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Has Recreational Aviation collapsed?


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2 minutes ago, turboplanner said:

That's not what he said.

He was just saying his understanding is that you have to train in a rag and tube to fly in a rag and tube, and instructors are very scarce these days.

RAA should be paying attention to this and ensuring new instructors are trained because this is the affordable entry level.

What's happening is the people have the impression they can train in a Jab or similar, and then go and do long distance touring, so they bypass Drifters etc.

If you look at the history in the posts on this site, you'll find hundreds who did this and then did a cross country flight or two and then had a density ht, nav, weight, fuel exhaustion incident or found they couldn't carry enough to tour comfortably, or just couldn't handle the logistics of flight planning ahead for fuel and then finding their information was wrong, or getting stranded in a strange two by bad weather, and usually the wife put her foot down, or they just figured it was easier to tow a caravan and they moved on. In some cases the trip storiess will give way to reports on fly ins and breakfasts, but after a few of these you can tell they are losing interest and they move on.

 

These aircraft are not GA aircraft, the training is not GA training, the equipment level is not touring aircraft level and I suspect in the medium term, particularly if a few new GA entrepreneurs show up with new aircraft,  that the mix pendulum will shift back. 

 

Rag and Tube is a lot more social for building and flying.

 

If you look at recent comments from the heavier end of RA, the big issue is Hangarage. A little bit of lateral thinking to introduce trailerable aircraft would probably be The catalyst.

 

 

 

 

Rag and tube involves a lot more socialising to build them and keep them in the air.

 

I am not convinced that lack of instructors are really the problem so much as lack of aircraft.

A Drifter can actually become very expensive to fly in a school due to the very short (compared to 4 stroke) engine life.

ie 300 hours to rebuild.

 

If there was a school with one for hire within an hours drive of me, I would be there every weekend.

Sadly there is not.

 

I do however know of several instructor who are qualified to instruct on them.

It does seem the in reality there are not enough people wanting to fly drifters and the like to make them economically viable to a school.

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Contrary to what we expected this year, the interest in learning to fly is highest I've seen in 15 years. Especially so as we now have a better view of the future of international travel and the devel

Is it a generational thing? Are those "middle aged farts" tinkering in their sheds being replaced by "digital-age dynamos"? Remember back to your twenties when an RC plane was balsa with an IC engine

Didn't anyone read the posts above where people actually visiting airfields and talking to real people flying aircraft in several different parts of Australia gave very positive stories.   I

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14 minutes ago, Geoff13 said:

I am not convinced that lack of instructors are really the problem so much as lack of aircraft.

A Drifter can actually become very expensive to fly in a school due to the very short (compared to 4 stroke) engine life.

ie 300 hours to rebuild.

 

If there was a school with one for hire within an hours drive of me, I would be there every weekend.

Sadly there is not.

 

I do however know of several instructor who are qualified to instruct on them.

It does seem the in reality there are not enough people wanting to fly drifters and the like to make them economically viable to a school.

If you use that as a starting point, the next step is to get more Drifters in circulation, so I guess the question is can they still be built new.

 

You may have to do a rebuild every 300 hours, but I would think the cost would be a lot less than a 2.2 litre four stroke; it's just a matter of building this into the hourly rate. Race car owners rebuild a lot more frequently than that; in fact some drag race engines are rebuilt after 15 minutes.

 

The best way to start a revival is usually to get one cluster going so they are close enough to be able to visit each other to help keep the aircraft flying.

 

If that cluster gathers momentum, it attracts others.

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That's where I started U/L's. Thruster in 87 and finished later in a drifter SB. for RAAus Cert. I also had a lot of Tailwheel time some  ( Hell it was 22 years before). with the odd DH 82 time mixed in now and again.. IF you do a bit of research on what's involved (like it's OBVIOUS the thing will lose airspeed quickly if you don't nose over when the motor stops). It's just another flying thing. A bit  of training is all the difference between one and some others.

  I don't think those planes will be revived. You CAN fly them long distances IF you are the right kind of person and adjust to the performance of it  and get WELL organised and are not in a rush, but we are ALL basically lazy and do it the easy way and insulate ourselves in a plastic cocoon away from the elements and you can pretty easily fly a Jab 230 anywhere. and the sun doesn't hurt it too much. When I was a Kid, Fitters and turners were 5 to a street. Now people go across town to get something "LATHED" and don't know the difference between a tolerance and clearance. and so on. Things have changed. People want almost instant gratification .Being a pilot is Ho Hum these days and spending years building a plane is not for as many as it once was. Nev

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5 hours ago, Yenn said:

If the problem is caused by not being able to train in a very basic aircraft, which seems to be what is said here, what has caused that situation? I would think that the problem is that very few want to fly those old basic machines, so they have gone and the instructors with them.

If we really wanted to still be flying Drifters and Thrusters we should have hung onto them and got ourselves an instructor rating to teach others. Personally I don't really want to fly a Thruster ever again, I wouldn't mind flying a Drifter, but would need conversion training and for the ability to say I have flown a Drifter, it is just not worth the hassle.

Just using your post, Yenn, to provide context (I hope) for my comments.

If the issue is lack of instructors/schools using Drifters, then surely that is a result of supply and demand???? There used to be several instructors using Drifters as the ab initio aircraft, but no more....why is it so????

Personally, I would love to fly a Drifter, just for the buzz of sitting on a boom, with the wind in my hair. 🙂

But would I buy one????

NO.

 

At 62, with a new RPC under my belt, I am only ever going to buy one aircraft. (Explains why I am still looking after 2 years scouring the for sale pages)

I showed my wife a pic of a Drifter. "Hell no" she said.
At one of the airfields here in WAussieland, I have been told that there are many tandem aircraft that don't fly often, "....because wives don't like being out there alone...."
My wife has been up with me in a Jab 170, loved it, and wants to do it again. She likes the security of the enclosed cockpiut, and me sitting next to her.  🙂

 

That is a huge consideration. 

 

So with enclosed cockpit aircraft under the RAAus banner relatively affordable, (relatively.....what an all-encompassing word) I am aiming for soemthing that has a bit of speed, can carry a bit, good for longer flights, and keeps the bride happy.

Now, am I alone??? People with more money than me are paying $70+ thousand for their pride and joy. Good luck to them. 
I will hopefully get something affordable to me, that ticks a few boxes.

 

But for those that want to fly a Drifter or Thruster, no criticism. But if you can't find a school that uses them to teach, isn't that supply and demand at work???
And please, I mean no criticism to anyone. 
Just saying that 30+ years ago, "state of the art" and affordable aircraft may have been Drifter, Thruster, Quicksilver, but now, things have changed.

 

Sorry to bore you, but one question, apart from Quicksilver, who still makes rag and tube aircraft, for those who would  NOT want to fly in something they have built???

 

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Nearly all the Thrusters I know of are owned by farmers, this could explain why they are not often seen at airports. Not long ago they were the third most popular type on the RAAus register. Total RAAus registrations now at 3250 down a few hundred from two years ago, old ones dropping off faster than new sales.

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4 minutes ago, Thruster88 said:

Nearly all the Thrusters I know of are owned by farmers, this could explain why they are not often seen at airports. Not long ago they were the third most popular type on the RAAus register. Total RAAus registrations now at 3250 down a few hundred from two years ago, old ones dropping off faster than new sales.

So around 9000 members hiring?

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19 hours ago, facthunter said:

I doubt you would have any trouble with a drifter. You are just being modest. A Corby is more challenging..Nev

Totally agree with facthunter there,if you can fly a corby you can fly a drifter

 

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 05/12/2020 at 10:44 AM, spacesailor said:

Lots more money to the Bureaucrats.

I Was 72 klgms when first started my build, after medical problems, and my hip replacement I,m now 97 klgms . 

AND still not climbed into my Dream machine. LoL

Need a bigger wing to get me off the ground, I suspect !.

OR a Trike wing, they have lots of wing area.

spacesailor

Build a loehle my old one flew fine with my fat arse init [115kgs] with a 503

 

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Loehle Aircraft is no longer in existence, and there is no support available for them  Their website is defunct. The company closed in 2017 when the VP and wife of the President died from cancer.

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  • 2 weeks later...

 A tandem has the safest view aspect. Equal both sides and  good for any circuit direction. Side by side and cramped Like a C-150 and the early Jabs you have to be good friends if you are a bit large and you can't cut sandwiches and pour coffee like you can in a tandem and pass it over. The drifter is not a type you would home build. The fuselage is quite a complex thing but could do it with CAD parts like an RV.. If you haven't flown one you miss out on perhaps the most complete  aerial view you'll get  from just about any plane. Hanging over cliffs is not for me but the Drifter has never bothered me from the "nothing around me" aspect.  These are not planes you HAVE to FLY but nice to do it.  The  "Low  Inertia" so called, is simple. IF the engine revs are dropping so must the nose, at the same time..Nev

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