Massachusetts is a 50-year-old Cessna with updated panel; Florida is a new Cirrus

One thing that I didn’t count on when we contemplated our move from Maskachusetts to the Florida Free State was the difference in “the built environment” (as architects put it).

If you’re a middle class or richer person in our corner of Florida you essentially never touch anything that is more than 25 years old. The Target that you walk into is new and is a Platonic ideal Form of a Target. The road that you drove on to get to said Target could be an example from a road system engineering textbook. You never turn left except from a dedicated left turn lane with a dedicated left turn signal. You never turn right except from a dedicated right turn lane. If you’re going straight, consequently, you never wait for someone turning left or right. When you return home to walk the dog, you’re on a perfect sidewalk. If a child is with you on the sidewalk riding a bike, there is always a brand new curb cut exactly where needed/wanted. If you are a little sloppy parking, the curb is never so high or jagged that it will tear up the car’s wheels. Gas, water, sewer, and power grid are all new and reliably functional.

Our corner of Massachusetts was super rich, fattened by a 60-year flow of taxpayer cash into health care, pharma, and higher education. Everything that was practical to improve had been improved. Nonetheless, the results were often poor quality. The capacity of the road network was perhaps 1/3rd of what has been achieved in Florida. One person choosing to make a left turn could cause a 1-mile backup. The (old) gas lines near our old house always leaked slightly, giving parts of the neighborhood a consistent ethyl mercaptan smell. Power failures lasting 3-50 hours were routine.

It occurred to me that Massachusetts is like an old Cessna airframe that has been lavishly maintained. The bones are old, but the avionics in the panel are new. In theory, it should be just as good as a new airplane.

Florida, on the other hand, is like a brand new Cirrus, engineered to the latest standards (seats that will crush on impact; parachute if things are truly going badly, ideal shape from a composite mold, thought-out ergonomics, etc.).

An experienced aircraft mechanic, when I would ask him for advice regarding the merits of a new part or a remanufactured/rebuilt one that should be just as good and/or why someone would spend 2-3X on a factory-new Bonanza compared to a perfect-condition older one. “New is new,” was often his response (in favor of the new part or aircraft!).

I’m not sure that the analogy holds up in all areas of Florida, e.g., Miami, but it seems like a useful shorthand for explaining MA vs. FL to general aviation pilots at least!

A hangar at KSUA featuring a classic Cessna 170 taildragger (no newer than 1956) and a brand new C8 Corvette (both owned by the same dentist):

5 thoughts on “Massachusetts is a 50-year-old Cessna with updated panel; Florida is a new Cirrus

  1. There are no sidewalks in Fl*rida either, keeping up with the modern trend of never getting around by animal power.

    • I think neighborhoods built around in the 60s and 70s might not have sidewalks. Every neighborhood we have seen in Jupiter has them, though. Mostly built 90s and newer.

  2. It’s nor a matter of things being old. It’s a matter of poor work ethics and lack of competence inherent in leftist/collectivist mindset.

    There is no place for individual excellence in a world where “you didn’t build that”.

  3. Agree with averros. I vacationed in a Florida resort built no later then 1970th but roads were as Philip described. In theory left or right turn late could fill up but in practice it never happened despite very robust traffic, even when comparing to NYC traffic.

  4. This from a guy who wants to escape to Lisbon. You do realize even your old neighborhood will likely seem brand new in comparison?

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