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Reliability of Training Aircrafts

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Reliability of Training Aircrafts

Old 25th Apr 2013, 23:09
  #1 (permalink)  
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Reliability of Training Aircrafts

Most flying schools use atleast 50-60 years old models of cessna 152/172. While they are maintained , they are still old and I am sure they do not check every bit of the structure. Its enough to shake your confidence when you are going on for training on one of these crappy planes. They are ridiculously noisy, instructors themselves don't trust the fuel guages or parking brakes, the list goes on and on.

Its like asking you to learn to drive in a 1968 model of volkswagen. would you do that? I am sure no.

Does anyone know of any flying school who has latest models of training aircrafts? ok when i say latest, they could be 10 years old but not more than that. its just stupid i think. I understand the price per hour would increase but how much, 20-30-40?
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Old 25th Apr 2013, 23:49
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baz...sounds like you are a nervous flyer...are you sure you want to learn to fly?

first off, the planes are not sixty years old...I learned to fly in a brand new Piper in 1975...so that's only 38 years old if it is still flying.

there is a tradition in flying that you always assume the things like wheel brakes and fuel gauges won't work especially when you need them most...so that you will know what to do if it ever happens.

THE ONLY time I ever had problems with the wheel brakes was in a brand new plane, when I had finally convinced my mom to go flying with me. So I stopped and got a different plane...that is why you always tap the brakes after your first movement...

I do hope you learn in a plane that you like and that you feel is a good plane. I wouldn't want to learn in a C152 or C172. I prefer the low wing pipers (warrior, archer). It might be hard for you to find the plane you want and it will cost more money...and that is your choice.

But as an airline pilot now, I would rather fly a 30 year old DC9 series than a brand new Airbus.

so far you have asked a couple of questions on the forum and that is good...but let me ask you...WHY DO YOU WANT TO LEARN TO PILOT A PLANE?

I instructed quite a bit before becoming an airline pilot, CFIIMEI if that means anything to you British folk.

happy landings.
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Old 26th Apr 2013, 00:41
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Hi OP again,

you might want to study the obligations the maintenance units and aircraft operators have to comply with. Age here is not really an issue for most trainers, more important is the list of mishaps that a plane had to endure. And besides, do you really think that an instructor will put her/himself at risk in a dangerous plane?
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Old 26th Apr 2013, 02:11
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You can certainly learn to fly in a brand new plane if you want. It might cost a bit more, but that's reasonable, considering the cost of insuring a more expensive new plane, particularly for training pilots. I learned on an older Volkswagen, and so did my 3 kids. My brand new VW was off limits, 'till they got some experience - and appreciated it!

Both of my planes were built before I was licensed - 1977. So I don't really think that they are old, and certainly not crappy. Nor was the 1978 Cessna 207 I used to fly, which had 19,200 hours, nor the 1958 182, which was a delight, nor the 1944 DC-3 I work on regularly, which operates reliably for a research organization, nor the 1937 Tiger Moth I test flew recently, following 8 years of sitting. These aircraft do not shake my confidence. They are about as noisy as the brand new planes I have flown. If fuel gauges or parking brakes don't work, They should be reported, and repaired, not complained about on a forum.

On the other hand, I have had "issues" with a few newer planes I have flown, which still had a few bugs to work out...

Perhaps, as you might like to join, and blend well into the community of pilots, you can relax, and adopt the confidence that we have in the aircraft we fly - newer, or older....
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Old 26th Apr 2013, 02:56
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There is no such thing as an aircrafts or more than one aircrafts!
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Old 26th Apr 2013, 07:13
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When I did my PPL course in 1968, none of our aircraft had more than about 40 hours on them - a new Cessna 150 would arrive at Cranfield from Reims every week or so. They all smelled of new paint and were immaculate inside and out....

I thought all light aircraft were like that....until I encountered the rental-wreckage available at most flying clubs.
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Old 26th Apr 2013, 11:42
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Originally Posted by baz76 View Post
Most flying schools use atleast 50-60 years old models of cessna 152/172. While they are maintained , they are still old and I am sure they do not check every bit of the structure.
There are flying schools around who use new / newer models, but this is a very price sensitive market. Where are you based?

The older models are well known, have an excellent safety record and have a ready supply of parts. If a problem is found, and it's believed that it may not be a one off, a fix will be applied to all the aircraft of that type, probably world wide. Since there are lots of these aircraft, major problems are all likely to have been found and fixed. For newer aircraft - many of the problems may not have been found yet...

The maintenance regime for all aircraft, but especially CofA ones used at flying schools, is detailed and very tightly controlled. Considerably more so than cars. I'm not an engineer - but every aspect of the structure will have been checked, in accordance with standard maintenance plans in a set schedule.

Its worth noting that aviation is an extremely risk averse industry. That's why we go through all those checks. The checking patterns that surgeons use in an operating room are derived from the checks that pilots use within airlines. The checks are there for a reason - but they shouldn't put you off. The same level of checks will be made in new aircraft as are made in old ones.

BTW - Cessna 152 was first delivered in 1977 making them a max 36 years old.
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Old 26th Apr 2013, 11:49
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This is not to do with safety or flying qualities but presentation!
More like car rental where you rent a car with a few thousand miles on the clock with modern GPS then rent a beat up, smelly car with stained seats torn upholstery etc!
Sadly aircraft hire is expensive and when you climb into the smelly aircraft with stained carpets torn upholstery, broken plastic mouldings and radios from 30 years ago it will not impress your passengers or your sense if value for money

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Old 26th Apr 2013, 15:17
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Agree, Pace.

Which is why, I think we - as a "microlight" school seem to be doing OK.

Our aircraft are expensive - 60k+ each new - but are at least modern looking.

Our students often then go and buy their own aircraft, or a share in one, and there are many very smart microlight and Light Aircraft Association types which you would be proud to own and take your pals up for a flight in.

Nothing wrong with "old" aircraft. Nothing wrong with classic ones.

But sometimes a cosmetically poor "old" machine just looks pants, wheras a scruffy classic looks "antique"!
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Old 26th Apr 2013, 19:47
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There are plenty of newer PA-28 warrior III aircraft about, that would probably suit you better than a 152.

Newer aircraft just aren't designed for training, things like cirrus or any other light sports aircraft these days are all made of composite materials which are lightweight, but just not robust enough for students to learn how to land in. That's why you see plenty of PA38 or C152 aircraft flying around at schools, as there just isn't anything better to learn in.
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Old 26th Apr 2013, 20:06
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Our Chipmunk was built in 1951. You won't find a finer aeroplane!

As the nervous flyer asked the DC3 pilot "gee, I'm told this plane is 60 years old. Is it safe to fly?"

To which he replied "Madam, how do you think it got to be 60 years old?"
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Old 26th Apr 2013, 20:32
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Baz after this post and the one about VFR are you sure you want to learn to fly? I'm not sure you really do.
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Old 26th Apr 2013, 20:39
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How old is the engine? A rental plane will get a new one every 2-3 years. How old are the control cables? Bits that wear are replaced if wear shows. Do you know what a 100 hour and an Annual are? At least one radio is likely to be recent.
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Old 26th Apr 2013, 23:03
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Lets look at the aircraft.

Having taken the Cessna SID's check at their word my 14,000 hour C152 went through the biggest inspection of it's life, the bottom line is there was nothing that could of killed you and in all probability the thing could have flown another 3000 hours without a major issue.

Last edited by A and C; 26th Apr 2013 at 23:04.
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Old 26th Apr 2013, 23:21
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Its not the age or airframe but the interiors which lets these aircraft down!
Shoddy panels covered in dust, smelly old carpets, doors that do not fit properly with broken plastic trims, ancient radio stacks! Why these lovely old aircraft are not refitted with modern avionics and carpets and trim i dont know.
They cost a lot to rent old or new appearances appearances !!!

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Old 26th Apr 2013, 23:47
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Its all quite simple Baz.

All new aircraft crash into each other when flying VFR so there aren't any around.

For old worn out aircraft to have somehow survived as long as they have proves they must be lucky aircraft.

Why wouldn't you want to learn in a lucky aircraft?
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Old 27th Apr 2013, 04:17
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appearances appearances !!!
Wouldn't it be nice....

You have a $20,000 152, into which you have just put a zero'd engine for $18,000, but it's not worth $36,000. Who wants to spend $12,000 on paint, $5,000 on interior, and $5,000 on radios, to get you to a $58,000 152, to have the students whine about the cost to rent it? It seems much too common to see on here, people looking for the "cheapest" rental aircraft, not the one with the "appearance" money spent on it.

The flying club where I learned to fly had a Cardinal RG as the advanced single in the fleet. Goofy doodle put it in with the wheels up. So they invested the big bucks on completely redoing its appearance while it was repaired. A month after return to service, another goofy doodle did the same thing. Much of that appearance investment lost, so why bother? The students might as well ruin ugly airworthy aircraft, as opposed to much more expensive pretty ones...
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Old 27th Apr 2013, 04:44
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All radio control pilots know that as soon as you invest in a new paint job or canopy (for helicopters) you are dooming the aircraft to crash on its next flight. Keep with the scruffy aircraft.
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Old 27th Apr 2013, 05:47
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I have some sympathy for your opinion about the sate of the interior of training aircraft but the cost of panel replacement is BIG. By the time even a small panel reaches the UK it will be over 100 and with about 11 panels in the inside of a C152 that is a big cost especially when students have the habit of grabbing hold of bits of the aircraft that were never designed to be grabbed and breaking them.

As for the radio fit it is all a matter of opinion, a few weeks back I overheard a guy slagging off the radio fit in one of my C152's, the aircraft has a KING stack all of it working and all of it still available new. What does the guy what ? The new touch screen Garmin ? Hardly appropriate for a basic trainer and likely to push the price of a flying hour up be 25%.

Oh ! I forgot to mention that we are finding more serious structural issues on one type of 300 hour old light sport aircraft than we are finding on 14,000 hour C152's. it would seem to me that the thirty year old trainers are much better built than some of the newer aircraft, they may be slow and burn a lot of fuel but that is the price of having a student resistant aircraft.
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Old 27th Apr 2013, 07:52
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It's true that some older well used aeroplanes are scruffy, but that doesn't affect reliability and well used aeroplanes under a strict maintenance regime tend to be more reliable that those that don't fly much.

On the other hand C15x and PA38s aren't really aeroplanes, they are torture chambers with bits sticking out at the sides.
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