Top Letters and Comments, July 6, 2018
Mixed News On Refurb Trainers
I think the key issue is what you said in your next to last paragraph: The cost of replacement parts is out of control. I can't speak for Piper, but Cessna parts have skyrocketed in the past 5-6 years, making a full 172 refurb prohibitively expensive. Add to that, the high amount of hand labor required to disassemble and reassemble an airframe and it is small wonder the companies can't make a profit. Private owners have some ability to control costs because they can do upgrades in phases to spread out the expenses and throw some sweat equity into the project. And, with the advent of STC'd avionics from the experimental world, they can reduce the panel upgrade costs even more. Without a ready source of cheap labor and affordable parts, the commercial refurb concept is DOA.
Unless one of these refurb companies can get authorization to "zero-time" the airframes similar to what Basler does with the Turbo DC3 or Viking with the old Twin Otters I can't see any of these being successful. Any reasonably competent aircraft owner can replicate these refurbishments and not have to pay for someone else's profit margin.
Not Doing The Lindy Hop
Reading your article was like listening to a threnody. (finally get to use that word legitimately). I too feel that as society evolves, what is "new" seems to displace what is “old,” perhaps that is why older persons treasure what was once "new" to them but in the eyes of others has become “old.” Seems like old cars and old airplanes, and probably old boats and motorcycles are treasured objects. Me? I am still absolutely in love with Beechcraft Super 18’s, which in my mind’s eye is the ultimate escape vehicle. The mini airliner I discovered when I was 11 years old. Its glorious leather and fine wool interior and the marvelous sound of its radial engines rumbling at idle and rumble-roaring at full power. Of course in the real world I’d rather fly in a Beech Premier and for longer distances a Dreamliner. Enjoy your Citabria, and maybe get a bunch of geezers together and go cut the lawn at that abandoned airfield!
Those of us who have been around for a while remember those simple, grass rural airfields well. How sad that learning to fly is economically beyond the reach—or interest—of most folks these days. I often think of all the sights that people miss when they're driving. Sounds like an interesting trip.
New Rule Targets Proficiency and Training Costs
The new FAA rule should be just a beginning. Integrating flight sim into initial training should lower the cost of getting the first license (ASEL or glider). My peeve is that most sims fail to provide the side view that is essential for flying a close landing pattern. I aim to fix that in the simulator I am putting together in an old Blanik cockpit.
Airline Seat Size
There is a reason I refer to the FAA as the "Friendly Airline Agency." They always side with the airlines and aircraft manufacturers over the general public. The current close spacing poses health risks in addition to the evacuation issue. Just ask any cardiologist about the hazards of DVT from sitting immobile for extended periods. But, the FAA ignores that as well. It would be interesting to take a bunch of average citizens off the street and see how they would fare in an evacuation drill as opposed to the athletic kids the manufacturers use for their videos.
Thanks for nothing, FAA. If you are offering a public carrier conveyance service for hire, there should be a requirement for some kind of a safe accommodation for taller people (otherwise, clearly state up front No Six Footers Allowed). I have a 25 inch femur length and literally cannot sit straight in these ridiculous28" pitch seats while facing forward. A few rows of longer pitch seats allocated for this purpose would be sufficient ... but no, FAA is more concerned with promoting bureaucracy than actually doing something to help the public.