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Trimeresurus
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Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Thu Oct 01, 2020 8:19 pm

Considering their price tag, which for example is well north of $300k for a Cessna 172 for a brand new one, they're not a viable hobby for the average middle class person, at least for ownership. How would you define an average owner of Cessna or a Piper, as in their occupation and experience in aviation? What percent of the GA owners would be ATPs in legacy carriers?

And can GA aircraft be leased in a similar fashion to cars?
 
FlyHossD
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Re: Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Thu Oct 01, 2020 8:25 pm

Most GA pilots I know don't buy brand new planes, rather they either partner, build or go for planes that cost about the same as a new boat or car. The only ones that I know who've purchased new aircraft had businesses to support them and took advantage of the tax savings opportunities.

My best friend since childhood was always interested in aviation. Yet he never pulled the trigger on learning to fly or buying an airplane due to the cost. However, his boat, truck or camping trailer (he has all 3) are each about the budget I'd spend for a personal plane.
My statements do not represent my former employer or my current employer and are my opinions only.
 
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Vio
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Re: Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Thu Oct 01, 2020 8:39 pm

I was thinking the same thing. A C172 is insanely expensive. Why does it cost so much? The R&D has been done for a long time now. New instruments are cheaper than the old ones. There's no way this plane should be this expensive. If someone had money to buy a plane for their business (travel), they would NOT get a C172. I assume they mostly go to flight schools nowadays or people with more money than taste. Don't get me wrong. I love the C172. It's an amazing aircraft, but certainly not worth the price tag Cessna thinks it should charge.
Superior decisions reduce the need for superior skills.
 
FlyingElvii
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Re: Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Thu Oct 01, 2020 8:48 pm

Depends on what your mission is.
There are a lot of other plane types out there. Just piddling around doing some fun flying? Maybe to the Airport Café 70 miles down the road on a Saturday? A really nice Kitfox can sell for around 30G's. Carrying the family and kids to florida 4-5 times a year? Doing Business commuting? The type of plane depends on the type of mission, and how much financial pain you can endure.

Partnerships are a great way to get into a nice aircraft at a limited cost.
I know of partnerships around here in everything from Cirrus's to 150's. Our now-departed Beechcraft with 7 partners sharing costs was $100 a month, $75 an hour plus fuel, and that left us enough for a small reserve for things like the annual, and small repairs, without having to tag the members for more money. Depending on how it is set up, share prices can vary, but most busier GA airports will have a number of partnerships, with shares trading hands every so often. Almost every group has members that fly some, and some that rarely fly. All depends on what you intend to do with it.

But you won't find those on the internet, you have to get out to the airport and start asking around.
 
VSMUT
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Re: Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Thu Oct 01, 2020 8:48 pm

Trimeresurus wrote:
Considering their price tag, which for example is well north of $300k for a Cessna 172 for a brand new one, they're not a viable hobby for the average middle class person, at least for ownership. How would you define an average owner of Cessna or a Piper, as in their occupation and experience in aviation? What percent of the GA owners would be ATPs in legacy carriers?

And can GA aircraft be leased in a similar fashion to cars?


GA planes last for decades. A used Cessna 172 is way cheaper than a new one.

In Europe, it is my impression that most people fly at a flying club. The planes will either be owned by the club or someone who makes it available to the club, and you pay an hourly fee based on block hours or tacho time. Very few GA pilots actually own them due to prohibitive costs. You also have partnerships and companies that rent them (flying schools mostly), but at much higher prices. Ultralights are completely different, those are almost exclusively owned by the pilot.

As for demographics: Where I fly, not including flying school students, there are very, very few young GA pilots. Most are above 50. There are almost no commercial pilots among them, which becomes apparent when you hear them on the radio. The few older members who hold a commercial license started their careers on the Vickers Viking :old: Backgrounds are all over the place, from wealthy business owners to pensioners.
 
FlyingElvii
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Re: Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Thu Oct 01, 2020 8:51 pm

VSMUT wrote:
Trimeresurus wrote:
Considering their price tag, which for example is well north of $300k for a Cessna 172 for a brand new one, they're not a viable hobby for the average middle class person, at least for ownership. How would you define an average owner of Cessna or a Piper, as in their occupation and experience in aviation? What percent of the GA owners would be ATPs in legacy carriers?

And can GA aircraft be leased in a similar fashion to cars?


GA planes last for decades. A used Cessna 172 is way cheaper than a new one.

In Europe, it is my impression that most people fly at a flying club. The planes will either be owned by the club or someone who makes it available to the club, and you pay an hourly fee based on block hours or tacho time. Very few GA pilots actually own them due to prohibitive costs. Ultralights are completely different. Those are almost exclusively owned by the pilot.

As for demographics: Where I fly, not including flying school students, there are very, very few young GA pilots. Most are above 50. There are almost no commercial pilots among them, which becomes apparent when you hear them on the radio. The few older members who hold a commercial license started their careers on the Vickers Viking :old: Backgrounds are all over the place, from wealthy business owners to pensioners.

What you guys call Ultralight, we call Light Sport.
I LOVE my Light Sport, works for what most of my missions are, is cheap to keep and maintain, and wasn't outrageous to purchase, with modern avionics and tech. If I ever need to haul four people to Florida with bags, I can always rent a 182.
 
VSMUT
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Re: Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Thu Oct 01, 2020 8:59 pm

FlyingElvii wrote:
VSMUT wrote:
Trimeresurus wrote:
Considering their price tag, which for example is well north of $300k for a Cessna 172 for a brand new one, they're not a viable hobby for the average middle class person, at least for ownership. How would you define an average owner of Cessna or a Piper, as in their occupation and experience in aviation? What percent of the GA owners would be ATPs in legacy carriers?

And can GA aircraft be leased in a similar fashion to cars?


GA planes last for decades. A used Cessna 172 is way cheaper than a new one.

In Europe, it is my impression that most people fly at a flying club. The planes will either be owned by the club or someone who makes it available to the club, and you pay an hourly fee based on block hours or tacho time. Very few GA pilots actually own them due to prohibitive costs. Ultralights are completely different. Those are almost exclusively owned by the pilot.

As for demographics: Where I fly, not including flying school students, there are very, very few young GA pilots. Most are above 50. There are almost no commercial pilots among them, which becomes apparent when you hear them on the radio. The few older members who hold a commercial license started their careers on the Vickers Viking :old: Backgrounds are all over the place, from wealthy business owners to pensioners.

What you guys call Ultralight, we call Light Sport.
I LOVE my Light Sport, works for what most of my missions are, is cheap to keep and maintain, and wasn't outrageous to purchase, with modern avionics and tech. If I ever need to haul four people to Florida with bags, I can always rent a 182.


They are catching on fast over here. Cheap to maintain, really economical and they run on cheap Mogas. The cost per hour is easily a 1/10th of a Cessna 172.

Out of curiousity, how much do you pay for a C182? My place charges $470 per hour tacho.
 
FlyingElvii
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Re: Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Thu Oct 01, 2020 9:12 pm

VSMUT wrote:
FlyingElvii wrote:
VSMUT wrote:

GA planes last for decades. A used Cessna 172 is way cheaper than a new one.

In Europe, it is my impression that most people fly at a flying club. The planes will either be owned by the club or someone who makes it available to the club, and you pay an hourly fee based on block hours or tacho time. Very few GA pilots actually own them due to prohibitive costs. Ultralights are completely different. Those are almost exclusively owned by the pilot.

As for demographics: Where I fly, not including flying school students, there are very, very few young GA pilots. Most are above 50. There are almost no commercial pilots among them, which becomes apparent when you hear them on the radio. The few older members who hold a commercial license started their careers on the Vickers Viking :old: Backgrounds are all over the place, from wealthy business owners to pensioners.

What you guys call Ultralight, we call Light Sport.
I LOVE my Light Sport, works for what most of my missions are, is cheap to keep and maintain, and wasn't outrageous to purchase, with modern avionics and tech. If I ever need to haul four people to Florida with bags, I can always rent a 182.


They are catching on fast over here. Cheap to maintain, really economical and they run on cheap Mogas. The cost per hour is easily a 1/10th of a Cessna 172.

Out of curiousity, how much do you pay for a C182? My place charges $470 per hour tacho.

$250 wet for a 182 straight leg (non-retract) at one nearby airport.
 
DiamondFlyer
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Re: Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Fri Oct 02, 2020 12:41 am

Vio wrote:
I was thinking the same thing. A C172 is insanely expensive. Why does it cost so much? The R&D has been done for a long time now. New instruments are cheaper than the old ones. There's no way this plane should be this expensive. If someone had money to buy a plane for their business (travel), they would NOT get a C172. I assume they mostly go to flight schools nowadays or people with more money than taste. Don't get me wrong. I love the C172. It's an amazing aircraft, but certainly not worth the price tag Cessna thinks it should charge.


Liability insurance for the manufacture, is the bulk of the cost
From my cold, dead hands
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Fri Oct 02, 2020 12:53 am

DiamondFlyer wrote:
Vio wrote:
I was thinking the same thing. A C172 is insanely expensive. Why does it cost so much? The R&D has been done for a long time now. New instruments are cheaper than the old ones. There's no way this plane should be this expensive. If someone had money to buy a plane for their business (travel), they would NOT get a C172. I assume they mostly go to flight schools nowadays or people with more money than taste. Don't get me wrong. I love the C172. It's an amazing aircraft, but certainly not worth the price tag Cessna thinks it should charge.


Liability insurance for the manufacture, is the bulk of the cost


Yup, something like every five new owners will pay for a very expensive fatal hull loss.
 
Trimeresurus
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Re: Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Fri Oct 02, 2020 1:52 pm

VSMUT wrote:
Trimeresurus wrote:
Considering their price tag, which for example is well north of $300k for a Cessna 172 for a brand new one, they're not a viable hobby for the average middle class person, at least for ownership. How would you define an average owner of Cessna or a Piper, as in their occupation and experience in aviation? What percent of the GA owners would be ATPs in legacy carriers?

And can GA aircraft be leased in a similar fashion to cars?


GA planes last for decades. A used Cessna 172 is way cheaper than a new one.

In Europe, it is my impression that most people fly at a flying club. The planes will either be owned by the club or someone who makes it available to the club, and you pay an hourly fee based on block hours or tacho time. Very few GA pilots actually own them due to prohibitive costs. You also have partnerships and companies that rent them (flying schools mostly), but at much higher prices. Ultralights are completely different, those are almost exclusively owned by the pilot.

As for demographics: Where I fly, not including flying school students, there are very, very few young GA pilots. Most are above 50. There are almost no commercial pilots among them, which becomes apparent when you hear them on the radio. The few older members who hold a commercial license started their careers on the Vickers Viking :old: Backgrounds are all over the place, from wealthy business owners to pensioners.



How is it apparent that they are not commercial from the radio, do they sound rather informal compared to commercial pilots?
 
VSMUT
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Re: Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Fri Oct 02, 2020 1:59 pm

Trimeresurus wrote:
VSMUT wrote:
Trimeresurus wrote:
Considering their price tag, which for example is well north of $300k for a Cessna 172 for a brand new one, they're not a viable hobby for the average middle class person, at least for ownership. How would you define an average owner of Cessna or a Piper, as in their occupation and experience in aviation? What percent of the GA owners would be ATPs in legacy carriers?

And can GA aircraft be leased in a similar fashion to cars?


GA planes last for decades. A used Cessna 172 is way cheaper than a new one.

In Europe, it is my impression that most people fly at a flying club. The planes will either be owned by the club or someone who makes it available to the club, and you pay an hourly fee based on block hours or tacho time. Very few GA pilots actually own them due to prohibitive costs. You also have partnerships and companies that rent them (flying schools mostly), but at much higher prices. Ultralights are completely different, those are almost exclusively owned by the pilot.

As for demographics: Where I fly, not including flying school students, there are very, very few young GA pilots. Most are above 50. There are almost no commercial pilots among them, which becomes apparent when you hear them on the radio. The few older members who hold a commercial license started their careers on the Vickers Viking :old: Backgrounds are all over the place, from wealthy business owners to pensioners.



How is it apparent that they are not commercial from the radio, do they sound rather informal compared to commercial pilots?


Inexperienced, nervous, unnecessarily long conversations, not preparing what they want to request before clicking the transmit button so they spend a few second uhmm'ing and ahh'ing etc. Those with commercial licenses will have been taught to keep it short, sharp and simple. Not really a point of criticism, just an observation, commercial pilots practice it all year long after all.
 
cschleic
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Re: Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Fri Oct 02, 2020 2:17 pm

The majority of the GA planes at my local airport are older. The prices for 172s, Cherokees, etc. can be bimodal...either a 40 year old plane for $65,000 or 5 years old for more than most houses. As mentioned above, liability insurance is an issue. For a while, few single-engine GA planes were being manufactured for that reason so the fleet is either newer or what many people would consider really old. But cost for a used plane can vary dramatically based on avionics/radios and any kind of remodel work. However, small two-seaters can be had for less than a new car depending on model. The thing is upkeep cost. Annual inspection, maybe a hangar, repairs, fuel, frequent oil changes (an oil filter can run $30), regular transponder certifications....everything is expensive for a certified plane. And like many things, I regularly see the usual batch of planes flying but many hangars never opened. But owners run the gamut in terms of financial backgrounds and tend to be on the older side. The pilot population is aging out hence initiatives to drive new interest and make it easier and more affordable...light sport certificate, basic med medical certificate, etc. I do see a lot of students, and they're on the younger side which is great to see...hopefully they'll stick with it for the long term.
 
mxaxai
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Re: Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Fri Oct 02, 2020 2:54 pm

VSMUT wrote:
Inexperienced, nervous, unnecessarily long conversations, not preparing what they want to request before clicking the transmit button so they spend a few second uhmm'ing and ahh'ing etc. Those with commercial licenses will have been taught to keep it short, sharp and simple. Not really a point of criticism, just an observation, commercial pilots practice it all year long after all.

Also plenty of non-standard phrases, unsure how to respond to certain standard phrases, afraid of dealing with ATC at or near large airports.
FlyingElvii wrote:
What you guys call Ultralight, we call Light Sport.
I LOVE my Light Sport, works for what most of my missions are, is cheap to keep and maintain, and wasn't outrageous to purchase, with modern avionics and tech. If I ever need to haul four people to Florida with bags, I can always rent a 182.

The problem with most Ultralight aircraft east of the Atlantic is their very low MTOW. If you look at the Tecnam P92, for example, OEW 304 kg, MTOW 550 kg (per the manufacturer); add two pilots at 90 kg each and you only have 66 kg left for baggage and fuel. But most EASA-related countries limit MTOW further to 450 - 472.5 kg, which makes it nearly impossible to fly with two pilots AND fuel.

The US generally have fewer restrictions on private aviation, also with regards to kitplanes and experimentals.
Trimeresurus wrote:
And can GA aircraft be leased in a similar fashion to cars?

Yes, the primary customer for new GA aircraft (non-ultralight) are flying schools and shared ownership / clubs. These are, generally, willing to rent the aircraft at a small profit.

The cost of new GA aircraft comes from the lack of mass production and the complex certification process. Most are handmade to a large degree, with very little automation. Additionally, modern avionics are expensive: the Garmin G1000 costs around US$ 30,000 + installation.

This is similar to how privately owned business jets or turboprops are quite rare; instead people rent them with or without crew when they need to go somewhere.

Trimeresurus wrote:
How would you define an average owner of Cessna or a Piper, as in their occupation and experience in aviation? What percent of the GA owners would be ATPs in legacy carriers?

Most GA pilots are not commercial pilots (excluding students and instructors). Many young GA pilots eventually transition to a career in aviation but most don't want to do the same thing in their free time as they do at their job. In any case, education, a full time job and family make many young adults drop recreational flying. Most people at GA airfields that I meet are either aged 16-26 or 50+; plenty of retirees too.
 
DALMD80
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Re: Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Fri Oct 02, 2020 2:55 pm

cschleic wrote:
...5 years old for more than most houses...

Well... you can use an airplane as a house, but you can't use a house as an airplane! :spin:
The 757-200 with Rolls Royce engines in the US Airways livery is the ultimate in airliner beauty,
 
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Acey559
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Re: Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Fri Oct 02, 2020 3:14 pm

I own (well, the bank still technically owns :D) a 1973 PA-28-235. My wife and I bought it about 5 years ago when we were first married. I was 28 at the time. Purchase price was good and we’ve had a lot of fun in it over the years. Both of my kids have had their first plane rides at younger than a month old in our plane, so it’s pretty special to us.

It’s not the cheapest thing to own but it really isn’t as bad as a lot of people think. I guess it’s all about what you want to do. We’ve sacrificed other things in order to keep the plane, but it’s all about prioritizing.

Though it’s always dicey when I have to ask about new bells and whistles like our GPS upgrade or when the attitude indicator went out and the “best” thing to do was to get a brand new electric AI instead of overhauling. ;)
In Dixie Land I'll take my stand to live and die in Dixie.
 
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Vio
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Re: Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Fri Oct 02, 2020 3:21 pm

Acey559 wrote:
I own (well, the bank still technically owns :D) a 1973 PA-28-235. My wife and I bought it about 5 years ago when we were first married. I was 28 at the time. Purchase price was good and we’ve had a lot of fun in it over the years. Both of my kids have had their first plane rides at younger than a month old in our plane, so it’s pretty special to us.

It’s not the cheapest thing to own but it really isn’t as bad as a lot of people think. I guess it’s all about what you want to do. We’ve sacrificed other things in order to keep the plane, but it’s all about prioritizing.

Though it’s always dicey when I have to ask about new bells and whistles like our GPS upgrade or when the attitude indicator went out and the “best” thing to do was to get a brand new electric AI instead of overhauling. ;)


Exactly. It's all about prioritizing. My wife doesn't care for airplanes, my 6 year old daughter "claims" she's afraid of heights and I'm an airline pilot, so I really don't care to fly more than I have to. I have a motorcycle and next summer we want to buy a 22 - 25 foot sailboat. It's something both my wife and I want to get into and the 5 year plan is to get something we can spend some time on, like a 35' - 40' boat.

I do love flying (low and slow), so when I really really really want to take a spin, I rent one from my local flying club. Usually my buddies and I all pitch in for the gas.
Superior decisions reduce the need for superior skills.
 
FlyingElvii
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Re: Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Fri Oct 02, 2020 4:23 pm

Acey559 wrote:
I own (well, the bank still technically owns :D) a 1973 PA-28-235. My wife and I bought it about 5 years ago when we were first married. I was 28 at the time. Purchase price was good and we’ve had a lot of fun in it over the years. Both of my kids have had their first plane rides at younger than a month old in our plane, so it’s pretty special to us.

It’s not the cheapest thing to own but it really isn’t as bad as a lot of people think. I guess it’s all about what you want to do. We’ve sacrificed other things in order to keep the plane, but it’s all about prioritizing.

Though it’s always dicey when I have to ask about new bells and whistles like our GPS upgrade or when the attitude indicator went out and the “best” thing to do was to get a brand new electric AI instead of overhauling. ;)

Over the long term, purchasing my "Traveling" Light Sport with modern avionics, autopilot, 2 axis electric trim, and a chute, works out to be less expensive than a 40-50 year old 172, without the 50 year old airplane problems. (And it is still a lot cheaper to own than the boat we used to have on Lake Michigan.) My cost of ownership is lower overall. For most of my missions, 2 people with 2.5 hours of fuel and reserve is fine. I am burning 5 gals of MoGas an hour, or around $13-$16 an hour for fuel at 105-110 knots. Compare that to the average 172 burning 8-9.5 gals of LL an hour for a couple of knots faster, or $40-45 an hour for gas.

Yeah, it's not a go play in the grass airplane, but that is my preference. She looks sleek and modern, and gets compliments on every ramp she visits.

As I said above, it is all about THE MISSION you will be using it for.
 
FlyingElvii
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Re: Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Fri Oct 02, 2020 4:34 pm

mxaxai wrote:
VSMUT wrote:
Inexperienced, nervous, unnecessarily long conversations, not preparing what they want to request before clicking the transmit button so they spend a few second uhmm'ing and ahh'ing etc. Those with commercial licenses will have been taught to keep it short, sharp and simple. Not really a point of criticism, just an observation, commercial pilots practice it all year long after all.


Trimeresurus wrote:
How would you define an average owner of Cessna or a Piper, as in their occupation and experience in aviation? What percent of the GA owners would be ATPs in legacy carriers?

Most GA pilots are not commercial pilots (excluding students and instructors). Many young GA pilots eventually transition to a career in aviation but most don't want to do the same thing in their free time as they do at their job. In any case, education, a full time job and family make many young adults drop recreational flying. Most people at GA airfields that I meet are either aged 16-26 or 50+; plenty of retirees too.


My Uncle, who retired as a Senior American Airlines Captain, had a Philosophy about that. He felt that to be a good Commercial Pilot, he had to keep his stick and Rudder skills fresh. And since he no longer had access to a pitching deck to practice on, he did so by forcing himself to go fly his dirt cheap Baby Great Lakes at least 2-3 times a month, even if just for an hour doing touch and goes. He said it was how he forced himself to keep in touch with what flying was really about, to just relax and enjoy it, and not get bored with driving the bus.
 
Rdh3e
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Re: Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Fri Oct 02, 2020 5:22 pm

FlyHossD wrote:
My best friend since childhood was always interested in aviation. Yet he never pulled the trigger on learning to fly or buying an airplane due to the cost. However, his boat, truck or camping trailer (he has all 3) are each about the budget I'd spend for a personal plane.

But none of those thing cost $75/hr to use after purchase :twocents:
 
ordbosewr
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Re: Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Fri Oct 02, 2020 5:39 pm

My father-in-law has now owned 2 GA aircraft. Both he bought used and both in the 50-75K range. He is "retired". Most of the folks I see when I go to the airport where his plane is staying are 50+, not all. If they are younger they are in the industry, ie a pilot or something similar or they have a dad that was a pilot and passed on the love of airplanes to them at a young age.
Just my observations, but I have very limited views into that world. I know they are always looking for younger folks (for many reasons).
 
FlyingElvii
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Re: Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Fri Oct 02, 2020 5:54 pm

ordbosewr wrote:
My father-in-law has now owned 2 GA aircraft. Both he bought used and both in the 50-75K range. He is "retired". Most of the folks I see when I go to the airport where his plane is staying are 50+, not all. If they are younger they are in the industry, ie a pilot or something similar or they have a dad that was a pilot and passed on the love of airplanes to them at a young age.
Just my observations, but I have very limited views into that world. I know they are always looking for younger folks (for many reasons).

Life has a way of intruding into even the best of plans.
And let’s face it, there are cheaper hobbies, especially when the kids start coming along.

Overall, the boats and campers end up costing the same or even more. Again, it is all about your priorities. If you want to fly for a living, then commit to it. If it is a hobby, rent until you have the financial ability to do what you like. That is why you see the age disparity, and always will. The same philosophy applies to boats. Pontoons or a cheap speedster while the kids are around, that bigger cruiser when they leave.
 
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capshandler
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Re: Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Fri Oct 02, 2020 8:50 pm

I own a SR22 G5 GTS and I’d like to think I’m quite normal to be honest. Hard worker, small company owner that puts 16h a day. I use the airplane both for work and pleasure. It’s a great tool to move yourself around Europe and Spain. Specially at low frequency destinations such as LESO, LEPP, LEVX... it gives me flexibility and convenience. The only thing is the AVGAS price and Spanish/Italian aviation regulations. What a shame.
 
FlyingElvii
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Re: Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Fri Oct 02, 2020 9:53 pm

capshandler wrote:
I own a SR22 G5 GTS and I’d like to think I’m quite normal to be honest. Hard worker, small company owner that puts 16h a day. I use the airplane both for work and pleasure. It’s a great tool to move yourself around Europe and Spain. Specially at low frequency destinations such as LESO, LEPP, LEVX... it gives me flexibility and convenience. The only thing is the AVGAS price and Spanish/Italian aviation regulations. What a shame.

Ouch... A Cirrus in Europe. That has GOT to hurt the wallet.
 
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Vio
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Re: Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Fri Oct 02, 2020 11:42 pm

capshandler wrote:
I own a SR22 G5 GTS and I’d like to think I’m quite normal to be honest. Hard worker, small company owner that puts 16h a day. I use the airplane both for work and pleasure. It’s a great tool to move yourself around Europe and Spain. Specially at low frequency destinations such as LESO, LEPP, LEVX... it gives me flexibility and convenience. The only thing is the AVGAS price and Spanish/Italian aviation regulations. What a shame.


I hope you don't put that many hours of work to pay for your plane. That's a little excessive to say the least. Now if you do that once in a blue moon, that's fine, but otherwise you'll need to enjoy some time off. I used to work like a madman, then decided life's not worth working away. I switched careers and now have a sh*t ton of time off, although I make a quarter of what I used to. Never been happier. (It helps I fly planes for a living; my dream job)
Superior decisions reduce the need for superior skills.
 
jreeves96
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Re: Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Sat Oct 03, 2020 12:02 am

During my time as a line service technician, there's one demographic when it comes to personally owned GA planes ; 40+ year old white men.
 
FlyHossD
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Re: Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Sat Oct 03, 2020 1:53 am

Rdh3e wrote:
FlyHossD wrote:
My best friend since childhood was always interested in aviation. Yet he never pulled the trigger on learning to fly or buying an airplane due to the cost. However, his boat, truck or camping trailer (he has all 3) are each about the budget I'd spend for a personal plane.

But none of those thing cost $75/hr to use after purchase :twocents:


Not all cost that per hour, though some do. I, for one, am looking forward to a decent performance sailplane once I retire.

But regarding boats vs. campers. vs. airplanes; looking at the fixed and variable costs per month, there's not much difference. Then if I add in the full size truck to tow a camper or boat (like my friend), the equation can easily tip in favor of the used GA fixed gear airplane.
My statements do not represent my former employer or my current employer and are my opinions only.
 
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capshandler
Posts: 48
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2016 6:45 am

Re: Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Sat Oct 03, 2020 9:27 am

Vio wrote:
capshandler wrote:
I own a SR22 G5 GTS and I’d like to think I’m quite normal to be honest. Hard worker, small company owner that puts 16h a day. I use the airplane both for work and pleasure. It’s a great tool to move yourself around Europe and Spain. Specially at low frequency destinations such as LESO, LEPP, LEVX... it gives me flexibility and convenience. The only thing is the AVGAS price and Spanish/Italian aviation regulations. What a shame.


I hope you don't put that many hours of work to pay for your plane. That's a little excessive to say the least. Now if you do that once in a blue moon, that's fine, but otherwise you'll need to enjoy some time off. I used to work like a madman, then decided life's not worth working away. I switched careers and now have a sh*t ton of time off, although I make a quarter of what I used to. Never been happier. (It helps I fly planes for a living; my dream job)


Thanks for the advice! I totally agree. Honestly I have had the luck to be able to dedicate myself to what makes me happy. It is the continuation of a family legacy that fills me beyond reason. I have asked myself many times if I could dedicate myself to flying professionally. But for me it doesn't have the same magic, and professionally I enjoy what I do more. In the end everyone should be happy with what they do.
 
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capshandler
Posts: 48
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2016 6:45 am

Re: Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Sat Oct 03, 2020 9:28 am

FlyingElvii wrote:
capshandler wrote:
I own a SR22 G5 GTS and I’d like to think I’m quite normal to be honest. Hard worker, small company owner that puts 16h a day. I use the airplane both for work and pleasure. It’s a great tool to move yourself around Europe and Spain. Specially at low frequency destinations such as LESO, LEPP, LEVX... it gives me flexibility and convenience. The only thing is the AVGAS price and Spanish/Italian aviation regulations. What a shame.

Ouch... A Cirrus in Europe. That has GOT to hurt the wallet.


Touché!
 
slider
Posts: 7631
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Re: Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Sat Oct 03, 2020 2:38 pm

Our 1971 172 has held up very well and I've taken great care of it.

Insurance, overhauls, mx, that sort of thing are more cash expenses than the plane itself. But I've prioritized being able to fly and enjoy it over other recreational activities. Hell, there are people who spend more on golf in a month than I'll spend in six months with the Cessna. It's a matter of managing your money, your priorities, and your life.

I wouldn't change a thing.
 
CanadianNorth
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Re: Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Sat Oct 03, 2020 5:50 pm

For what it's worth around here the demographics of GA pilots and owners is all over the place, most between early 30s and a bit past retirement. I've seen and welcome all types and ages, but I do feel like old white dudes is the biggest portion.

Cost to get in is definitely one of the biggest obstacles to GA for sure. The only people I know with new or new-ish airplanes are small ones that they built from a kit, as for privately registered factory built airplanes I'm having a hard time naming a single one on the field under 30 years old. New airplanes would be great, but for most of us they are far and beyond past anything we could afford. Really the only rentals around here I can think of are a couple of clapped out 172s on small wheels so that further limits options too. I feel like most of us end up finding a friend or three and buying some junk from the 60s or 70s to share (180s, super cubs, older 172s on 850s, Cetabrias, well used Maules, things like that), seems to be the common long term solution.
HS-748, like a 747 but better!
 
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75driver
Posts: 139
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Re: Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Sat Oct 03, 2020 6:19 pm

I’ve owned some sort of piper variant since the late 80’s. It started out as a partnership but I long ago became a sole owner. I could never have done it on my own. My wife has a lucrative career and always made more money. I was (before the recent VEOP) a commercial pilot and partnerships used to be the thing. At my field most aircraft is owned by some form of LLC and managed by a leasing company. The LLC’s are mainly business’s or people of wealth. This varies by field as I operate out of an FBO located at a regional airport. I know the smaller fields have more owner operators and more commercial pilots. I’m one of only 2 commercial pilots who own aircraft at my field although we have others doing lessons. I have a lot more fun flying a 6-seater than I ever had flying a big jet. I’ve flown my piper more in the last 6 months then I did the big jet too.
 
beechnut
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Re: Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Sat Oct 03, 2020 9:50 pm

Well I've owned a C150, a PA28-140, a Bech Skipper and a Beech Sundowner. All used. The C150 cost about the price of a compact car of the day. The PA28, Skipper and Sundowner, about the price of an entry-level luxury car (say Audi A3) or top-of-the-line mainstream model (say loaded Accord). None were that expensive to buy, and they held their value well until the 2008 crash and never recovered. The 150 I sold for a bit less than I paid for it, same with the PA-28, I actually made money selling the Beech Skipper, in 2007. The Sundowner I lost money on. The real killer was not acquisition costs. I bought them on a house line of credit (my house was paid up), interest only minimum payment. So I could run a balance until it was sold. Sort of like leasing it to myself. The maintenance and fuel were killers. My last two annuals on the Sundowner before selling it, were $4k and $3k respectively. Add to that about $2k for insurance, and 40 litres per hour 100LL avgas at $2.00/L...

The joke is how does one become poor? One starts out rich and buys an aircraft. How does one make a plane fly? Open a trap door in the floor, and throw out money until it lifts off. If I had something that needed repair, if the bill came out to less than $1k, I felt like going out and buying a lottery ticket (though I never did, I don't do lotteries).

My wife also earned more than I did, but I earned enough in IT and my previous career as an applied scientist to run my plane and drive a decent mainstream car.

Beech
 
propmusic
Posts: 9
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Re: Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Sat Oct 03, 2020 9:52 pm

Can you name another pursuit that (post 9-11) that is so locked away from the average citizen? SIDA has closed off the GA ramp to the casual enthusiast who might firm up that dream of flying. In the 70s, when I was in High school, GA ramps were open and I started my love of propliners with an ex Northwest Electra.Later I became friends with the crew maintaining a B 25. A little work with them and I was able to fly on her. Gone are the days of "hangar flying" with an owner-You need a badge and access code. Unless it has a screen, kids just are not bitten by the aviation bug now. And their heroes are not pilots, technicians, or even Astronauts. Instead they are Rockers, Athletes, or Entertainers. Cost and expenses eliminate many from being able to join this fraternity. Solutions... Kit planes-maybe, clubs... that helps but the dollars need to be there. Sadly, the closest I and many others get to aviation, airplanes is on this website, online.
 
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Aesma
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Re: Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Sun Oct 04, 2020 1:31 am

From my understanding the C172 is sold to flight schools/clubs.

People who actually buy new GA certified aircraft buy a Cirrus, it has been the best seller in the category for years. Definitely not cheap.

That's in the US I believe, at my local airport in France it's Robins, plenty of modern ultralights/LSA, old C152 and C172...
New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
 
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seat55a
Posts: 236
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Re: Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Sun Oct 04, 2020 3:25 am

There's an interesting video by Matt Guthmiller (once youngest solo round the world pilot and currently 20-something) where he makes the case that the 80s Bonanza he owns is cost comparable with other modes for all the travel he does. Some long trips more or less on impulse, some business. Thus if flying is the most important to you, you can make it work (he says).

If you like flying all day in the Bonanza at 4000 feet, and eating at airport cafes (or a banana on autopilot), it might even be true. Seems like, at least for now, he is happy doing that. I wonder how many people in the world are THAT dedicated to aviation though.
 
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Aesma
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Re: Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Sun Oct 04, 2020 11:55 am

Maybe if the alternative is first class plane tickets, and maybe if you have passengers on each trip. And cheap avgas like in the US. An uncle of mine had a turbo Bonanza and flew regularly NCE-PAR for business (actually CEQ-TNF), the main advantage was that he was on his own schedule, filling those tanks was enough to pay for a few business class navette trips...
New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
 
Trimeresurus
Topic Author
Posts: 88
Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2017 6:06 pm

Re: Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Sun Oct 04, 2020 12:56 pm

jreeves96 wrote:
During my time as a line service technician, there's one demographic when it comes to personally owned GA planes ; 40+ year old white men.


I rather asked about the financial/occupation demographics but thanks for the input.
 
mxaxai
Posts: 2062
Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2016 7:29 am

Re: Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Sun Oct 04, 2020 2:55 pm

Trimeresurus wrote:
I rather asked about the financial/occupation demographics but thanks for the input.

The owners I've met were generally middle-to-upper class, financially. A variety of occupations, several engineers but also doctors, a professional cook, a retired teacher, a few mechanics, some business owners... Not every aircraft is as expensive as a new C172.
 
CanadianNorth
Posts: 3264
Joined: Sat Aug 24, 2002 11:41 am

Re: Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Sun Oct 04, 2020 7:45 pm

Trimeresurus wrote:
I rather asked about the financial/occupation demographics but thanks for the input.


Of the ones I know some common themes are several aircraft mechanics and a few other airline employees doing some bush flying on their days off, a couple of small business owners using that to justify their toy, and retired or close to retirement teachers seems to be a thing too. The rest are all over the place, but generally comfortably into the middle class with average airplanes and the occasional upper class gentleman with a real nice airplane.
HS-748, like a 747 but better!
 
JayinKitsap
Posts: 2299
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2005 9:55 am

Re: Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Sun Oct 04, 2020 9:21 pm

DiamondFlyer wrote:
Vio wrote:
I was thinking the same thing. A C172 is insanely expensive. Why does it cost so much? The R&D has been done for a long time now. New instruments are cheaper than the old ones. There's no way this plane should be this expensive. If someone had money to buy a plane for their business (travel), they would NOT get a C172. I assume they mostly go to flight schools nowadays or people with more money than taste. Don't get me wrong. I love the C172. It's an amazing aircraft, but certainly not worth the price tag Cessna thinks it should charge.


Liability insurance for the manufacture, is the bulk of the cost


Like the case where some guys took out the pilot seat and flew it from the back seat because it was better for their video - until it crashed. It must be the MFG fault!!!!
 
tnair1974
Posts: 324
Joined: Sun Sep 15, 2019 5:37 pm

Re: Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Sat Oct 10, 2020 11:19 am

During what might be described as General Aviation's "Golden Age" (after WWII to maybe the early 1970s), private flying seemed more affordable. Several of my aunts/uncles learned to fly during the 50s and 60s and they were not exactly super rich at the time. They said that during the 1960s, general aviation fields and even smaller commercial airports like CHA would be quite busy with leisure pilots as well as students doing touch and goes.


Then came issues like sharply rising fuel costs and skyrocketing liability insurance....
 
FlyingElvii
Posts: 999
Joined: Wed Dec 27, 2017 10:53 pm

Re: Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Sat Oct 10, 2020 2:00 pm

Rdh3e wrote:
FlyHossD wrote:
My best friend since childhood was always interested in aviation. Yet he never pulled the trigger on learning to fly or buying an airplane due to the cost. However, his boat, truck or camping trailer (he has all 3) are each about the budget I'd spend for a personal plane.

But none of those thing cost $75/hr to use after purchase :twocents:


Never owned a boat, have you....
 
WIederling
Posts: 9464
Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2015 2:15 pm

Re: Demographics of GA aircraft owners

Sat Oct 10, 2020 2:21 pm

FlyingElvii wrote:
Rdh3e wrote:
But none of those thing cost $75/hr to use after purchase :twocents:


Never owned a boat, have you....


For those rates you need a boat with "Gulper Drive" :-)

Even a bigger sailing boat incurs rather moderate cost per hour.
What depletes your bank roll ( here) is a summer berth, a winter storage place and transitional cost ( crane, rigging, .. twice a year )
With biofuels and climate warming degunking ( fueltank ) and degreening ( deck, .. ) rise in prominence.
Murphy is an optimist

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