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GA activity and its decline

The 100k car people want this:

ELLX, Luxembourg

It’s really only about money. In spite of all the hassles involved, flying in all varieties is nice and if it would be possible for average earning people to afford it, it wouldn’t decline.

The obvious answer would be high utilization and volunteer structures i.e. flying clubs. Clubs require solidarity, and solidarity requires time and compassion.
It still exists, though nowhere near as much as compared to a few decades ago. Airline puppy mills aren’t helping, many clubs have no training anymore.

20 people at 100€ each per month could sustain a decent SEP (acquisition excluded).

always learning
LO__, Austria

@Snoopy there is a nice Archer at my local airfield which operates on pretty much the exact model you say. They have I think 28 members, each paying £90-ish a month and then a reasonable hourly rate.

The downside is many of the partners fly very rarely, and they stand out on the radio due to poor currency..

United Kingdom

The thing about the 100k cars you see is that they’re all on easily-available credit. None of those people have bought them cash, and nor could they. About 5% (or a bit less) of new cars in the UK are bought cash.

The way the car credit / leasing model works in the UK, I’m not sure what income is necessary to support ‘having’ a car like that but it’s much less than one would think.

I shudder to think what car someone might give me on a lease, were I to stretch myself to the very limit of affordability. It’d be beyond bling. But that’s not a game I play, it being a phenomenal waste of money.

Easy credit for flying-related costs is not available in quite the same structured and marketed way.

Last Edited by Graham at 13 May 00:07

Sure most new cars are bought on credit but the monthly repayments are eye watering. People pay the equivalent of a mortgage just to have a new car. So a lot of money is going out somewhere.

20 people at 100€ each per month could sustain a decent SEP (acquisition excluded).

That is basically the aeroclub model. It is severely limited. Nothing longer than day trips. Fly once a month, maybe. Weekends well booked up. It works well in some countries, where people are happy with that. It’s not a good long term solution for Europe. The members are only just hanging in there currency-wise.

That PC12 guy is a good funny stunt, and a fun caricature, but nobody is going to go to the huge hassle of getting a PPL/IR or more likely a CPL/IR (he is likely a corporate pilot doing this on the side) plus the EASA papers including HPA, and a few million, just to do this. But that sort of scenario does exist in the aeroclub culture in certain warm countries, usually in the form of one man and three women in a Robin There just isn’t enough of it to go around.

GA in Europe needs to be modernised all around to attract today’s customers.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

100K cars are for fashionistas, aircraft are for intelligent adventurers. Two entirely different groups of people, with little in common. The issue for GA in that regard might be social values that discourage adventure and don’t discourage aimless financial decadence.

The people who have enough money and time for aviation are not those who are working hard for a sizable paycheck now, it’s those who were working hard to build some level of assets 25 years ago, which are paying off to an adequate degree now along with whatever work brings in. Until then getting some time in clubs or whatever is OK preparation and it doesn’t have to be very focused, nor is it likely to be so.

Last Edited by Silvaire at 13 May 05:32

I think flight sims draw away lots of people, but also draw people in. One of my son has played sims as long as he can remember I guess. He also got a pilot license, but is now more drawn towards boating and boat building. Simmers have their own community also, from all over the world. My son had a meet up with several others on Iceland a few years ago. All teenagers, same interest, same age, but have only met each other previously online.

The community aspects are important. The sim community is huge and has no country boarders. A 15-16 year old who is used to having fun among other 15-16 year old shooting each other down in DCS. He then visit a GA community with grumpy old men in high viz vests bickering about “safety”. The community may very well be friendly, but there are no other 15-16 years old there who wants to have fun. A community of grumpy old men in high viz vests bickering about “safety” and old days is not very attractive (for anyone, except other grumpy old men ) Young people want to do things their own way, on their own terms, together with equals, and GA leaves little room for that.

Lots of people have done lots of work trying to get younger people in. And this is fine I guess, but is it worth the effort? There are lots of exceptions, but private GA is first and foremost a place for grumpy old men. More focus on fun, and less focus on being political correct and “safety”, will draw more people in. Air sports has shown to be attractive for younger people, gliding, paragliding, but essentially all kinds (with motorized planes it is costs that stops younger people usually).

The elephant is the circulation

Graham wrote:

About 5% (or a bit less) of new cars in the UK are bought cash.

Housing being the exception but I honestly feel if you need a credit to buy some consumer good, then you can’t afford it really.

To buy a car on credit, to take a holiday on credit or to buy a plane on credit always means living beyond one’s financial capability.

IMHO, the reason why cars and also planes have become so viciously expensive is because manufacturers can get away with those prices as nobody pais them upfront. IMHO a very bad development.

I’ve never bought anything on credit. And never will. Hence, 25 year old car, 55 year old airplane. Both serve me well.

If I see the whole Tesla crowd (or Cirrus, being the equivalent in hip-ness in airplanes) which are totally overpriced gadget cars, let alone power cars which nobody really needs (with 50 mph limits everywhere, what is the point of a Ferrari??) I get worried. Maybe youngsters still see those cars as “leg openers” as someone quoted to me quite disgustingly, maybe with a certain kind of clientele that actually works… but most should know better. Big car, small whatsit.

LSZH, Switzerland

hazek wrote:

The 100k car people want this:

That guy is living a neat dream however. His own quite unique airfield with hangar right in his backyard, a PC12 and a fun group of employees. What I hear, his company is hugely successfull which enables him to do this kind of thing and he from time to time takes out some of his employees on the 12 for fun trips, apart from using the plane as a coorporate transport. Why the heck not. Seems to know what he’s doing too.

LSZH, Switzerland

Mooney_Driver wrote:

As some of you know, I recently got involved with a real good 737 sim. Having that thing at my disposal 24/7 at literally no cost other than working to keep it running is indeed a huge incentive flying it. It’s an airliner, so my original ambition, it has stunning scenery, it works really well and is quite realistic and I am surprised to say that I enjoy “flying” it VERY much.

Moreover, I can decide, at a whim, to go over there, fire it up, fly around for an hour, go home. Taking the Mooney for a flight takes much longer, involes a lot more preparation and hassle and costs close to 500 CHF per hour these days, and that is me kidding myself because looking at the hours this plane does, it’s more like 10 times that. I could rent a biz jet for that money.

Well, I don’t know. I have a reasonably good home simulator setup (including force-feedback yoke). I have it mostly to maintain some IFR currency e.g. during winter when you really need deicing for IMC, but I can’t say I enjoy it for its own sake.

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden
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