Mainly because I'm not doing much over summer break, and I do love the piper cub, I couldn't help but research how prices have changed drastically over the years. Even if you consider inflation the price of aircraft have gone up drastically. So while looking for the price tag of a J-3, I came across it in an old brochure: $2,195 (price effective July 1, 1946).
So after snooping I found that in 1946, a car could be purchased for $1,400. However, after further snooping, I found that a good Chevy could be bought for $1,200. So with a little rounding we can conclude that a cub was very loosely twice the cost of a low-end automobile. So therefore a basic, good airplane should cost twice that of a low-end car, or the equivalent to a low end luxury car.
How does this compare to modern day standards? Glad you asked. My dad has been looking into purchasing a new low-end vehicle, his two favorites being the VW Jetta and the Chevy Cruze. Both are good, reliable cars that range in price from about $15k to $20k. So if we follow our estimates from the last paragraph, we can conclude that a good, reliable, low-end airplane SHOULD cost $30k to $40k. What went wrong? The new trainers such as the Skycatcher and Legend Cub can cut a good $120k out of your wallet (why yes, that is a large wallet!). That is 3-4 times what it SHOULD cost. I understand that part of the problem is the lack of large-scale production, but this is crazy!
It appears we have a Catch-22: Nobody wants to fly until the price comes down, but the price won't come down until more people fly.
I personally feel that this problem is going to continue to haunt the aviation world and will only gets worse as the amount of pilots decreases more and more over the coming years.
I understand that this a completely ludicrous conclusion, but it's supposed to be, merely to show the absurd rise in the prices of commercial goods in America, most largely based on the debt crises. I posted this mainly as food for thought, and for the fact that I'm jealous of 21 cents/ gallon fuel prices in 1949 That's saddening.
I am no economics expert by any means, but I thought it was rather interesting.