Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Popularity Issue: On the Wings of Love

The good people over at Business Week Magazine put out their Popularity Issue the other day, in which they examine the things that we Americans use or choose the most.  So it's kind of like figuring out the collective favorites of 300 million people. All this week we here at Big Dave and Company are going to be examining some of the things off the list to find out what we can learn about you, Company.

     Have you ever noticed, Company, that when you see airplanes at the airport - and I don't mean big jets, I mean that little ones that normal-ish folks fly around at slow speed - they always look the same?  Well that is because there isn't a lot of change in the basic design of a single engine plane, but it also disguises the fact that most of them are pretty old, at least by everyday standards.  Planes that hearken back to the 70s and 80s are the norm on the grass strips and friendly local small airports of America.  Kind of shocking, isn't it?  Well, it shouldn't be, because if you think about it, planes are expansive so why would there be a lot of people buying them as if they were cars.
$400,000 worth of interior decorating
    In fact, in 2008 Cirrus SR22, which the average Tom, Dick, or harry wouldn't be able to tell from any other plane, only sold about 400 units, which sounds bad but it was twice as much as its nearest competitor, so it's got that going for it, which is nice.  Wanna hear something cool?  This plane includes a parachute system in its tail in case your engine fails.  Pretty sweet, hey?  And why shouldn't it come with that?  The most basic model - 26 ft long with a 38-ish foot wingspan, with a maximum altitude of 17,500 ft, and a 310 hp engine, will set you back roughly $400,000, which is more than a house in most places.  Or at least more than any house I will ever live in.  That's even more than I make for doing the Big Dave and Company Podcast.  I hope those built-in parachutes can double as comfortable hammocks because I am going to have to live in the damn thing with that kind of price.  I can't even begin to imagine the $700,000 version.
     So I guess that the idea here is that if you want to be riding the wave of small airplane popularity, search through all your couch cushions - even the ones on the love seat - ditch your ratty old Beechcraft and get yourself a SR22.  It's what all the cool kids are doing these days.  That and getting knee replacement.

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