magic has gone out of it. In 1973 not a lot of people had been on an airliner; today, almost everybody has and they associate flying with cramped seats and wasted time and turbulence and barf and rude fellow passengers. They take no interest in the view or the flaps going up and down and so on. Busy watching movies instead. Or hanging on with white knuckles.

The guys who want to learn are often middle-aged. It's something that was cool when they were kids and they always wanted to do it. What do young folks want to achieve now?
 

BoKu

Pundit
HBA Supporter
Joined
Aug 15, 2013
Messages
2,696
Location
Western US
In my recent experience, the people who seem most likely to take up flying are engineers from China, India, and the middle east who have come to the Silicon Valley and similar high-tech hot spots in the US to pursue their careers. From talking with some of them, I get the impression that flight still holds an aura of adventure and technical challenge. I also get the sense that they might be worried that they won't exactly find a warm welcome at flight schools and flying clubs.
 

cheapracer

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2013
Messages
6,221
Location
Australian
I I also get the sense that they might be worried that they won't exactly find a warm welcome at flight schools and flying clubs.
I take your point there but wouldn't restrict it to just (natural) segregation, plenty of old grumpy flyers sit in clubhouses and ignore newcomers - regardless of the newcomers background.
 

Wayne

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2013
Messages
441
Location
Chicago, IL
You guys are starting to worry me with the "it's not cool anymore" because what if you are right?

Still - Red Bull has driven a huge brand with cool things although I guess they are more extreme - Pylon Racing, Wing Suits, and stuff like that. GoPro has done the same by making it super easy to show off while doing all manner of action based things. Also Icon is producing some serious hype and excitement so maybe we can expand flying if we make it cooler?

I'm not sure though. It is very easy to partake, or observe, Pylon Racing, F1, or Wind Suits so maybe living vicariously through others is the way it goes now given the technology and virtually unlimited access to content?

For me learning to fly was a gigantic achievement, and every time I go up I feel right on the "edge" of what can be, and what I'm capable of and all I do is beetle around in a 150.

I hope people coming after me learn to live at the edge of what they are capable of - it will be a sad day if they don't.
 

mcrae0104

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Log Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2009
Messages
3,371
Everyone who wants to be a millionaire can be one also, they just have to follow certain steps.
Actually, yes. There are two steps:
  • Get a job.
  • Spend less money than you earn (in the old days, they called this "saving").

The fact that there are not more millionaires has far more to do with a failure to follow the second step than any other factor, including one's generation, the current political party in power, etc.

Suppose for a moment that the "decline" that we're talking about isn't a regression from normal activity levels. Consider that it might be more along the lines of a correction, a return to economically sustainable levels.
This is actually a very interesting take.

These days, disposable income in the US middle class, and in similar classes worldwide, is very low.
Meh, disposable income is a fuzzy thing. Each of us chooses how much to spend on housing, clothing, transportation, etc. Refer to step #2 above if you wish to have money left over for flying.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BJC

cheapracer

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2013
Messages
6,221
Location
Australian
Just a passing thought, I would think the amount of multicopters/drones for kids getting out there now would be inspiring future pilots.
 

nerobro

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2011
Messages
1,112
Location
Northern Illinois
Just a passing thought, I would think the amount of multicopters/drones for kids getting out there now would be inspiring future pilots.
Multirotor people aren't much for flying. Mostly. If they're in the right groups, they get introduced to airplanes, and things can go well from tehre. But many, many, people are just throwing big computer controled fans across the sky, rather than controlling a flying machine.
 

rtfm

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2008
Messages
3,233
Location
Brisbane, Australia
I went down to my local water spot - a bit of a lagoon, a river and then the open sea. Nice place. All I could see were JetSki's. Dozens of them. At $15k each. And it struck me how social these things are (the whole family is there, plus friends.) Besides, no training required. Rudimentary water rules to follow. Safe. Just easy easy easy. Then pull it up on your trailer and go home.

If flying were that social, cheap, easy and downright accessible - flying would be really big.

Perhaps small planes on floats?

Duncan
 

BJC

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Oct 7, 2013
Messages
11,538
Location
97FL, Florida, USA
I take your point there but wouldn't restrict it to just (natural) segregation, plenty of old grumpy flyers sit in clubhouses and ignore newcomers - regardless of the newcomers background.
Been there, experienced that, from fellow rednecks.


BJC

PS Not here at 97FL, but in North Carolina, at a club-owned airport where I kept my airplane.
 

cheapracer

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2013
Messages
6,221
Location
Australian
Been there, experienced that, from fellow rednecks.

.
I once got so fed up with a similar situation 20 years ago that I went and started my own club and ran it for 8 years, now the biggest and most successful of it's type in Australia.

If your club isn't doing what it should, I suggest doing the same or alternately, quietly stack your club and wait for election time and take it over. I must warn people that it means actually getting off your azz.
 

BJC

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Oct 7, 2013
Messages
11,538
Location
97FL, Florida, USA
I once got so fed up with a similar situation 20 years ago that I went and started my own club and ran it for 8 years, now the biggest and most successful of it's type in Australia.

If your club isn't doing what it should, I suggest doing the same or alternately, quietly stack your club and wait for election time and take it over. I must warn people that it means actually getting off your azz.
I have since retired and relocated to a residential airpark in Florida. The vast majority of the people here are friendly, sociable, and very interesting. It is a great community to be part of. To quote one, "When I found this place, I felt like I had died and gone to heaven." We have people from other, bigger and better known Florida airparks who have relocated to here.


BJC
 

BoKu

Pundit
HBA Supporter
Joined
Aug 15, 2013
Messages
2,696
Location
Western US
That was pretty much the gist of the backgrounder that started the Icon A5 project. Except the cheap part.

I went down to my local water spot - a bit of a lagoon, a river and then the open sea. Nice place. All I could see were JetSki's. Dozens of them. At $15k each. And it struck me how social these things are (the whole family is there, plus friends.) Besides, no training required. Rudimentary water rules to follow. Safe. Just easy easy easy. Then pull it up on your trailer and go home.

If flying were that social, cheap, easy and downright accessible - flying would be really big.

Perhaps small planes on floats?

Duncan
 

Robert Dingus

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2012
Messages
323
Location
somerset, ohio USA
The cool factor is still there, it appears that Aviation is out of reach of most people. knowing what i know now, in my late 20's to mid 30's i built engines and raced drag cars. had i applied that money to my true passion Aviation, i would be so much further ahead than i am now.

back then it was only the PPL available to me at at a cost of 7000 rough local costs, that seemed out of reach on my married single income life.

now in my mid 40's i made the decision to get my SPL it is more affordable, and luckily i have 2 sport training options close to me within 30 miles.

however i did put the airplane before the SPL, it started out as a UL build, but became SPL required to legally fly it.

its worth the effort now, to get what i wanted years ago, but hind sight is 20/20 and we learn from our mistakes.

Robert
 

Pops

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Log Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2013
Messages
8,290
Location
USA.
The cool factor is still there, it appears that Aviation is out of reach of most people. knowing what i know now, in my late 20's to mid 30's i built engines and raced drag cars. had i applied that money to my true passion Aviation, i would be so much further ahead than i am now.

back then it was only the PPL available to me at at a cost of 7000 rough local costs, that seemed out of reach on my married single income life.

now in my mid 40's i made the decision to get my SPL it is more affordable, and luckily i have 2 sport training options close to me within 30 miles.

however i did put the airplane before the SPL, it started out as a UL build, but became SPL required to legally fly it.

its worth the effort now, to get what i wanted years ago, but hind sight is 20/20 and we learn from our mistakes.

Robert
I had to start wearing glasses at 17 years old and it broke my heart because all I wanted to do was fly for a living since I remember breathing. ( At that time 20/20 uncorrected vision was required for military or airlines) Been an airport bum since I was 5 years old, so I quit going to any airport. Flew RC and got into drag racing, had my own car that ran at the national record in my class and drove for other car owners. Met a sail plane/powered/seaplane flight instructor when I was 29 years old and starting working in the ground crew of a large sailplane club on weekends and the payment was free flight instruction and I dived in aviation with all my might.
Dan

BTW-- Robert Dingus, I don't live far from you.
 
Top