# Reversing the Decline of General Aviation

Discussion in 'Hangar Flying' started by Wayne, Apr 10, 2016.

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1. Apr 28, 2016

### Pops

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I live on a runway and I notice the decline in general aviation. Used to see and hear aircraft flying over all the time, now other than aircraft around the airport here, I rarely hear a GA airplane fly over.
Same for boats on the nearby Ohio river, used to be on the weekends the river was full of boats, now even on a nice weekend you rarely seen anyone on the river. People are really hurting financially. Checking the activity at the local tower controlled airport taking away the commercial activity, maybe one or two GA takeoffs or landing a day and most of the time they are transit aircraft stopping for fuel.

Dan

Dan

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2. Apr 28, 2016

### Toobuilder

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Well, my point is simply that the number of airplanes flying over my head does not affect my decision to fly or stay on the ground. I don't really care if people would rather ride ATV's in the desert or play golf...

If I want to fly, I fly. Period.

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3. Apr 28, 2016

### Robert Dingus

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i completely understand the 20/20 vision issue, when i was in the Army, i was a Jet Ranger Helo mechanic, and got to fly left seat, despite being natural at the contorls, my 20/25 vision kept me out of the pilot program. its a shame that more emphasis is put on the perfect physical body, than it is on the natural talent a person possesses.

i had 3 pilots offer me letters of recommendation, for flight school my bad luck with a slightly off Eye Sight killed that dream.

almost have my SPL, about 5 hours from the check ride.

Robert

4. Apr 28, 2016

### Pops

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I fly when I want to, well not really, when I was flying for a living I told my wife that if I didn't get to fly at least 4 hrs a day, I was grouchy

5. Apr 28, 2016

### cheapracer

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Yes it does.

Unless you keep pro-active and abreast of the people who want to stop you then you will be stopped.

Anyone over 50 who denies not seeing what has happened to the freedoms offered to dirt bikes, race cars, boats, jetskis, eg; most motorised sports over the last 30 + years has blinkers on. It has taken constant and heavy action to keep many of those sports relevant and out of serious legislator's harm.

First hit coming to aviation's front door soon will be engine noise and emissions. It's 20 years overdue as it is and it's when, not if especially with the Global Warming hype. It will take only one heavyweight Eco lobby group.

The EPA wants to make it illegal to modify your car for racing

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6. Apr 28, 2016

### Toobuilder

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Agreed that lots of freedoms are gone and much more regulation among the powersports sector as of late. And this is a HUGE segment compared to aviation - happened anyway.

So an argument can be made that it might be better to remain small and "under the radar" WRT emissions and regulation. I'm not convinced of that, of course, but it makes almost as much sense as becoming a large, powerful lobby and fighting for our dwindling rights.

One thing I am sure of is that if you want to fly, do as much as you can now. And if I'm the last GA airplane in the US and the Federal Marshals are on their way to confiscate my airplane, I'd rather be making that one last flight than sitting on the computer complaining about the injustice of it all.

These ARE the "good old days".

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7. Apr 28, 2016

### BJC

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Amen.

BJC

8. Apr 28, 2016

### bmcj

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Do I see "opportunity" here?... Black market for unregistered aircraft? :uzi:

9. Apr 28, 2016

### PTAirco

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The only reason why I worry about the general decline is that we become an easy target for the NIMBYs. There will be fewer and fewer places to go. More and more restrictions. Other than that issue, I am not really concerned with making flying "popular". I think the decline will continue until it stabilizes somewhere and it will probably stay at that level, unless something happens that will completely change the game. It's been said over and over again; apart from lack of money, young people generally seem disinterested in anything that does not give instant gratification. I don't think you can make getting into flying any simpler than the Sport Pilot license. But even that seems a hurdle to bothersome for the masses. On the other hand, there will ALWAYS be people to whom nothing else matters and they will find a way. It will just be a smaller number than it was a few decades ago.

Last edited: Apr 29, 2016
10. Apr 28, 2016

### Chris In Marshfield

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Pass a new law (yeah, like we need another one). For every airport that closes down, we remove access to a lake.

11. Apr 28, 2016

### Himat

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At least when it comes to noise emissions, I do think those that have resisted tighter noise regulations on airplanes have made substantial damage to GA. Those complaining at aircraft noise do so to local politicians and councils. The local politicans usually have no influence on aircraft certification, but they do have on the local area plan and building permits. As they cannot limit the noise level from the airplanes, they limit the access for airplanes. Like shorten the opening hours for the local airport, limit the number of flight movements or deny airplanes to land on lakes. If the typical float plane at take off did not emit more noise than a passing car it would be much more difficult to use the noise argument to close a lake with a highway on one shore for seaplane operations…

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12. Apr 28, 2016

### Floydr92

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In the same boat pops, still is that way for military here in the UK, wont even accept laser eye surgery. Airlines are fine, but sponsorship is no longer a thing, and i don't have a spare 100k

13. Apr 29, 2016

### Pops

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Sure is hard to discuss the subject without going in the root cause and that's a subject that is not allowed.

Dan

14. Apr 29, 2016

### fredoyster

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No. Sad development. Because we have all been sold virtual things, many of us are happy with virtual flying. A drone with FPV for $1,000 in your back yard beats the$10K training and \$100 an hour for a 150 that you have to drive to.

Last edited: Apr 29, 2016
15. Apr 29, 2016

### fredoyster

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Yes, but it's actually changing, and fairly rapidly. This could be a part of reversing the decline, but these aircraft won't look like what we know. Community noise is a major factor in NASA/AIAA's futuristic planning. A local pioneer in electric aircraft ideas told me (very much unlike his counterparts at Cessna or Sikorsky) that he didn't care about the noise numbers, the new aircraft had to inspire the reaction "gee, that's really quiet." They know they are living on borrowed time.

FAA a couple of years ago fully adopted ICAO Annex 16 noise regulations for helicopters, and a new session of ICAO CAEP WG1 is just now convening that will look at the next round. They will probably not go so far as some European countries did in making noise emissions requirements retroactive, but you can be sure that the current regs will sunset soon and there will be more stringent ones for new aircraft, and specifically new classes of aircraft. Those of us who know better have a fairly urgent task, which is to convince them that metrics more closely aligned with human perception, rather than sound pressure level metrics intended for audibility and hearing protection, are needed for this. Amazing, something on HBA that I actually know something about.

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16. Apr 29, 2016

### VFR-on-top

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Here are some thoughts re: "freedoms" being taken away. You're stating aviation is next, correct? The problem interest is already (and has been for some time) declining. So the decline has little to do with any pending doomsday.

Another thing, some of those sports were/are truly dangerous. Safety was never much of a concern for those partipicating, so of course the "government" stepped in. Deaths have declined significantly in many sports since. If pilots were getting injured/killed at the same rate ATVs (particularly 3-wheelers) riders were in the late '80s, I'd hate to think where we'd be at today.

Despite government regulations, ATVs are still around, very expensive, very regulated and still very popular.

Something else is at play with the declining interest in GA. Find it, whatever it is, fix it, and we'll survive. (My hunch our sport's marketing is not doing the trick. We need Madison avenue on this thing to sell aviation to a whole new (younger) audience in an entirely different way.

One last thing, there are a few things we ought to be doing now to save our sport. Noise, fuel consumption, even some pollution (ie: 2-strokes) can be defended rationally to the general public. Leaded gasoline cannot. We've got to divest ourselves of this before they come knocking on out door. Other wise it'll be used against us. There is NO WAY to explain our continued use of lead gas. If Flint, Michigan hasn't woke you up, then you likely just don't give a ****.

Good day.

17. Apr 29, 2016

### cheapracer

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Well that's very romantic but it does rain, bad winds and fog etc, and then there's that rotten disturbance called "work" as well as the sun is also not to be seen for half of every day, so there is time for both.

No, I stated that you can't take what you have for granted and that pro-activity is a requirement for all motorised sports to ensure it's future stability.

18. Apr 29, 2016

### Jon Ferguson

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I think some of it is plain old psychology as well. When I tell my coworkers and non-flying friends that I spent the day flying they automatically assume that I rode coach on a commercial flight. Then I show them pictures of me at the controls and they say they could never do that. Garden variety doubt. Then I show them pictures of the plane I'm building and then they really think I've gone off the deep end. I think many just think it's something that is completely out of the realm of possibility. I'm kind of baffled because to my mind the "do-it-yourself" movement has never been stronger, yet building a plane yourself seems to be in decline.

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19. Apr 29, 2016

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Emissions control and carbon taxes will do more harm to light aviation. The Govts will impose taxes and or expensive modifications that will destroy what's left. They wouldn't dare try to regulate horse ownership or motor sports but small aircraft are an easy target because they are considered luxuries.

20. Apr 29, 2016

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