Where are all the new GA planes?

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hangar3
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Where are all the new GA planes?

Post by hangar3 »

I have a PPL and I like to think that one day I'll buy a plane, so I spend lots of time looking at Controller.com and the like for a personal GA aircraft that a working guy could afford. (ha ha).

Seems like in Canada (and I would argue the US as well), if you're on the market then you are hunting after 45+ year old aircraft, with an overkill of instruments and ridiculously expensive equipment. It'd be like me shopping for cars and seeing just 1974 Ford Pintos at the dealer for $30,000 for 45 years after they came out! Like don't get me wrong, I still enjoy flying the school's 1974 C172, but COME ON! It just kicked in the other day that's it's a 42 year old plane now!

What do you think are the causes of this, and how could we change it?
Where are all the new planes? Why isn't it cheaper to fly a plane today than before?

Bonus pic because I'd like to not be doing this my whole life if possible:
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Pop n Fresh
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Re: Where are all the new GA planes?

Post by Pop n Fresh »

Here's one.

http://www.controller.com/listings/airc ... skyhawk-sp

Worse than the expensive rentals is I have read guys are spending nearly as much to fly their own planes. Fuel maintenance and storage are just expensive now days.

Sorry, it's kind of like groceries and everything else. McDonalds in Calgary has $9 cheeseburgers now. That was the poor people place they put in WalMarts.
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Chris M
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Re: Where are all the new GA planes?

Post by Chris M »

So what are we asking here? There are plenty of options for brand new GA planes, but when even the humble 172 is $350,000 US new (nearly half a million CAD) those 40 year old planes start to look quite reasonable.
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photofly
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Re: Where are all the new GA planes?

Post by photofly »

Where are all the new planes?
There aren't very many.
Here's some background reading for you:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_A ... zation_Act

" U.S. general aviation aircraft production had declined from 18,000 units in 1978 to only 928 units in 1994."
http://digitalcommons.law.seattleu.edu/ ... ntext=sulr
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Re: Where are all the new GA planes?

Post by Independence »

Unfortunately the only way I see prices dropping significantly would be where the cost of owning a plane gets significantly higher, and I can see that happening over time. Parts keep getting more expensive, Cessna adds their aging aircraft/corrosion programs, AMO's are getting held by TC to more and more paperwork and audit requirements hence driving their costs and rates up. I can imagine more small planes going owner maintenance over time.
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fish4life
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Re: Where are all the new GA planes?

Post by fish4life »

Insurance costs if a part failed is part of the reason why new planes have gotten so expensive. The other part is they lost the economy of scale by building only a limited number of new planes now.
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Re: Where are all the new GA planes?

Post by DonaldDuck »

photofly wrote: " U.S. general aviation aircraft production had declined from 18,000 units in 1978 to only 928 units in 1994."
http://digitalcommons.law.seattleu.edu/ ... ntext=sulr
wow what a decline!!

here is a cool Cessna Ad from the glory days :D

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2VB0_dWhBI
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iflyforpie
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Re: Where are all the new GA planes?

Post by iflyforpie »

There's a whole pile of reasons why we don't see too many new GA planes, and why prices seem to be high.

First off.. there is very little reason for anyone to buy a new plane. Go look at a third of a million dollar C-172 compared to an old one.. and they don't look any different, don't perform any different, and one is not really much reliable than the other (I sure do get a lot of Service Bulletins across my desk for the newer re-start ones). Even lots of the features in new planes can be installed in old ones.. like ballistic chutes and glass instruments. Really, the only people who are buying them are flight schools and businesses with high utilization and where they can write off the massive depreciation... and those with lots of money who want a new plane for emotional reasons. The average joe simply can't go out and buy a new plane because the prices are too high and easy financing options aren't available... unlike at your neighbourhood car dealer. Without a large market... not too many new planes get made.

Second... the reason why old planes aren't really less reliable than new ones... as compared to your Pinto and a brand new Focus.. is because planes--particularly privately owned ones--don't suffer the same wear and tear as cars. They aren't driving on muddy, salty, and bumpy roads. Aircraft corrosion is nowhere near as bad as car rust. Lots of components like wheels and brakes are only used for a fraction of its operational time. And most have very low time... even an old trainer probably has fewer hours than that 'new' Westjet 737-700 you flew on last month. Lots of 50 year old planes have only 3 or 4 thousand hours.. almost brand new! Plus all of the critical components are changed regularly like engines and whatnot. Often the biggest issue with old private planes is neglect from lack of use!

Third... related to why the prices are so high.. they aren't. If you have a 4x4 truck in good mechanical condition with good tires... it's worth at least $3000.. regardless of year or miles. It has depreciated as much as it is going to depreciate.. provided you keep up with maintenance and it isn't wrecked or doesn't rust to pieces. Same with a plane... it has depreciated all it will. Now.. there are a few other factors which affect aircraft price. The hours left on the engine will affect its value. The market of course will decide its value as well. We've actually seen the prices of legacy aircraft correct quite a bit in the last ten years.... that 1974 $30,000 C-172 used to be worth about $80,000 ten years ago... a 1960s one was nearly $50,000. The falling Canadian dollar might see them go up again.. but we also now have a depressed economy and a market that can't as easily import planes from the US... who knows.
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Re: Where are all the new GA planes?

Post by PilotDAR »

Same with a plane... it has depreciated all it will.
Maybe yes, maybe no... I don't know the New price in 1975 of my 150M, but I bet that it will still fetch about that today!

The new planes are here and there, but personally I don't see the added value. If you spend $150,000 upgrading a mid '70's 172, you're going to have darned near what you'd have if you bought a brand new one, and still be ahead. I've done it with a 182. Indeed, the older Cessnas have some greater opportunity for modification, due to their older certitafication basis, as a client of mine is learning about his fleet of 206H's (which cannot have the same mods installed as very similar older 206's).

If you want a new plane, by all means, but I still fly a well maintained Pinto!
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hangar3
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Re: Where are all the new GA planes?

Post by hangar3 »

@Chris M
I guess what I'm getting at is how is it that a new plane that is basically the same as a 1970's one costs so much new!
Why is that as consumers, we have no choice when it comes to buying an airplane?

@photofly
Thanks for posting those links, it looks really interesting and I will read up on that!
I'm really interested, because I seriously think that GA is at risk if it goes on like this.

@Independence
I totally agree, and by that point it will also be because the whole market will be wiped out. As an aside, GA will have to give way to drones, which are going to take over our airspace (see http://fortune.com/2016/02/08/more-regi ... airplanes/ ).


@iflyforpie
I totally hear you, I wouldn't buy a new 172 if I had the money, as I could own and maintain a fleet of 10 for the same price as one new one!
How is it possible, that in 45 years, a C172 that rolls off the production line is the same as one from 1970! There are hundreds of advances that by now should have completely changed the way we fly. Are the research teams at these manufacturers dormant?

EX: there are HUDs now that you could wear to give you all the instrumentation you need! You could save tons of weight there for example.
EX2: An average car today does less than 10L/100km. Have Cessna (as an example) not been made aware of all the advances in engine technology? Why does a new 172 still burn 10 GPH? there's cars out there that can do 40 MPG+ now, and that was unthinkable in the 70's!

With all this in mind, like you said, then it's no surprise most planes are underused. But if my car cost me as much to use, I would also have an underused car.

If you look at the car, for example, it also used to be unattainable to a lot of people, but with the assembly line it became cheap enough for a lot of people to get ahold of it. What would you need to do for that to work with airplanes? What is missing?



So far, I've got the following for reasons of a depleted GA industry and lack of consumer choice:
1) High Insurance costs
2) High costs of servicing/purchase but mostly due to regulations that prevent implementations of innovations
3) Low depreciation of airplanes due to low relative usage (but partly caused by 1 & 2)
4) No real progress/change of the basic technology behind the plane

PS: Sorry for all the vague philosophical questions :lol:
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Re: Where are all the new GA planes?

Post by Shiny Side Up »

How is it possible, that in 45 years, a C172 that rolls off the production line is the same as one from 1970! There are hundreds of advances that by now should have completely changed the way we fly. Are the research teams at these manufacturers dormant?

EX: there are HUDs now that you could wear to give you all the instrumentation you need! You could save tons of weight there for example.
EX2: An average car today does less than 10L/100km. Have Cessna (as an example) not been made aware of all the advances in engine technology? Why does a new 172 still burn 10 GPH? there's cars out there that can do 40 MPG+ now, and that was unthinkable in the 70's!
The thing to remember is that the airplane, given some of the parameters has reached the end of its development. The periodic table of elements isn't going to change (much) so a limited amount of materials exists that are suitable to make airplanes out of, Aluminium still has some of the most ideal characteristics. Strong and light, relatively easy to create in airplane shaped pieces. Given the parameters to build an airplane out of aluminium, carry 4 people, use a fossil fuel engine, and have a mid range of performance characteristics (landing/take off/ cruise speed/ range/ etc.) you'll probably end up with something very similar to a Cessna, or Piper depending on where you like to stick the wing.

One might note as well, that Cars haven't had the same performance parameters over the years, and engine technology actually hasn't advanced that much. For example, fuel mileage has more to do with power to weight and aerodynamics as opposed to engine technology. If one really looks at numbers (as opposed to what they advertised) my 1970s vintage truck had the same pulling power and almost the same fuel mileage as a new one today - we're talking about single digit and fractions of digit MPG differences. Not that there haven't been advances, but in those areas it hasn't been applicable to airplanes - for example one difference between an old vehicle and a new one, are their ability to idle on less fuel, which helps stop and go driving mileage significantly (and is where a hybrid or electric vehicle really wins). In lots of cases as well its like saying how much more advanced an RV7 is over a 172 given its performance, but forgetting about 2 missing seats, and a substantial amount of creature comfort, not to mention durability.
What would you need to do for that to work with airplanes? What is missing?
Consumer demand. Remember as well that we have a society that is used to having throw away things, and cars have become one of those things. Given the nature of airplanes, they can't be used this way. Part of the reason of demand for more and new cars, is a steady destruction on way greater scale of cars, which would be disastrous for GA. Planes can't sustain the abuse cars do. Now top that off with the idea that we'll probably never have a "flying car" world as maybe envisioned for obvious reason, unless we could heavily automate the process, which most feel is outside our lifetimes.
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Re: Where are all the new GA planes?

Post by iflyforpie »

PilotDAR wrote:
Same with a plane... it has depreciated all it will.
Maybe yes, maybe no... I don't know the New price in 1975 of my 150M, but I bet that it will still fetch about that today!
Ahh... yes! Inflation. I was looking at a 1948 Aeronca Champ that just needs recover, engine, and prop... and it's worth (well... the guy is asking) two grand more than it was brand new. Of course... it's probably not worth it even if it was free... but I'm sure somebody will take it.
hangar3 wrote:@iflyforpie
I totally hear you, I wouldn't buy a new 172 if I had the money, as I could own and maintain a fleet of 10 for the same price as one new one!
How is it possible, that in 45 years, a C172 that rolls off the production line is the same as one from 1970! There are hundreds of advances that by now should have completely changed the way we fly. Are the research teams at these manufacturers dormant?
Yes and no. I mean.. you look at a Cirrus... and it represents an almost equivalent advancement to aviation. All composite construction, advanced aerodynamics, etc etc.... and it does fly faster on less fuel. But most airplanes are a compromise and where it gains in cruising speed and efficiency it loses in docility and low speed handling characteristics. The humble Cessna 172 and 182 have always managed to have the best compromise of cruising speed, short field performance, and docile handling.
EX: there are HUDs now that you could wear to give you all the instrumentation you need! You could save tons of weight there for example.
Perhaps... but we can't just change the instruments in the aircraft or get rid of them. Even with glass cockpits we have to have standby instruments. A wearable HUD would certainly have to have backup instruments just in case the HUD decided to go on the fritz. Then there would be the costs of certification. Of course.. .there are minimalists in aviation who choose to just have basic instruments and remain VFR.

EX2: An average car today does less than 10L/100km. Have Cessna (as an example) not been made aware of all the advances in engine technology? Why does a new 172 still burn 10 GPH? there's cars out there that can do 40 MPG+ now, and that was unthinkable in the 70's!
Was it? Seems to me a 1976 Chevette got 40MPG highway, 28 city.... US gallons even. How quickly we forget.

Of course... cars have lots of advances that aren't applicable to airplanes... and an awful lot of marketing that makes a big deal out of what isn't a big deal at all.

For example... starting about the mid 60s.. it was the 'cubic inch wars'. It didn't matter what the performance or handling was... bigger was better. 289, 302, 327, 350, 396, 427, 440, 454, 460, etc etc... they were just putting three ton truck engines into shortened grocery getter chassis with leaf springs and drum brakes. Years later when displacements came back down for fuel economy purposes and horsepower came down because of SAE Net and emissions requirements... they stopped advertising those. Nobody wanted a 305 Corvette huffing 180 HP after the big blocks of the early 1970s.

Then horsepowers started going up again with better technology. Multiport, sequential, and direct fuel injection.. dual overhead cams and multivalve heads, turbochargers, and engines with big bores and short strokes designed to rev to the stratosphere. Problem was.. it was only peak horsepower and lots of the useable torque was sacrificed for it. But the big number was what was put in the advertisement... even though lots of lower powered engines felt better around town.

Airplane engines are designed to be simple... most have no gear box and because of the limitations of the propeller they spin at no more than 2800RPM. This means that overhead cams, multiple valves, and low reciprocating mass isn't really a priority. It means that we want to know the peak horsepower.. but we're expecting to be able to use 55-75% of it for hours upon end; we'd never use a car engine that way and it probably wouldn't last very long if we did.

Here is a good read about the ensuing disaster of trying to put a 'modern' car engine into an airplane.

http://www.seqair.com/Other/PFM/PorschePFM.html
If you look at the car, for example, it also used to be unattainable to a lot of people, but with the assembly line it became cheap enough for a lot of people to get ahold of it. What would you need to do for that to work with airplanes? What is missing?
Something like this did happen in 1946. With the end of the war, lots of infrastructure in place for aircraft manufacture, lots of newly minted pilots, and people who had a large amount of disposable income for the first time since the Depression who were snapping up tract housing and new cars like no tomorrow.

Problem was, the market got saturated. Everyone who wanted a plane got one in 1946, and the aircraft market crashed spectacularly. The post war boom drove up wages and costs of manufacture which meant only a few light aircraft manufacturers survived while others folded or were passed around to various industrial conglomerates like the village bicycle. While enjoying a brief resurgence in the 50s, 60s, and 70s... litigation drove prices up to the point of being unsustainable while driving away customers.

Then there are all the disadvantages of aircraft vs cars. You can't just jump into a plane like you can into a car. You can't just fly across town. You can't fly in inclement weather without a lot more equipment, training, and infrastructure. You need a lot of special training just to be able to fly a plane. And typically, you can't carry anywhere near what you can carry in even a regular sedan. This puts the plane into the expensive toy rather than the everyday necessity category. Don't ever try and rationalize it like it will save time travelling or it will appreciate in value.. 'cause chances are it won't.
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Re: Where are all the new GA planes?

Post by Rookie50 »

Great comments. As Ifly says, plane engines are akeen more to heavy truck engines than high revving cars. Lots of torque.

My 182 makes only 230 hp vs 180 in the 172s, hardly a difference, but huge difference in torque -- which we don't have numbers for?
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Re: Where are all the new GA planes?

Post by N181CS »

Until the cost of a new single engine piston comes back to reasonable prices the market will continue to decline. The price of a plane vs people's income in the 70s compared to now is astonishing. Earning 15-30k then was not unheard of however earning 300k plus today is extremely rare. Min wage was 2.25 in 74 and a Toronto house price was in the 50k range now it's 11$ and a Toronto house is 600-1million. Everything has gone up in cost while wages are very stagnant. The average household income is only $70k now. Midsize cars are 35-50k again beyond a single persons income now vs the 70s.


http://www.trebhome.com/market_news/mar ... istics.pdf
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Re: Where are all the new GA planes?

Post by PilotDAR »

How is it possible, that in 45 years, a C172 that rolls off the production line is the same as one from 1970! There are hundreds of advances that by now should have completely changed the way we fly. Are the research teams at these manufacturers dormant?
It's many millions of dollars less costly to continue to (or restart) manufacture under the existing type certificate data sheet (one for airframe, another for the engine) than it is to approve an entirely new design. To say nothing of the savings of reusing tooling, and tried and true manufacturing techniques. And, you end up with a plane that every pilot can fly, and every mechanic already knows how to maintain - for better or worse.

The cost to certify new designs is painfully expensive. The new 172, like other restarts does have a newer certification basis, to capture some product improvements (seat tracks in the case of single Cessnas) but if Cessna changed too much, it becomes a new plane (like a Skycatcher), and costs go silly to certify it.
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Re: Where are all the new GA planes?

Post by Pop n Fresh »

Don't like Cessnas?

This Piper Archer is sweet.

http://www.controller.com/listings/airc ... -archer-tx

How about a Husky? They are very nice.

http://www.controller.com/listings/airc ... husky-a-1c
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Re: Where are all the new GA planes?

Post by hangar3 »

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVPh5M0PJs0#t=16

Interesting video I just found today!
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Re: Where are all the new GA planes?

Post by redlaser »

There are some good old planes out there selling for as low as $15000.00 in very good condition, Right now American aircraft are expensive due to the low dollar,
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Re: Where are all the new GA planes?

Post by Pop n Fresh »

Refurbished? I'd go with the RedBird I think.



Am I the only one who thinks the pt-6 should go in a C-172?
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Re: Where are all the new GA planes?

Post by 7ECA »

So, there are Thielert (now defunct) diesels, Centurion diesels (current iteration of Thielert), and Diamond has Austro diesels in the DA-42/-62.
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Re: Where are all the new GA planes?

Post by SuperchargedRS »

Well you got to get out of the "used" car consumer mindset.

Aircraft are a bit different, it's all how it was flown and the mx and airframe, I've flown 70 year old planes which really had near 0 downtime, I've flown late model planes which never made it a month in service without something needing fixing, and to top it off they didn't even fly as nice as the older birds.

Of course the inverse is true as well, some of the new experimental planes are sweet machines, big engined glasairs with full glass, not shabby!
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Re: Where are all the new GA planes?

Post by PilotDAR »

Aircraft are a bit different, it's all how it was flown and the mx and airframe, I've flown 70 year old planes which really had near 0 downtime, I've flown late model planes which never made it a month in service without something needing fixing, and to top it off they didn't even fly as nice as the older birds.
+1
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Re: Where are all the new GA planes?

Post by Chris M »

There's always the homebuilt market. $130-180K (US) will buy you a 150 hour RV-10 that's only 3-5 years old. 1100 lbs useful and 160+ kts. Or if you only need two seats there's a plethora of designs to choose from.
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