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GA pilots of the future...

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GA pilots of the future...

Old 8th Oct 2016, 15:51
  #21 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: South of France
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I think that new technology will bring massive disruption to private aviation as it currently operates. Drone technology is eminently scaleable so I see no reason why in say, twenty/twenty five years, there won't be multi-rotor, highly automation assisted vehicles available. In the same way that firmware in current professional drones limits altitude and access to danger areas, so firmware will manage navigation of multiple vehicles. Not saying it will be as much fun but technology will always win.
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Old 8th Oct 2016, 16:56
  #22 (permalink)  
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> When I read these threads I thank god I'm in the US

+1 for this. I lived for 38 years in England, then 10 years in France. I loved the idea of learning to fly but it was too expensive and too impractical. Then I moved to the US and had my PPL in less than a year. It's much cheaper here for sure, but also much more accessible and most of all, the regulation is much more sensible.

Nine exams! That's crazy! There's one one-hour FAA written test for PPL, and another one for CPL. That's it. No specific requirement for ground school, if (like me) you prefer to sit at home and read books, that's fine, whatever works. Is anyone really going to argue that US pilots are less safe because they haven't done all these exams?

My friends in the flight training business here say they are as busy as ever. Though there are definitely fewer aircraft on my home field (Palo Alto, near San Francisco). Most training aircraft are pre-1986 172s, with a sprinkling of PA28s, newer Cessnas, and the odd SR20. So that is much the same as UK.
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Old 8th Oct 2016, 17:57
  #23 (permalink)  
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On a slight thread drift, I used to fly model aircraft and many times offered to demonstrate to a younger person. More often than not the request was to "crash it mister" and otherwise they had little interest at all. When flying full sized aircraft the offer of a "joyride" solicited little interest in many young people but perhaps it was me!
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Old 8th Oct 2016, 21:36
  #24 (permalink)  
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I got thinking about my responsibility as an old guy in aviation, and challenged myself today. See "Newbie Challenge" thread.....
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Old 8th Oct 2016, 21:46
  #25 (permalink)  
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Hobbit - What is the problem them? Not having spare cash is one, but that has always been the case. I could only just about afford of gliding when I started and power flying was well beyond my reach. No, the problem is people don't want to do it which in turn has reduced the places where you can, which in turn...

Until private flying manages to re-invent and re-sell itself its decline will continue.

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Old 8th Oct 2016, 22:53
  #26 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: southern England
Age: 62
Posts: 139
I always wanted to fly and couldn't afford it until my fifties. I fly a stick and rag taildragger and work in IT (sort of.) Half of my colleagues are nonplussed but the youngsters reckon it must be really cool to have one's own 'plane.
I would have started learning to fly at the age of probably three if I could have afforded it. Tatty Cessna or PA28? Wouldn't have put me off. Fifteen minutes in a scruffy Auster at age fifteen was life changing (I knew it would be.) Few youngsters learn to fly. Apart from WW2, it has always been so. Good job we are all going to live so much longer then because it is a fact that real aviators don't discriminate, they fly whatever they can get their hands on, young or old. For the price of a decent light aircraft (15,000, say,) You can buy some pretty vivid motor cars and that is where the kids are putting their money. It costs a lot to learn to drive a car as well but it is a far more useful skill.
You fly because you want to.

There was a Slingsby Motor Tutor with a current permit on Afors yesterday seeking offers of 2k.
That would give a youngster a lot of fun for the price of an old british 250 "classic" motorbike these days and no red blooded aviator could do anything less than love it and learn from it.
If we are similarly relics from a bygone age I for one won't beat myself or anybody else up about it. If flying is to go the way of the cine camera, typewriter and chemical photography, so be it. It was always exclusive; many who could afford it hadn't the drive necessary to get a licence.

More fool them.
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Old 9th Oct 2016, 09:18
  #27 (permalink)  
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m.Berger - I think you are describing the attribute of maturity. As one gets older, your tastes change. You also learn to appreciate that you have to invest in something before you can expect a return. Too many people in our modern society expect to eat bread before they have planted any wheat.

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Old 9th Oct 2016, 09:23
  #28 (permalink)  
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Location: 23, Railway Cuttings, East Cheam
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Off the top of my head, I can name ten students aged 14-20 who were at my UK flying school in the last year. And very enthusiastic and hard working they were too!
I agree, the civvy FTO I'm a member of is very busy, mostly with youngsters and the one's I've met are keen as mustard. They aren't flying new stuff either. As m.berger says, if you are an aviation nut you will fly anything that gets air between your feet and the ground.
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Old 9th Oct 2016, 19:11
  #29 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 1999
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I remember about 1980 I met a chap I'd been working with in '78 when I did my PPL (I'd moved on to a new career, he hadn't). Back in the late '70s when we were working together and I was flying he'd told me he was going to do his PPL, so at our later meeting I asked him if he had indeed done the PPL.

He told he hadn't because he'd decided he couldn't afford it. He went on to tell me that instead, he'd bought some state of the art PCs (this was 1980!) and flight sim s/w. You can imagine how basic a flight sim system was, even on the best hardware, in 1980.

His state of the art PCs and associated s/w had, on my further questioning, cost about twice what I'd paid for my PPL! And by 1982 they would be worth the square root of eff all. Which taught me that.... He wanted to be a flight simmer more than he wanted to fly. By at least twice as much.

Lots of people 'quite fancy' the idea of flying. Many are dreamers, and it isn't the cost that's holding them back. It's the commitment. It's easier to buy a PC and some s/w than to buckle down and do the licence. You need the LOVE of flight to give you the COMMITMENT to do it. The dreamers don't have that and will take the easy route, even if that costs more.
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Old 10th Oct 2016, 04:04
  #30 (permalink)  
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You need the LOVE of flight to give you the COMMITMENT to do it. The dreamers don't have that and will take the easy route, even if that costs more.
Well, yes... Some people seem to be born with the love to fly - I was, and as a child, watching the Thunderbirds and Joe 90, reinforced that. I could not not fly. Since I first could fly, I always have.

But for other people, some inspiration may be beneficial. Perhaps the people who are confident about their ability to safely fly a computer based simulator need some inspiration and encouragement to become confident that they can fly a real plane too. Perhaps when they experience the tactile and spatial sensations which only actual flight can provide.

My colleague reminded me that many of the "new" pilots are aiming at flying airliners = glass cockpit, which is catered to well by computer flight simulators. But, you just cannot simulate the gentle and satisfying sensation of a mainwheel brushing the grass just before touchdown, or feeling the aileron forces increase and decrease during an well controlled slip. Those are joy of flying feelings.

Feeling the plane fly, and knowing that you are doing it, is a very satisfying element of piloting, which in my opinion are being surrendered to watching it fly on advanced displays - because they are installed. These advanced displays are easily modeled on computers, the feeling of flying is not. I've flown glass cockpit aircraft, with synthetic vision, and AoA, and realized that I was not referencing them hours on end during flying, I was watching out the windshield, and feeling the controls. I figure that about 5% of my flying time is in aircraft equipped with an auto pilot, and less than 10% of that 5% was actually using the autopilot. Yet 10% of my flying time is in aircraft, which if equipped with a nav system at all, had only one VOR reciever, with lots of those aircraft not even having an electrical system - and they were the most fun to fly!

Somehow, I hope, we can inspire new pilots with the joy of simple flying. They can go on to fancy aircraft later....
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Old 10th Oct 2016, 15:17
  #31 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: London
Age: 52
Posts: 127
I agree shaggy.

Having done some basic maths, the cost of renting a simple puddle hopper in the south has gone up by about 3.5% p/a since I did my ppl in the earl 90's. that's hardly excessive.

It was always bee expensive, in England at any rate, so its a question of whether someone feels that cost is justified.
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Old 10th Oct 2016, 18:13
  #32 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: southern England
Age: 62
Posts: 139
The only way to justify it would be if it offered a sense of any one of the following:
Adventure, freedom, excitement, challenge, satisfaction, achievement or romance.
If it doesn't, get a pulse.
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Old 11th Oct 2016, 10:34
  #33 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: UK
Posts: 1,097
If you take the average GA airfield anywhere in the UK at first glance one could well believe that most GA pilots will be dead in 20 years time.

Why? Partly because many young(er) people don't actually see flying the average spam can as particularly exciting or adventurous and many of those that might do simply don't see it as value at 150/hr. Could we cost share? Oh we just managed to come around to that idea and yet even having done so many still suck their teeth at the idea, believing that life imprisonment surely follows.

What about aerobatics?! Oh no spinning is surely operation certain death!!!???

Maybe some inspirational youtube flying clips??? Hmm once more life imprisonment follows after an incorrect/unauthorised Go-Pro mount was found... Maybe it was but 499ft was spotted on an altimeter over a dishevelled barn somewhere.

What about some exciting new types to stir up the passion??? Nope nothing to see and if anyone dares to step forward then thankfully regulation will smash them in the face before going bust.

How about the adoption of technology? I mean after all navigation must surely have moved on from the Low Level navigation techniques shown in a 1940's film from France to Glos.?? Well it has but despite the obvious downsides to such techniques (such as the increasing issues of airspace infringements) we still want you to use the stopwatch, compass and mental math... the error plus twice the error.. err what was it again... opps mind that 737..

Still look on the bright side at least the CAA have recognised the age problem and we can all self-cert our medicals until we err, die.
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Old 11th Oct 2016, 12:38
  #34 (permalink)  
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No we can't, as is becoming increasingly apparent.
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Old 11th Oct 2016, 13:17
  #35 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Augusta, Georgia, USA (back from Germany again)
Posts: 185
Can't it be simpler? (Just a whine)

I don't understand why the paperwork side of things has to be as complicated in Europe as it is. "In the country listed in my passport" you don't have the situation of "I am a current ATPL but my PPL/LAPL/SEP has expired. I'd love to take up fun flying again..."

In that other country, each certificate contains the privileges of all lower ones: ATP > CP > PP > LS. None of them ever expire. There's no rating tracked independently of the certificate itself. There are no minimum hours per year or every second year...

Compare a PPL with a LAPL. In month 1 of 24, Mr. LAPL flies 11 hours. In month 23 of 24 he does three touch and goes with an instructor. Assuming he doesn't break anything, he's good for the next two years. If Mr. PPL flies 500 hours in months 1-12 and nothing in months 13-23, he has to fly with an examiner because none of HIS hours took place in the last 12 months. However, both can bimble around in a 172 in the same airspace...

If someone goes the modular route PPL to CPL to APTL, how many written tests is that? 3x7? 3x9? (Rhetorical, the real answer doesn't matter.) The country that puts the most pilots in the air would require four written tests (1 each: PP, IFR, CP, ATP). You could even then throw in private/commercial glider and single engine ATP w/ no more written tests. I "only" had to do two written tests to get an independent German license using my FAA* paper as a core. They were almost 100 Euro each! Seventy questions about weather won't prove you know any more about weather than the right 10 questions...

One flight review resets everything. The 90-day rule and hopefully common sense help with currency for people with multiple categories/classes.


*Not Fleet Air Arm. I tried hard not to mention "my country of origin" though it's no secret. I very much like living, working, and travelling in Europe and the UK. I dislike "US vs. Europe" discussions, because different does not generally equate to better or worse. I just find it frustrating trying to keep European paper alive when the "other" is so easy. I can't imagine the pain involved in getting a European license from scratch!
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Old 11th Oct 2016, 13:21
  #36 (permalink)  
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Why? Partly because many young(er) people don't actually see flying the average spam can as particularly exciting or adventurous
Then that's partly the fault of those of us who are established in the pastime. There is one certainty about flying: Either you are, or you are not. Once you are flying, there are thousands of different ways to do it. Each has its merits and not so attractive aspects. WE have to sell the merits of each kind of flying, without letting the less attractive aspects seem to prevail.

There's no point in complaining that you can't take the door off the G1000 C182S to hang out taking photos at 60 MPH on a calm night. And worrying about why a Tiger Moth is a poor IFR platform is kind of pointless. The Twin Comanche is a poor choice for aerobatics, but then loading up the Pitts with a week's baggage, for a holiday to off shore islands may not be a good choice either.

Happily, I still see young people out on bicycles (often when I'm out on mine). They are not driving their Jaguar or Range Rover (that day, anyway). So as a bicycle will provide predictable transportation and fun, so will a simple airplane - it is up to us, those who really appreciate simple airplanes to sell them to the next generation of pilots - because they are flying.
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Old 11th Oct 2016, 13:28
  #37 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 639
GA will always be around, as people will always want to fly.

Unlike most things however, learning to fly doesn't seem to have really come on from the 80s. Whilst that has a niche appeal, it's not hard to see why it's declined.

Equally, given there are the sausage factories for the commercial guys, I think the authorities would be quite happy if private flying waned.
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Old 11th Oct 2016, 14:32
  #38 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: London
Posts: 442
OC619 - Tiger Club - I had no idea that even existed in the UK! I will fly down there and see what it's all about. (still 2 hours drive from central London - but sounds like it is worth the trip!)

Pittsextra - I think you're right, aviation does play a massive part in the motivation of younger people. But aviation and GENERAL aviation are completely mutually exclusive in terms of industry. I don't think many people know about general aviation, or their possibilities. None of my friends (most of them in the mid-late twenties) have any concept of general aviation, until I attempt to impart some of my passion for general aviation. Then they are stunned by the relative costs (generally fuel alone scares them). When I do take them up, they do love it, and really thoroughly enjoy it, asking when they can go up again for another trip somewhere. Very few are prepared to spend the time, effort, and money required to achieve it. And the few that have done, either stopped their training after a few hours (due to time & costs implications) or are financially limited to 1 hour a month (where naturally the more "adventurous" flights are out of reach). Not in my group of friends - but - I see more and more people ready to spend 150+ for at least "a night out in town" every week, and very little willing to sacrifice these outings for a day of expensive (in both time and financial setbacks) disappointment, renting a car to arrive at the airfield to realise that their lesson is cancelled for the third week in a row due to the unpredictable weather on the day, and them having to leave the house more than an hour and a half before the lesson.

It took me just under a year to get my licence, spending every whole weekend at the airfield and a couple of evenings a week doing exam-work / prep work. All that whilst working over 50 hours a week is a challenge. My friends didn't see me often, my family didn't see me often, my girlfriend although understanding and also passionate about aviation did make me feel the strain of the time implications required to achieve my goal. You need to make a lot of sacrifices to be able to achieve the PPL.

Perhaps if I was successful and in my mid fifties, with a well paid 35-40 hour a week job, no more mortgage on the house, no more student loan repayments, no more kids' school tuition fees to pay - perhaps this would suddenly be much more accessible.

Civvy & Thing - Are these youngsters you talk about going into General Aviation? Or are they looking at progressing to the heavy metals? There are schools full of "younger people" training on both modular and integrated ATPL courses, but most of these do make me feel as though their passion is not with general aviation, they see the spam cans as a means to an end. Their goal being a career in commercial aviation transport, and not for the enjoyment of the spam-cans. Now - that's not to mean that after a few years in commercial aviation that they won't decide to buy/fly an old bird in their spare time.

I think perhaps, the 300+ round-trip to the Isle of Wight for 3 people in a spam-can for lunch; Is often seen comparatively in terms of costs by non general-aviation people as relative to going down to Spain on an EasyJet flight for the weekend. (which may only cost you a further 50 each including hotel if you book in advance / special deals). Although I, like many of you here know the incredible experience of freedom, and incredible sights that you see along the way, in terms of "adventurousness" it could be construed as comparable to the untrained eye.

This in my mind, would inevitably limit the number of younger people becoming involved in General Aviation - BUT - this is not to mean that older, fifties ish people may not become smitten with general aviation, and get involved! Just the uptake age would be slightly older. Perhaps the focus should be on this age group rather than the people who can't even afford the deposit on their house, or the repayments on their various loans / mortgages.
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Old 11th Oct 2016, 23:14
  #39 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 358
Originally Posted by alex90
I am sure that this is for good reason, but this to me is prohibitive to spending thousands upon thousands of pounds to get the differences required to then be told, well now you can fly it with an instructor. The only place that I have come across the ability to do this was in Wanaka, NZ - where I decided to do a substantial amount of mountain training instead of learning to fly a new type.
Not just Wanaka, there is access to traditional types right across NZ. I live in the North Island and I can get access to a Super Cub, a Stearman, Harvards and a Chipmunk all within about an hours drive.

Shame I can't fit into the Cub or Chippie.
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Old 12th Oct 2016, 00:20
  #40 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: London
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Not just Wanaka, there is access to traditional types right across NZ. I live in the North Island and I can get access to a Super Cub, a Stearman, Harvards and a Chipmunk all within about an hours drive.
Where are you in the North Island? I miss NZ so much... It was such an incredible journey being out there for 3 months, flying just over 45 hours in various types and terrain!

The low flying zones, the mountain flying, the freedom, and the ease of flying around from most places was such a breath of fresh air!! I flew quite a bit out there, but one trip outlining the freedom was from NZNE to NZKT, nobody on frequency on the way, did a touch and go then went all around the northland before stopping at NZKK (again nobody on any frequency on the way - a lovely deserted "mini-airport" with lounge and checkin facilities. [we called it the lego airport]) for a spot of (very late) lunch before picking up some fuel (chatting to a local instructor) and doing a sunset flight down to NZNE (where I heard 2 commercial operators talking to one another about who was going to beat who back to the airfield arguing who was flying the faster plane). Although I did plan it in advance, there was no need to, I could have changed my plans at any time, didn't faff around controlled airspace requesting transits every 2 minutes... Or skirting around the Heathrow / Gatwick zones, then crossing Farnborough, then requesting MATZ penetration / transit with the military air bases...

I cannot wait to go back to NZ.
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