Light aircraft are trainers, check-runners, news gatherers, ambulances, taxis, tour guides, fire fighters, police patrollers and family haulers. That’s what general aviation is all about.
My Cardinal RG recently returned to service after a pretty extensive annual inspection. The 12 months leading up to that annual were good because not one trip was canceled due to maintenance problems and only one trip was delayed.
As a result of my recent columns about cost of operation, I was asked if I had a “magic formula” for my calculating those costs. No, there is no magic formula. Certainly some “educated guesswork” has to be employed where specific numbers are not available, but there is nothing magic about it. So, for this issue, I will share my chart for determining actual or anticipated cost of operation.
In the last issue, I addressed how many pilots are also SCUBA enthusiasts, and how flying to dive destinations can satisfy both interests in one trip. I also mentioned that I would soon be returning to the Bahamas to try out a new destination, once I figured out where that would be. The excellent response I received from that column only enforced my belief of the flying-diving connection.
What better way to end another great year of traveling in my Cardinal RG than a December business trip to Canada? (Yeah, I know, a better way might have been a trip to the Bahamas.) Wheels up from my Rowan County, N.C., airport (RUQ) base at 1 p.m., with an OAT of 55°, and 3.5 flying hours later (and a 35° temperature drop) I’m landing after a back-course localizer approach in snow at the Waterloo Airport in Kitchener, Ontario.
In my April column, I addressed the dilemma many inexperienced aircraft purchasers encounter when they consider only the purchase price of a used plane but not the associated operating costs that go along with it. The trap, as stated in my article, is that for an arbitrary $50,000 purchase price, a buyer could obtain either a 1977 Cessna 172 or a 1960 Cessna 210. Each would have about the same airframe time, half of the engine time used up since overhaul, and decent but not state-of–the–art avionics. The point was that the purchase price is an attractive lure for the 210, with all its extra room, speed, load carrying ability and climb. But what hurts so many owners is the considerable amount of extra money it takes to run one of these bigger, older, higher performance singles, or even twins.