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Pops

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Learned to fly in a 1947 and 1953 model. I am 80 years old and have flown airplanes older than I am.
 

Dan Thomas

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As long as I've been flying, a new 172 has cost about as much as the typical three-bedroom house in my hometown.
 

Victor Bravo

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As long as I've been flying, a new 172 has cost about as much as the typical three-bedroom house in my hometown.
Thread drift, sorry, but that is exactly the problem that holds a lot of aviation back. Something simple and in series production like a 172 should be maybe double the cost of a new car, not up into "house" territory.
 

Pops

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Loafing at the local airport in 1955, an average J-3 was for sale for $250, a very nice J-3 was for sale for $350. Coupe years latter I bought a 1953 two door Ford with 26K miles that was like new for $495. Local pilot bought a T-6 Texan for $500 and flew it that summer and parked it over in a field in the high weeds and left it to rot , said it used to much fuel. Couple years latter it was hauled off for scrap. Couple buddies and myself got some instruments out of it before being scrapped.
 

Dana

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In 1964 Richard Bach bought a 35 year old biplane and it was perceived as an extremely old antique.

In 1983 or thereabouts I bought a 42 year old Taylorcraft and it was perceived as just another old airplane... somewhat old fashioned, but not particularly archaic, and new Taylorcrafts were still being built.

Today you can buy a 50-60 year old Cessna and aside from the dated panel (if it hasn't been redone) and cracking ABS ;) it's really no different from a new plane, and new Cessnas are still being built, at approximately the same rate as T-Crafts were in 1983.

Not sure where I'm going with this, just random thoughts.

I bought my Hatz two years ago when it was 31 years old and it doesn't feel particularly old at all. People are still building Hatzes today.

The Taylorcraft was the most "simplicated" of the bunch.
 

cluttonfred

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Supply, demand, liability, economies of scale.... Cessna has produced less than 50,000 C172s of all variants since 1955. That's total production. For comparison, General Motors considered the Corvair an overall failure and yet Chevrolet built 1.8 million of them in ten years, beating 65 years of C172 production numbers in a little over three months. That's just one model of car from one brand of the company 50 years ago. Today GM sells over 7 million vehicles per year worldwide.

Thread drift, sorry, but that is exactly the problem that holds a lot of aviation back. Something simple and in series production like a 172 should be maybe double the cost of a new car, not up into "house" territory.
 

120mm

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If we ran our 1961 Fords this long we'd be replacing just about everything several times over the years even if we didn't drive much. Age, UV, heat, cold, ozone, outgassing of plastics and rubber, hardening of grease and gumming up of oil, various types of corrosion of aluminum, steel, copper, bronze and brass. The effects of wind wiggling control surfaces. Blowing sand and dust, hail, snow, rain, airborne pollutants. Birds and mice, and dogs that pee on those expensive aluminum and magnesium wheels. Pilots and pasengers that weigh a third more than the vehicle was designed to hold: they're hard on seats and their rails and supports. And doors, when people lean on them to get in and out.

We really can't expect them to last forever.
Why not?

1186919_10202764983560148_1255453923_n_zps2524dd4e.jpg

This is still running strong, despite nearly every moving part being replaced at least once.
 

Dan Thomas

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View attachment 103754

This is still running strong, despite nearly every moving part being replaced at least once.
That's the point. If it was all original it wouldn't look like that, and likely wouldn't run.

This is the 1951 International truck I restored 16 years ago. I replaced an awful lot of stuff, including the entire drivetrain except for the driveshaft.

1604591805814.jpeg
 

120mm

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That's the point. If it was all original it wouldn't look like that, and likely wouldn't run.

This is the 1951 International truck I restored 16 years ago. I replaced an awful lot of stuff, including the entire drivetrain except for the driveshaft.

View attachment 103763
I don't understand the point. Machines can be rebuilt nearly infinitely. That's how they last. As long as failures happen predictably, they continue to serve the purpose they were made for.

BTW, that's original paint, interior and top on that car.
 

120mm

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This is too good of a subject to let it turn into a "those were the days" fest.

As I'm thinking about my own future project, I'm going through some of the decisions needed to be made.

I'm restricting myself to LSA standards, so tradeoffs must be made.

The point is, you have to think deliberately about what you want the aircraft to do, and ensure design creep doesn't happen.

I personally go back and forth between a simple, yet limited design like the Wag-a-Bond, and a relatively complex design like Wittmann's Buttercup. The enhanced cruise capability of the Buttercup is tempting as a complexity tradeoff. Still haven't decided what I want more.
 

Dan Thomas

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I don't understand the point. Machines can be rebuilt nearly infinitely. That's how they last. As long as failures happen predictably, they continue to serve the purpose they were made for.

BTW, that's original paint, interior and top on that car.
That car wasn't tied down outside for 50 years, or left in a hangar infested with mice or birds. Storage of airplanes is expensive due to their size and confinement to airstrips.

Aluminum slowly corrodes even when well cared for. It's the reason aluminum is never found in its free state in nature and is difficult to smelt compared to other metals. And it fatigues much more easily than steel. Some low-time and relatively young airplanes have been scrapped this way, and many are scrapped due to what appears to be minor damage. The tolerance for damage is nearly zero, so many hours and dollars are spent rebuilding damaged airplanes. The insurance companies therefore tend to write them off and sell them for salvage.
 

120mm

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That car wasn't tied down outside for 50 years, or left in a hangar infested with mice or birds. Storage of airplanes is expensive due to their size and confinement to airstrips.

Aluminum slowly corrodes even when well cared for. It's the reason aluminum is never found in its free state in nature and is difficult to smelt compared to other metals. And it fatigues much more easily than steel. Some low-time and relatively young airplanes have been scrapped this way, and many are scrapped due to what appears to be minor damage. The tolerance for damage is nearly zero, so many hours and dollars are spent rebuilding damaged airplanes. The insurance companies therefore tend to write them off and sell them for salvage.
I get that, but like the pictured car, replacement parts are available or remanufacturable.

In the end it comes down to cost effectiveness.

Personally, I can shape metal, so if I already owned a C150 all it would cost me is time, alloy and rivets.
 

120mm

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So you are an A&P?


BJC
Having said that, I really don't want a C150. I'm partial to rag and tube at least partly because it is a better medium for infinitely rebuildable aircraft.
 

TFF

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Cost effective? This is aviation my good friend.

As for the Buttercup being more complex, only if you build in the leading edge stuff. The original iteration had a longer wing.Practically shortened the wings. Actually one wing; he ran the other into a hangar. It was easier to clip them than fix them. He lost his slow speed And didn’t like flying it as much and added the leading edges. He didn’t add the wing tips until about 1995. It’s been a mongrel. Essentially the original B Cup Iteration was a 8/10ths size Cub. That where it started.
 

120mm

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Regardless of how he got there, with the leading edge slats and flaps, Buttercup has an amazing performance envelope for the era it was developed.

I look at that stall and cruise speed with envy.
 
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