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Thread: Where Have All the EAB Aircraft Gone?

  1. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by rwanttaja View Post
    "Sky King" may have encouraged a generation to become airplane pilots, but "The Honeymooners" sure didn't result in a surge of kids wanting to be bus drivers.....

    Ron Wanttaja
    Bang on. Sky King was either a catalyst or furthered an already love of airplanes and aviation. But you also have to admit that The Honeymooners encouraged space travel--"To the moon Alice."

  2. #32

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    So much to say, but can't say it all (darned if I won't try, though ;b...

    The real title of this thread should be "Where Have All the Certificated Airplanes Gone?" Thanks for the great data, Ron W! If one looks at percentages, yes, the RVs have lost market share (down from 62% more than Cirrus in 2009 to 35% more in 2017). I would venture to say that the RV-12 would make those numbers much closer. When is the last time a new (clean sheet) certified airplane was designed … the Cirrus in 1998? Mooney failed with its attempt of the M10.

    The rules have also changed over the decades. We no longer have to go to Oshkosh or read Sport Aviation to see the latest and greatest. Whatever is new has been on the internet since the day it flew … or before. Instant access. As we become a smaller and smaller world, the numbers considered for mass production are vastly different. 17,000 airplanes a year in the '70s was considered mass production. Now, how many automobiles, computers, phones, etc. are produced daily? Unless a major shift occurs, mass production of airplanes is in the past. In addition, when most of the certificated airplanes were originally designed, labor was very cheap and machining was expensive. Now those values are reversed.

    Space X is shooting reusable rockets up. Electric airplanes are being designed (yes, we have a ways to go). Urban Mobility is being planned (yes, we have MUCH longer ways to go). And $BB won't change physics.

    I'll take a very educated guess on why many composite and canard airplanes are gone. Composites are not easier, cheaper, faster … and maintenance costs are much higher, too. Canards (and I know I'll get crucified here) are not aerodynamically efficient. If you think those last statements are erroneous, then the King Air would have been out of production decades ago, and the sky would be filled with Starship offspring.

    To say that the greatest time in aviation is behind us is a lot like claiming you're the greatest generation. Is this how we inspire our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren? By telling them that they will never be as good as us? My father was part of the greatest generation, surviving a torpedoing and sinking of the troopship "Leopoldville" that he was on (800-900 others didn't make it). To ALL the men and women of the Armed Forces, they have my respect and admiration.

    Aviation has always been about saving time and/or expanding our range/capabilities, whether personal (and much, much more likely for business … even in little, GA airplanes). I would venture to say that the newest generation hasn't been exposed to what GA can do for them. I know the younger ones that I have worked with say that aviation is only for the very wealthy and haven't been introduced to small aircraft.

    How about we put the next generation(s) on our shoulders and let them reach higher, further and faster than we can even dream about?

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Blum View Post
    So much to say, but can't say it all (darned if I won't try, though ;b...
    Well, I don't disagree with you very much.

    I *do* think we're on the verge of a major surge in General Aviation. But the nature of the surge is going to xxxx-off many of the current devotees.

    We're going to see the rise of autonomous GA aircraft...personal air transportation that require little or no skill on behalf of the operator. The operator can climb in, set a destination, and the vehicle will fly to that place to discharge the occupants. The operators will not have to learn the arcane skills necessary for control of elevator, aileron, rudder, and throttle to reach a destination. The vehicle will do it all.

    And if such vehicles DO become available, most of the objections of the (current) non-pilot public will be moot. No need to learn about stall speeds and climb attitudes. The aircraft will handle everything. No talking on the radio or dealing with ATC. The aircraft will coordinate its flight automatically using an ADS-B-like system. No need to learn emergency procedures. The vehicle will sense when problems occur and trigger a BRS.

    Mind you, the current pilots will scream bloody murder......

    The parallel is with sailing ships. The windjammer sailors ~170 years ago screamed bloody murder when motorized vessels came along. Yet, eventually, it was decided that the Master of a steam ship did not need to understand the care and feeding of a ship propelled by the wind. Today, the vast majority of boatowners have a motor...and sails are used only recreationally, by those who wish to learn and cherish obsolete skills.

    Ron Wanttaja

  4. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by rwanttaja View Post
    The parallel is with sailing ships. The windjammer sailors ~170 years ago screamed bloody murder when motorized vessels came along. Yet, eventually, it was decided that the Master of a steam ship did not need to understand the care and feeding of a ship propelled by the wind. Today, the vast majority of boatowners have a motor...and sails are used only recreationally, by those who wish to learn and cherish obsolete skills.

    Ron Wanttaja
    Smartly docking a sailboat under sail alone is analogous to greasing a three-pointer in a conventional geared airplane. There are newer, better, more practicable ways, but the satisfaction of that landing or docking makes it worthwhile.


    BJC

  5. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by rwanttaja View Post
    I *do* think we're on the verge of a major surge in General Aviation. But the nature of the surge is going to xxxx-off many of the current devotees.

    Mind you, the current pilots will scream bloody murder......

    Ron Wanttaja
    Interestingly, as you hit the nail on the head, the ultimate catch 22 reveals its ugly head for the designer/OEM. We desire to make the transition gently, but the two design philosophies are opposite. As we design smarter airplanes, the pilots get “less smart.” Thinking that a pilot in an emergency will be able to step in on the spur of the moment is not realistic. Similarly, thinking that the same failure rates used today will be acceptable for autonomous flight is equally unrealistic. System safety needs to change entirely to a “graceful degradation” scenario versus the current failure analysis. This is an area I believe is good for both autonomous and pilot in the loop flying.

    i hope personal flying never goes away, and I don’t think it will for a long, long time. I can’t imagine an autonomous Indy 500. And, if we got to that point, why race the race, as we could predict the results before hearing those infamous words, “Systems, begin your propulsion devices.”

    PS. I’m having to edit my post as the autonomous part of the system keeps adding erroneous characters!
    Last edited by Ron Blum; 08-24-2019 at 09:52 AM.

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Blum View Post
    Interestingly, as you hit the nail on the head, the ultimate catch 22 reveals its ugly head for the designer/OEM. We desire to make the transition gently, but the two design philosophies are opposite. As we design smarter airplanes, the pilots get “less smart.” Thinking that a pilot in an emergency will be able to step in on the spur of the moment is not realistic. Similarly, thinking that the same failure rates used today will be acceptable for autonomous flight is equally unrealistic. System safety needs to change entirely to a “graceful degradation” scenario versus the current failure analysis. This is an area I believe is good for both autonomous and pilot in the loop flying.
    There's going to be a transition period, and like most such, there are going to be some real nasty incidents. I suspect the programmer's reaction, at least initially, is "If there's any sort of problem sensed, trigger the BRS."

    The biggest problem I see is the integration of GA Mark 2 with traditional General Aviation. I'd assume all these little personal transportation pods will use electronic coordination for traffic control; it's going to be tough for them to see and avoid the random J-3 zipping around without transponder or ADS-B. One of the recent drone-system applications already asked for an exemption from the "see and avoid" regulations (albeit, it was arguing more with the definition of "see" for an electronic device).

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Blum View Post
    i hope personal flying never goes away, and I don’t think it will for a long, long time. I can’t imagine an autonomous Indy 500. And, if we got to that point, why race the race, as we could predict the results before hearing those infamous words, “Systems, begin your propulsion devices.”
    You still can't bring your Evinrude on the America's Cup races, so I think Indy will free of autonomy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Blum View Post
    PS. I’m having to edit my post as the autonomous part of the system keeps adding erroneous characters!
    What do you mean? You haven't mentioned Bill or Floats yet... :-)

    Autocorrect is certainly a good indicator of how autonomous systems can mess up. Friend of mine meant to text:

    "I'm working late, see you about eight,"

    ... and the phone actually sent,

    "You stupid cow, you're ruining my life."

    Ron "I'll be here all week" Wanttaja

  7. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by rwanttaja View Post
    We're going to see the rise of autonomous GA aircraft...personal air transportation that require little or no skill on behalf of the operator. The operator can climb in, set a destination, and the vehicle will fly to that place to discharge the occupants. The operators will not have to learn the arcane skills necessary for control of elevator, aileron, rudder, and throttle to reach a destination. The vehicle will do it all.

    And if such vehicles DO become available, most of the objections of the (current) non-pilot public will be moot. No need to learn about stall speeds and climb attitudes. The aircraft will handle everything. No talking on the radio or dealing with ATC. The aircraft will coordinate its flight automatically using an ADS-B-like system. No need to learn emergency procedures. The vehicle will sense when problems occur and trigger a BRS.
    I'm going to say no, that will never happen. Maybe a small heli-bus, but not personal transportation. The reason? Lawyers.

    Design something an idiot can fly, and the manufacturer takes all responsibility for ANY accident or failure. Think of how today aircraft and parts prices are inflated due to certification and insurance costs. Nobody wants to build anything new because of liability, even with someone to blame behind the yoke. Sudden wind gusts in excess of what the small craft can handle? Automatically trigger a BRS deployment over a daycare? Navigation failure causing a mid-air? Design negligence. Nobody to blame but the manufacturer. The amount of money needed to overcome this problem doesn't exist in the personal transportation world.

    We can't even agree on the philosophical problems of autonomous cars. Such as, if someone with a baby suddenly steps out in front of your fast moving car, and the only two options are hit them or swerve head on into a semi, which is the correct action?

  8. #38

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    "
    if someone with a baby suddenly steps out in front of your fast moving car, and the only two options are hit them or swerve head on into a semi, which is the correct action? "

    I won't suggest which is the correct action, but I kinda know what action I'd likely take, and it doesn't involve a semi truck.
    "Don't believe everything you see or read on the internet" - Abraham Lincoln

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHICAGORANDY View Post
    "if someone with a baby suddenly steps out in front of your fast moving car, and the only two options are hit them or swerve head on into a semi, which is the correct action? "

    I won't suggest which is the correct action, but I kinda know what action I'd likely take, and it doesn't involve a semi truck.
    But such decision-making logic is being debated *now*, and the moral concepts will be established before autonomous aircraft are developed.

    Human beings have a strong self-defense instinct. When there's just a half-second to decide, the human brain is not even going to process the fact that one of the objects is a baby...it's going to take the course of action that leads to the least danger to itself.

    I suspect, if a driver hits the baby, they won't even be charged for it...the law doesn't expect them to accept greater personal harm in a split-second decision. I'm sure the prosecutors will be looking at BAC and other factors, but otherwise the law won't touch them.

    PERSONAL problems because of it, yes. Because we all think we're heroes who would eat the semi instead. It's just our animal brains aren't wired that way.

    Another way to look at it. Your engine quits. What FARs do you violate if you force-land in a school yard instead of a football stadium?

    Quote Originally Posted by turtle View Post
    I'm going to say no, that will never happen. Maybe a small heli-bus, but not personal transportation. The reason? Lawyers.

    Design something an idiot can fly, and the manufacturer takes all responsibility for ANY accident or failure.
    You're missing the key point: There IS no pilot. There are no controls, other than specifying a destination or route. The manufacturer has all responsibility, but ALSO has all authority as far as the conduct of the flight. The machine itself makes all decisions. The owner's destination is within a TFR? No take off. The automatic preflight shows an issue? No take off. Winds or weather are beyond the system's envelope? No take off. Too much weight, or too many people aboard? No take off. Any problem develop in flight? Trigger the BRS.

    These are *transportation devices*, not traditional aircraft. There are no controls, other than (possibly) the ability to hit an emergency button, a which point the device acts per its programming (take to nearest hospital, abort flight and return home, etc.).

    The one liability risk (other than those related to software bugs) is what's below the vehicle when the BRS is triggered. Obviously, if that damn person with the baby is still crossing the street when the device comes down, you've got a liability issue. However, it may not happen that often, and the BRS logic can be tweaked to reduce the chances of this happening (if time permits, device flies to a known clear area before popping the chute).

    And don't forget the attitude of much of aviation regarding Cirrus' BRS: "Oh, the lawyers will have a field day." "The insurance companies will get tired of paying for aircraft when they didn't really have to." And, of course, that hasn't happened.

    Ron Wanttaja

  10. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by rwanttaja View Post
    These are *transportation devices*, not traditional aircraft. There are no controls, other than (possibly) the ability to hit an emergency button, a which point the device acts per its programming (take to nearest hospital, abort flight and return home, etc.). Ron Wanttaja
    First and foremost, Ron W, great article on E-AB fatal accidents in Kitplanes this month. Although it is only 4 pages long, I know the amount of time and effort behind all that research and getting the data into nice, readable charts/graphs. Thank You!!!

    Flight paths of autonomous aircraft (UBER goal) will typically not cross with J-3s up through airlines as they will be intercity, roof top to roof top and very low altitude. I'm also not sure that whole aircraft recovery parachutes (BRS is a brand name) is a factor either. The vehicles (proposed to date) are powered lift and will have to proceed through "graceful degradation". Ironically, failure modes of powered lift typically result in a tumbling vehicle … an area where parachutes have limited success.

    Although I agree on the liability issue, there is A LOT of money in this field. In addition, there are A LOT of non-US companies, where liability is much less a factor.

    On the original topic, I think that there are less and less plans availability. There are more and more assembly kits available. There are many more one-off designs, though, of younger people experimenting on their own (and coming up from the RC world). BTW, I loved the flying car racing forum. It is people like this that will cause the next breakthroughs. We old guys call them crazy, but people that build their own airplanes have been called that since the early 50s. Oh heck, before even Orville and Wilbur.
    Last edited by Ron Blum; 08-25-2019 at 08:23 PM.

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