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GA from an old not so bold.

Old 6th Aug 2014, 21:09
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Victoria
Posts: 66
Unhappy GA from an old not so bold.

From my perspective I have seen two retractables sold for $50K under value and leave my location.
Zero travel flights. reduction in airline to two flights per day from four and the closing of its local service base and hangars and ground staff retrenched.
The local aero club languishing, no instructor and very little use of its GA single.

Cost this year so far Insure $1300 ground risk only 100 hourly $1500
Cables $1500 Hangarage $1500 pa.
Operating costs just sitting $60 per hour add fuel at 33 lph $125 per hour.
Just got quoted between $420 and $720 for a Condcord RG25 battery as mine is flat through lack of use.
$420 US includes $130 freight landed
AU $420 Gold Coast quote,
local quote for same battery was $720.
Saw a Cherokee get sold for $15K with 40K worth of avionics.
Mine was $50K 5 years ago now $maybe $20 if I am lucky.
So unless something drastically changes in Australia IMO GA flying is at high risk of failure..
And the SIDS for Cessna, the cables for PIPER and the ADSB upgrade for IFR which could well be the death knock for IFR oldies, which is probably a good thing..
Cheapest aircraft available right now ever seen.

I get the impression the LAMES and Retailers think we are still rich old bastards..with unlimited money.
They are milking the used avionic market dry and spare parts are gold plated.

2 cents.

Last edited by ZAZ; 6th Aug 2014 at 21:18. Reason: added
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Old 7th Aug 2014, 00:16
  #2 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: rangaville
Posts: 2,283
Your fixed costs are on the lower end, think of those with higher! You are entirely correct though. Lots of conspiracy theories about killing GA then accessing pilots through 200 hour pilot schemes etc, etc but in the end red tape & user pays is killing GA.

I doubt anybody cares, government certainly doesn't, couldn't care less, it costs them money. I've always had the view that GA is part of every towns infrastructure. It allows RFDS & Angel Flight for example. When those services disappear (it'll take a while) then the whinging may start.

One NSW/VIC border town after years of support for a flying comp is attempting to user pay the event, no consideration of the money it brings into the town. The local aeroclub relies on this event to keep their club viable (they do the catering). Accommodation & pub meals etc.

Another SA town is excited to have the National event & is working with the club on the planning & has officially welcomed the aviators. While the former continues GA aviation is a dead duck.
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Old 7th Aug 2014, 01:35
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: NSW
Posts: 204
All correct however I think GA undersells itself and it's community value .
More PR work needed across the board including lobbying your local pollies and getting local media on side .
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Old 7th Aug 2014, 01:35
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Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: YMMB
Age: 54
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The values of GA planes in Australia does seem to have dropped, but this may be largely due to the high Australian Dollar meaning more people are importing planes. Supply up, price down.

I also get the impression a lot of weekend GA people are moving to RAA. Demand down, price down.

The hourly rate GA LAMEs charge seems uneconomically low. I get the impression LAMEs are aggressive in the hours they bill and look for a margin on the parts to compensate for this. Wish maintenance was cheaper, but doesn't seem unreasonable to me.
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Old 7th Aug 2014, 02:01
  #5 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Enzed
Posts: 73
My experience has been that many LAMES generally discount the hours that they actually spend on the job, as well as having a fairly low labour rate compared to other industries.
Considering the level of professionalism, training and compliance that is expected and mandated, its hard to understand how many of them survive.
The real problems facing GA stem from participation.
One of the best ways to lower costs is to cover the fixed costs over more hours.
The lack or decline in participation is a problem that probably began 20 years ago.
The entire industry seems to want to blame someone else, Blame the LAME, Blame CASA, Blame security, Blame the cost of ....
The truth is GA has marketed itself poorly, How many "young" people are learning to fly? how may use a private aircraft to see our great country ?

Sell the sizzle, not the sausage.
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Old 7th Aug 2014, 03:39
  #6 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Perth, WA
Posts: 327
ZAZ, I share your concern but as others have noted the costs you're encountering are actually pretty reasonable. You beat me on nearly all counts, despite having my aircraft hangared outside the capital city and maintained by a country LAME.

I'm still working professionally and while I enjoy flying lots of GA aircraft, I could see that the ability to fund my private flying in retirement was likely to be an issue. More, rather than less, cost certainty is important to me so I passed on lots of the "well-used" GA aircraft hanging around the market and bought a second-hand LSA with 500TT. (Not being quite able to cut the thread, I bought a fully certified version). It's a fun thing for beetling around the patch at the weekend - nothing too unusual these days about 105 kt at 15 lph of premium mogas, and 5-6 hrs endurance. One day the aircraft and I will end up in RAA but, for the moment, I'm happy enough in the GA world and enjoy renting a 182, Bonanza etc for the longer trips.

Maintenance will never be a bargain if it's done properly but, with an all-metal aircraft designed pretty much out of the Aircraft Spruce catalogue, the parts costs are considerably less than for other aircraft I've owned. And, despite my initial cautions, the Rotax 912S has worked out well as an ownership proposition.

I'm not suggesting that a solution like this is going to work for everyone, even for their Sunday burn around the patch. But there are some options out there and, while flying will never be cheap, some of the options bring the costs within the reach of those who might otherwise drop out - or never start.

I agree entirely re selling the GA experience; part of the challenge is just the sheer number of alternative activities available to young people these days. An observation I'd make is that the flying schools, in their understandable push for the CPL (and higher) dollar, often miss the mark in selling the PPL experience. I couldn't help but be impressed when I flew in to a country centre recently and noted the largish number of young people around on Sunday morning. The local schools do both RAA and GA training, with as much overlap in instructors and aircraft as possible, and have put a fair bit of effort in promoting their PPL and Pilot Certificate courses. I've got no idea how it will work out in the long-run but it's been going a while and seems promising.
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Old 7th Aug 2014, 04:28
  #7 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: rangaville
Posts: 2,283
When I was a panel beater way back when, if we farked a job, we fixed it for nothing. When a LAME farks a job they charge you to fix it, they are part of the GA problem. I've had a few fark ups, they've got you by the nuts, not a lot of integrity there I'm afraid.
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Old 7th Aug 2014, 10:46
  #8 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Australia at the moment
Posts: 159
Hey Jack Ranga are you related to Andrew Bolt by any chance?
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Old 7th Aug 2014, 11:50
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Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Perth
Posts: 134
One wonders if a GoPro or similar portable camera was temporarily attached to the top of the tail for "liability reasons" during maintenance would you see the number of man-hours on the bill drop?
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Old 7th Aug 2014, 13:12
  #10 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Arsetrailer
Posts: 265
LAMES are about the cheapest tradesmen Ive engaged to do anything. I would have thought the business is far too small to get by on unethical practices for long?
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Old 7th Aug 2014, 13:54
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: NSW
Posts: 427
They are milking the used avionic market dry and spare parts are gold plated.
I work in an avionics shop and I can't believe what we are charged for parts by the suppliers. Our mark up is low as its crazy pricing already.

Old avionics from the 70's has seen its day. Manufacturers are out of business or no longer supporting the junkers.

Yeah we discount hours, we do offer warranty and we do fix our f**k ups for free. Also we get paid lower than an auto electrician :-/
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Old 7th Aug 2014, 14:03
  #12 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 98
Without wanting to turn this into a Tit for Tat debate, for any
One example you give me of being charged for an error to be
Rectified, ill give you several to the contrary.
To read you say that Lame's do not have a lot of integrity and are part of the
"Problem" in GA is disappointing to say the least.
So all panel beaters are honest, professional and fix faults of their own making?

I have quite a few customers wanting to drop in whilst their aircraft is in for
Routine maintenance, i don't mind, because in every case, without fail, they leave with a better appreciation of what goes on and are thankful for the opportunity.
One of my customers and a life long family friend even suggested, an owner of an aircraft should be involved with at least one periodic from start to finish!

Fookker, every aircraft has a basic man hour Periodic/Annual baseline, and when asked your maintainer should be able to quote to you what that would be for your particular aircraft type, most should be able to give a good idea as to what a particular rectification will take before initiation.

When looking back 15 to 20 years at the hourly rate as apposed to today,
In my opinion the hourly rate in general today is without question too low,
And should be at least 95-100 P/H.
Think that's too high?
Had your car serviced lately?
Used a Tiler lately?

Too many times I chop hours off the invoice.

Lately, I have heard of some horror stories in regards to bills for maintenance, but I never comment as you never know if you are getting the whole story and is generally unprofessional. But there does seem to be a decreasing number of maintainers around the place, avionics in particular.

Don't make it a Lame bashing session, most I know personally are certainly not in it for the money, but, as in every industry without fail, there are those that stand out for the wrong reasons.
Perspective is offline  
Old 7th Aug 2014, 14:46
  #13 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: rangaville
Posts: 2,283
cravenmorehead, Mike Carlton actually

To the other LAME's here.

Just promoting a bit of discussion, glad to see it's taking place

I've owned 2 aircraft, I've run the maintenance for one operator & I work part time as a pilot. My personal experiences (on my 2 planes), the bad outweigh the good, I can give you all of the circumstances if you wish? The other experiences have been about 50/50.

I can give you the hourly rates of all the trades I work with if you like & none of them approach $95 p/h, that's including the licenced trades (plumber/sparky). That's not to say that you aren't worth $95 p/h, I reckon you're probably worth a bit more than that PROVIDED: I get from you a charter of operations in writing that specifies rectifications will occur if the job is not done correctly. I would also like to see in that charter that if you haven't worked on the aircraft type that I'm having serviced a guarantee that I'm not paying you to learn on it. If an apprentice is doing all of the work on my aircraft and you're signing it off I'd like some sort of concession.

Perspective, would you like me to address all of the points you brought up or were they rhetorical points?

I would gladly take the details via PM of any LAME here that rectifies work if it's not done properly the first time & considers the above points.

Last edited by Jack Ranga; 7th Aug 2014 at 18:16.
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Old 7th Aug 2014, 21:50
  #14 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: nosar
Posts: 1,154
ZAZ, sorry, I can't really see your problem ...

Buy the battery for $420.00 and fit it yourself or pay a LAME $720 (I am sure fitting would be included). Lets see, you need to unpack the battery, fill it with acid, charge it then remove and refit cowls or whatever. Sounds like around 2 hours labour to me.

A brand new Landcruiser will set you back around $80 - 100K. Add a heap of bling and your are looking at $120K. In 10 years, no matter how much you love it, its worth $20K tops. While you owned it you paid $120 - $150 per hour to get it serviced. Makes my plane look cheap.

Cables $1500? But they will last 10 - 20 years!

Here where I live the local plumber is $120.00 per hour and has a reputation for faultless work. My LAME charges me $95.00 and lets me work alongside him and help.

In the three decades I have been in aviation I have found LAMES Australia wide to be professional operators and I have never had a problem with any of them. BTW I have owned 6 different aircraft.

There is no such thing as an aeroplane with $40K worth of avionics. Certainly there are $40K avionics bills but the value added to the aeroplane is about the same as fitting mags, winch and air suspension to the above Landcruiser - perhaps it will be easier to sell.

For way too long old aircraft have been chronically overvalued in Australia, hopefully the prices will fall further.

40 year old 172's for $70K+? (Aviation Trader) Ring em up and tell him their dreaming ...

Last edited by Aussie Bob; 7th Aug 2014 at 21:53. Reason: crap spelling
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Old 7th Aug 2014, 22:43
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 98
Jack, (Mike! Ha)
PM coming.
After Friday madness ofcourse!
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Old 8th Aug 2014, 01:11
  #16 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NSW Australia
Posts: 2,331
I have to agree with Jack Ranga, there are some shockers out there.

We have had the aircraft damaged (skins cracked) during a simple riveting job and the workshop refused to make good the damage or discount the job. Instead, they said "If you want to be kike that, find me the EO for that scab patch up there on the top of the fuselage". This on an aeroplane with 34,000 hours over 35 years of service

We had a workshop pull the wrong engine for a calendar bulkstrip and only realise their mistake at the END of the job when they pulled out the logbooks. Despite having the logbooks, the MR and an emailed purchase order (all bearing the correct information) they refused to discount the bill saying it was OUR mistake.
"Can you show us a read-receipt for the email? No? Pay the bill or we won't send CASA the paperwork for the Bulk Strip approval".

Engineers are holding the industry to ransom and the good engineering firms are few and far between. We are now getting all our maintenance done 60nm away at considerable cost and inconvenience because of the above issues and those Jack Ranga has nominated.

No this is not open season on LAMEs but they aren't all as spotless as we would like to believe. Sadly I would also happily agree if you were to point out that the calibre of person attracted to being professional pilot is not what it used to be, either
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Old 8th Aug 2014, 04:35
  #17 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: rangaville
Posts: 2,283
Bob, a few points of yours I agree with. If you think GA is happening at a reasonable cost I'd be interested in your thoughts on why GA is dying?
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Old 8th Aug 2014, 07:21
  #18 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: nosar
Posts: 1,154
Jack, I don't think all aspects of GA are a reasonable cost, some are ludicrous. I think the cost of ownership of some GA aircraft is reasonable.

Mine is a simple two seat tandem bush plane with minimum instrumentation, a com radio and a transponder. Of course not all folk want to own such a simple machine. I count myself lucky, hangerage is $150.00 per calendar month on a farm strip, the average annual is around $1000.00 with me helping, the last one was $800.00. Parts are cheapish and the factory that built it is more than happy to deal with me direct. The last expense was a new airbox, $350.00 odd complete and ready for installation. I buy nothing at all for it in Australia because the Aussie parts dealers won't deal with me, all filters, plugs, fasteners etc come from Aircraft Spruce, usually for less than Aussie prices. I am more than capable of most things mechanical and I have a LAME friend who is happy to let me tinker. I am happy as a pig in poo whenever I fly it.

I have no data, but I suspect that if all RAA pilots were flying GA, the GA training businesses would be booming and there would still be GA schools at every regional airport. These schools would have an advanced trainer that would double up as a charter bird. RAA has provided a much cheaper, viable alternative for recreational pilots. RAA schools way outnumber GA schools in all areas of Australia.

Charter has died out due to dirt cheap airfares and reliable cheap to buy and drive cars. Without students, the meager offerings from Joe Public make charter only ownership non viable.

I also suspect the huge burden of debt the average Aussie is happy to take on has a lot to do with it as well. Disposable income is soaked up in repayments for consumer durables and mortgages. The average Aussie is cash poor but owns tons of crap financed on the never never.

CAsA of course are no help either with meaningless rules and red tape. An AOC application these days is only for the brave or foolish. The last one I had info on took two years to complete.

Horatio, I am sad to read your post, gobsmacked even.
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Old 15th Aug 2014, 08:17
  #19 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: brisbane, australia
Posts: 219
Relative costs

we pay $115/hr + GST for a LAME
Avionics @ $125/hr + GST
And we're located over 100nm from Maintenance
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Old 16th Aug 2014, 06:30
  #20 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 449
40k is one hell of a lot of avionics...most of which are unnecessary in VFR operation. I don't think I've encountered a single more useless device than a TCAD or TAWS presentation. The information usually show up about 2 minutes after you have already sighted the traffic...
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