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A lot of pilots leaving the forums

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A lot of pilots leaving the forums

Old 9th Sep 2010, 00:24
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Well, GA has a fundamental problem: every year less and less people join our ranks. You look at the statistics it's been a yearly decline since the post war years.

Mostly due to regulations and a general nannyficiation of everything and in all fields (not just aviation). Barriers keep getting raised constantly.

Only 20 years ago, I soloed after exactly 10hrs and had my PPL in my hand after about 43 hrs, and I was an average student. Today, it's probably closer to 70hrs for the average pilot. What's changed? Nothing. If anything, airspace classifications and navaids are easier today then they were then. It's just nannyficiation and angst from regulators to teachers.

Case in hand: Medical. Why even have a medical? What is the point? If you can see reasonably and hear reasonably, then that should be enough. Nobody can predict heart attacks anyway, so it's a feeble exercise. Again, nannyficiation, angst and self importance from vested interest groups.

We have to find a way of making the entry into the club easier. The LSA thing in the US is a good start, and I hope EASA's equivalent will be similar. But I would argue that even lessening the standards a bit for the PPL should be looked upon. 40-50hrs should be plenty, if it takes 70hrs then they're held to too tight standards, I think. I understand it's individual, but those last 20-30hrs probably scare away more than 50% of the potential students. That's a loss we can't afford. It's a license to learn, after all.

As for this forum, when I joined a couple of years ago it was (and still is) rather hostile. I'm tough-skinned now, so it doesn't bother me as much, but it can be very daunting for a new member. I'm also a member of a cinematography forum (as that's my business) and there mandatory registration with displayed name was the key to making that forum civil. I think it's a great idea that would work wonders here. I have nothing to hide and I'm also one of the very few who post under my own name. It's very easy to be derisive, arrogant and lecturing when you can hide behind anonymity.
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Old 9th Sep 2010, 01:22
  #42 (permalink)  
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Good points, Adam...
Today, it's probably closer to 70hrs for the average pilot. What's changed? Nothing
Well, maybe the requirements of, and nature of the instruction...

mandatory registration with displayed name was the key to making that forum civil. I think it's a great idea that would work wonders here. I have nothing to hide and I'm also one of the very few who post under my own name. It's very easy to be derisive, arrogant and lecturing when you can hide behind anonymity
Yes, I quite agree with this. When I registered, I believed (apparently wrongly, but then is was my first time at this) that it was intended that you not identify yourself, thus fulfilling the "anonymous" aspect of the forum. I apparently took this too literally.

I certainly believe that people woul dbe much more civil here, if everyone knew who everyone else is, or were face to face!

Maybe we should meet each other more and put a face to the elaborate names used
I certainly agree, I'll be there if I can!
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Old 9th Sep 2010, 02:55
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Where are the "keeners"?.... those kids who will hang around the airport, and do anything to get into the air. I was one, and did very well by it. I have had my plane here at home for twenty years, and I have only had one kid have the initiative to come and ask to go flying.
I was an airport kid. I bicycled 15 miles to the airport every night after school let out as a kid, and scrubbed airplanes and begged rides. Anything to be around airplanes. If I couldn't wrangel a ride, I made do with sitting in them, washing them, waxing them, fueling them, working on them.

I think kids today are repulsed a lot by the cost; flying is out of reach of people these days. Kids have a lot of things competing for their attention. We didn't have computers. Kids today have unbelievable entertainment systems at their fingertips anywhere they go. As a kid I built gliders out of straws and paper and thread. Today kids plug in a game cartridge and shoot people on a computer screen. When I rode somewhere in a car as a kid, I'd take an E6B and practice with it doing distances as we drove, playing with wind triangles, and reading flying books. Kids these days drive somewhere with their eyes glued to a monitor screen, watching Shrek or The Karate Kid, or whatever is big right now. They hardly seem to look out the window.

It used to be that time spent aloft couldn't be deducted from one's lifespan; one couldn't get enough flying. Put kids on air airplane these days and it's "are we there yet?"

The most common sentiment I hear from kids these days? "I'm bored."

What ever happened to afternoons daydreaming about flying with birds?

Probably gone along with reading books. Then again, what ever happened to paper? I don't even get paper charts in the airplane, any more.

I miss paper. I miss the days when kids still wanted to fly.
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Old 9th Sep 2010, 05:59
  #44 (permalink)  
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You look at the statistics it's been a yearly decline since the post war years.
Speaking from memory, I think there was a gradual growth in GA up to the boom reaching its peak in the 1970s, and then a decline.

It was that boom which got various firms to get into GA (Rockwell e.g.) who then dropped it as soon as the numbers fell down.

I've been flying only 10 years but the graphs in the back of FTN suggest a 1/3 decline in new PPL issues over the past decade. What this says about the flying pilot population I haven't got a clue. There may be a connection but probably only a weak one because the vast majority of new pilots give up fast. The factors which keep long-term pilots hanging in there are probably different to those which control new PPL issues.

The CAA says there are 20k with valid medicals. What was that figure say 10 years ago?

However, I don't believe pilot population size is closely related to forum activity, which has dropped off massively over the past 2 years or so.
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Old 9th Sep 2010, 06:42
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'Hello, thing! Your gliding club is in Lincoln? Chris Rollings always said there are no thermals East of the M1.....'

Hi Mary. Haven't glid (new verb there) for a while. Used to fly at Winthorpe at Newark but that closed down and Newark moved to Darlton which is just west of the Trent. Been doing a degree for the last few years so haven't had time to spit basically but all that comes to an end next year ho ho and I'll be back in the straps. Either back gliding or doing my PPL. However it dismays me a bit to hear about the number of people who jack in powered flying after they have their licence. Some heavy decision making going on here at the moment.

As for thermals east of the M1, my highest thermal flight from Newark was 8,300 (I still have the baro trace in my flight bag) which isn't bad for UK. We never got wave, or if we did I wasn't there and obviously there's no ridge soaring in Lincolnshire 'cos there ain't no ridges...........other than that the airspace restrictions around Lincolnshire and local counties are pretty light and the MATZ are getting fewer by the year, apparently Coningsby is the next big one to go. So in general the flying was not too bad.
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Old 9th Sep 2010, 07:26
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Originally Posted by IO540
However, I don't believe pilot population size is closely related to forum activity, which has dropped off massively over the past 2 years or so.
I'm not sure what you are using to measure that. We use Google Analytics over the road and the numbers continue to show strong growth.

Ian
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Old 9th Sep 2010, 07:37
  #47 (permalink)  
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As per my first post Ian, I am referring to serious discussions, not the total # of posts per week etc. I am sure the latter is holding up OK, with loads of "pub"-type discussions. So, e.g. advertising click-through should be doing fine.
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Old 9th Sep 2010, 10:04
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If you care to look "over the road" there is a thread running now about a recent landing at Duxford which perhaps sums up why some pilots drift way from submitting posts there.......
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Old 9th Sep 2010, 10:21
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I've used internet forums/groups since it was possible to do so, from the early days of Compuserve and Cix (the wider internet then was only for university types), email lists, then newsgroups, which actually nearly all became useless because of flaming/spamming/trolling, then forums such as this which have evolved to be great resources.

As someone else said, the old way of doing things was to join a society for your interest, then receive newsletters and perhaps go to a meeting once or twice a year.

There is bound to be a lot of repetition, but in a way that's a healthy sign, as new people are joining and obviously the same issues come up (OHJ, crosswind technique, GPS, Permit/CofA and so on).

As for young people starting flying, that's a different problem, and I think one of the biggest problems is the breathtaking cost of learning to fly. Some may dismiss this, but when you have to spend well over £100 for an hour's flying lesson, you have to be super keen to keep going, especially as it takes quite a few of those lessons before it really starts getting fun.
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Old 9th Sep 2010, 11:59
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Far too few people keep their posts concise, relevant, informative and succinct. Far too many see a post as their opportunity for 15 minutes of fame. Whether it be small arms fire at the helm, boringly long life stories of one's great experience and expertise in any subject which might come up, or simply a mind numbing ability to copy and paste reams of sub paragraphs from the AIP, all of these amount to loss of interest from the reader.
Tentative early posters could also do without smug, snide remarks from the "search police" or those who see themselves as Forum Gods. Such remarks can be genuinely upsetting.
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Old 9th Sep 2010, 12:24
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Today kids plug in a game cartridge and shoot people on a computer screen
I hate to be the bearer of more bad news - but the days of plugging in a cartridge ended at least 15 years ago! Now its more like blu-ray DVD discs and the like replacing the cartridges of old.
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Old 9th Sep 2010, 12:33
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Perhaps it's simply to do with your own experience level?

When you are an SPL, or a new PPL (or simply new to any particular type of flying) you can some here and see a vast array of knowledge. That knowledge is enticing, and interesting, and you will find those discussions infomative and 'quality'.

As you get more experienced, you start to realise that what you thougth was knowledge and experience isn't always so, and accordingly your perception will tell you that the amount of 'quality' has decreased. But in actual fact all that has happened is that you are better able to recognise the quality from the ill informed.

Also what is interesting to you first time around, can get old and boring when you've seen the same discussion a number of times over. It might have been an interesting and quality discussion to you first time, yet to those who were old hands then it would have seems boring and drivel.

Experience can change perception significiantly.
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Old 9th Sep 2010, 12:49
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Also what is interesting to you first time around, can get old and boring when you've seen the same discussion a number of times over. It might have been an interesting and quality discussion to you first time, yet to those who were old hands then it would have seems boring and drivel.
DublinPilot

That is presuming that we come here to ask questions or clarify uncertainties.
That is part of these forums but only part.

Is the IMCR going to be shelved? What is happening with an achievable EASA PPL IR? Are our freedoms being removed? Is Burocracy and the BIG state adding to our costs ? Is there proposed new legislation which is unfair to us and how do we make our concerns heard? Why is EASA trying to ban N reg?
These are all subjects that generate the larger threads.

The problem we have is even in those long threads we air our concerns and grievances then the threads die until the next time?

In aviation we have no real common voice Yes there are bodies that try to protect our interests but they are fragmented.

Should PPRuNe be more connected and communicative with those bodies so that our voice is heard better and with more voice?

That is a role which PPRuNe could play more.

Yes "what do I do about carb icing" will come up time and time again but there could be a more exciting role for PPRuNe than that?

Pace
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Old 9th Sep 2010, 13:23
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“Should PPRuNe be more connected and communicative with those bodies so that our voice is heard better and with more voice?”

And which of the many voices would that be? If people on here want to make a difference then join LAA/AOPA and get involved in the thick of it. I can say from experience that it will take up substantial amounts of time, but can be quite rewarding. The problem is that what might be good for an LAA strip flyer may be bad for a corporate AOPA member. Also, this forum is not representative of recreational flying, with very low participation from the micro side and over participation from the IR high end (statistically).

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Old 9th Sep 2010, 13:29
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over participation from the IR high end
I don't think so; I think the IR crowd has cleared off en masse in the last year or two - from both here and Flyer, and from other places I know of.

But I agree the ultralight/sports side is not represented here.
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Old 9th Sep 2010, 13:50
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I hate to be the bearer of more bad news - but the days of plugging in a cartridge ended at least 15 years ago!
If you say so. The last time I played a video game it was with an Atari console...asteroids, pac man, that sort of thing. The little ping pong paddles that moved up and down the sides of the screen...pong, I think it was.

These handheld games that kids have today, the playstation or gameboy or whatever, it's unlike what I think of as a video game, and it's very portable. No wonder kids are wrapped in their own world and lose sight of things like airplanes. They've already got their entertainment fix.
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Old 9th Sep 2010, 14:00
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“These handheld games that kids have today, the playstation or gameboy or whatever, it's unlike what I think of as a video game, and it's very portable. No wonder kids are wrapped in their own world and lose sight of things like airplanes. They've already got their entertainment fix.”

I have to say that this is a complete red herring as far as the UK number of pilots is concerned. “All” you have to do to revolutionise UK private flying is to solve the drop out rate. According to the mags etc 80% of the people who get a licence drop out in the first few years after qualifying. Work out how to reduce that to 70% and we would all notice the difference PDQ. The recession has eaten into the hard core who fly long term, which has made the situation worse.

Rod1
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Old 9th Sep 2010, 14:03
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Yes, I have always said that if you could reduce by 1/10 the % of early dropouts then GA activity would probably double, with huge benefits to all.

There seem to be a number of fairly obvious things one could do, discussed here for ever and ever in the past, but none of them are going to happen all the time the PPL flight training business has no mandate to turn out pilots who can fly from A to B.
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Old 9th Sep 2010, 14:16
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I don't think so; I think the IR crowd has cleared off en masse in the last year or two - from both here and Flyer, and from other places I know of.

But I agree the ultralight/sports side is not represented here.
Today 14:23
I agree. Perhaps there should be a new category in PPRuNe for us VLA/3 axis micro folk. There is a perception this is going to be a growth sub section of GA and its discussion topics will by definition be devoid of the "high end" complex tourer/IR/Florida flight School stuff which has no direct interest to this group of flyers.

There are of course LAA/BMAA fora, but it would be good to have a single point of reference & discussion in which Rod 1 for one will be preaching to the converted already
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Old 9th Sep 2010, 14:38
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“There seem to be a number of fairly obvious things one could do, discussed here for ever and ever in the past, but none of them are going to happen all the time the PPL flight training business has no mandate to turn out pilots who can fly from A to B.”

Now this is the point at which different parts of the UK flying community differ. IO will try to use the existing system to produce more IR pilots who can fly from A to B.

Some years ago, the old PFA CEO had a different solution. He wanted training from unlicensed strips, on permit aircraft by unpaid enthusiast instructors (think BGA 20 years ago). This would vastly reduce the cost of getting (and keeping) a licence and introduce the new PPL into a social rather than commercial environment. The training from unlicensed strips has just been won, training on permit machines is perhaps not far away, the LAA coaching system is working well and could potentially be expanded. Will the dots get joined up? I have no idea, as we now have a new CEO who may or may not agree with the original vision. The dropout rate amongst LAA owner / pilots is very low, the strip side of flying is expanding fast (my strip has tripled its number of aircraft over the last 5 years).

All the above would of course be day VFR only. Those of us who tour Europe for fun VFR say, so what, but others see this as a critical flaw. In my opinion, if we get and keep more pilots, we will end up with more IR pilots.

Rod1
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