Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 10-22-2011, 09:17 PM
Asimovian's Avatar
Asimovian is offline
Member
Moderator
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Maryland
Posts: 11,731

The Great Ongoing General Aviation Thread


This is it. Your new home for discussion of General Aviation. Anything and everything about GA. Questions! Answers! Experiences! Bring it all to the table! There have been a number of threads recently centering on GA that have been the inspiration for this one. I suppose an argument can be made for this to go in Cafe Society, and I'm open to the idea.

At any rate, my hope is that this thread will grow and always be a place people can come to for discussing GA. Now have at it!
  #2  
Old 10-22-2011, 09:47 PM
Broomstick's Avatar
Broomstick is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NW Indiana
Posts: 30,548
I, for one, support our new aviation overlords.... oh, wait, I'm one of them, aren't I?
  #3  
Old 10-22-2011, 10:04 PM
Asimovian's Avatar
Asimovian is offline
Member
Moderator
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Maryland
Posts: 11,731
Quote:
Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
I, for one, support our new aviation overlords.... oh, wait, I'm one of them, aren't I?
I can't support you, but I can welcome you. And also take the time to thank you for all of the great advice you've provided me in my aviation threads over the years!

Now, I'm willing to do your bidding, but you have to supply the plane.

Speaking of which, how many of you pilots rent your crafts, and what sort of rates do you pay? And who hear owns their own aircraft?
  #4  
Old 10-22-2011, 10:05 PM
Johnny L.A. is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: NoWA
Posts: 62,830
Quote:
Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
I, for one, support our new aviation overlords.... oh, wait, I'm one of them, aren't I?
General Aviation? Someday I will be Feldmarschall Aviation! We shall rule from On High!

Seriously, flying has been in my blood since I was about two years old. Both parents were pilots, my mother's second husband was a pilot, dad was Combat Aircrew and later in the FAA, I worked at Edwards Air Force Base... Oh, yeah, and I'm a pilot. I curse me for letting Life get in the way for the past decade. But I'm back!

I heartily cheer on anyone who takes steps to learn to fly. (Would they be taking the air-stairs?) It's such a wondrous thing to look down upon the planet from a few thousand - or a few hundred -- feet up. I wish I could share it with everybody.
  #5  
Old 10-22-2011, 10:10 PM
Johnny L.A. is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: NoWA
Posts: 62,830
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asimovian View Post
Speaking of which, how many of you pilots rent your crafts, and what sort of rates do you pay? And who hear owns their own aircraft?
Dad had planes, but I had to rent the Skyhawk (the Skylane was his). But I could rent it at cost. Now I'm renting a 1978 Cessna 172 Skyhawk (that one, in the photo) for $110/hour. They have a 180-hp conversion one for about $25/hour more. Robinson R22s are going for about $220/hour, and Schweizer 269Cs rent for about $245/hour. So you can see why I'm flying a fixed-wing just now.
  #6  
Old 10-22-2011, 10:21 PM
Asimovian's Avatar
Asimovian is offline
Member
Moderator
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Maryland
Posts: 11,731
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post
Now I'm renting a 1978 Cessna 172 Skyhawk (that one, in the photo) for $110/hour.
Pardon me, sir, but your aeroplane appears to be levitating.
  #7  
Old 10-22-2011, 10:23 PM
Johnny L.A. is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: NoWA
Posts: 62,830
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asimovian View Post
Pardon me, sir, but your aeroplane appears to be levitating.
That's kind of the point.
  #8  
Old 10-22-2011, 10:30 PM
Chimera is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: In the Dreaming
Posts: 24,689
I'll just stand back and watch. I'll try to keep the drooling to a minimum.
  #9  
Old 10-22-2011, 10:48 PM
RalfCoder is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Grand Ledge,Michigan, USA
Posts: 1,129
I've had the aviation dream for a long time, too, but never could do anything significant about it. I did join the EAA for a few years, and made the pilgrimage to Oshkosh a few years ago. Awesome - absolutely awesome. My buddy and I walked all over the place that week, and we never found either end of the flightline. There were more aircraft of all kinds, and people from all over the world. If you're a fan of aviation, you have to go. If you haven't been, you can't understand what it's like until you go.

I do get into GA aircraft now and then, and try to go to the local flyins when I can. My last ride was in a 1929 Ford TriMotor. A buddy and I bought tickets for a ride, and I paid a bit extra to get the co-pilot's seat. I got about 10 seconds at the wheel while the pilot took my picture. You can see this big Wright radial outside. It looks like the prop was just past the end of my elbow.

Someday I may go back and scratch this itch, but for now, it's just too expensive for my blood.
  #10  
Old 10-22-2011, 10:54 PM
Johnny L.A. is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: NoWA
Posts: 62,830
Quote:
Originally Posted by RalfCoder View Post
My last ride was in a 1929 Ford TriMotor.
My mom worked at Gibbs Flight Service at Montgomery Field for many years. When I was a kid, she bought me a ride in a DC-3 that visited there.
  #11  
Old 10-22-2011, 11:44 PM
Senegoid is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Sunny California
Posts: 16,086
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asimovian View Post
Pardon me, sir, but your aeroplane appears to be levitating.
It's what aeroplanes do, dude!
  #12  
Old 10-22-2011, 11:47 PM
Senegoid is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Sunny California
Posts: 16,086
So hey, Asimovian, did you do your demo/intro flight (or whatever they call it) yet? Did you fill us in on all the juicy details in another thread? (Haven't looked at other threads yet.)

Do you plan to check out sailplanes too, as several people have suggested? I just googled "Soaring Pearblossom" and there seem to be some cites in that area (e.g., Llano and Adelanto).
  #13  
Old 10-23-2011, 12:08 AM
Johnny L.A. is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: NoWA
Posts: 62,830
Oh, man...

I've just found a 1980 Cessna Cutlass RG for $17,450 here in Washington.

OK, it has a couple of problems. Nose gear collapsed. Some minor damage to the sheet metal (gear doors and cheek skins). Needs a new prop. Engine was at idle, so it will need to be gone through. It's been disassembled for shipping.

Let's see... $18K for the plane, $18K for the engine, a few kilobucks for the sheet metal repairs (and the nose gear), reassembly... And a ready-to-fly Cutlass RG can be had for $50K. Which I don't have.

Reality is a bitch.
  #14  
Old 10-23-2011, 12:43 AM
Boyo Jim is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 36,997
Do you have any children you can sell? Not necessarily the whole kid -- maybe a kidney and a lung would be enough.
  #15  
Old 10-23-2011, 12:46 AM
Johnny L.A. is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: NoWA
Posts: 62,830
Alas, no kids.

Anyway, I wouldn't get a 172RG. I wouldn't mind a 177RG, though. (200 hp, 148 kts.)
  #16  
Old 10-23-2011, 03:41 AM
Senegoid is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Sunny California
Posts: 16,086
Why is it called an "airplane" or "aeroplane"?

I mean, I get the "air" or "aero" part. Where does the "plane" part come from?

Last edited by Senegoid; 10-23-2011 at 03:41 AM.
  #17  
Old 10-23-2011, 09:21 AM
Johnny L.A. is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: NoWA
Posts: 62,830
Quote:
Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
Why is it called an "airplane" or "aeroplane"?

I mean, I get the "air" or "aero" part. Where does the "plane" part come from?
airplane
1907, from air (n.1) + plane; though the original references are British, the word caught on in Amer.Eng., where it largely superseded earlier aeroplane (1873 in this sense and still common in British English). Aircraft "airplane" also is from 1907. Lord Byron, speculatively, used air-vessel (1822).

plane (1)
"flat surface," c.1600, from L. plantum "flat surface," properly neut. of adj. planus "flat, level, plain, clear," from PIE *pla-no- (cf. Lith. plonas "thin;" Celtic *lanon "plain;" perhaps also Gk. pelanos "sacrificial cake, a mixture offered to the gods, offering (of meal, honey, and oil) poured or spread"), suffixed form of base *pele- "to spread out, broad, flat" (cf. O.C.S. polje "flat land, field," Rus. polyi "open;" O.E., O.H.G. feld, M.Du. veld "field"). Figurative sense is attested from 1850. The verb meaning "soar, glide on motionless wings" is first recorded 1610s, from M.Fr. planer (16c.), from L. planum on notion of bird gliding with flattened wings. Of boats, etc., "to skim over the surface of water" it is first found 1913.




.

Last edited by Johnny L.A.; 10-23-2011 at 09:22 AM.
  #18  
Old 10-23-2011, 10:56 AM
Asimovian's Avatar
Asimovian is offline
Member
Moderator
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Maryland
Posts: 11,731
Quote:
Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
So hey, Asimovian, did you do your demo/intro flight (or whatever they call it) yet? Did you fill us in on all the juicy details in another thread? (Haven't looked at other threads yet.)

Do you plan to check out sailplanes too, as several people have suggested? I just googled "Soaring Pearblossom" and there seem to be some cites in that area (e.g., Llano and Adelanto).
I did, and I did. Link here.

I haven't done any investigation into sailplanes as of yet -- that's not calling me. While part of me is interested in flying purely for the sake of flying, there is definitely some of me that is lured by the idea of being able to quickly and fairly spontaneously (if not necessarily cheaply) shoot off to places like Santa Barbara or Vegas for half a day and see some incredible scenery while en route. Maybe that'll change over time.

That reminds me -- everyone rents planes by the hour. Is that just time in the air? Or if you decide to take a plane to another locale for a few hours and then come back (or, God forbid, stay overnight somewhere), are you up to $1,000 or more just for the one trip? Also, do airports charge you just to land there? How about parking?

Last edited by Asimovian; 10-23-2011 at 10:56 AM.
  #19  
Old 10-23-2011, 11:05 AM
Johnny L.A. is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: NoWA
Posts: 62,830
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asimovian View Post
That reminds me -- everyone rents planes by the hour. Is that just time in the air? Or if you decide to take a plane to another locale for a few hours and then come back (or, God forbid, stay overnight somewhere), are you up to $1,000 or more just for the one trip? Also, do airports charge you just to land there? How about parking?
Aircraft are rented by time in use. This is measured by the Hobbs meter most of the time. Flying clubs often use tach time. In the past, some Hobbs meters were wired to the master switch. This could run up a bill if you forgot to turn it off! I think the more common practice is to have it wired to a pressure switch so that it only records time when the engine is running.

While you are only charged for actual 'flying' time, most FBOs will have a minimum time requirement for extended possession. For example, three or four hours. This is so you don't keep their airplane out of service all day, and then come back with only an hour on the Hobbs.
  #20  
Old 10-23-2011, 11:55 AM
Daylate is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 1,703
Quote:
Now I'm renting a 1978 Cessna 172 Skyhawk (that one, in the photo) for $110/hour. They have a 180-hp conversion one for about $25/hour more.
My, how thing have changed. Back in 1969 I belonged to the Boeing Flying Club out here in Seattle. Rates for a Cessna 152 were $6.50 an hour, and for a 172, $9.50 per hour. This was wet, and based on tach reading.

Just Googled on "Boeing Flying Club Rates" and found that the current rates at their Wichita club are:

Initiation Fee: $300

Monthly Dues: $50

Rental for a 172: $65 per hour, wet.

So in some 40 years, BFC rates have gone up by a factor of ten.

Expensive, but still a lot less than the posted has to pay. Better hire on at Boeing's.
  #21  
Old 10-23-2011, 11:59 AM
Daylate is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 1,703
Sorry - was comparing 1969 rates for a 152 with current rates for a 172.

So the factor of increase should have been 6.8 times. Talk about apples and oranges!
  #22  
Old 10-23-2011, 12:05 PM
Johnny L.A. is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: NoWA
Posts: 62,830
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daylate View Post
My, how thing have changed. Back in 1969 I belonged to the Boeing Flying Club out here in Seattle. Rates for a Cessna 152 were $6.50 an hour, and for a 172, $9.50 per hour. This was wet, and based on tach reading.
As I said, I rented dad's Skyhawk at-cost. Considering fuel, percentage of overhaul, percentage of other maintenance, insurance, tie-down, etc., that was $33/hour in the mid-1980s. IIRC, the normal rental rate was $50/hour.

I have a copy of The Cessna 172 that lists the purchase prices of Cessna 172s and Skyhawks from the first year of production to 1987. When I have time I'm going to make a spreadsheet and line graph. Just going on casual impressions, I think the prices for a new aircraft were steady and moderate for a very long time. Like, $10,000 this year, $11,500 the following year, $12,800 the next year, and so on. Now, a new Cessna 172 Skyhawk costs over $300,000. I really want to graph the curve.
  #23  
Old 10-23-2011, 12:19 PM
Daylate is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 1,703
I understand that the primary reason for the catastrophic increase in lightplane cost is liability insurance. And the sole cause for this is the decision of the legal system (lawyers, juries, and judges all operating in tandem) that an aircraft company is liable if anything breaks on their airplane, even one that was manufactured in 1950 and has flown for 60 years without a problem. This has just about killed the lightplane business.
  #24  
Old 10-23-2011, 01:37 PM
Johnny L.A. is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: NoWA
Posts: 62,830
I heard that at one time, half the price of a new aircraft was the insurance premium. There was a case where a family was awarded $40 million after a crash. I don't know how much of that was paid by Cessna, and how much was paid by Lycoming. Here's the joke: The airplane did everything it was supposed to, and the NTSB determined that there was nothing wrong with the engine. But they were found at-fault anyway by a non-aviation jury. The reason for the crash was that the pilot and his wife -- both flight instructors, IIRC -- flew into a thunderstorm. They knew better, or should have known better, than to do that. Any competent pilot would stay on the ground in that kind of weather.

Judgments like this induced Cessna to stop making single-engine piston-engine airplanes for a decade.

And you're right; manufacturers were responsible 'forever'. Theoretically, they could have been held accountable for not putting on the latest and greatest anti-corrosion coatings, which didn't exist when the airplane was built 60 or 70 years before. Things have changed, though. The General Aviation Revitalization Act was passed in 1994, which limited liability to 18 years. Cessna got back into the game after that.

But the damage was done. In the late-1970s aircraft production reached more than 15,000 airplanes per year. After the insurance/insane lawsuit period, 2,000 new aircraft was considered a banner year. With fewer new airplanes being built, prices for used ones went sky-high. Which reduced demand. Now there's a generation of people who haven't even considered taking up flying, so that adds to the lack of demand.

Of course avionics are much more capable nowadays -- and much more expensive. I've been told that the cost of a single Garmin 1000 is $50,000, and they aren't for sale except to manufacturers. Cessna uses two of them in their airplanes. But I object to $300,000 for a Skyhawk. Skyhawks first flew in 1956, and they haven't changed all that much since the '70s. Even with the cost of new avionics, the airframe shouldn't cost that much.
  #25  
Old 10-23-2011, 02:21 PM
Asimovian's Avatar
Asimovian is offline
Member
Moderator
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Maryland
Posts: 11,731
What sort of figures are there in terms of the number of licensed pilots in the United States right now? And is there data available for the number of new GA aircraft sold each year?
  #26  
Old 10-23-2011, 02:35 PM
Johnny L.A. is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: NoWA
Posts: 62,830
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asimovian View Post
What sort of figures are there in terms of the number of licensed pilots in the United States right now? And is there data available for the number of new GA aircraft sold each year?
According to the FAA, there were 594,285 active pilots in the U.S. in 2009. (Link to available tables. Table 1, where I got the number is an Excel file.) I want to say that when I got my first license in 1985 there were something like 750,000 active pilots, but I don't remember for sure. I believe 'active' means the pilot holds a valid medical certificate.

I'm sure there are figures on the number of GA airplanes produced, but I don't have them at-hand.
  #27  
Old 10-23-2011, 03:32 PM
Broomstick's Avatar
Broomstick is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NW Indiana
Posts: 30,548
Active means "holds a medical certificate" for the most part, though depending on who you ask there might be a slightly different definition.

Remember that at any given time there are thousands of pilots such as myself, who have a lapsed medical but could still get back in the game in the future, or who fly things like ultralights, sport planes, and gliders that don't require a class III or higher medical so going strictly by who holds a medical may undercounts both those flying things that don't require a medical certificate as well as undercounting the total number of licensed pilots (which latter number still does not include many ultralight flyers).
  #28  
Old 10-23-2011, 03:35 PM
Johnny L.A. is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: NoWA
Posts: 62,830
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asimovian View Post
And is there data available for the number of new GA aircraft sold each year?
Quick Stats 2010:
Quote:
No. of Aircraft Produced - US: 1,334
Lots of graphs and stats on the link. Note that General Aviation includes business aircraft such as small turboprops and business jets, as well as 'private planes' (i.e., the planes we generally rent from FBOs) and helicopters. I assume that every aircraft built is sold.
  #29  
Old 10-23-2011, 03:39 PM
Johnny L.A. is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: NoWA
Posts: 62,830

General Aviation and the Economy


From my previous link:
Quote:
According to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, the general aviation industry contributes more than $150 billion to the U.S. economy annually and employs about 1.27 million people. In the U.S., every year, general aviation aircraft carry 166 million passengers. Over two-thirds of general aviation air traffic is for business purposes.
  #30  
Old 10-23-2011, 09:35 PM
Asimovian's Avatar
Asimovian is offline
Member
Moderator
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Maryland
Posts: 11,731
Thanks for the info, Johnny. So, two things:

1) For people like Johnny and Broomstick and others who have gone on hiatus from flying, what was the reason you stopped? And did it take or will it take for you to get back in the saddle?

2) Oh, hell. I'm gonna try to schedule one more lesson for this week. But this is the last one I'll be able to afford this year, methinks.
  #31  
Old 10-23-2011, 10:09 PM
Johnny L.A. is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: NoWA
Posts: 62,830
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asimovian View Post
1) For people like Johnny and Broomstick and others who have gone on hiatus from flying, what was the reason you stopped? And did it take or will it take for you to get back in the saddle?
I don't remember exactly what was going on. Probably money, as helicopters are expensive. I was getting ready to fly again after about a year off when some dingbats flew some planes into some buildings. U.S. airspace was immediately closed. And it remained closed for a long while. L.A. airspace stayed closed longer than the rest of the country, or at least it was one of the last regions opened to private pilots. I lived under the traffic pattern to SMO, and I can tell you it was eerie not having planes to look at. There were layoffs at work due to the damaged economy and outsourcing to the fittingly-named Indian company Tata. Between the long intervals of non-flying and enforced non-flying, the bad economy, and worry about losing my job, flying took a back seat.

Then I decided to buy a house -- which I did, up here in Washington. Just before it closed in Autumn of 2003, I was hit in yet another round of layoffs. So there I was with a mortgage and no job in a new state. It took three years before I had steady work. Mom's husband died in 2004, and mom died in 2005. It's only now, over a decade after my last flight in a helicopter, that my situation is such that I can start flying again -- albeit in an airplane instead of a helicopter.

In retrospect, I should not have let Life intervene before 09/11/2001, and I should have got back into the air as soon as the airspace was reopened. Not much I could do about being jobless, since I was doing all I could already. But it was time I pissed away that I'll not be getting back.
  #32  
Old 10-24-2011, 03:58 AM
Senegoid is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Sunny California
Posts: 16,086
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asimovian View Post
Thanks for the info, Johnny. So, two things:

1) For people like Johnny and Broomstick and others who have gone on hiatus from flying, what was the reason you stopped? And did it take or will it take for you to get back in the saddle?

2) Oh, hell. I'm gonna try to schedule one more lesson for this week. But this is the last one I'll be able to afford this year, methinks.
When I was a senior in high school, I somehow got connected up with this guy who owned a flying school at Van Nuys. A few times a week, I went there in the afternoon (after MY school) to clean up the place, make sure the bathrooms had TP, dust the counter-tops, stuff like that. He gave my flying lessons in return for that. I got in a little flying time with Civil Air Patrol too.

Then there was a news article I saw a few years ago -- Seems a "economically disadvantaged" black kid somewhere in or around Pacoima hung around Whiteman Field, washing airplanes and whatnot for a school, and got his license doing that. IIRC, this was also news because he flew solo to Canada and back. ETA: Just searched google for this, sorry, can't find it.

Last edited by Senegoid; 10-24-2011 at 03:59 AM.
  #33  
Old 10-24-2011, 04:04 AM
Senegoid is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Sunny California
Posts: 16,086

Lonely aviation buff ISO friend or lover for good times and shared flying fun.
Must have license, current medical certificate, and airplane. Airworthiness
certificate required (and one for the airplane too). If interested, send
picture of airplane.

(Sorry, I couldn't resist.)
  #34  
Old 10-24-2011, 05:41 AM
Broomstick's Avatar
Broomstick is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NW Indiana
Posts: 30,548
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asimovian View Post
1) For people like Johnny and Broomstick and others who have gone on hiatus from flying, what was the reason you stopped? And did it take or will it take for you to get back in the saddle?
I stopped flying because I lost my job and no longer had sufficient income for such luxuries. It's four years later and I'm still struggling to pay the rent, and have just landed my first job that looks permanent as opposed to short-term/temporary in four years.

What would it take to get me flying again? At least quadrupling my current income.
  #35  
Old 10-24-2011, 06:13 AM
jackdavinci is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Port Jefferson Sta, NY
Posts: 8,184
I've always been intrigued by ultralights (the two seated powered hang glider version, not the small plane version) and had a fantastic ride in one on vacation.

But while there seem to be groups catering to regular flying, skydiving, paragliding, and whatnot, I can't seem to find a good resource for taking lessons in ultralight, purchasing, and finding a place to fly them locally (Eastern Long Island).

Last edited by jackdavinci; 10-24-2011 at 06:14 AM.
  #36  
Old 10-24-2011, 06:36 AM
Broomstick's Avatar
Broomstick is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NW Indiana
Posts: 30,548
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackdavinci View Post
I've always been intrigued by ultralights (the two seated powered hang glider version, not the small plane version) and had a fantastic ride in one on vacation.
[Nitpick] While an ultralight trainer can have two seats a legal ultralight vehicle can only have ONE seat. Just to clarify. If it has two seats it's either a trainer or (these days) a sport airplane. Or a homebuilt experimental. [/Nitpick]

Quote:
But while there seem to be groups catering to regular flying, skydiving, paragliding, and whatnot, I can't seem to find a good resource for taking lessons in ultralight, purchasing, and finding a place to fly them locally (Eastern Long Island).
That's because ultralights are restricted to "uncongested" areas, for the most part rural or wilderness regions. I doubt "Eastern Long Island" qualifies as such.

Try contacting the United States Ultralight Association to help you in locating a school or instructor. You might also be interested in the Experimental Aviation Association. Ultralight Division.

You can either try to locate an ultralight instructor for the type you're interested in (as you indicated, they come in several flavors) or you could take the Sport Pilot course of instruction for that type (as Sport Pilot and ultralights do overlap to some degree) and either complete that license, which would enable you to fly a properly certified ultralight/sport plane of your choice near where you actually live, or not complete the course and legally fly a legal ultralight out in the boondocks. Given where you live, getting the Sport license might be a more practical course of action so you don't need an airplane to get to the field where you fly your ultralight. Depending on what airspace you live under you still might need to drive a bit to get to suitable airspace for your plane/rating, but it won't be nearly as far to fly a sport plane as an ultrlaight.
  #37  
Old 10-24-2011, 07:02 AM
Cicero is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Australia
Posts: 9,562
I have read a stack of books about aviation in the Great War. I don't fly myself- unless it is in a 747.

However, I may be able to contribute an odd fact here and there about that era.
  #38  
Old 10-24-2011, 10:18 AM
Llama Llogophile is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: 50% chord point
Posts: 4,206
I'm one of the usual suspects in SD aviation threads. Learned to fly about 11 years ago, got a bunch of ratings including flight instructor, and eventually quit my job to teach flying full time. A few months ago I was offered the chance to be first officer in a private jet, and I've been having a great time with that.

I also write for the aviation magazines every so often, mostly about training issues. Suggestions about new topics are always welcome!
  #39  
Old 10-24-2011, 01:03 PM
ducati is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 2,363
Quote:
Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
What would it take to get me flying again? At least quadrupling my current income.
I'm afraid this applies to me as well.

I started lessons at age 15, splitting a 172 with 4 other friends. Got my license at 17 and built up hours flying to the Bahamas on weekends to dive. I jumped at a chance to buy a MU-2P from a friend's dad, and leased it to a company running mail for the USPS, which is the only way I could afford it.

I sold it shortly before getting married 22 years ago, and have hardly flown since.
I'm nowhere near current, but I think I might be one of the guys that could land a glass panel 777 if the pilot keeled over and Karen Black needed me!

I've got about 4,500 hours fixed, 20 hours rotary, and 30 minutes PIC of a Goodyear blimp!

Mrs. Duc caught me looking at GA porn the other day. I clicked away, but she came storming into my office - "I saw that! You can't have another plane! Why can't you look at naked women on the internet instead of planes?"


While I don't fly much anymore, I do keep up with things and know more than the average bear about this flying nonsense.

I would love to get an ultralight, or even one of these new-fangled Light Sport just to get some wind in my hair again.
  #40  
Old 10-24-2011, 08:28 PM
pullin is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: N Texas
Posts: 3,331
[sigh]

I had to give up my plane last summer, I am now a "routine earthbound person*". I still get to fly frequently, and one of my students has given me keys to his airplane, with the assurance that I can use it as much as I want (I just have to fill the tanks when I'm done).

As a part time instructor, I'm barely getting about 100 hours per year. But I count myself lucky as many pilots are getting far less in this economy.

[Parental bragging] As I've posted in several threads, I taught my son to fly. This summer he completed his Commercial and all three CFI ratings (CFI-A, CFII, MEI). He's now working in the northeast as a flight instructor. I'm sorta envious as he's averaging about 80 hours per month. (Most of it multi) [/Parental bragging]


*soundbite from an old Beech Aero Center ground school video advising how to deal with passengers.
  #41  
Old 10-25-2011, 08:49 AM
shiftless is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Virginia
Posts: 4,299
Two general aviation questions:

How do most private pilots get their training? All the pilots I know started out as military fliers of some kind, so they were trained by the US. Not on small planes of course, so they must get some additional training I would think.

All the small airports I see around, who maintains those? Do municipalities maintain those, as a service to the community or does some sort of fee paid by the plane owners pay for them? I mean, do you have to pay to land at the Hicksville regional airstrip or does Hicksville extract its upkeep some other way? Is it expensive to store your plane there?
  #42  
Old 10-25-2011, 09:45 AM
Johnny L.A. is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: NoWA
Posts: 62,830
Quote:
Originally Posted by shiftless View Post
How do most private pilots get their training?
Most pilots start out like Asimovian is doing. They look for a school and take lessons.

Many transport pilots start out as military pilots, as they usually have experience with similar aircraft and/or systems -- plus the requisite hours. Many others work their way up by earning a Private certificate, Instrument certificate, Commercial Certificate, Instructor certificate, Multi-Engine certificate, and so on. Then they take low-paying jobs to build hours. Usually this means becoming an instructor. My mom, whom I've mentioned was an aviation secretary for for about three decades, said that many times she was making more money typing than the instructors were. Other ways to gain hours without having to pay for them include banner-towing and pipeline/power line patrol and fish spotting. Pilots used to be 'bank pilots', flying checks in the middle of the night from one place to another. I don't know if they still do that, now that banks can make .pdf documents and 'transport' them electronically. Air taxi operations might hire a relatively low-time pilot, but s/he still needs at least a Commercial and Instrument rating -- plus enough hours to satisfy their particular operation and insurance requirements. I've heard that in Australia many helicopter pilots get their first jobs herding livestock.

With enough hours, a pilot can apply for a job with a commuter airline flying piston-engine or turboprop aircraft. San Juan Air flies Cessna 206s around Puget Sound, making for much quicker trips than riding ferries. Larger operations would be like 'Sandpiper Air' on the TV show Wings, which flew a twin-engine Cessna 402. (Actually, I think San Juan Air has a couple of offices and more airplanes, so they might be 'larger'; but 'Sandpiper Air' flew a bigger plane.) Then there are the regional airlines flying turboprops, and such places like FedEx with their turbine-powered Cessna Caravans. The next step would be the infamously-underpaid turboprop/jet regionals, and so on up the ladder to the 'heavies'.

Another training option is to go to an 'air academy' such as Embry-Riddle where you come out with the necessary ratings and a college degree. Very expensive.

But 'private' pilots -- those who fly for pleasure or their own business -- generall start by going to an airport and signing up for lessons.
Quote:
Originally Posted by shiftless View Post
All the small airports I see around, who maintains those? Do municipalities maintain those, as a service to the community or does some sort of fee paid by the plane owners pay for them? I mean, do you have to pay to land at the Hicksville regional airstrip or does Hicksville extract its upkeep some other way? Is it expensive to store your plane there?
Some airports are privately-owned, and some are owned by a municipality. Landing fees are the exception. Public airports make their money from their tenants, such as the FBOs, fuel concessions, and other airport businesses that pay rent and taxes. Federal taxes collected on fuel go, in part, toward maintaining the country's airports.

The airport nearest me was closed a couple/few years ago because we just had to have yet another truck stop. Vocal residents said that they didn't want to have an airport for 'rich boy's toys'. This is a common perception, that small airports are a community service provided to a small subset of the community. But as stated earlier, General Aviation (including commuter flights, business flights, cargo flights, etc.) contributes $150 billion per year to the economy.
  #43  
Old 10-25-2011, 10:53 AM
Pixel_Dent is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 1,168
I have an instrument rating and own a 32 year old Grumman Tiger which I bought for about 50k 12 years ago and is now, thankfully, paid off. I use it for my consulting business.

One trip I commonly make to visit a particular client takes about 12 hours door to door flying commercial between security at the airport, a layover at a hub, waiting for luggage, catching a shuttle to the rental car counter and waiting in line there. In my plane I drive to the local airport and leave my car in the hangar, fly 3 1/2 hours to my destination where they pull the rental car up to my plane as I park and help me load my bags into the trunk before I drive off.

The downside of flying myself for business is that even with my instrument rating there's a lot of weather I can't fly in that a commercial flight could easily handle so it's common for me to have to delay trips a day or two while I wait for the right weather.

My kids are completely spoiled. I would have killed to fly in a small plane at their ages, but they've been flying in our plane since they were each about 6 weeks old and just read books or sleep while we fly around the country.

Last edited by Pixel_Dent; 10-25-2011 at 10:54 AM.
  #44  
Old 10-25-2011, 11:53 AM
Chessic Sense is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 6,833
I'm about to take my first night cross-country flight, and my second night flight ever. We're going 160 nm and landing in a Class C. I plan to do it solely by VOR navigation via radial intersections (as opposed to VOR-VOR nav). Any tips for me before I go?
  #45  
Old 10-25-2011, 12:28 PM
Asimovian's Avatar
Asimovian is offline
Member
Moderator
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Maryland
Posts: 11,731
Oh, I have a rookie question I meant to ask and forgot about. When we were landing on my demo flight, the instructor pointed out a set of what I think were four lights adjacent to and lined up perpendicularly to the runway. The instructor made a comment about whether we were "good" or not depending on whether these lights were showing red or white, but I didn't catch his explanation, and I forgot to follow up with him on the post-flight debrief. I assume this has something to do with the angle you're coming in at, or whether or not you're properly aligned with the runway? Am I close?

Yes, I could look it up, but this is a discussion thread, right?
  #46  
Old 10-25-2011, 12:34 PM
Johnny L.A. is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: NoWA
Posts: 62,830
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asimovian View Post
When we were landing on my demo flight, the instructor pointed out a set of what I think were four lights adjacent to and lined up perpendicularly to the runway.
PAPI -- Precision Approach Path Indicator.

Another system in use is VASI -- Visual Approach Slope Indicator.

PAPI lights are the ones you saw. VASI has lights arranged vertically (as seen from the cockpit). When you are low, the lights are red. When you are high, the lights are white. When you're on the glideslope, the top light is red and the bottom light is white. A mnemonic to remember this is 'Cherry on top'.
  #47  
Old 10-25-2011, 12:56 PM
ducati is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 2,363
My instructor told me "Red over red, you're dead."
  #48  
Old 10-25-2011, 12:59 PM
Asimovian's Avatar
Asimovian is offline
Member
Moderator
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Maryland
Posts: 11,731
Thanks, Johnny. So I had the right idea. One more thing to practice on my sim, since I'm always coming in too high and having to force the plane down.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ducati View Post
My instructor told me "Red over red, you're dead."
That seems...extreme. But, I guess if you're too high, at least it's easy enough to go around. Being low can have more dire consequences. I'd guess, though, that certain conditions (particularly strong head- or tailwinds) can dictate coming in at an angle that diverges from what would normally be considered optimal. Any truth to that?
  #49  
Old 10-25-2011, 01:19 PM
Llama Llogophile is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: 50% chord point
Posts: 4,206
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asimovian View Post
I'd guess, though, that certain conditions (particularly strong head- or tailwinds) can dictate coming in at an angle that diverges from what would normally be considered optimal. Any truth to that?
Winds shouldn't really cause you to change your glideslope angle, but you would use a higher airspeed. VASI/PAPI lights are consistent and unambiguous in that respect. When they are available, try your best to remain on or above the glideslope.

However, don't become reliant on VASI/PAPI lighting. They aim you at a landing point some distance down the runway, not the threshold. In a small aircraft, you will often land at airports with no such aids where it will be important to land as short as possible. I worked at such an airport for years, and often saw people have difficulty if they learned to fly on large, well equipped runways and didn't often go to more challenging fields.
  #50  
Old 10-25-2011, 01:20 PM
Johnny L.A. is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: NoWA
Posts: 62,830
As I mentioned in my 'comeback' thread, my instructor asked me if I preferred to come in rather high. I thought not, and tried to maintain the 3 approach. But it turns out I really do like to come in high. When I was flying before (in fixed-wing) my practice was to have no power and full flaps on final. this instructor likes to have full flaps and carry power on final, and that messed me up because I'd concentrate so much on the landing I wouldn't get the power all the way off. So I come in high, closer to the threshold, full flaps, and power off. PAPI says I'm high, but I know I'm coming down.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:47 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2019 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017