Piper Archer, very iinteresting and I think you are close to where it needs to go. I opened the AOPA thread, the reason being I wondered what the feel and strategy was. I think conectivity is the answer, collaboration, and a transparency, even a UK wide pricing policy, with schools collaborating, not competing for dwindling business. People already in the pool are not your market , it is people out with, and the only way these can be attracted, is by opening up communication, opening up access to planes and flying. We all run for cover citing regulation, over burdening of authority, security, but that can be overcome, over ridden, and dealt with. Sticking on offers in Groupon, is one way, however, this requires thought and a more subtle approach. The US AOPA approach I believe will look to this option, I would see a network of schools/clubs/facilities, all looking to sell training flights, under one umbrella, but affiliated and connected through purchasing ans sales agreements. Require some blue sky thinking, and a good deal of trust and willingness, however,
Just a thought...
Similar to the "List of reasons to learn/keep flying privately?" thread.
I have an a/c that is underused. I'd be quite ready to offer flights to the general public within the 'fuel cost-sharing' rules, if I could think of a legal way to advertise the fact.
Also, I find people suspicious to the offer of a 'free' flight - people seem not to believe that another might actually offer something - assuming the offer must have some ulterior motive . . .
Sadly, I can think of a whole host of reasons I'd not offer pleasure flights to passing children or women. Which is especially hypocritical given that my first flight was in a hot air balloon, and was a complete surprise.
My parents took us along one morning to drive in the 'chase' car for one of my mum's schoolfriends and her husband, who were balloon pilots. We helped set up the balloon and I was popped into the basket as ballast - much safer than hanging onto the ropes. I must have been about 8 so didn't represent a significant amount of ballast anyhow. To my parents' surprise, the balloon took off with me still in it. I was enchanted and it's an experience that stays with me.
But the real reason I'm flying now is probably growing up in an area where low flying fighter jets beat up the countryside, made the beach shake with their sonic booms, and practised dive-bombing the farmhouse where my best friend lived.
The drop out rate could be hugely improved by removing the huge burden of over regulation, most of which has emanated from EASA and before that JAR The introduction of BFRs, 90 day rules, annual MEP tests, 12 hours in the second year, etc have brought additional costs for zero (as in proven by the CAA safety analysis statistics) improvement in safety. This is quite apart from the sheer hassle and depression of remembering to keep up with it all and the rigmarole associated with doing so. And I haven't even started on the completely unnecessary medical criteria, which result in you being stastically safer flying on a self decalaration of fitness than a full medical.
I suspect the statistic re. self-declaration reflects the fact that pilots in this category do tend to be younger than PPLs with a class 2 medical. To put it another way, it probably reflects association rather than causation: the idea that medicals cause pilot incapacitation seems to me implausible.
For me, cost is the biggest barrier to flying more. If the costs came down x4, I'd fly x4 more, but more importantly, x4 further. I've flown for 2 hours today, which is most of my monthly disposable income in an afternoon. If I decided to be adventurous and fly to somewhere 2 hours away and back, then that would be 2 months disposable income and I'd probably have to have a month off.
The result is that I'm effectively limited to fairly local flights, and I can see that my interest in these could start to flag quite quickly.
I was thinking about to open a thread like this after been to the AOPA bonus day for the first time. It was a shocking experience. I'm not a spring chicken, but I felt to be in the wrong place. The average age was beyond 65. The first presentation was 'my flying memories' by an air marshal. In all aviation organisations AOPA, PPL/IR or DAeC, most members are relatively old. Their perspective is not far into future, its backwards into memories. How can they come up with new ideas? I have no idea how to attract younger people either. My daughter is 12 and if I look at her mates they want to do everything the easy way. No one learns to play an instrument, some are into sports, but most give up. It's about making an effort. Learning to fly needs some dedication and lots of time. A cultural shift has taken place.
Well, I learnt to fly in Australia when I was 20. I flew for quite a while them moved to Europe. I have just got back into it this year and bought a plane (early-40s). Below are three things that I felt when I started looking around for somewhere to fly in the UK - and this is as a licenced pilot.
More willingness to embrace technology in aviation. My kids for example are really excited that we have a glass cockpit. Of course flying is flying but modern aircraft with technology and gadgets are more interesting to young people. Hey, they are more interesting to me too. There seems to be a reluctance to embrace this in Europe and the UK is even further behind - how many LPV approaches in the UK?
A more customer focussed approach to flying. The initial impression one gets in the UK is an RAF-centric, amateur club approach to flying. This does not mean that flying instruction is of a lower quality but it is a grizzled grumpy approach to customer service that would just not be acceptable in the US for example. Now I learnt to fly and did my IR with the grumpiest instructor in Australia and enjoyed it but I doubt a young woman would have been happy with it. The number of institutions that did not have a clue how to help me get an EASA licence or did not return phone calls was incredible.
Regulatory regime is a disaster. Even as an experienced pilot with an ICAO ME PPL and IR, I have got an FAA licence, IR and am keeping the aircraft on the N-register. GA seems like a second thought in Europe - you are either a professional pilot or a gifted-amateur - it seems to me like they want the amateurs to stick to doing aerobatics in class-G aerospace from grass strips.
Now I know these are all generalisations and I have met lots of great people in aviation in the UK having now stuck with it. But as an outsider, these were my first impressions. I nearly didn't bother. Now having flown in the US, it really is a wonderful place to fly.
But if you want more people into aviation in the UK and Europe you have to join to 21st century both with technology and service.
If you asked me to list just ONE thing which would make the biggest difference, it would be to get more WOMEN into GA.
There is plenty of money around. Look at the £50k-£100k cars going along your nearest road. Some of these people are posers (and with DB9s going for under 40k it has never been as cheap to be a credible poser ) but most will be on 100k p.a. plus.
The problem is that most "young" men (say 30-40) with money are working hard to make it and are very strategic as to where they spend their precious time.
The £1000/year gym will be chosen for the "scenery" more than for the machines.
So there's your challenge
I agree. I actually met my recently wed wife through GA, having failed in all other social scenes to find a partner. She wanted to try out a new airfield, having got her PPL elsewhere, and I was lucky to have met her, and she accompanied me to a short snowy trip to Duxford. We got engaged in the air while I was flying along (not that same day mind you), and we married this year inside a Concorde :-)
More women in GA wont necessarily solve all the GA's problems, but it made me very happy :-)