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iaw4

market analysis

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My day job is as an economics professor.  so, I spent some fun time analyzing the annual and used FD CT* market.  I thought I would share it for those interested.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/17e150agb4z1bpa/flightdesign.pdf?dl=0

Let me add that I very much like both the company and the airplanes, so I plan to buy one.  but I have not done so yet.  I have no other conflicts of interest.

 

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Very interesting - still doesn't quite answer my question why CTLS has been dominating LSA sale numbers for years ... was it because in 2006/2007 this plane had no real competitor and afterwards it was just networking effect in play ?

Anyway, interesting.

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48 minutes ago, FlyingMonkey said:

I have a 'real' pilot’s license, not just a sports license..

@iaw4  back in 05 and 06  the 'real pilots' were crashing the CTSWs.  They needed some additional 'sport pilot' training because very light aircraft require a high level of stick and rudder skill.

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The lower numbers the past few years was a supply issue, not a market issue. It is hard to sell airplanes if you have no airplanes to sell.

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Please take this as constructive criticism. I wanted to point out these major things:

"I have a 'real' pilot’s license, not just a sports license" -- I know you are trying to back yourself up with some sort of credibility, but it goes right out the window when you say things like this... you should try to word this better in the future. You basically insulted every sport pilot in a document that was NOT about sport pilots.... it is about flight design. So yeah, it feels like a cheap shot.

Regarding sales: Flight Design got themselves in a real pickle. They were entered into remediation by the German courts. A customer stiffed them for over a million euros (as stated by documents provided to the courts), and the company was acquired by Lift Air GmbH. Production is back in swing and deliveries are being made.

12-year engine limit: nobody follows this. Did you know year limits exist for lycomings and continentals too? See service instruction SI1009BB (lycoming) or SIL98-9C (continental). Kind of moot.

Finally: It's rare to sell an airplane at Vref. In aviation, it's basically the "ballpark estimate". It's hard to sell at that price because there's almost always someone who wants to sell more than you do, and will cut his price to do it. There is another price, called the wholesale price, that is often more of an average of what an aircraft will sell for. Yet, when first listed, you'll find aircraft are often very high... people expect to be haggled with.

All that said, it's still interesting to see something like this.

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9 hours ago, iaw4 said:

My day job is as an economics professor.

In your PDF link, you claimed, "I have a 'real' pilot’s license, not just a sports license." Just what is that supposed to mean?

Your insult to the Sport Pilot community does not rate a passing grade here . . . "Professor."

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yikes, I had no idea that I was hitting a nerve.  I was not trying to knock sports pilots.  There are terrible pilots with PPL, and great pilots with a sports license.

The only reason why I mentioned that I had a "real" pilot's license is that I was pointing out that I was planning to buy a CT not because of the lower training and medical requirements, but because I think the Flight Design CT* is simply a superior airplane.  That is, I could buy any other GA airplane, instead.

I will replace it with the phrasing PPL.  This is what I meant.  I hope this will soothe the nerves.

---

I suspect that the sales patterns look pretty similar for other airplanes.  After a large initial batch of airplanes (at the LSA init), the volume declined as the initial demand was exhausted and as used airplanes started competing with new airplanes.  It is likely similar for other (LSA) airplanes.

Warmi---I think FD is the market leader because it is a great airplane.  I don't see anything that looks better.  I don't think it was first-mover advantage.

I suspect that airplane building has good economies of scale.  it may be much cheaper to build 50 airplanes (per airplane) than 5 airplanes.  I think this is also why new prices have increased so much...and not just for CT* airplanes.  This is perhaps a rare case where coordination among buyers could help the seller.  I am guessing, but I do not know this, that if FD were to get an order for 50 airplanes, they could probably sell them for two-thirds of what they have to charge now at the trickle-build rate.

I am concerned that FD's planned C4 4-seater will compete with used airplanes, not just with new airplanes, at $250k/airplane.

/iaw

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BTW, the only difference in a Sport Pilot and PPL checkride is the need to do radio (VOR/ADF) navigation.  Otherwise both checkrides are the same.

Thanks for changing the language.  It is kind of a nerve for many of us SPs, it gets tiresome to tell people you are a sport pilot, and have them say “why don’t you just get a real license?”  This has happened to me several times.  I even had a guy I know make fun of me for not being a real pilot, until I pointed out I get more hours annually, fly into more challenging fields, and that my longest cross country is about three times longer than his longest.  Suddenly the joke wasn’t funny anymore.

It’s all good, we just have to work a little harder to get respect.  :)

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We'll be going off the rails a bit :P.

It's just like LSRMs vs A&Ps. Good ones and bad ones.

I absolutely hate when people start citing their certificates as credentials during a debate or contest. That's when you call out that they must have run out of real proof of their skill and knowledge since they are relying on logical fallacies now (called appeal to authority). Gets them cherry red. Yeah it's an insult but when someone starts playing that card, the debate ended.

Certification shows a person is knowledgeable in an area. It doesn't mean they know everything or is automatically right in all affairs in that area.

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On 7/14/2018 at 1:53 PM, FlyingMonkey said:

BTW, the only difference in a Sport Pilot and PPL checkride is the need to do radio (VOR/ADF) navigation.  Otherwise both checkrides are the same.

And night flight.

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unless the pilot is colorblind, in which case the night flight part of the checkride is off.

 

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3 hours ago, iaw4 said:

 

unless the pilot is colorblind, in which case the night flight part of the checkride is off.

 

Unless I'm mistaken, there is no night portion of a checkride.  The only requirement is for night flight training, there is no demonstration of proficiency required.

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At least for private pilot, I can confirm that the ACS does not require a person to demonstrate any “Skills” for Night Operations.  However, you could be asked to demonstrate proficiency of the “Knowledge” and “Risk Management”  elements of the Night Operations section - in other words you might be asked questions that you need to answer correctly.  And you need to have the required training in order to take the practical test in the first place.

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Tonight I flew at least 15 takeoffs and landings at night, testing out my modified landing light system, worked great. However the cockpit and instrument lighting is terrible, worst of any plane I have ever seen. That will be the next project. Most of my time is at night over the last 45 years and good adjusable lighting is very important. Poor lighting increases workload and stress. I think  Flight Design just did bare minimum requirements for night certification

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Hatter,

Tell me again what your modified landing light system is. Mine is shitty. I couldn't see the side of a barn on the runway right in front of me.

Mike

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Any particular reason why it was mounted on the left side?

Is that a permanent design, or can it be easily removed?

Nice light . . . but may produce considerable drag.

 

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No change in airspeed, very low drag design. I could have made it for either side and it is easily removed in minutes. Got tired of Flight Design bureaucracy (germany). There are a lot of common sense changes that can make this a much better aircraft. 

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