Why is flying so expensive?

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dcabrown
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

Post by dcabrown »

Yes, we've always been fine pre-PPL partners (just not pre-PPL when we were considering selling block time)

We've rented a 172 in the past to cover spins, since the tapered wing pipers aren't certified for them
photofly wrote:Are you taking pre-PPL partners yet?
I had barely 4 hours of dual when I started
Where did you do your spin training?
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Edmonchuck
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

Post by Edmonchuck »

Hi,

Sorry to raise this thread from the dead, but I am researching opinions on Pilot concerns with Canadian airports.

Landing fees come up all the time. I was looking for a thread or two on here that would encompass all opinions, or at least all opinions on AvCanada. I am asking because I have to go in front of some of our local economic development boards on a small airport infrastructure capital ask, and the topic of landing fees will come up most assuredly.

Is there a thread on this? Thanks!
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PilotDAR
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

Post by PilotDAR »

As the owner of an aerodrome, who paid for the property, pays the taxes, bought the tractor, mows the grass, and blows the snow, I think that landing fees are a fair idea. Of course, the way they are charged should be representative of the use, but it's not fair that pilots should think that the facility use is free of cost. My grief in the past has been the means by which the fees were charged. I like the cash at the door, or when you pay for fuel. I hate the pain of having to mail a cheque for $5.50 a month after I used the airport - just let me pay when I'm there...
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Squaretail
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

Post by Squaretail »

I think that landing fees are a fair idea.
The problem with the idea is that its only makes sense if the revenue to be generated is greater than the costs of implementing it. At many small airports there just plain isn't the traffic to justify the cost of implementing and collecting the fee, so the fee only serves to deter traffic - if one can indeed collect it - which in turn defeats the point and of course lessens the return. There are many ways small airports can generate revenue but unfortunately it seems the want of governing bodies to look at this least effective mean first.

Personally I've found that when it comes to small airports in this country, municipalities love to get tax money out of them, but avoid like the plague treating them as part of the infrastructure of said location. This isn't helped by the all too common archetypal governing body of such airports which members either a) prioritize other interests over the aerodrome's well being or b) want to treat the airport like a private playground.

On the main topic, I find aviation just isn't that much more costly than anything else, though maybe suffers excessively from the "good ol' days" mentality too much. Nothing is cheap these days, hell not even America is when I go down there. I think the only thing still cheap down there is watered down beer. Sleds and Boats are expensive, and you can't use them most of the year here. Frig, to find a league to play hockey in is expensive, going skiing is expensive.
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digits_
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

Post by digits_ »

Squaretail wrote: Thu Mar 15, 2018 12:23 pm The problem with the idea is that its only makes sense if the revenue to be generated is greater than the costs of implementing it. At many small airports there just plain isn't the traffic to justify the cost of implementing and collecting the fee, so the fee only serves to deter traffic - if one can indeed collect it - which in turn defeats the point and of course lessens the return. There are many ways small airports can generate revenue but unfortunately it seems the want of governing bodies to look at this least effective mean first.
You put a mailbox at the entrance with "Landing fee 5 CAD please. Thank you".

You empty it once a day or once week. Doesn't need to be complicated.
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rookiepilot
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

Post by rookiepilot »

This is one of those topics, (thinking of the degree thread) that a university professor thinks should be cheaper. Things should be free. Budgets balance themselves. We see them quoted all the time, so they must be the experts.

They are usually right for a while, until things blow up and we have a new financial crisis.

It's the university grads who are clueless about the real world.

The business owner with an 8th grade education, and those critical thinking skills that derived from a desire not to starve to death, and with a instinctive understanding of expenses, liability, and profit and loss, gets that things cost money.

Let's take rent control here in Onterrible. Despite reams of studies it doesn't work, formally educated analysts in the government decided as a response to escalating housing costs, that putting in rent controls would get things under control, with no downside. All good.

They neglected to ask the college dropout developers, who actually build rental properties, who collectively told the govt.... you know what? We had plans to build a whole bunch of new buildings for rental stock. Canceled, cause we can't make money.

There are analogies. I see no business case for ever operating an airport that people can use for free. But I'm not university educated.
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Squaretail
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

Post by Squaretail »


You put a mailbox at the entrance with "Landing fee 5 CAD please. Thank you".

You empty it once a day or once week. Doesn't need to be complicated.
Well that would be the simple answer that I've never been able to convince any management group to do. That said though, it still costs something. I mean if your mailbox costs you $20 of materials and you get three landings who pay, well you're out 5 bucks. Either way, its a question of scale. If the above was to help put gas in the lawnmower as your only say maintenance cost, its not a very good return or to be counted on as a revenue stream. I've simplified our airport to make my point. I should say that I'm not against landing fees, just that you'd also better have service for said fee and a reasonable means of paying it. A personal pet peeve is getting bills for places I haven't landed at, and random costs and changes in prices at places I do.
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trey kule
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

Post by trey kule »

Why is a hamburger eight bucks in so many places in YYC?

Eight Bucks!
Maybe if you want to eat at Chez Snooties

Not sure what that has to do with the cost of flying.
Because aircraft last a long long time, and lawyers like to drive BMWs, liability insurance on GAaircraft is a huge factor in the cost. As is certification.
And no, there never was volume in small aircraft building in any sense of the word, compared to say, the multi million cars produced a year.

Cost of fuel. All about taxes. The govt takes a royality on oil, passes that cost on to the consumer, then taxes it again at the pump after payroll taxes. And, of course, the local airports who typically want a piece of the action as well.

The real truth is when we buy a GA aircraft, after the honey moon is over, most owners do not fly enough. Plane sits and sits. And it becomes super expensive.

I really think flying clubs like we had after the war and into the sixties and seventies were a good solution. But try having a Friday night Bar B with a zero tolerance driving limit. The deeds are not as daring, or the feats as great when you have sober people telling the story.

And soaring . Although you must like the club thing to get into these.
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Edmonchuck
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

Post by Edmonchuck »

Thanks for all the replies so far. I appreciate it.

Yes, the cost of collecting "fees" of any kind often are not weighed by a business prior to implementation. What I've seen to date is ridiculous in its execution. However, the infrastructure that is needed or being used is not free either.

I know that as I deal with all 3 levels of government, the first thing they are going to ask is how the users of the facility will be pitching into the overall $10-14M cost. As many of you point out, there are many fingers in this pie, NavCan gets consulting and implementation costs, Transport, permitting, contractors, insurance (WCB and other), legal, engineering, etc. The actual cost of the aggregate and asphalt seems small by comparison.

Governments look at GA facilities as priority 100 out of 10. Yes, they pay taxes, but that all goes into General Revenue, which then pays for services and items that serve a larger set of constituents who drive, have kids in school, want hospitals, etc. How do we raise this to being priority 20 out of 10, let alone in the top 10?

I'm pushing the point to the municipal and provincial bodies that user fees alone cannot pay for this infrastructure, but then they counter with return on their investment. Then, when they look at discussions where airport users demand the landing and airport use is free, mainly because they land and buy a sandwich or two, the municipal administrators go sideways.

Fun times. I look forward to hearing more from you all.
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Longtimer
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

Post by Longtimer »

B. TARIFF – SPRINGBANK AIRPORT
AIRCRAFT RELATED FEES EFFECTIVE FEBRUARY 1, 2010
LANDING FEES
Landing fees are charged per 1000 Kg or fraction thereof of the (“MTOW”) Maximum
Design Takeoff Weight1
of the aircraft.
Aircraft MTOW (Kg) Rate per
1,000 Kgs
10,000 Kgs or less $3.13
10,001 Kgs and over $3.57

Minimum Fee (other than piston aircraft) $25.65
Piston Aircraft $0.00
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Squaretail
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

Post by Squaretail »

How do we raise this to being priority 20 out of 10, let alone in the top 10?
Users of the airport have to sell it as more than just a playground for a bunch of pricks. They have to have more than the "it brings some burger eaters". For example: many small airports in this country that I know of, since in this country are few and far between, actually have users from a wider area. For example, at my home field there are airplane owners who live up to an hour away from the airport which means the airport is bringing people from a wider area which make use of the town's business. Since many small town businesses rely on a local demand any transient customers is a bonus.

Small airports also have to welcome any kind of business that can work symbiotically with the airport. Car rental lots, Restaurants, B&B, stuff that will attract use of the airport. It should be said that there is a substantial demand for commercial operators to use airports in this country, but as one, I would say that we avoid places because they're unsuitable. No fuel, no parking, no approaches, no terminal. Not to mention unfriendly locals who too often treat public airports like they're private ones.

I would also say it should be stressed that as part of an area's infrastructure, the airport frequently doesn't require as much resources compared to the money it generates. The runway and taxiways are only an extra mile or two of asphalt out of how many miles a county or MD may be already removing snow from? The same could be said for the grass. It strikes me as crazy that an airport might be looking at purchasing its own maintenance equipment when there's a whole yard of stuff already being paid for by the taxpayer to maintain their stuff. But that's the kicker, you have to get the taxpayer to look at the place like it benefits them. Pull at their heart strings, an airport is also a part of the community's emergency infrastructure. They make ideal staging areas for any disaster relief, and increase a community's ability to access medical services. Engage your airport with the local emergency services, there's nothing they like more than to find excuses to do "training" if it involves airplanes or helicopters. The more people you can get who think of the airport positively, the better. Get the public out to the airport. Give tours to kids and schools, get some sort of events going.

Lastly I would say that our aviation community in general needs to find out where politicians stand on aviation. They do this in the U.S. where AOPA regularly publishes lists of airplane friendly and un-friendly people in power. Maybe COPA could start doing this if they can get out that wet paper bag that's holding them back now.
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

Post by Beefitarian »

trey kule wrote: Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:20 pm Why is a hamburger eight bucks in so many places in YYC?

Eight Bucks!
Maybe if you want to eat at Chez Snooties


NO! Big Mac $5.99+ tax.
Not sure what that has to do with the cost of flying.
They are both too expensive. :smt070
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goldeneagle
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

Post by goldeneagle »

Squaretail wrote: Sat Mar 17, 2018 10:28 am I would also say it should be stressed that as part of an area's infrastructure
Many years ago, back in '79 I remember this question coming up in my home town. I attended a council meeting where one of the discussion subjects was to rationalize the expense of maintaining the airport. I was a young commercial pilot working at said airport, and had my ducks lined up for the meeting. When it was my turn to talk, stood up, showed the council members a dozen fuel receipts taken over the last 2 months. Each and every one of those was for putting fuel into a provincial government operated air ambulance citation. Proceeded to explain, that airport is a critical component of our health care system, the primary means of getting folks to a trauma center on occasion.

That basically ended the discussion, motion to maintain airport funding was voted on and passed unanimously.
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

Post by trey kule »

Unless it has changed....

Landing fee for GA aircraft at LAX....$0.00

.....just saying

Hawthorne...pretty much right under the approach path for LAX....$0.00
And no one is going to close their airport.. they are proud of it. Think of the Edmonton muni to see the difference in how local govts think of airports in Canada.

Canadian govts , at all levels are all about taxes ...and when they get to high, fees and surcharges. Because if you change the wording,, it is not a tax...

Aviation is viewed (incorrectly) as a place for the rich, and being rich in Canada is as unpolitically correct as being a white hetrosexual male.
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

Post by Squaretail »

Aviation is viewed (incorrectly) as a place for the rich,
Its not hard to get that impression sometimes though if you hang out at a lot of small airports. I wouldn't want tax dollars going to a place that I thought was only used by five pricks who wanted to be treated like princesses. I've been to flying club meetings where the guys present were trying to make a case that there was too much flying going on at "their" airport. The same kinds of guys are sometimes the ones who will make a case for more fees, at least fees for everyone else. One of the things that needs to be heavily countered I've found is some few, but loud voices, of these types. There's also the tendency to make champagne demands on a small airport with a beer budget, which can make the needs of the airport seem outrageous to the layman taxpayer.
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

Post by C.W.E. »

Its not hard to get that impression sometimes though if you hang out at a lot of small airports. I wouldn't want tax dollars going to a place that I thought was only used by five pricks who wanted to be treated like princesses.
I must be lucky where I live because I have sat here and thought back through the years about the people at the airport and I could not think of even one that would fit the description of a prick.

What part of the country has a lot of small airports that is only used by pricks?
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Squaretail
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

Post by Squaretail »

small airports that is only used by pricks?
I didn't say there were any small airports that were only used by pricks, only that to the outsider it may seem that way by encounters with some of the users. For example I remember one fellow who showed up to protest a young Eagles day under the guise that it was a "safety hazard" when in actuality I think he was just pissed that he didn't have the airport to himself that day. Another example would be a fellow I knew who felt the need to bitch to the town about how he felt the runway wasn't in suitable condition for his use since apparently it wasn't brushed dry to his specifications. Now I can imagine that it might have been difficult for some of the constituent tax payers to feel sorry for this fellow since their residential streets certainly don't get that kind of attention.

See what I'm getting at?

I do find it somewhat of a surprise that you never run into anyone you didn't get along with at an airport...
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

Post by PilotDAR »

I've been to flying club meetings where the guys present were trying to make a case that there was too much flying going on at "their" airport.
Well, those guys took the time to participate in the goings on of the airport, and that's something that many pilots and owners don't bother to do! Maybe they thought that the airport was "theirs" because they participated. The flying club where I learned to fly, owned the airport. So, yes, if things got too busy (which in my day, they certainly did from time to time), the airport would be closed to non members. 'Sounds fair to me, we were the members.

The aerodrome where I first kept my plane needed care, so I'd drive the tractor a few miles down the road to cut the grass, I'd drain the wet spots in the spring, and I helped to install the runway lights. I'd look after the place, and assure that all the planes were tied down and secure when a storm approached.

For the last 28 years, for my freedom and independence, I have owned my own aerodrome. I come and go as I please. I pay zero monthly tiedown fees for my planes! Though I had to buy the property, build the runway, build the hangar, bury in the lights and drainage, put up the windsock, cut the grass, and blow the snow. One day I'll do the math to see if my flying is expensive!
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

Post by Beefitarian »

I have to admit though. It was too expensive back in the 1990s also and I just went and did it. It was worth every cent too.

So excellent point dar, never do the math.
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Re: Why is flying so expensive?

Post by Kejidog »

Expensive?

Really? It has not been my experience at all, I am a new pilot in 2017. New plane owner in 2016 to train in.

Bought a solid older 172 took my PPL license training, and had an annual for well under $29,000 all in for 2017. I know losers who spent more on harleys and never put 250 hours on them and never left the tim hortons parking lot all year. Meanwhile i have visited 5 provinces with friends and family. And cheaper than a big overpowered bass boat.

It is a matter of priorities. Does someone need a diamond or a Cirrius with all the mod cons to train and locally fly.

Maybe in the age of high consumer debt, over priced mortgages and twice yearly family trips to the sunny south it is that the average person has no capacity to explore have a hobby like aviation because they are broke keeping up appearances. 30 years ago how many high end cars did you see parked outside of a slummy apartment builings?

But guess what. It has been an awesome experience for me my two kids and even my wife. And for the price of admission I would not trade it for anything.

I know maybe tomorrow I may have an expensive repair bill or replacement cost dropped on me but so far i am loving it
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