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Thread: Small planes in the future?

  1. #1
    T.J.'s Avatar
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    Small planes in the future?

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    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    And the FAA's job is to promote aviation and it's safety.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers

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    Grant's Avatar
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    Steve, I quoted that to a fed one time and reminder them that that was their mission..... He didn't like it and told me that his job was to "violate". No Kidding. Customer service initiative my A$$.

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    All FAA inspectors should be required to have a private pilots certificate. Problem is, most of us have real jobs and can't stand the beef waste long enough to stay in one of those jobs and make a difference.

    The system we have is the equivalent of state highway patrolman who don't drive cars.
    Flat Country Pilot
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  5. #5
    SJ's Avatar
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    Actually, I think there are a LOT of flying FAA guys, the problem is, there are not enough of them at the TOP LEVELS. That is where they need to be to set the standards and have some inkling of understanding.

    Just my usually incorrect opinion.

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
    ------------------------------------------

  6. #6
    T Willson
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    I think that the future of small airplanes lies in the amature built exp. category. When I started watching this site a few years back, experimental cubs got a pretty cool reception. Now more and more people seem to be gravitating in that dirrection. I believe this is partially caused by a more restrictive FAA, but may also be because the information, and support needed to complete one of these projects is now more easily accessable on sites like (supercub.org).
    Tim

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    I am from the gov and here to help you!

    Not to worryÖ. Not to worry, a democracy to the worst form of government one could have, but it is absolutely the finest that money can buy!!!!!

  8. #8

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    Future of Small Planes...

    I can promise one thing, if all Aviaiton Companies and Agencies had a man at the Helm like Cessna's Jack Pelton, all of our aviation interest would be rejuvenated. Here is a guy that is the President of a Major Aircraft company that Actually LIKES Little Airplanes... The Man owns and flies 4 or 5 different small airplanes. From the 7kcab Citabria, to his latest aquisition, the venerable old C-195. The guy is GOOD for General Aviation. Look at the other General Aviation Companies, and Agencies, and you are lucky to find guys that are even Private Pilots. How discouraging... Any way with Jack Pelton calling the shots, I suspect Brand "C" will continue to set the bar for all of General and Business Aviation.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce
    And the FAA's job is to promote aviation and it's safety.

    Actually, no, it isn't any more. It used to be, but that was changed in 1996 after the ValuJet Crash. There were too many morons complaining about the FAA's "dual role"...saying that it was a conflict. Actually, it was a conflict, but a needed one. Here's why:

    If your sole mission is to make Aviation safe, your job is very easy. aviation can be made completely safe merely by grounding all aircraft ...no more aviation accidents, no more aviation deaths, no more aviation. complete safety. Even without such a draconian step, if your only consideration is "will it make aviation safer" then you have no reason not to enact burdensome regulation which can stifle aviation.

    However if your mandate is to promote aviation and make it safe, you have to strike a balance to ensure that you're following both parts of your mandate. That was the original intent of giving the FAA the dual mandate, so thay didn't just regulate it out of existence. Assigning the dual mandate was a careful, considered move, not a mistake or conflict of interest.

    Removing it *was* a mistake.

  10. #10

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    As a guide and air taxi operator in Alaska I ran into a few bad FAA guys.
    But most of them were good to work with, were helpful and did promote safety in a good way. I can say that all but one (he was a jerk and gave the rest a bad name) of the PMI's & POI'S that I had were fair, reasonable and knowledgeable. All were pilots that had real life flying and/or mechanical experience. They were the kind of people that I could call for advice. It is too bad the FAA in the rest of the country is not the same.

  11. #11
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    I came to Fairbanks Alaska almost 30 years ago with a commercial pilotís license, other ratings and A&P, IA. I realize it was a different time back then. But the FAA (I'm talking about maintenance) was more relaxed and most all of them were or had been either mechanics or pilots or both. They were allowed to use some good sound judgement from their own experiences in the field to do field approvals ect. They knew what had worked safely for years on old airplanes. Now most of the old timers have retired. Now the FAA wants to put get out of approving anything by making everyone have STC's for everything. The system has gotten more rigid and some of the new guys have very little experience in the aviation field. If you get a new guy itís all by the book and not as much good judgement. Now very few will step up and sign anything unless itís already gone through engineering or some other approval first. Iíve worked continuously as a mechanic for 32 years. The last ten I only keep up 4 cubs and one Widgeon. Iím glad not to be starting my aviation career now. I learned to fly back in the 60ís and after about 1978 general aviation (GA) has been on a down hill slide. I have nothing against regulations and airworthiness directives (ADís) that are in the name of safety. The costís related to flying, litigation, regulations and ADís just because a manufacture wants cover his a.. or some pilot screwed up are really killing/choking GA. Sorry to say but I think the future will be going more to the Experimental and Light Sport.
    There will still be a certain market for people with lots of money who want to go fast but most of us canít afford to be in this one.

  12. #12
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    I agree with Pete. We are the last folks to be doing this for the most part. I asked a co-worker (not a pilot) what he thought they would use for subjects in movies in the future. He looked at me and said guys that fly like you because this is the end. So enjoy that Super Cub while you can. We are dinosaurs.

  13. #13
    Christina Young's Avatar
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    So if this is the end of small airplanes, then how will people visit remote places in Alaska like Gates of the Arctic, Kobuk Dunes, ANWR, etc, and how will people in all those remote villages get around???

    I find this pessimism disconcerting. Especially when I see younger people interested in my Alaska flying presentation, or see my nephews' and young cousins' eyes light up when I take them for rides in my SC. What about bright young people like Crash's son who seems to live for every trip around various parts of the state with his dad in their SC?

    Are you saying they won't be able to enjoy these experiences like you have, or carry the "Torch" of GA in the future???

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    Sounds like we need a NRA style pilots association to insure our freedoms are not eroded any further.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan2+2
    Sounds like we need a NRA style pilots association to insure our freedoms are not eroded any further.
    We do. AOPA. Unfortunately, with 400,000 members it doesn't have the same sort of clout as hte NRA with 10 times as many members.

  16. #16
    polarpete's Avatar
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    Join AOPA, it helps.

    I didn't say it was the end of small planes (I guess you were refering to Torch's statement) and I don't want it to sound like domes day for small airplanes. I don't think the manufactures will ever sell the amount of airplanes like they did in 1978. The cost of a new certified airplane is to high for the general public. I love flying, my dad flew, and my brother and nephew both fly. As a whole, the pilot community is slowly changing. Yes we still have lots of pilots flying what they have for years. But every year more pilots are building experimental airplanes as a way to be more affordable. It will be harder financially for newer generation pilots to own and operate airplanes. Thatís where EAA and sport pilots will keep people flying. Some will continue to fly certified airplanes if they can afford it.

  17. #17

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    Christina is right - aviation will continue, and Super Cubs will exist. They will be $200 grand, insurance will be at least several grand, and who knows what gas will be. Here, tie down space is auctioned of to the highest bidder, which lets me out of that game. My Cub is actually outside, while folks sell 30-day tiedown rights for $20,000 and more, with the airport operator's full cooperation.

    I feel privileged to have gotten in on the second half-century of aviation. I bought my Cub for $1200 - I was practically minimum wage at the time - and made it through all the ratings long before my wages caught up with my contemporaries. I don't think I could do that now. I flew them all - Wacos to Airbuses - and loved it. If your daddy isn't rich, don't count on being able to replicate that in the future.

  18. #18
    Christina Young's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob turner
    If your daddy isn't rich, don't count on being able to replicate that in the future.
    Well, my parents certainly weren't rich - in fact they were fairly poor, and I did it. Maybe with a delay while I went to college then into a decent paying field where I could afford it.

    I think it's a wrong attitude to feel that you are entitled to become a pilot and get your own airplane without having to pay your dues and work intelligently towards it. If one wants it, one can certainly have it. Even in this day and age, where more people are "rich" than ever before in history! And there are more ways to become "rich" and afford nice toys than ever before in history!

  19. #19
    RedEye's Avatar
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    This Cub's future is certainly not in question !!!

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    Why don't we have you practical minded real world experience people at the top of the FAA totem pole? We should take pilots and mechanics with 20 plus years of experience and put them directly into upper management. If we did, I believe that general aviation would be safe and growing.
    Flat Country Pilot
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  21. #21
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    NASA, to it's credit, seems to have taken up the challenge:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_air_vehicle

    Don't think a cub is what they had in mind, though....

    http://cafefoundation.org/v2/pav_home.php

    You can see that they are trying to bring technology to bear on rejuvinating general aviation. I like the quote(loosely) that "the present system is bound up by quality assurance issues"....ha!

    This kind of thing is one of those historical signposts that says: "A big depression is about to hit"....

  23. #23

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    I am beginning to forget what we were discussing. Here's my take - how many young pilots of very modest means do you know who own and fly a Cub? I gotta tell you when I bought mine, I was of very modest means, 21 years old and a college dropout. I changed the college part, but my point is that now that opportunity to own a Cub belongs to the very well off.

  24. #24
    Torch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob turner
    Christina is right - aviation will continue, and Super Cubs will exist. They will be $200 grand, insurance will be at least several grand, and who knows what gas will be. Here, tie down space is auctioned of to the highest bidder, which lets me out of that game. My Cub is actually outside, while folks sell 30-day tiedown rights for $20,000 and more, with the airport operator's full cooperation.

    I feel privileged to have gotten in on the second half-century of aviation. I bought my Cub for $1200 - I was practically minimum wage at the time - and made it through all the ratings long before my wages caught up with my contemporaries. I don't think I could do that now. I flew them all - Wacos to Airbuses - and loved it. If your daddy isn't rich, don't count on being able to replicate that in the future.
    You are right bob. Aviation will continue. Aviation won't die. Most people just won't be able to afford the price of doing it. It will be strictly for the wealthy. The people like us will be lucky to purchase kit planes. I have seen quite a few friends curtail the amount of flying they are doing now because of the prices.

  25. #25
    Clyde Barker's Avatar
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    My take on this is that every generation seems to think that the end is near. We look back in our past and think "those were the good old days" because we know how things turned out from then. My parents lived through WW2. Things must have looked pretty grim then, because they did not know the outcome. The future of general aviation during that war must not have looked good, but look at the boom that happened after the war. We don't know what the future will bring, so we imagine the worst.

    The cost of flying little airplanes has ALWAYS been expensive if you look at the relative costs of things at the time. People who live in the US today have the best standard of living of any time or any place. The future of small airplanes will be what we make it, and it can be good. I'm not going to stop flying my cub!

    Okay, now time for another margarita.

    Merry Christmas everyone!

    Clyde

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    Let me see - a barely flying J-3 can be had for $25,000. A 21 year old kid probably makes that in a year. Nope - it is not the same. In 1962, insurance was not much of a worry, and outside tiedown was free most places.

    My aircraft was way beyond barely flying - it was almost pristine! It cost me 1/6 of my annual income as a 21 year old draftsman. I maintain that you cannot do that today.

  27. #27
    WhiskeyMike's Avatar
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    FAA

    Two cents more...I have known many fine FAA people who have taught me plenty. The charter of the CAA, later FAA was "to foster and further Air Commerce." That implied enforcement of safety rules as a way of taking good care of aviation. You can't blame the Feds for doing their proper job. There are two problems as I see it. First our friendly attorneys got the law changed so that Inspectors took on personal liability for signing off on any repairs and mods. Secondly, there used to be GADOs and FSDOs -General Aviation District Offices and Flight Standards Offices. Air Transport was separate from General Aviation. I don't know anything about operating large jets, and don't expect that an FAA Inspector can know everything about 747's as well as PA-18's, never mind J-5s and PA-12s. The problem for me is that I EXPECT that if a person must regulate, they must be know what they are doing. Hence I EXPECT that they will be open and listen to someone with 40 years of experience, and work with those they are regulating. If they aren't familiar with your specialty (Cubs), then they ought to listen to operators in the field who have the knowlege and experience. 90% of people are reasonable and generous and open. The other 10 make life unbearable at times.

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    Aviation will continue but probably won't be recognizable to those flying today. How many folks 50 years ago could imagine it being necessary to have anything in the dash except a fuel gauge, a compass, a few items to help keep the wings level and perhaps if they were lucky a radio. Must've been the end of times when VOR and DME came on the scene. Stupid radio beams gonna kill us pilots. Whatcha need 'em for anyhow, compass is perfectly fine, who needs more. Holy cow, what's this TRSA, Class A, Class B nonsense. Whose gonna tell me where I can fly, how high I can fly and how fast I can fly. Them lame-brained b'crats don't know nothing 'bout flyin'. I'll fly where and when I want. Now we're up to stinkin' C172 with a glass-panel. Gonna price us po' folk right out of the flying. Funny thing, they're coming off the assembly at a pretty good clip. The preferred option even if they are much more expensive. Yep, flying will be around and I like the looks of some of them new diesel engines, electronic ignitions and some of them experimental kits that let me play to my hearts content. Hmmm, replica PA-18 you say? I like that. Hmmm, fast glass for when I wanna get somewhere? Le' see, I think I'd like to see a hmmmm, Bearhawk in my future? Yep, the future of aviation do look bright. My $.019.

  29. #29
    Christina Young's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob turner
    Let me see - a barely flying J-3 can be had for $25,000. A 21 year old kid probably makes that in a year. Nope - it is not the same. In 1962, insurance was not much of a worry, and outside tiedown was free most places.

    My aircraft was way beyond barely flying - it was almost pristine! It cost me 1/6 of my annual income as a 21 year old draftsman. I maintain that you cannot do that today.
    Well that $25,000 in today's dollars is equal to just over $1400 in 1962 dollars. Don't you guys understand that the Fed has stolen (i.e. devalued, inflated away) 98% of the value of the dollar since then???

  30. #30

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    Re: FAA

    "our friendly attorneys got the law changed so that Inspectors took on personal liability for signing off on any repairs and mods."

    I used to think that and have heard it from others for some time now.

    However, friends in the FAA tell me that they know of no FAA personnel who have incurred any liability whatsoever from signoffs and field approvals or the inspection processes and most believe that they are well protected from such liability due to their federal employment.

    In an inspection related example, how else could the inspectors who were monitoring and approving Alaska Airlines maintenance policies and ops procedures during and before the jackscrew incident (that directly resulted in the death of an entire planeload of people) have kept their jobs? These are folks who inspect and examine and yes, sometimes dictate, every manner and method of maintenance and inspection done by air carriers.

    Then to find out months after the crash that there still were aircraft in operation that had not had the prescribed maintenance performed!

    I think it was the most egregious incident in the recent history of aviation due to the circumstances leading up to the crash-all done under inspection and approval procedures from FAA employees.

    Many alaskan air carriers have been put out of business for much less. I have never heard that the FAA personnel assigned to the offending carriers suffered even a minor career setback.

    I think the prohibition of field approvals without engineering backup came down from on high in an attempt to shut down any avenue that the lawyers thought might possibly have any effect on safety, since their avowed goal is zero accidents, made much easier if there are only Part 121 carriers left in aviation and all the rest of us are gone, disgusted, disgruntled, or flying our experimentals.

  31. #31
    fobjob's Avatar
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    The first Jodel is an example of what may be only available in the future, as it was built of wood and a car engine in France right after WWII...the world economy is headed for a collossal train wreck, propelled by some things that have been happening for about 95 years now,
    http://www.amazon.com/Creature-Jekyl...e=UTF8&s=books
    and due to pass through a 'Kondratieff Wave Winter' in the next three years;
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kondratieff_wave and our government has decided to continue the policy of smoke and mirrors and unlimited inflation to skim through it....My fear is that very few people here on this wonderful site will still own a cub unless they are out of debt now, and have gold and silver buried under their house..I fully expect to have to park mine for a few years at the least.
    Sorry, I've only had one coffee this morning...

  32. #32
    WhiskeyMike's Avatar
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    approvals

    "I think the prohibition of field approvals without engineering backup came down from on high in an attempt to shut down any avenue that the lawyers thought might possibly have any effect on safety, since their avowed goal is zero accidents, made much easier if there are only Part 121 carriers left in aviation and all the rest of us are gone, disgusted, disgruntled, or flying our experimentals."

    I agree and the end result is that one must "shop" for FSDO'S where there is a knoweldgable person in maintenence - not a rule reader. Post WW2 there was a lot of practical knowledge but those people are mostly gone. Try to find anyone who has ever even heard of Part 8. My favorite line from CAM 8 is "the experience of the operator shall be the determining factor...." A hundred bucks says you won't find one in a hundred who'll accept that.

    Merry Christmas to all.

  33. #33

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    I have retired, and have sort of lost the real world somewhere. Let me see, in 1962 $1400 is now $25,000, so a J-3 has remained basically the same price. My salary in 1962 was a shade over $6000, for a low level drafting job at age 21 and no college. If my math is correct, a job like that pays $107,142 per year now.

    Of course those bright-eyed young 21 year olds can afford Cubs. As a matter of fact, maybe I better go get one of those entry level jobs - my retirement is based solely on what my spouse socked away while I was driving Airbusi. And that 401K that I was afraid to put in the risky stuff.

  34. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by bob turner
    I have retired, and have sort of lost the real world somewhere. Let me see, in 1962 $1400 is now $25,000, so a J-3 has remained basically the same price. My salary in 1962 was a shade over $6000, for a low level drafting job at age 21 and no college. If my math is correct, a job like that pays $107,142 per year now.

    Of course those bright-eyed young 21 year olds can afford Cubs. As a matter of fact, maybe I better go get one of those entry level jobs - my retirement is based solely on what my spouse socked away while I was driving Airbusi. And that 401K that I was afraid to put in the risky stuff.
    How are you calculating those numbers, bob? Using the Consumer Price Index, which is the most commonly accepted measure of inflation, $1400 in 1962 is equivalant to $9300 now and $6000/year is equivalant to about $40,000/year now.

  35. #35
    fobjob's Avatar
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    I would have to say that just about none of those kids are buying airplanes with cash....if any are being bought at all...and, if you are using offical government figures, you aren't using good information, either...the good news is: they got rid of 9% of that 45 Trillion dollar debt this year....by taking it from you....oops......(by best approximation, since good data isn't available any more)

  36. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by fobjob
    ...and, if you are using offical government figures, you aren't using good information, either..
    So what would be a better measure of inflation? The CPI is the one I'm most familiar with, but I'm sure not the only one. WHich inflation index do you think is better?

  37. #37
    fobjob's Avatar
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    There is no published, offical index that can be trusted, anymore...confidence building, isn't it? They quit publishing M3 because it was getting too frightening, and most other indicies have been "adjusted" by excluding the things that make it look bad...when I said smoke and mirrors, I wasn't exaggerating....so, you just have to ask yourself the question:" what's in MY wallet?" Tough to do, actually...
    There are people out there who calculate some indicies by the older methods, but you can't find them reliably...

  38. #38

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    Small planes in the future?

    I don't think Bob's off all that far:

    "I have retired, and have sort of lost the real world somewhere. Let me see, in 1962 $1400 is now $25,000, so a J-3 has remained basically the same price. My salary in 1962 was a shade over $6000, for a low level drafting job at age 21 and no college. If my math is correct, a job like that pays $107,142 per year now."

    I'm surprised that he made that much in that job. My dad was an Engineer ME nd made about that much.

    I remember that a union carpenter foreman made $3.50 an hour in 1964. I also think that $1,400 or 1,500 would have bought a new ford or chevy pickup that would cost you $22,000 or more today.

    That would have made Bob's wages about $88,000 a year in today's money. Not bad if it worked, but it looks like the truck has gone up more than wages to the working guy.

    As a dumb kid working his butt off for $1.25 an hour, when I wasn't rodeoing, (there's a career move !) I remember spending $2,900 on a tricked out ford pickup in 1968 ( first one in town with an 8 track and carpet) only to loose it when I was drafted and reduced to $56.00 a month( Pvt E-1)

    " The money's not much, troop, but you'll have free health care for life" ---Lying b*****ds.

    Some things haven't changed!

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    Re: Small planes in the future?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hyrdflyr
    .......................
    I remember that a union carpenter foreman made $3.50 an hour in 1964. ............................
    Same union carpenter foreman makes about 10 times that now, at least in my area of western Washington. So a new $200K Husky or TopoCub wolda been $20K back then. A used 180 or SuperCub at around $80K woulda been around $8K. I just bought a pretty nice Toyota Solara last summer for around $23K, so an equivalent woulda been about $2300. Does that seem about right for 1964?
    American Rifleman (I think) did an article a few years ago comparing the price of new rifles now, and back in the day--they concluded that prices were about the same based on real life buying power.
    What about airplane of the future designs? Seems like they're going the way of the Cirrus for the affluent, and the Sting Sport (or similar) for the more financially modest. Composite construction,nosewheels, plenty of electronics.... not exactly my cup o' tea-- I like tailwheels,tube-n-fabric or monocoque aluminum contruction,fat tires,and basic instrumentation.

    Rooster

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    I got you guys off on the wrong foot. Christina posted the $1300 Cub being $25 grand today. I merely used her numbers to point out the obvious. By my calculations, $3.50/hr was about $7200 a year, and as I recall, that was about right for a draftsman or illustrator with medium skill.

    I made $2.00/hr the year before that digging ditches.

    The point is - that Cub is now out of reach for a guy like I was. It was common for young kids to buy a J-3 or Taylorcraft back then - for cash - the seedier ones could be had for $800. Today, a good engineer with a masters degree might make a hundred grand, but a good J-3 (at least Sam's good J-3) is half that. Numbers don't add up.

    And I am not sure about those pickup truck prices. I do know that I looked at a used 1960 truck in 1962, and it was $900. I wanted the Cub more.

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