Why so expensive??

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dragon2knight

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While I was looking through my recommended YouTube video list, I came across a tour shop of Adventura showcasing their wares. It showed what went into building one of their amphibious 2 seaters....and the thing that struck me the most was that it didn't look like much more than aluminum tubes bolted to a fiberglass hull with simple Dacron skins, not too far off from the myriad of ultralights I've flown over the years(minus the hull, of course). The repositionable gear seemed simple and inexpensive to produce as well....why then does one of these, minus powerplant, cost upwards of $38,000.00 for a kit? That seems excessive for what you get to be honest. I'm not picking on the Adventura, btw, the Searay also comes to mind here with much of the same construction, but a bit upgraded with standard aircraft covering and some additional thought put into it....but still way overpriced to me for what you get. Am I wrong here? Am I missing something?
 

wsimpso1

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It is the same with many things. Up front there is design efforts, development costs, the building, heat, light, employees, tooling and fixturing, all before you sell one. Then every one of them costs to make all the parts on small runs so setup costs dominate the part costs and every kit is hand collected, boxed and shipped. A build manual worth having is an expensive thing to work out and keep updating over time.

The builders get an airplane project that must be largely just assembled - the builders do not build many parts, they are ready for assembly. In exchange for all of the engineering and much of the fabrication already being done, the builders pay a price. That the business is apparently viable is a good thing - the kits keep getting sold and flown.

I can come up with a similar example. I was an engineer for 23 years for automakers. The automakers (worldwide) build something around 20 million cars and light trucks a year, and about the cheapest you can get one is over $20,000. The automakers also build a couple hundred of each new body they come up with for engineering, testing, of many sorts, and eventually scrapping them or running them in a crash test. Typical cost to build each these engineering articles to the level of a driving prototype is over $300,000 dollars. Even the confirmation prototypes, built with production intent parts, made in production intent tooling and fixtures is over $150,000. The parts I know well were automatic transmissions. In production the parts and hours to build them, they run around a $1k (plus the factory and suppliers factories), but to buy them in engineering prototype quantities before they were launched in production, they were around $50k. The production articles are not equivalent to our kit built airplanes. The preproduction units are more like our little airplanes for everything.

In the end, the product sold has to be wanted by the buyer more than the buyer wants the money. And the seller has to want the money more than the product. If it is not worth it to you, don't buy it.

There have been many kitplanes that have come and gone. Having one that has enough cash left over after the sale to stay in business, sell to you, be there to replace parts you mess up, and talk you through issues you need help with, well, that all looks like a win-win to me.

Now if that is too much money for you, there are other routes. Plans for a bunch of airplanes are available, and can be built for less money but require more time, skill, and procurement trouble. Buy someone else's completed airplane. Buy someone else's partially completed project. The completed bird rarely costs more to buy than the kit and materials in it, same for partially built projects. Buy a damaged airplane from the insurance company and restore it. There are less expensive ways to amuse yourself and build things. Boats and furniture come to mind for the hobbyist, while building houses or restoring them can make money.

Billski
 
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Pops

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You can sell a product in a large market with a small profit margin and sell all lot of them, like Mc Donalds Hamburger did, and they even had a enlarging market each year :). If you can not do that because of a small market, you have to sell a few products at a high cost to stay in business trying to made a profit, and in aviation the market is getting smaller each year. Sounds like a lose/lose situation doesn't it, because it is. If you are in a aviation business in today's world, it's because you love aviation, not because you want to make money.
Back before 9/11 happen, the book valve of most Cessna's and Piper's were increasing 7% per quarter, Yes, quarter. That is why I was flipping airplanes at the time.
There was a huge hit on airplane valves and the amount of people buying airplanes after 9/11. Then another hit in Oct 2008. Those two hits puts us were we are today. I knew Oct , 2008 was going to happen 5 years before , right to the month. Easy, if you follow banking, market and politics. The news tells you that it was a surprise, Bull. I sold my last flipping airplane a few months before at the height of the market.

All the rest of the reason the market is were we are today in aviation and housing ( also built a two houses) is all politics, the subject we can't talk about.

My prediction for Vans--- He will branch over to selling low cost commercial drones with a growing market and the kit airplanes will be a smaller percentage of his business.
 

dragon2knight

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It is the same with many things. Up front there is design efforts, development costs, the building, heat, light, employees, tooling and fixturing, all before you sell one. Then every one of them costs to make all the parts on small runs so setup costs dominate the part costs and every kit is hand collected, boxed and shipped. A build manual worth having is an expensive thing to work out and keep updating over time.

The builders get an airplane project that must be largely just assembled - the builders do not build many parts, they are ready for assembly. In exchange for all of the engineering and much of the fabrication already being done, the builders pay a price. That the business is apparently viable is a good thing - the kits keep getting sold and flown.

I can come up with a similar example. I was an engineer for 23 years for automakers. The automakers (worldwide) build something around 20 million cars and light trucks a year, and about the cheapest you can get one is over $20,000. The automakers also build a couple hundred of each new body they come up with for engineering, testing, of many sorts, and eventually scrapping them or running them in a crash test. Typical cost to build each these engineering articles to the level of a driving prototype is over $300,000 dollars. Even the confirmation prototypes, built with production intent parts, made in production intent tooling and fixtures is over $150,000. The parts I know well were automatic transmissions. In production the parts and hours to build them, they run around a $1k (plus the factory and suppliers factories), but to buy them in engineering prototype quantities before they were launched in production, they we around $50k. The production articles are not equivalent to our kit built airplanes. The preproduction units are more like our little airplanes for everything.

In the end, the product sold has to be wanted by the buyer more than the buyer wants the money. And the seller has to want the money more than the product. If it is not worth it to you, don't buy it.

There have been many kitplanes that have come and gone. Having one that has enough cash left over after the sale to stay in business, sell to you, be there to replace parts you mess up, and talk you through issues you need help with, well, that all looks like a win-win to me.

Now if that is too much money for you, there are other routes. Plans for a bunch of airplanes are available, and can be built for less money but require more time, skill, and procurement trouble. Buy someone else's completed airplane. Buy someone else's partially completed project. The completed bird rarely costs more to buy than the kit and materials in it, same for partially built projects. Buy a damaged airplane from the insurance company and restore it. There are less expensive ways to amuse yourself and build things. Boats and furniture come to mind for the hobbiest, while building houses or restoring them can make money.

Billski
OK, you seem to have missed the whole point of this, I have no intention of buying this, I don't even want one. I'm just stating that based on what this aircraft uses for it's base(mostly ultralight parts/philosophy) it really is over priced. This isn't a new design by any means, it comes off the decades old Buckaneer design. The tooling and such is paid for many times over. The boat hull is the only part I see here that has any real cost to it...and even that is something that has a mold to make it and can be done in house to save some cash for the company. Comparing this to other ultralight types makes this look very overpriced for what you get. That was my original point. The price is just too high for what your getting.
 

dragon2knight

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Clearly that is a false argument based on what and how many of everything is bought new everyday.

There is no logic to buying something, almost anything, new, but it's what most do.
I half agree with you on this. His point was you could get an FAA certified seaplane for about what these guys want for just the airframe that has more in common with ultralights than most LSA types, and that's a good point to make. New or not, it's still over priced for what you get.
 

dragon2knight

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Umm, did you just entirely miss the point?

It's not planes and cars, it's product made from tubes and fiberglass, and the staggering difference in price.
Nope, I got your point perfectly...just wasn't "going there" with the whole cars vs. planes topic ;) That's one rabbit hole I'm skippin' over....
 

TFF

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Yes but bottom bin straight axel version that never nooks quite like the real thing. Add independent rear and the accessories to really make it look like a Cobra add 20,000. And then engine and transmission. I’m a bottom of the barrel guy so I’m ok for some shortcuts, but that’s like an old Vans kit before they punch the holes in the skin vs a new quick build kit.
 

BJC

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Dana

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Prices for the M-Squared line of aircraft (basically Quicksilver ultralight clones) are in the same ballpark.
 

dragon2knight

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Question asked:
Long, thoughtful, patient answer provided:

Answer rejected.


Question for d2k: what is your answer to your question?


BJC
I rejected it because it assumed I was talking about kitplane prices in general but I meant that plane in particular. My answer is that they are ripping you off apparently as its nothing more than a spruced up ultralight......unless I'm the only one who thinks that....
 

dragon2knight

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Prices for the M-Squared line of aircraft (basically Quicksilver ultralight clones) are in the same ballpark.
I saw those....I actually like them. Still I guess some companies are out for the quick buck instead of the long haul these days. Pity...
 

BJC

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My answer is that they are ripping you off apparently as its nothing more than a spruced up ultralight......unless I'm the only one who thinks that..
Lots of people here think that various planes and kits are priced to have exorbitant profit margins. Those people usually don’t have any industrial business experience, expect others to do things that they haven’t or can’t do, or expect to get something for nothing.

What do you think that you could build Adventura kitplanes for? Then how many would you need to sell per year, and at what price, just to break even? Is there a market for that many, on an ongoing basis? Is the market enough to keep you in business? How would you price technical support? How many man-hours per year would that take? How much profit would you need to justify getting into the business? And a thousand other questions.

A recurring theme here is that aviation is expensive, and somebody should do something about it. Well, it is, by some standards, but accusing a company that has, for over a decade, produced a kitplane for a particular market, as being out for the quick buck, demonstrates a lack of understanding about the business.

BJC
 
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