The state of our (dying) sport 2022

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TerryM76

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Do you think that being locked out ot where the aiplaness are has anything to do with lack of interest?
I Pedaled my bike to the nearest airport and spent hours admiring the equipment and longing for the day I could fly.


Now that I am 80 the locked gate brings me to a halt.
I have to agree with you. The airport fence is just another barrier to getting the public engaged in aviation and unfortunately we will forever be limited by that. The general public knows very little about about GA and has little interest given the other activities that are readily accessible and less costly to be engaged in. Many of our youth today want the quick, easy path when it comes to achieving goals and many are just happy to stare fondly into their cellphones and acquire whatever entertainment that lives in those devices. And its not just the youth of today as I daily witness adults that have more interest in the world behind the screen than doing something that requires effort and skill. Is our sport dying? Maybe it is, but its not dead yet and we need to contribute to it as long as we can. It has definitely changed and given the economic forces and societal norms, there was no way it could be the way it has been. Its not all bad news, its just different and we have to figure out ways to live and enjoy what we still have and seek out ways to positively inspire others to be a part of it. Ok, back to work!
 

Pops

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Do you think that being locked out ot where the aiplaness are has anything to do with lack of interest?
I Pedaled my bike to the nearest airport and spent hours admiring the equipment and longing for the day I could fly.


Now that I am 80 the locked gate brings me to a halt.
Vacation at Myrtle Beach with the family and was bored out of my mind. Been watching the banners being towed up and down the beach decided to drive to the airport. (CRE) Everything locked up. Saw a back door of a hanger open that was outside the fence. Walked in and a man was covering the wings of a Super Cub tow airplane. We talked about Super Cubs for a while and in walked the owner and ask who let me in. Told him I walked in through the open door. He told me that I was going to have to leave. Said OK, but do you need pilots ? He said yes and having a hard time finding anyone. Told him I have a commercial rating and know a little about banner towing but you would be the last person I would fly for. Maybe you should look about another job, don't think this one has a future for you. Walked out the open door and went back to the beach and continued being bored.
 

Hawk81A

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To bring this back to the beginning (I won't use the term "circle back"). What ever happened to the Young Eagle program? Maybe more grassroots airport open house weekends. I know that was my first ride in an airplane. The interest was always there (since the first episode of 12 O'clock high). What I didn't realize was the possibility of it until I was in my early twenties. Dennis
 

Dana

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To bring this back to the beginning (I won't use the term "circle back"). What ever happened to the Young Eagle program? Maybe more grassroots airport open house weekends. I know that was my first ride in an airplane. The interest was always there (since the first episode of 12 O'clock high). What I didn't realize was the possibility of it until I was in my early twenties. Dennis
Nowadays EAA is requiring background checks and completion of "youth protection" training to make sure pilots don't abuse kids while flying... like that was ever a problem during YE flights. Turned a lot of pilots off.
 

BJC

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Nowadays EAA is requiring background checks and completion of "youth protection" training to make sure pilots don't abuse kids while flying... like that was ever a problem during YE flights. Turned a lot of pilots off.
The thing that I objected to was how the EAA handled the initial roll out of the program; I never objected to the intent, even though there had been no cases of abuse within the YE program. There have been crashes with (at least) two YE fatalities.


BJC
 

Dewey Vicknair

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I don't understand all of the hand-wringing over "attracting more people" to our sport. I hear the same thing about motorcycling: "We need to get more people involved" or "Make it more accessible to all". That's nonsense. Building and flying, just like actually being a really good motorcyclist, is an extremely demanding activity, just as demanding mentally as it is financially, and not "everyone" is cut out for it. Think of how many incompetent motorcyclists there are on the road today (thanks to inclusivity and accessibility and the ease of licensing) and think, do you really want to see that happen to aviation?
They're hobbies (hobbies that, in both cases, are intolerant of foolhardiness), not a religion, there is no need for evangelizing to "the masses".
 

KeithO

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Without the numbers, airports close and never come back. No airports, no flying hobby regardless if you have everything else. This is the same basic problem with the part 103 operations is losing all the grass strips to development and not having anywhere to fly out of.
 

Bigshu

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Nowadays EAA is requiring background checks and completion of "youth protection" training to make sure pilots don't abuse kids while flying... like that was ever a problem during YE flights. Turned a lot of pilots off.
Turns a lot of pilots off in CAP as well. Our squadron is a Senior squadron, specifically to limit how much we have to be around cadets. Too much training, paperwork, and lack of common sense.
 

Bigshu

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I don't understand all of the hand-wringing over "attracting more people" to our sport. I hear the same thing about motorcycling: "We need to get more people involved" or "Make it more accessible to all". That's nonsense. Building and flying, just like actually being a really good motorcyclist, is an extremely demanding activity, just as demanding mentally as it is financially, and not "everyone" is cut out for it. Think of how many incompetent motorcyclists there are on the road today (thanks to inclusivity and accessibility and the ease of licensing) and think, do you really want to see that happen to aviation?
They're hobbies (hobbies that, in both cases, are intolerant of foolhardiness), not a religion, there is no need for evangelizing to "the masses".
Yes, except there's a critical mass that has to be maintained, or the small airports will all be razed for more malls and McMansions. Yeah, it's just a hobby, but it's a hobby that feeds pilots to the airlines and to a lesser extent, the military. And it's a hobby that requires a lot of infrastructure to operate. Without users to advocate for it, there will be smaller appropriations for that infrastructure. Flying has always cultivated a superiority complex, and it shows in your comments about "the masses" and how "everyone" isn't cut out for motorcycling (or by extension, flying). Let's let everyone who wants to try it out do so. They'll quit if it's not for them, but it should be their choice, not some arbitrary gatekeeper's.
 

BJC

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Appowner

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You can buy a device that makes percussion caps for muzzleloaders out of toy roll caps and beer can aluminum.

Then there was the Estes model rocket catalog with the technical pages in the middle, where they always has a thing on the "basement bomber", what not to do: "Bob blew off his fingers when he put 250 match heads in a 3/4" copper pipe..." and we'd be, "250 match heads, check. Brian, does your dad have any 3/4" copper pipe?"

Shooting off match head rockets in the old sandpit up the road, good times.
I'd lay empty Coke bottles on their side and blow the bottoms out by passing a 22 round through the open neck and out the bottom. Can't break the neck or you lose.
 

PMD

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I'm one. My wife and her sisters quilt. One sister was a factory rep for a sewing machine company and they all help her in the company booth at national quilting shows.
Considering that my wife's quilting machine cost about the same as what I paid for my new (dealer demo) AA-5B you can rest assured I will be at some of those shows.
 

Pops

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Considering that my wife's quilting machine cost about the same as what I paid for my new (dealer demo) AA-5B you can rest assured I will be at some of those shows.
I know what you are talking about. Wife bought a new machine about 9 months ago and now is wanting another new one. She also has a collection of old machines. Has a large sewing room with all the tools. I'm not allowed to touch anything :) When I'm fabric covering , she will let me use her large layout tables to cut the fabric to size and use some of her tools. Bless her heart.
 

charosenz

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I joined EAA in 1980. back then the local EAA chapter was a fairly broad ago group.of prople in their 30s 40s and up. lots of simple, basic airplanes. I started building an RV6A in the late 90s with using a Honda engine. kits back then were much simple, and of course more affordable. Now it's vastly $30k engines. $30k glass panels etc. God forbid you use steam gauges or worse a non standard engine. If you are looked down on by your fellow builders. I know this all too well....of course they're are exceptions....but....they are exceptions.
 

flyby50

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Costs have gone up but there are ways around that you don't need to buy a new $37k aircraft engine you can buy a used, or prop strike engine and overhaul it. There are automotive conversion options and hybrid between like the sonex AeroVee. Kits have gone up I do agree with that not sure it's all material cost the kit manufactures have found demand has risen. Social media has helped in convincing more people that a homebuilt is just as good or better then a certified aircraft. Most regular folks who make up to 100k a year are not going to convince their spouse to spend $120k+ on an airplane. When get past 50 saved up enough have more disposable money kids are grown and out of the house little easier to spend money like that. The reality is always be more 50 plus year olds replacing the ones who pass away.

I can't afford a Vans, or kitfox I will be building a Chinook 2 and put a 2 stroke on it I can afford 30-35k about the cost of a new car my wife is good with that. It won't be as fast or cool looking as a RV-8 but ill get in the air have fun that is all that counts.
 

Dan Thomas

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I'd lay empty Coke bottles on their side and blow the bottoms out by passing a 22 round through the open neck and out the bottom. Can't break the neck or you lose.
Back when I was young and had good eyesight we'd lay a live .22 round on its side, primer end facing us, and set it off from 40 yards or so with a shot from a .22. You knew when you'd hit it...
 

Dan Thomas

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Most regular folks who make up to 100k a year are not going to convince their spouse to spend $120k+ on an airplane. When get past 50 saved up enough have more disposable money kids are grown and out of the house little easier to spend money like that. The reality is always be more 50 plus year olds replacing the ones who pass away.
Young people now are having a hard time affording a home, and the ones that do are carrying huge mortgages on them. Some kids are staying home with Mom and Dad, sometimes because of the cost of housing, and sometimes because they have been sheltered too much for too long and can't handle much responsibility. That doesn't help the folks afford an airplane and it doesn't do anything to motivate the kid either. I don't think there will be a lot of 50-year-old Millennials building airplanes. Society has changed.
 
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