Is sport aviation dying

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Nomore767
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Re: Is sport aviation dying

Postby Nomore767 » Thu Aug 03, 2017 7:26 am

If you want to talk about complicated, convoluted and expensive try flying GA in the U.K. Or the rest of Europe.
Gas is four times the price, taxation is rampant, airspace is shrinking and there are user fees and landing fees etc all of which would fill my LSA gas tank.

At my airfield I can let myself in via a security code, fuel my plane myself with 93E10 autogas ($2.36) which is 75% less than UK, fly my 3 year old LSA burning 4.5-5.2 gph depending on how fast I want to go and take off and land without the need to talk to ATC and if I did there's no fee. I can utilize flight following with no fee. I have traffic and terrain info via ADSB in and out.
You can fly into many fields and borrow their car to drive at a hotel which offers an airport discount.
My plane has better avionics than I had at the airline I flew with. I just completed my annual using my Rotax trained and certified mechanic for $330. After new brakes, new tire and new plugs the total was $853. Plugs are $2.95 versus nearly $30 for many GA aircraft.
My hangar buddy recently completed an RV-12 he built himself and is happily flying it. I just flew to KGMU for lunch with no user fees or landing fees and we even got a 20% discount for flying in! Oh and I parked a few steps away from the restaurant where the manager loves planes to fly in and boost his business.

Now, looking across my field there are many old and shabby 172s and Cherokees who have all seen better days. Even the mechanics lament the price of certified parts and the expense of maintaining their own planes. Nobody can afford new GA planes and sales of the new refurbished Cessna is slow.

As has been said light sport flying on a DL in more efficient and faster planes is happening now. Basic Med has added more options.

Aviation in US is now showing the result of years of apathy and neglect. The number of airline pilots will be down 42% in the next decade and the source of replacement candidates is a mere trickle. I just read about a 30 year old female 777 captain at Air India but you don't hear about that kind if news in the USA.

Unfortunately many airfields are shabby and not well attended. Many look abandoned even though they're open. Flight schools offer ancient planes at high rates many with a take it or leave it attitude.
I still think Sport flying offers great potential and is an attractive way to fly.

The other day, not bragging, but a truck stopped by me with my plane at the hangar and the non pilot driver, who was working to fill a couple of crop sprayers, said " ah think your plane is the best looking plane here!"
This with a couple of Bonanzas, twins, a Cirrus, and numerous Cessna on the ramp. I was very pleasantly surprised.
Light Sport flying is growing albeit slowly. GA not so much.
Last edited by Nomore767 on Thu Aug 03, 2017 8:21 am, edited 2 times in total.

rcpilot
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Re: Is sport aviation dying

Postby rcpilot » Thu Aug 03, 2017 7:34 am

TimTaylor wrote:
HAPPYDAN wrote:Yes. GA (period) is dying in the USA. It's become too complicated, too convoluted, and too expensive.

........ especially if you wait until later in life to take it up. Everything is more difficult at 60 than it was at 20.


I don't know about that. I wasn't 60 but I was 56 when I started and I finished in a little over a year(thanks to a 7 month layoff because I was almost killed in a motorcycle accident). I had a lot more hours(60+) than I thought it would take probably in part, due to my layoff and the fact that when I got back to lessons I had to compete with my instructors fulltime job.

3Dreaming
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Re: Is sport aviation dying

Postby 3Dreaming » Thu Aug 03, 2017 8:35 am

I don't know that I would say that it is dying. At Oshkosh this year crowds seemed larger than ever. This was not just my observation, it was echoed by other throughout the week.

I have had more request for flight training this year than in the past 10-15 years. So much so that I had to turn away some because of my other work duties.

Flying has certainly changed over the years. Now there are many more recreational activities that are readily available that aviation has to compete with. The days of many starry eyed kids staring to the sky dreaming of flying airplanes are over.

So I don't really think sport aviation is dying, but I don't think it will ever return to its former glory either.

HAPPYDAN
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Re: Is sport aviation dying

Postby HAPPYDAN » Thu Aug 03, 2017 10:25 am

Please excuse my previous rant. I am currently experiencing aviation withdrawals, and just had too much (alcohol) to drink. That's when the frustration really surfaces. Good luck to you all. I am seeking professional help.

TimTaylor
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Re: Is sport aviation dying

Postby TimTaylor » Thu Aug 03, 2017 11:49 am

rcpilot wrote:
TimTaylor wrote:
HAPPYDAN wrote:Yes. GA (period) is dying in the USA. It's become too complicated, too convoluted, and too expensive.

........ especially if you wait until later in life to take it up. Everything is more difficult at 60 than it was at 20.


I don't know about that. I wasn't 60 but I was 56 when I started and I finished in a little over a year(thanks to a 7 month layoff because I was almost killed in a motorcycle accident). I had a lot more hours(60+) than I thought it would take probably in part, due to my layoff and the fact that when I got back to lessons I had to compete with my instructors fulltime job.

Trust me. It would have been much easier at age 18.
Last edited by TimTaylor on Thu Aug 03, 2017 3:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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SteveZ-FL
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Re: Is sport aviation dying

Postby SteveZ-FL » Thu Aug 03, 2017 3:19 pm

I don't think Sport Pilot program is dying, but it could surely use better marketing and publicity. When was the last time anyone saw a prime time TV commercial touting the fun of flying and how being able to do so is more attainable now than ever?   Almost all SP advertising is in aviation magazines, basically "preaching to the choir" instead of looking beyond to expand.

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MrMorden
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Re: Is sport aviation dying

Postby MrMorden » Fri Aug 04, 2017 9:13 am

SteveZ-FL wrote:I don't think Sport Pilot program is dying, but it could surely use better marketing and publicity. When was the last time anyone saw a prime time TV commercial touting the fun of flying and how being able to do so is more attainable now than ever?   Almost all SP advertising is in aviation magazines, basically "preaching to the choir" instead of looking beyond to expand.


It would be pretty cool to see a SportCruiser, Sting, Flight Design, or even Cessna commercial on TV!
Andy Walker
Athens, GA
Sport Pilot ASEL, LSRI
2007 Flight Design CTSW E-LSA

frfly172
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Re: Is sport aviation dying

Postby frfly172 » Sun Aug 13, 2017 2:18 pm

I think there will always be a sport pilot segment of GA. The field is starting to weed out the bad designs and poorly built light sports. There are some great light sports in the fleet,at reasonable prices,that fit the mission of a lot of pilots.once you give up IMC flying ,the light sports look even better.

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zaitcev
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Re: Is sport aviation dying

Postby zaitcev » Sun Aug 13, 2017 11:27 pm

SteveZ-FL wrote:When was the last time anyone saw a prime time TV commercial touting the fun of flying and how being able to do so is more attainable now than ever? Almost all SP advertising is in aviation magazines, basically "preaching to the choir" instead of looking beyond to expand.

Maybe not in the prime time TV, but Icon bought a massive amount of advertisement in a general interest media. In my exeperience, they succeeded in whipping up the interest. All position holders for A5 that I met were new to aviation. Sadly, the significant delays in bringing their LSA to market damaged that interest significantly, and it may be detrimental to Sport Aviation in general if the public comes to see the industry as fraudulent. Nonetheless it's exactly the kind of marketing to the non-flying public that you were talking about, I think.

HAPPYDAN
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Re: Is sport aviation dying

Postby HAPPYDAN » Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:21 am

+1 on the Icon A5. My first glimpse was in a Hammacher-Schlemmerer catalog! Same goes for the now defunct Terrafugia Transition. Later, both appeared in Popular Mechanics. I am personally so weary of pharmaceutical commercials on TV I would welcome and enjoy something aviation related. I still long for reruns of Airplane Repo and Flying Wild Alaska. I would scratch Why Airplanes Crash on the Weather Channel, though.

Warmi
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Re: Is sport aviation dying

Postby Warmi » Mon Aug 14, 2017 12:06 pm

zaitcev wrote:
SteveZ-FL wrote:When was the last time anyone saw a prime time TV commercial touting the fun of flying and how being able to do so is more attainable now than ever? Almost all SP advertising is in aviation magazines, basically "preaching to the choir" instead of looking beyond to expand.

Maybe not in the prime time TV, but Icon bought a massive amount of advertisement in a general interest media. In my exeperience, they succeeded in whipping up the interest. All position holders for A5 that I met were new to aviation. Sadly, the significant delays in bringing their LSA to market damaged that interest significantly, and it may be detrimental to Sport Aviation in general if the public comes to see the industry as fraudulent. Nonetheless it's exactly the kind of marketing to the non-flying public that you were talking about, I think.


And having their leading designer/pilot killed doing exactly what their ads advertised as the primary way to enjoy the new plane, won't help either.
Flying Sting S4 ( N184WA ) out of Illinois

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Jim Hardin
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Re: Is sport aviation dying

Postby Jim Hardin » Sat Aug 19, 2017 5:47 am

I was not impressed with the Icon from day one!

While it was a beautiful napkin sketch there was no way it could meet it's stated specs, which if you read carefully, were never even stated.

The developers new dawn revelation that he could skip the aviation community and aim for the motor sports community. Others have tried this approach and failed as well. It was a good example of selling the sizzle not the steak.

The results are sexy looking mediocre airplane that isn't going to succeed. It will live on for some time in the continuing cycle of bankruptcy, new investors, bankruptcy only to fail when the debt is too high to ever dig out of...

Love to be wrong but where are the Lake/Buccaneer's Seabee's etc. Although SeaRay does seem to be holding its' own.

With a dried out SES in my wallet, I would love to be proven wrong :wink:

chicagorandy
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Re: Is sport aviation dying

Postby chicagorandy » Wed Sep 13, 2017 5:35 pm

To the OP's topic -is it dying? - boy I sure hope not -

I'm 68 and just took my first ever Discover Flight ride in an Evektor Sport and was bitten bad by the flight bug.

So I hope it sticks around at least as long I'm trying to. As a complete newbie to flight training, although aviation has been a passion for all my life, my first impressions are that there is a substantial PPL snobbery against Sport Pilotage, that most flight schools can't see the forest for the trees and pass up the opportunity to grow the community with those of us taking small steps into the sky, and finally that Sport flying IS a way for a whole lot of us old farts and youngsters alike to slip the surly bonds without needing to win the lottery. So by golly, I for one will do what I can to keep sport aviation alive.

Warmi
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Re: Is sport aviation dying

Postby Warmi » Wed Sep 13, 2017 6:35 pm

Agree 100%.
btw when you finish your training there is another option available close to you for flying sport planes.
I got an email from EAA today about new flying club opening in Bolingbrook flying Zenith Cruzer.
http://www.accessaero.org
Flying Sting S4 ( N184WA ) out of Illinois

chicagorandy
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Re: Is sport aviation dying

Postby chicagorandy » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:41 pm

I got that in my e-mail too -

Come to think of it - I may have even pulled a rivet on one of the wings of that bird at AirVenture 2015.

The Flying Club particulars:

Based out of Bolingbrook, IL (1C5)
Total of 10 equity members
Equity Share: $5,000 (can be resold at will)
Wet Rate: $45 tach hour
Monthly fixed costs: $50-$75

Realistically it's beyond the reach of my limited budget. I also wonder how practical it is for 10 people to share one airplane?


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