Why is flying so expensive?

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Ypilot
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Why is flying so expensive?

#1 Post by Ypilot » Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:38 pm

I have been thinking lately, flying has become too expensive in general aviation. Commercial aviation is becoming cheaper and more competitive, owning a piston aircraft means the complete opposite.

We have all the high tech technology, glass-cockpits, fancy ipads. Time goes by and jet engines are cheaper to operate, but the good old Cessna 172 still drinks oil and gas like 50 years ago, 7 gallons an hour at 2$ the litre. Those overhauled piston engines are worthless after 2000 hours and they cost you an arm if you want a major overhaul. You brake that cheap foam armrest, it cost you 150$ from the manufacturer.

Aviation is changing, except for GA aircrafts. I have met private pilots lately that are complaining that they can't fly much anymore, it has become very expensive.

If we look at it from an industry perspective, there is an incoming shortage of commercial pilots all over the planet.

There is a need for manufacturers to get off their butts and rethink general aviation for everyone's sake. Maybe we need new players.
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

#2 Post by fish4life » Thu Oct 05, 2017 8:15 pm

Insurance, also owning a 152 is probably cheaper than wakeboarding boats/ sleds but people's hobbies change
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MrAviator19
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

#3 Post by MrAviator19 » Thu Oct 05, 2017 9:34 pm

My flight from HNL to YVR next week, roughly 6 hours on a B737, will be cheaper than what I pay to fly an hour and a half on a C172!

:rolleyes:
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

#4 Post by valleyboy » Fri Oct 06, 2017 12:45 am

There is always an option - go back to basics, a self maintained cub with no fancy stuff and enjoy what general aviation should be all about --- fun and if you want to go some place in a hurry buy an airline ticket.
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

#5 Post by Panama Jack » Fri Oct 06, 2017 1:49 am

It is my humble opinion that the future of recreational aviation in Canada is in the Basic and Advanced Ultralight Aeroplane Category (a rough equivalent of Light Sport in the USA).
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

#6 Post by praveen4143 » Fri Oct 06, 2017 4:22 am

I think it's all the economy of scale and also a little greed..

When there used to be a lot more airplanes flying, making parts in large scale was probably profitable. Now that there's lots of old airplanes sitting and not flying, there's not enough of a demand for parts and having to sit on parts is expensive for Cessna and the like, so they charge an arm and a couple of legs to make it worth their while. Just my $0.02
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

#7 Post by NunavutPA-12 » Fri Oct 06, 2017 5:26 am

valleyboy wrote:There is always an option - go back to basics, a self maintained cub with no fancy stuff and enjoy what general aviation should be all about --- fun and if you want to go some place in a hurry buy an airline ticket.
Yes! I surprised myself when I came to the realization that I enjoy maintaining my home-built PA-12 almost as much as I like to fly it.
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

#8 Post by Posthumane » Fri Oct 06, 2017 8:42 am

Well, if you fly an airplane designed in the 50's then don't be surprised that you get the same performance as they had in the 50's. The march of time doesn't magically change physics. Modern aero engines such as some of the Rotax series use very little oil and run on Mogas at $1/L. And many older airplanes (C172 being one) can have a mogas STC, which also reduces cost. But the amount of fuel burned is a matter of the power required, which in turn depends on the airframe. Piston engine efficiency hasn't changed significantly in the last few decades, and an aircraft requiring a certain amount of power will burn a certain amount of fuel. If you want to burn less, use a lighter and more aerodynamically efficient airframe. As an example, most of the Vans RV series of aircraft fly about 50% faster than a 172 with the same engine.

Maintenance on a certified aircraft is definitely the biggest expense, and is due to small production numbers and huge amounts of liability for manufacturers that resulted from the lawsuit spree of the 80's. There are several ways to get around that, each with their own advantages and disadvantages:
a) Experimental / amateur-built / Homebuilt - Wide range of aircraft available, no requirements to use certified parts, but not built to a specific airworthiness standard so they tend to vary a bit more in terms of safety, controllability, performance, etc. Many of them are great aircraft. If you're buying an already built aircraft, make sure you get a checkout in that type of aircraft as they may handle quite a bit differently than a 172.
b) Advanced ultralights - fairly limited in terms of weight and speed, but quite useable as a recreational aircraft. Many older 2 place airplanes can now be registered as advanced ultralights. If you have a PPL, you can use them for day VFR flying with no additional training, but if you're used to larger/faster airplanes then a checkout on type is recommended.
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

#9 Post by AirFrame » Fri Oct 06, 2017 10:16 am

Posthumane wrote:a) Experimental / amateur-built / Homebuilt - Wide range of aircraft available, no requirements to use certified parts, but not built to a specific airworthiness standard so they tend to vary a bit more in terms of safety, controllability, performance, etc. Many of them are great aircraft. If you're buying an already built aircraft, make sure you get a checkout in that type of aircraft as they may handle quite a bit differently than a 172.
As a blanket statement that's a bit harsh. It's worth noting that many Amateur-Built Aircraft are built to the *same* standard as Cessnas and Pipers, just with different tradeoffs in mission profile. You can already buy a nice used Cessna for $20-50K and go fly if you want to. If you want a different mission profile (faster for travel, aerobatic for fun, super-slow for backcountry/gravel bars, etc.), you probably won't find a certified airplane in the same price category that will fit the bill. You can, however, build an airplane for any of those categories in that price range. In building, you'll become your own mechanic, which further reduces costs down the road. It's really an excellent option for anyone who is mechanically inclined.

To be fair, there are crappy designs as well, but I think for the most part they are short-lived on the market..
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

#10 Post by Posthumane » Fri Oct 06, 2017 10:46 am

Airframe, I think we are saying the same thing, I just may not have said it very well. Most homebuilt aircraft are great designs and very well built. But the fact that they are not built to a *specific* airworthiness standard (standard in this case meaning a document that outlines many airworthiness requirements such as control forces and spin recovery requirements) means that you can't always just jump into one and expect it to handle like a Cessna or piper, if that's what you're used to. Some are much higher performance, some have very light or somewhat unbalanced control forces, etc. Those are not necessarily bad things, but it's something that must me kept in mind in order to not compromise safety. Not being built to a specific standard does not mean that they are lower quality than certified aircraft - in fact I think many new homebuilts are of a much higher build quality than some of the old certified birds you see around airfields. I plan on eventually getting a homebuilt as there are several that appear to fit my needs (ok, desires) more than the traditional certified singles, and am a big fan of them.
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

#11 Post by rookiepilot » Fri Oct 06, 2017 11:15 am

Ypilot wrote:I have been thinking lately, flying has become too expensive in general aviation. Commercial aviation is becoming cheaper and more competitive, owning a piston aircraft means the complete opposite.

There is a need for manufacturers to get off their butts and rethink general aviation for everyone's sake. Maybe we need new players.
What exact solutions are you offering to this problem? My immediate thought anytime someone says someone else "should" do something.

Why "should" they? They are in business to make products for profit. Not for "everyones" sake. It's not charity.

Everyone wants to complain. Not one person would even think, "I can do a better job!" -- and risk time, energy and a load of money, with no guarantees.

Someone else "should" always do it.

:roll:
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

#12 Post by PilotDAR » Fri Oct 06, 2017 12:32 pm

We have a freedom to fly which is probably less encumbered than any other country. There are many counties in which private aviation does not exist at all, others where it is not at all easy nor low cost. The national regulatory system which enabled Canadian general aviation is outdated, though it kept us flying, when many couldn't. We're paying for the remnants of that system. It is receding in places (like the introduction of Owner Maintenance), which has cost reduction elements.

But ultimately, being airborne is costly: either a low cost old plane, which requires expensive parts replacement, or a new plane, which is costly, because new planes simply are - manufacturers are not charities. Those people who have learned the skills to effectively maintain and repair aircraft have invested, and would like to be decently paid for their knowledge and experience.

Our airports and airspace have to be somewhat staffed, though much less than I remember from decades earlier. Those people expect to be paid. I've flown 300NM VFR legs in Europe in the 182, for which the airspace and landing fees exceeded what I pay in Canada annually.

No one is motivated to make your flying less costly for you, anyone providing a general aviation service is just trying to survive. Pehaps you can reduce your cost by not needing their service, that's up to you...
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

#13 Post by black hole » Fri Oct 06, 2017 2:26 pm

Basic flying should be taught in a basic airplane. PIPER CUB!!!!


BH
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

#14 Post by dcabrown » Sat Oct 07, 2017 5:06 am

Solution - PARTNERSHIPS are one of the easiest ways to bring the costs down significantly. I'm not sure why there aren't more partnerships (2-5 people) or flying clubs (6-20 people) around. Maybe there are and I don't know about em?

Consider:
Tie down - same amount regardless of pilots, can be split between people
Insurance - same amount for for 2-5 pilots, can be split
Annual Inspection - basically the same amount ($1600+snags) each year whether you fly 20 or 200 hours

Scheduling - via Google Calendar - free

It's just a matter of meeting the right people to form a group which I'll admit is easier said than done.
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

#15 Post by AirFrame » Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:12 am

Posthumane wrote:Airframe, I think we are saying the same thing, I just may not have said it very well. Most homebuilt aircraft are great designs and very well built. But the fact that they are not built to a *specific* airworthiness standard (standard in this case meaning a document that outlines many airworthiness requirements such as control forces and spin recovery requirements)...
I think we're mostly on the same page. What you may not know is that because there is no "design standard" for amateur-built aircraft, what designers use is FAR Part 23, which is the same standard used for certified aircraft. Most modern, well-designed amateur-builts meet FAR 23, or meet it with minor known exceptions. The difference is that no independent body has gone through every last clause and confirmed conformity with each one, as a certified aircraft would have to.

Some of the more established Amateur-Built vendors (Vans, Glasair, maybe others) have even done structural tests to design limits (and beyond) on sample airframes. You won't typically get that from a new vendor though... They can't afford to destroy one! :)
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

#16 Post by Prodriver » Sat Oct 07, 2017 11:28 am

Landing and user fees at most CDN airports. They are sucking the life out of aviation. They are continuing to have an orgy with staff, security, fire trucks and continue to drive up the costs of operating these tax payer assets. There is no accountability. Read the link below. Useless Red tape!

http://airlines.iata.org/news/iata-urge ... u-airports
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

#17 Post by CpnCrunch » Sat Oct 07, 2017 5:40 pm

Prodriver wrote:Landing and user fees at most CDN airports. They are sucking the life out of aviation. They are continuing to have an orgy with staff, security, fire trucks and continue to drive up the costs of operating these tax payer assets. There is no accountability. Read the link below. Useless Red tape!

http://airlines.iata.org/news/iata-urge ... u-airports
I've flown in Canada for 10 years and never paid a single landing fee. In the UK there were landing fees at every airport.
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

#18 Post by Prodriver » Sat Oct 07, 2017 11:31 pm

CpnCrunch wrote:
Prodriver wrote:Landing and user fees at most CDN airports. They are sucking the life out of aviation. They are continuing to have an orgy with staff, security, fire trucks and continue to drive up the costs of operating these tax payer assets. There is no accountability. Read the link below. Useless Red tape!

http://airlines.iata.org/news/iata-urge ... u-airports
I've flown in Canada for 10 years and never paid a single landing fee. In the UK there were landing fees at every airport.

I guess my plane weights more than yours or you are not going to larger airports. CYEG is 56.00 and I just paid 97.00 for the privilege to land at CYYC last week w/ no PX and a 10.00 nav can fee. 35.00 at springbank, don't shoot the messenger, just trying to answer the question.
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

#19 Post by CpnCrunch » Sun Oct 08, 2017 4:16 am

Been to LHR recently? 2934gbp minimum price.

$100 is peanuts for a large airport and I imagine is a tiny % of your operating costs.
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

#20 Post by PilotDAR » Sun Oct 08, 2017 8:19 am

Landing and user fees at most CDN airports. They are sucking the life out of aviation. They are continuing to have an orgy with staff, security, fire trucks and continue to drive up the costs of operating these tax payer assets. There is no accountability.
I agree that there are a few cases, YYZ, for example, where user fees at the airport seem intended to dissuade private GA ops in light aircraft. I get it. the immense infrastructure can't be tied up while I come and go in the 310.

That said, at the other end of the scale, my, and most of the aerodromes I know, are entirely free of user fees. I have assured that my aerodrome is free of all user fees by: buying the property, paying the taxes on it, builting the runway and installing the lights, mowing the grass, blowing the snow, and maintaining everything. After spending the money, it's only a few hours work most weeks. Normally, I would come and go a few times a week.

Hmmm, based upon those numbers, it would seem that paying $50 per landing would be cheaper for me, than the investment and the work!

"orgy of... staff... fire trucks" - 'Ever had to be rescued after a crash? I was in July. You'll be pretty happy to see the emergency services people, and the faster the better! For me, it was life or death. I'll be giving back to the airport when I'm up to it.....
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

#21 Post by rookiepilot » Sun Oct 08, 2017 8:43 am

Prodriver wrote:Landing and user fees at most CDN airports. They are sucking the life out of aviation. They are continuing to have an orgy with staff, security, fire trucks and continue to drive up the costs of operating these tax payer assets. There is no accountability. Read the link below. Useless Red tape!

http://airlines.iata.org/news/iata-urge ... u-airports
Every provided service should be heavily taxpayer subsidized. As long as it isn't my taxes. LOL.
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

#22 Post by Posthumane » Sun Oct 08, 2017 8:44 am

Prodriver wrote: I guess my plane weights more than yours or you are not going to larger airports. CYEG is 56.00 and I just paid 97.00 for the privilege to land at CYYC last week w/ no PX and a 10.00 nav can fee. 35.00 at springbank, don't shoot the messenger, just trying to answer the question.
Stay out of YYC, YYZ, YEG, YVR, and a maybe one or two other major int'l airports and you're golden. There are several airports around both Calgary and Edmonton that are far cheaper and more GA friendly. $35 landing fee at springbank? You must be flying turbine powered aircraft... not exactly grass roots. Like CpnCrunch, I've almost never paid landing fees flying around Canada. The only instances that come to mind are Winnipeg Intl, and when clearing customs in Lethbridge.
AirFrame wrote: I think we're mostly on the same page. What you may not know is that because there is no "design standard" for amateur-built aircraft, what designers use is FAR Part 23, which is the same standard used for certified aircraft. Most modern, well-designed amateur-builts meet FAR 23, or meet it with minor known exceptions. The difference is that no independent body has gone through every last clause and confirmed conformity with each one, as a certified aircraft would have to.

Some of the more established Amateur-Built vendors (Vans, Glasair, maybe others) have even done structural tests to design limits (and beyond) on sample airframes. You won't typically get that from a new vendor though... They can't afford to destroy one! :)
I'm totally with you. Most of the *good* designers use FAR23, but some don't. It's just something to be aware of when shopping. I like Budd Davisson's PIREPS and articles on the myriad of types he's flown for that reason - he spells out not only performance figures, but little gotchas in various aircraft and how each one differs.
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

#23 Post by NunavutPA-12 » Sun Oct 08, 2017 8:51 am

Floats and skis!
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

#24 Post by Beefitarian » Mon Oct 09, 2017 7:33 am

YEAH! ~pounds table with fists~

Why is a hamburger eight bucks in so many places in YYC?
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

#25 Post by av8ts » Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:48 am

Maybe it’s like a divorce, because it’s worth it
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