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 threadsrecentlycentering 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
“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.
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?
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.
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.