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State Of General Aviation


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Good Morning All,

I have a bit of a random question.   I am curious on what everyone feels the state of general Aviation is these days?   If you look out 5, 10, 20 years in the future do you see a increase, decrease or sustaining situation?   I just have not been involved long enough to get a feel for things.   

 

Around me there seems to be an increase in folks getting licenses but very few of them plan to be anything other then commercial pilots and have no intent to get into GA beyond building hours early.  The general consensus of the pilots I do talk to seems to be an aging average pilot age, increased costs for many things, and concerns over future government involvement. 

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I understand the sentiment, but I'm insuring more aircraft owners in their 20s and early 30s than ever before.  It's certainly more expensive even after inflation adjustments, but people who want to o

I thought this forum went out of their way in their terms of service to avoid political brattle.     While this was not aimed at me, this post certainly seems out of line.  

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26 minutes ago, Cruiser said:

How many years has the FAA been pretending to certify a new unleaded aviation fuel ? 

G100UL has passed all but a tiny few, insignificant tests but the FAA will not move on it. 

I really do not know all that much about G1000UL beyond some basic FAQs I have read.   Is it supposed to be cheaper or more expensive better worse?

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11 minutes ago, N201MKTurbo said:

It is hard to imagine that any 100LL replacement will be cheaper. 100LL is pretty much pure alkylate with a few additives. Anything else will be more complex and will raise the cost of manufacture. 

I suppose that makes sense.  I was kind of hoping that not having to deal with lead would both increase the number of refinery's that were willing to produce it as well as lower the manufacturing and environmental costs.     

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1 minute ago, Misiu02 said:

I suppose that makes sense.  I was kind of hoping that not having to deal with lead would both increase the number of refinery's that were willing to produce it as well as lower the manufacturing and environmental costs.     

While TEL is hard to come by, I don't think it is horribly expensive, besides there is about 1ml of the stuff in each gallon.

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Just now, N201MKTurbo said:

While TEL is hard to come by, I don't think it is horribly expensive, besides there is about 1ml of the stuff in each gallon.

I was thinking more along the line of lead handling and precautions cause cost from a containment, handling,  and risk perspective not so much a materials cost.   Reducing it should reduce the cost at least a little.  Although like you said probably not enough to offset the complexity. 

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1 hour ago, ArtVandelay said:

If the shortage of hangars is any indication, it’s never been better. new avionics it makes it easier to fly and relatively low prices of fuel, we could be be in the golden years?


Tom

It is so hard to predict the future. I hope you are right.

With my new engine and new avionics, I hope to coast to the finish line.

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2 hours ago, N201MKTurbo said:

It is hard to imagine that any 100LL replacement will be cheaper. 100LL is pretty much pure alkylate with a few additives. Anything else will be more complex and will raise the cost of manufacture. 

My understanding is that much of the cost is transportation due to the lead making it not transportable via pipeline.   That suggests that any formulation removing the lead could result in a significant reduction in cost.

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7 minutes ago, EricJ said:

My understanding is that much of the cost is transportation due to the lead making it not transportable via pipeline.   That suggests that any formulation removing the lead could result in a significant reduction in cost.

My understanding is that they can't transport it via pipeline because they cannot guarantee its quality, not because of the lead. I doubt the FAA will relax the quality standards for a new fuel.

Either way, it is a boutique product that is made to order in small batches, unlike auto fuel which is made continuously.

Just be glad it isn't JP10 missile fuel. I still haven't gotten a straight answer on how much that stuff costs. I know it must be ordered 6 weeks ahead of time and a minimum of 10000 gallons. It will make your jet go 10% further on a pound of fuel! if you can afford >$50/gal.

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GA is very strong right now and I'm a lot more optimistic than I was 10 years ago.

Based on how expensive pre-owned airplanes are becoming, one can only hope we are on the edge of some economies of scale that might help new aircraft pricing.

I have been a rated pilot since 2006 never seen 30-60 year old planes selling for so much money.

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3 hours ago, ArtVandelay said:

If the shortage of hangars is any indication, it’s never been better. new avionics it makes it easier to fly and relatively low prices of fuel, we could be be in the golden years?



FWIW, a lot of the reason for the hangar shortage is inactive planes being stored that haven’t flown for years and at a lot of airports they don’t enforce the requirement that you actually have to have an aircraft as opposed to using the hangar as a storage space for cars, boats, etc.

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Count me pessimistic.  The number of pilots has been deceasing steadily ever since I got into GA 20 years ago and I don't see it getting better any time soon.  The younger set has far greater access to better entertainment that costs far less. Airframe prices seem to finally be recovering, but that could be temporary.  And it really doesn't matter, since everything associated with them is going up in price.  We're flying our grandfather's airplanes and every year there's less.  Airplanes get crashed, airplanes get forgotten.

I'm hopeful it will continue for my lifetime, but I think should I shuffle off the mortal coil in a timely fashion that by the time I do it won't be accessible for the middle class anymore.  It barely is now.

And some government action, like outlawing our use of lead, could put the kibosh on the whole thing.

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1 minute ago, steingar said:

Count me pessimistic.  The number of pilots has been deceasing steadily ever since I got into GA 20 years ago and I don't see it getting better any time soon.  The younger set has far greater access to better entertainment that costs far less.

I understand the sentiment, but I'm insuring more aircraft owners in their 20s and early 30s than ever before.  It's certainly more expensive even after inflation adjustments, but people who want to own airplanes are making it a priority.

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1 hour ago, MooneyMitch said:

And have you noticed the price of used Porsche’s increasing too ? :lol:

To be fair, the air cooled marked has finally peaked and is in somewhat of a decline.  Should have waited a few more years to sell my 84 Carrera as I let it go in 2012...  :(  However, that can be due to lower quality of available cars, too.

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One of the obstacles to GA is the perception that it is unsafe. In that regard, it is gratifying that we have made some progress on that. I wish we could do as well as commercial aviation. If we could only get rid of those weekly Mooney gear-ups!

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31 minutes ago, EricJ said:

Judging by how busy the flight schools are, I suspect GA is going to be fine.

Yes, there seem to be more flight school candidates in this time of CoVid than before.   Some of my “learners” are not so busy at work so they’re going for training while they have the time.  

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GA is far too expensive, yes there will always be the few who have enough dough to do whatever they want but for the rest, they have better things to do with money.  esp when new sexy cost close to a million dollars, just sayin.  we should fight tooth an nail to reduce cost.  tell garmin 10k is far to much for a damn gps, 20k is too much for an autopilot.  

 

 

 

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38 minutes ago, McMooney said:

GA is far to expensive, yes there will always be the few who have enough dough to do whatever they want but for the rest, they'll have better things to do with money.  esp when new sexy cost close to a million dollars, just sayin.  we should fight tooth an nail to reduce cost.  tell garmin 10k is far to much for a damn gps, 20k is too much for an autopilot.  

 

 

 

And 10K for a license is a huge roadblock for most young aviation enthusiasts to get over.

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The weather calls for pain... - Mr. T


It’s the economy, stupid... - James Carvel

 

Flying has been incredibly expensive since the beginning...

Every year it is something different...

It will go in cycles...

It will go on forever....

gasoline is near the same price per gallon, inflation adjusted, as it was decades ago...

Our auto efficiency is near double... in terms of mpg

We have a lot of excess money in our pockets based on what we don’t have to pay for gasoline... every month...

 

Oddly,   The number of people learning to fly keeps happening...

We can sit around with a negative attitude... but that won’t help any....

Or we can discuss how it works for us...

Some days we have speed...

Other days we have efficiency...

And for an annoying topic... we have how much insurance, hangar, and training costs are... 

All of these are just bumps in the road... a test to see how much we want it...

 

@PilotFun101 did a piece on what it takes to afford an airplane.... it came down to defining a good work ethic, and being efficient with his lifestyle.... He posts his videos around here...


In other news... there are times in life when flying expenses become more affordable.... if you noticed how old some pilots are when they are learning to fly... they paid for everything else already... and their kids are grown up...

If you want to see how people afford some things... read every thread... often, they will discuss what type of work they do... or did... 

 

The biggest challenge I see with aviation... it requires a ton of effort, a stack of cash, excess time, and the ability to step away from it all while you go to the airport and blow the excess beer money....

If you have the ability to keep a car running forever.... you can probably afford an M20C... with the cash you saved by not buying a new car or leasing the Porsche listed above...

 

Buying a plane is the economic equivalent of your plane’s climb rate...  excess power allows the plane to climb like you want... excess cash allows a person to buy stuff that he wants...

Back to the economy... when the economy is expanding... people are mobile enough to step into new jobs that pay better... things like that can help.... or  the company pays for your overtime...

Interest rates being incredibly low... makes a whole bunch of things more affordable... if you need to borrow money... or buying something from somebody that borrowed money for their inventory....

With the Covid economy... keep both eyes open... Some MSers businesses are deeply affected by the inability to have people come into their store/business...

On the other hand, some MSers are working a ton of overtime and getting paid for their remote efforts...

For real success stories... find the guys that are discussing forever-planes... They have done something that allows them the ability to be flying forever....

If while searching what other people do.... don’t be surprised how many successful people are flying around in M20Cs... :)  including doctors, lawyers, engineers, mechanics, and... anyone that wants to live efficiently....

Flying takes a lifetime of effort... do it because you want to...

If you are single, make sure your friend/partner enjoys flying... 

Discuss your hopes and dreams openly... you don’t want to be surprised after the wedding how she is afraid or allergic of dogs, planes, boats...etc.

Expect change to come... at a glacial pace.

If you want to be flying decades from now....

You can dream about it, or Make it happen - Wayne Huizenga

Flying and private cars will be around forever...  it just gets annoying when they close each airport...

 

PP thoughts only, not a seer or economist...

Best regards,

-a-

 

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