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Operating and Flying a 1970 Piper Arrow, and operating costs discussion

BeechBaby wrote:

1. 32 hours
2. 36 hours
3. 40 hours.

A good average of £60.00 per hour labour rate plus parts

Going on our club fleet experience, that sounds about right. Perhaps a touch less for #1, more for something like a C210, but the ballpark is correct. Only the labor rate is more round here (USD 100-115), but hey, it’s California where we all pay sunshine tax.

172driver wrote:

Going on our club fleet experience, that sounds about right.

I suppose we come full circle as to should we be paying this to keep our treasures in the sky? If we all kind of agree that these are reflective costs, we should consider the reason for them, apart from deliberately killing ourselves through non maintenance.

If you take the GA fatality rates, globally, link to major causes, link to ‘was there anything actually wrong with the aeroplane that was causal to the crash’, then the argument could be driven to manufacturers liability clauses. I know @silvaire has touched on this a few times. As has Mike Busch. It is not as if the overall fatality rate is in full decline.

It will only be a discussion as far as certified aircraft go, however, a day may come when owner maintenance becomes norm. Or you bring in the local car mechanic to change the pesky vacuum pump.

Fly safe. I want this thing to land l...
EGPF Glasgow

BeechBaby wrote:

a day may come when owner maintenance becomes norm

For (my guess would be) 50% of US certified and individually owned single engine planes, that is already close to the case. The work is done by the owner in cooperation with an A&P, one that is charging nowhere near $100/hr, or some other similar solution. As @Peter repeatedly points out the correlation of that 50% to owners having a hangar to work in is close to 100%

As I have pointed out, there is zero correlation between running a business and holding an FAA A&P. A lot of work in the US is done as a community activity, with some money changing hands.

When I was a kid working on cars to get through school, a much older African American coworker and friend taught me (at that point as a skinny pasty-faced kid) a bit about being a mechanic and the business. One of his jokes was “Why did God create the white man? Because somebody has to pay retail” It’s probably tasteless to repeat it decades later but he was not a fool. I felt like Tom Sawyer

Last Edited by Silvaire at 12 Jan 22:00

“Why did God create the white man? Because somebody has to pay retail”

One could say the same thing about owners of certain aircraft types in current production, too. Like anything where the TC holder owns all your avionics.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

On the PA17 the annual takes two man-days. I do it with one or other of my co-owners. Sometimes there are more than two of us to do it, but the thing still takes the whole day – probably because more people = more chat.

Shortly after we do it I book the LAA inspector, he takes a couple of hours to look over it and then does the paperwork for another year’s permit to fly. His costs are not significant.

A 50hr takes very little time. Ground run (or do it after you fly), tail up, cowlings off, drain oil, clean plugs, refill oil, cowlings on.

The TB10 is with a CAMO and while I don’t follow the details closely (I think the best way to maintain a good relationship with the shop is for our one designated co-owner to handle it) I am quite satisfied that we get a decent job done. Certainly all work happens very quickly, the aeroplane is almost never grounded, and the bills are reasonable. Most other maintenance shops have relatively poor reputations in terms of long waiting times, everything costing a fortune, poor work, etc. so the main priority is maintaining the relationship with our current shop.

The CAMO do a 50hr while we wait (2 hours or so) and since we started using them maybe 6-7 years ago no annual has taken more than a week. By UK CAMO standards, I understand this is very good. What is also very good (and perhaps somewhat priceless) is that they can always fit us in when we need – we’ve never been told that they can’t do it now but perhaps in two or three weeks, which I understand is quite common. The shop has a good reputation but I don’t doubt that this is partially down to the excellent relationship that our co-owner responsible for maintenance matters has with them.

All that said, it irritates me that the PA17 is the one forced to display a placard informing occupants that ‘this aircraft has not been certified to an international standard’ – especially when it has, but just isn’t (in the UK) any more.

It might be more informative to make the TB10 display a placard saying ‘people who don’t fly in this aeroplane are paid to maintain it and the pilot does not have a complete knowledge of what they do or don’t do’. Maintenance-induced failure is a real risk when you don’t supervise the work yourself and we did have one potential nasty recently.

Last Edited by Graham at 14 Jan 15:01
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