Google Calendar informs me, via its “Holidays in United States” calendar, that today is both Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples’ Day. So… to all readers who celebrate incompetence and the rejection of #Science (regarding the size of the earth that we’ve used science and science-inspired engineering to nearly destroy), Happy Columbus Day! (And for the rest of us, Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day (enjoy our stolen land for 364/365 days per year; reflect on our theft 1 day per year while… taking the day off (government workers) and enjoying our stolen land that we refuse to return).)
Today would be the perfect exchange date for an aircraft in a 50/50 partnership between a Florida resident and someone in the Northeast or Chicago.
One thing that I’ve figured out after a couple of months living in Florida is that a simple aircraft is kind of useless here in the summer in the same way that a four-seater is useless in the Northeast in the winter. Based in Boston, a four-seater can’t get through icing conditions in the winter. On the days where icing isn’t a concern, the plane doesn’t have enough range to get anywhere that you’d probably enjoy going. Do you want to be at the beach in Provincetown or Martha’s Vineyard in February? Maybe you’d want to go to NYC for a business meeting, but the U.S. seems slated for permanent coronapanic (i.e., the meeting will be on Zoom) and, in any case, it can be complicated getting a piston aircraft properly preheated as a transient (the engine will be damaged if started when temps are below freezing). (Avid skier? Mountainous terrain is suboptimal for building airports. It will probably be just as fast to drive to the ski resort as it would be to drive, preflight, fly, stow plane, and transfer into a rental car (if the U.S. ever has rental cars again).)
None of the above factors apply to Florida, right? Well… there seem to be afternoon thunderstorms here all summer and they can last until 10 pm or even later. Unless the family is extremely flexible and doesn’t mind spending a lot of time waiting out weather in FBOs, it is probably not possible to plan an out-and-back day trip in a simple airplane. So the T-storms are kind of the Florida equivalent of icing in Maskachusetts. What if it isn’t raining, but there’s a layer of cumulus clouds under which the air is bumpy and unpleasantly warm? In the Northeast, you’d be above the clouds and bumps at the simple airplane’s optimum cruising altitudes of 6,500 and 7,500′. In Florida, you might need to go well over 10,000′, where both airplane and humans will be gasping for breath, to get into reasonably smooth air.
Suppose that there is a rare dry day. Now you’re free to go anywhere that is within comfortable reach of a C172, Piper Warrior, or SR20 (i.e., 150-300 miles). Why would you want to? If you want to bake in 90-degree heat and 90-percent humidity you can do that at home. It is the same issue as the rare beautiful February day in New England. The airplane will take you from bitter cold to ever bitterer cold or, sometimes, to slightly less bitter cold.
As folks in the Northeast have to find excuses to fly in the winter and keep the airplane’s engine from corroding, folks in Florida will have to do summer breakfast flights and get back to the hangar by 11.
What about a partnership where the aircraft lives in Chicago, Boston, Maine, New Hampshire (the “semi free state”), Vermont, or wherever starting around April 10, i.e., just after Sun n Fun. Then, in celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, the plane is ferried to Florida through the beautiful lands that were some of the first parcels that white people stole from the Native Americans. (We could also call this “Benefits of Immigration from the Perspective of Natives Day”)
The arrangement could be tweaked with a feature whereby a partner can come visit the plane a few times during his/her/zir/their “off season” and fly it a bit, e.g., a Bahamas trip from Florida in the winter (just need to arrange 8 COVID-19 tests for a family of 4) or a summer trip around Maine and Canada.
This will have all of the financial benefits of aircraft partnership. Most fixed costs (capital, depreciation, insurance) will be cut in half. Hangar has become super expensive almost everywhere in the inflation-free United States, but perhaps the vacant months wouldn’t be too punishing due to the potential for subletting. (Or, for an older plane, just do tie-down at both ends.) It has the added benefit that the plane gets repositioned to a great place for the partner to fly in his/her/zir/their off season..
(Note that the above arrangement does not make sense for pressurized turboprop or turbine-powered aircraft, which can airlift a family in mask-free comfort from Hartford, CT to the golf course in Pinehurst, NC (KSOP). This proposal is about airplanes that cost $1.2 million (Cirrus!) new and that depreciate down to $40,000 used (older Cessna 172 or Piper Warrior prior to the recent price doubling that cannot be described as “inflation”). And it’s not a proposal for those rich/flexible enough to spend 6 months in the north and 6 months (plus 1 day for all of my friends who are Democrats and say that they support higher taxes and bigger government) in Florida. The 183-dayers can take their airplanes back and forth themselves. The above proposal is more for families that have kids in school and/or adults at work and are mostly stuck in their respective home locations.)
The plane can visit Disney World and Key West in the winter:
And Bar Harbor, Maine and Quebec City in the summer:
Readers: Modified Passover question… Why is this idea stupid like all of my other ideas?
- ShareMyAircraft.com (currently designed to help people based at the same airport all year share)