Friday, 20 May 2011


Someone asked me recently why pilots were flying less, and why fewer people were learning to fly. The answer (obviously) has something to do with money, or more accurately, value for money.

On that subject a couple of things struck me recently…I was thinking about an autopilot for the C182. It has the Cessna Navomatic 200 wing-leveller fitted, but that only works if you want to fly 10nm circles, and although I could probably find someone to repair and recalibrate it, I get the feeling that I'd be in for some big bills to keep it working. I spoke to a few people about a decent retrofit autopilot (S-TEC is really the only game in town). The bottom line is that it would be cheaper to pay for my wife to get a PPL and an Instrument Rating than it would be to fit an S-TEC 55X. I guess I'll be hand-flying for a while.

I'm typing this from the world's biggest pilot shop - Sporty's. The company is celebrating its 50th year this weekend and is having a fly-in at Clermont County Airport. I paid less for my ticket on United than I paid to fill the tanks in the C182 last week. I'm trying not to think about that.

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