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Thread: The average person

  1. #1

    The average person

    I think it has become difficult for just the average person, with a moderate income and other expenses, to fly. Err, not learn to fly, as over time and with dedication it can be minimized. What I'm more concerned about is what about after the training? With light sport aircraft and ultralight engines able to run on 91 octane at around 3 or 4 gallons per hour, how is the eager pilot to take advantage of the cost effectiveness?
    I am persuing a sport certificate, primarily doing my flight training in a Flight Design CTSW/CTLS (both of them). I have also seen the Remos line of planes, and a few other companies that produce the LSAs with wings that are able to fold or be dismounted for storage. That seems very logical to me, and I enjoy the reduced cost in hangering fees when it can be adequately accomplished in one's garage. However, even used, these aircraft are a difficult find under about $70,000.
    What does everyone else think of ultralight, or near-ultralight (in the SLSA category, but over part 103) being the primary after achieving a sport license? I personally think it might be fun to fly a Belite ultralight, even though it doesn't have two seats, limited flight capabilities, etc. It seems they have tried quite hard to make some of the ultralights fly just like the LSAs or similar to a Cub. I am still, however, nagged by the notion that at least 20 hours of flight training for sport is a bit overkill if that's what I'll be flying. Then reality hits, and I see the brand new price comparisons of say, the SkyCatcher and the Belite models (hm, 150 or 14). Thoughts?

  2. #2

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    The airplanes your flying are factory built units and have the price tags to show it. You can save a whole lot of money by going to experimental or, vintage. I've never spent more than $12,000 on an airplane and I've flown all of them home. Some were beautiful examples of fine workmanship, others, not so much. But, all very flyable and cost effective. There are Pietenpols on Barnstormers right now from $8,500 and up. Many other designs too. Storage costs can be moderated by sharing a hangar. This is far more convenient (and perhaps safer) than toting your bird home. As for the 20 hours being too much time to train; all the more power to you if you can pull off a successful checkride at the minimum. With regard to ultralights, the Legal Eagle, Belite, etc. are all excellent calm air fun machines-it's just kinda' hard to take a friend for a ride.

  3. #3

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    Do you really think 20 hrs of flight training is too much investment for the amount of return?

    How would you define "moderate income?"

    What kind of flying activities do you plan on engaging in after earning a sport pilot certificate?

  4. #4

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    This has crossed my mind many times. If I were you I'd buy an Ultralight for personal use and RENT a light sport for occasional use.

    When I first started my flight training I thought the Light Sport class of planes was going to be the next "poor man's" aviation home. But personally I don't know of too many people who can afford a 100k dollar light sport plane.

    Then you get into private pilot stuff and the cheapest you can get to fly is a C150/152 that's 20 years old and 20,000 dollars. IMO again not a good investment and expensive for the "average" person.

    I discovered ultralights not long ago and for the cost of a late model used motorcycle you can find a good pre-built ultralight that can serve your needs well. You can't count the hours towards anything but at least you get to fly and for "cheap".

    I have other interests besides flying such as motorcycles, shooting, cars, ect and this allows me to fly and keep doing the other things I enjoy doing. Not only that it allows you to get out of the shadow of "big brother" more than other modes of flying.

    I dunno I guess I'm rambling a little bit but it does somewhat piss me off that we are to the point that an "entry level" aircraft such as a light sport can cost upwards of 100k dollars and that's considered "cheap" by many.

    I'm just glad the 103 rules exist and I can legally fly pretty much where ever and whenever I want.

  5. #5

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    If you want only a new plane,then a LSA might cost $100 K or more like $130K.
    But a good Cub is under $40K, a Champ probably under $30K and is is both a real airplane,( by that I mean not a version of a hang glider,) and is also legal as an LSA as are a few others.
    If $30K or $40K is too expensive, well ultralights are much cheaper, and have their own attractions, even if it is not something you are likely to fly very far. I have a friend who took one flight lesson , loved it, got to land the plane himself , but it is too expensive to continue. Meanwhile they just spent $40K on a brand new Toyota SUV.

  6. #6

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    My primary ground vehicle is a motorcycle that cost me 3000 dollars. I have other things I enjoy doing besides flying and paying thousands of dollars to an instructor (which I've already done haha). 30 or 40 thousand dollars IS A LOT OF MONEY. The 6 thousand I just spent on my Hurricane is not relatively speaking.

    This is coming from Joe Schmoe Marine living in a barracks room.

  7. #7
    There are a lot of things “The Average Person” cannot afford , flying is just one of them, nobody will solve that problem for you by giving you free lessons and free airplanes, your only option viable for you is to stop being the average person.
    Last edited by George Sychrovsky; 09-10-2013 at 05:29 PM.
    Disclaimer ; opinions of others will vary depending on what they’re selling.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Downs View Post
    I have other things I enjoy doing besides flying
    And there you have it folks, in 9 simple words, why aviation is in decline.

  9. #9

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    It is what it is. There are few people willing to give up everything they enjoy doing for the joy of flying. While I enjoy flying immensely I wouldn't give up other aspects of my life to do it. MAYBE if I could fly to the grocery store, work, movies, lots of campsites ect I might consider it but the way aviation has been structured it will not allow such things to happen.

    There are a lot of things “The Average Person” cannot afford , flying is just one of them, nobody will solve that problem for you by giving you free lessons and free airplanes, your only option viable for you is to stop being the average person.
    And be the person who essentially has no other free time hobbies than flying? That simply isn't an option for most people. However finding ways to make flying more accessible to the general public in such ways as pushing and advertising 103 legal type flying is one way.

    Go out and poll the general public and find out how many people even know what a FAR is let alone what Part 103 of the FARs is. No one at work even knew anything about this and this in a unit full of smart folks. I may be the only enlisted guy that flys for fun at my unit.
    Last edited by Downs; 09-10-2013 at 11:44 PM.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Downs View Post
    I discovered ultralights not long ago and for the cost of a late model used motorcycle you can find a good pre-built ultralight that can serve your needs well. You can't count the hours towards anything but at least you get to fly and for "cheap".
    Build the ultralight and register it as E-AB. Then you can fly it as a sport pilot and log the hours towards other certificates.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Greenwood View Post
    Meanwhile they just spent $40K on a brand new Toyota SUV.
    Life is full of choices and everyone gets to make their own. Yes, this person could have bought the same SUV used and saved at least $10,000 which would have gone a long way towards the purchase price of an aircraft, but everyone has different priorities.

    Quote Originally Posted by Downs View Post
    It is what it is. There are few people willing to give up everything they enjoy doing for the joy of flying. While I enjoy flying immensely I wouldn't give up other aspects of my life to do it. MAYBE if I could fly to the grocery store, work, movies, lots of campsites ect I might consider it but the way aviation has been structured it will not allow such things to happen.
    It's a personal choice. You can't have everything in life, so pick what's most important and forget the rest. Come back to it when you're able. Enjoy what you've chosen and make the best of it.

    Ultralights can help, but they still cost money and use time. Try not eating out, drinking less, not going to the movies, use a dumb phone instead of a smart one, don't buy extra TV channels, use lower speed internet, don't buy a $2,000 TV, etc. All the small things add up.

    A large percentage of people (at least in the US) can afford flying if they really want it, but most don't want it enough.
    Last edited by skier; 09-12-2013 at 11:39 AM.

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