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Thread: Where Have All the EAB Aircraft Gone?

  1. #111

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    Summary, and my thoughts.

    I read this entire thread up to this point. Interesting stuff.

    "Where have all the EAB aircraft gone?" was targeted at planes physically at EAA AirVenture, but quickly led to analyzing where are they in general?, and why is there no pilot interest in general? Conflating all of that, here is what I found if I were to summarize this entire discussion up to this point (including adding my own points):

    Why should I own/fly/build an EAB?


    • Speed to destination
    • Joy of flying (pure recreation)
    • Joy of building (if that is your thing)


    What gets in my way, detracts, or causes disinterest?


    • Time
      • RC ARF example - people just want instant gratification
      • LSA instant gratification (why build? Just buy)
      • People simply do not have time in 2000-2019 like they did in 1940-1999 (we are over worked, busy trying to get ahead, inflation and economic pressures keep tightening, etc)
      • "Quick Builds" still are not quick enough! Depressing stories of 14+ years to build X project, RV, Variez, etc. Not cool.

    • Money
      • Some argue this isn't an issue, can get in a plane for $8k to $15k
      • Others argue it definitely is an issue - if you are not retired! Not a dime available for anything but family, etc.
      • Pilot certification being a huge barrier of time and money that simply is scarce today
      • Ongoing costs (not just purchase, but maintenance, especially when not the builder)

    • Inconvenience
      • No car at destination
      • Limited payload compared to loading up the car
      • Fueling up with mogas is annoying (FBO simply way behind the times and uninterested in alternative fuels beyond 100LL, including electric charge stations)

    • Buzz Kill
      • 2nd owner/builder not as interested as the original builder - low motivation, sentiment
      • Nothing new (all the Vans RVsÖ good planes, but yaaaawn, boring, seen it)
      • Regulation of Pilot (easier to fly a UL, or get Sport Pilot rating than Private Pilot)
      • Lies/unkept promises (planes/kits paid for, not delivered, pours ďiceĒ on builders willing to get started)

    • Manufacturer Low Demand
      • Cost of manufacturing (great ideas canít get funded, very expensive to even get into kit making)
      • Tied to the lack of new pilots problem (catch 22 here?)


    Not a lot of pros outweighing the cons here. In my particular case, my #1 (and literally ONLY) reason for not building/flying is MONEY. So I can relate to that. I'm not retired! It really sucks sitting on the sidelines trying to get into planes and flying whilst I'm in the middle of a career with a family. And BTW, I make 6 figs, so getting a better job shouldn't be the issue, but my expenses are vast (I literally was saving for an inexpensive plane, and all that money just went into a new engine and transmission for my family vehicle, yay. Rinse and repeat). My private pilot cert has gathered dust for decades, literally decades, and my interest in flying has NOT.

    Now, forget about my story, and let's look at what is happening in GA. This list we have collectively drummed up on this thread is pretty close, but there are other reasons - can probably go a lot deeper into regulations being a blocker, etc. But despite these issues, I recently crunched some data from FAA and I found that the number of aircraft registrations is GROWING, with certified planes outpacing experimental registrations by a LARGE margin (like 6 to 1). But... Experimental registrations IS growing, is not on a decline at all. I just wonder then if what this means is that it's boring. I mean, several of you commented about AirVenture having "nothing new", as in new DESIGNS and innovations, but that doesn't mean we dont have growth with the existing designs (Vans RV... lookin at you )

  2. #112

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    Several of you mentioned Blackfly. Why isn't it Part 103? Why didn't it fly at AirVenture 2019? Why is it in the daggum museum???

    Blackfly perspective:

    It doesn't meet FAR Part 103 because 1) it's too heavy at 313 lbs empty weight, and because it doesn't meet the powered off stall requirement (falls like a brick?).

    Yes indeed, why didn't it fly at AirVenture? If I were head of that company, I'd have made darned sure to prepare what it takes to make that happen. 2019 FAIL award, IMO.

    And given that it did NOT fly, it is a complete disgrace and a kick in the kahonies to all aviation innovators IMO, that EAA took it on as a "historic" addition to the museum. What the actual .... ??? So wait, what, now I can create something that is cool IN THEORY, not provide any proven results, and it becomes a piece of history? Like that is some sort of accomplishment? Gads. The shame.

    HISTORIC
    This is currently the only thing historic about Blackfly: You can fly this non-UL without a pilot certificate. Apparently. Given that they do NOT make Part 103, and given that it is expressly designed/marketed to NOT require a pilots license, I immediately chalked this up as hype, my BS meter went to 11, and I put it into the "I'll believe it when I see it" bucket. BUT... then we read that (so they claim) the FAA will allow the "non-pilot" to take the Private Pilot Written Exam and be on their way. WHAT THE? Yeah, I've never seen a case where you can take a written test and the FAA gives you the thumbs up in the cockpit.

    It's still in my "Believe it when I see it" bucket, due to non-flight, non-delivery. But I love the fact that industry is clearly pushing the bounds here.
    Last edited by Sam Oleson; 09-06-2019 at 03:56 PM. Reason: We don't need this to get political

  3. #113
    DaleB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dapug View Post
    This is currently the only thing historic about Blackfly: You can fly this non-UL without a pilot certificate. Apparently. Given that they do NOT make Part 103, and given that it is expressly designed/marketed to NOT require a pilots license, I immediately chalked this up as hype, my BS meter went to 11, and I put it into the "I'll believe it when I see it" bucket. BUT... then we read that (so they claim) the FAA will allow the "non-pilot" to take the Private Pilot Written Exam and be on their way. WHAT THE? Yeah, I've never seen a case where you can take a written test and the FAA gives you the thumbs up in the cockpit.

    It's still in my "Believe it when I see it" bucket, due to non-flight, non-delivery. But I love the fact that industry is clearly pushing the bounds here.
    Well, they claim "BlackFly is an amphibious ultralight vehicle. This subcategory has an increased weight allowance." I haven't checked that. When they talk about a short-range UL for "the price of an SUV" (Are we talking low end Escape, or a BMW X7?? Or a Lambo Urus?) I'm not even really interested. Best of luck to 'em, though. They indicate that passing the written exam is their own requirement -- assuming that some day they actually offer them for sale, of course. The web site says "2019", and that's quickly running out.
    Measure twice, cut once...
    scratch head, shrug, shim to fit.

    Flying an RV-12. Building a Fisher Celebrity.

  4. #114

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    dapug,
    The BlackFly could easily comply with FAR 103 if the wings were somewhat larger and some unpowered controls surfaces were fitted so that it could comply with the ​unpowered minimum stall speed.

    Where did you read about this FAA Private Pilot Exam for ultralight evtol privileges?
    Last edited by Bill Berson; 09-06-2019 at 02:45 PM.

  5. #115

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaleB View Post
    Well, they claim "BlackFly is an amphibious ultralight vehicle. This subcategory has an increased weight allowance." ... They indicate that passing the written exam is their own requirement
    Ok, if they are really trying to fly under Part 103 and the private pilot exam is THEIR doing (not FAA), then I revoke my "historic" claim completely. This makes their story even worse. Those aspects of UL are unregulated, and as such I don't need to do anything but hand them money. AND I would also be able to modify it any which way I want, it not being certified.

    Agreed, the mystery price is likely to be high, like Cadillac/BMW SUV high.

    I'm not interested because it's range is a joke for a commuter which is their entire target. Pathetic at 25 miles. Bearing in mind as well, under Part 103 means rural, not city (congested), and rural commutes are much longer distances. And where are rural people commuting to? The city. No can do with UL. This is an expensive toy.
    Last edited by dapug; 09-06-2019 at 03:01 PM.

  6. #116

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Berson View Post
    Where did you read about this FAA Private Pilot Exam for ultralight evtol privileges?
    Many articles published on Opener/Blackfly mention this, but now that I re-read it... it doesn't say FAA requires it, it says the company requires it. The two are quite different!

    https://www.avweb.com/recent-updates...to-eaa-museum/
    https://www.digitaltrends.com/cars/o...ly-flying-car/
    https://medium.com/@AnthroPunk/a-bla...d-23e94321c635
    Last edited by dapug; 09-06-2019 at 02:57 PM.

  7. #117

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Berson View Post
    The BlackFly could easily comply with FAR 103 if the wings were somewhat larger and some unpowered controls surfaces were fitted so that it could comply with the ​unpowered minimum stall speed
    Ya right, and if my uncle had breasts he'd be my aunt!

  8. #118
    Airmutt's Avatar
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    Well I’m certainly impress with your summary. But I am a bit confused about your comment about Pt 103 stall speed. The listed speed is a maximum speed. There are ultralight gyros and helos. They don’t have a stall speed. So I believe the Blackfly would fall under that. I am curious if the FAA will ever make them demo a water landing and takeoff. Maybe the fat UL guys should strap a floatie on and declare themselves amphibious.

    Getting back the original question. I think bringing your newly finished craft is kinda like a right of passage. Once and done. Now with said there is a segment of builders that do continue to return. Some are trying to keep up interest in the design (and that’s very admirable) others because they are coming for the event for their own reasons. Based on the concessions thread it’s definitely not for the cuisine!!!!

    Not sure that I understand why when an EAB changes hands its “showability” gets diminished. That certainly doesn’t happen in the muscle or collector car world. I do think that EAA could do more to encourage folks to bring their ships to AirVenture. There are type club fly gatherings, the KRs are meeting in Mount Vernon IL this month. Even though I missed AV I bet you could count the number of KRs on one hand. Again why is that? Last year was the 50th anniversary of the Volksplane. Although published in Sport Aviation not a single plane showed up. Not even any of the closer guys. Hmmm.

    The old guard membership is aging out of aviation. Some of the older designs are the legacy that built EAA and are still a good basic and economic means to ownership yet are virtually unknown to new members. Not only do they look unique the old tube and fabric designs have that unique oil, fuel and dope smell. Love the smell of a gas in the morning.
    Dave Shaw
    EAA 67180 Lifetime
    Learn to Build, Build to Fly, Fly for Fun

  9. #119

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    Enjoyed your summary. My glass is more half full.

    If you're serious about getting flight time, buy a used, certified airplane - less problems, no build time and orders of magnitude less expensive.

  10. #120
    DaleB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Blum View Post
    Enjoyed your summary. My glass is more half full.

    If you're serious about getting flight time, buy a used, certified airplane - less problems, no build time and orders of magnitude less expensive.
    I would say, if you're really serious, buy a used Experimental. Fewer problems (if you choose carefully), and a whole lot less expensive to own and operate than most factory built airplanes.

    Of course I'm taking about a specific subset of EAB here... there are some pretty scary experimentals out there, but then there are some pretty scary factory built planes too.
    Measure twice, cut once...
    scratch head, shrug, shim to fit.

    Flying an RV-12. Building a Fisher Celebrity.

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