Thursday, January 01, 2009

Nowhere to Go
But Up, Up, Up!


As I write this, we have slammed shut the door on 2008, and for my money, it can't end soon enough! With the exception of (a) the birth of my first grandchild, and (b) the election of a new president that will give Washington, D.C. a long-overdue enema, 2008 is one year I would like to forget ASAP.

In this last tumultuous annum, we saw our retirement accounts pilfered and handed over to overpaid and underperforming financial industry overlords under the cover of "bailouts". We watched whole neighborhoods get swallowed up as the housing markets tanked, we've watch big league aviation companies slash people and production, and we've seen so many layoffs now that headlines like "XYZ Inc. to Furlough 10 Million Employees" no longer even raises an eyebrow.

As the crystal ball dropped on Times Square, we welcomed in a completely new year, one with new possibilities and serious hope for a better financial future. As far as the aviation sector goes, AOPA Pilot Editor Thomas Haines has written a very thorough look at the year ahead here, and he covers all the ground you would expect someone with his industry contacts to cover.

Personally, I see good things coming in 2009. which will start off something like this:
The year two thousand and niner will be the one where I finally earn my instrument ticket...that's coming in the first quarter. Also in the first quarter, we will cleanse the White House of the Bush Administration and on 01.20.09, usher in a new team at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. It is my belief that President Obama and Co. will be able to not just rearrange the deck chairs of our Titanic – par for the course these past eight years – but actually come up with new ideas and then convert them into action by appointing people with something more than "crony" on their resume.
By the second quarter, we might start seeing at least a little progress on the economy:
Nobody reading this can dispute the notion that this country has been in a recession, which has caused a "depression" among nearly all of us on some personal level. Maybe Donald Trump and Bill Gates are still spending blindly, but everyone I know is laying low, questioning every purchase carefully, and trying to wait out the financial ruins left to us as a parting gift by Bush, Paulson and Bernanke. Even a glimmer of hope after Obama's inauguration ought to start everyone back the road towards prosperity. The massive repair job Obama and his team now has to do will not happen overnight, but just having honest people again running our government should make those who still have any money think about spending again.
Since this is an aviation blog, whazzup about that sector, you ask? Good question...
To own a personal flying machine of almost any size, shape and specs costs at least as much to obtain and operate as a nice boat. Those who could afford a used Cessna 172 in 2008 will most likely still be able to buy and fly a Skyhawk in 2009. I believe that middle market buys such as the SR-22 and four-place piston Cessnas will still see a lag through much of 2009 as those buyers wait to see if their retirement accounts bounce back. If the Dow rebounds, expect the phone to quickly start ringing in Duluth and Independance. And anyone who can afford anything with the word "jet" in it's name has to have so much discretionary income to acquire and operate those ships, they will have no excuse but to buy in 2009. After all, if you can afford a HondaJet, brother, you aren't worried about how much a carton of milk costs.
As far as my personal flying goes, I want to put my IFR training far behind me and focus on enjoying the Katyliner with my friends and family. I want to introduce someone to flying in 2009, and try to create a new pilot. And, I want to put my (soon-to-be) new IFR ticket to work and bust out of the Southern Willamette Valley overcast and go chase new clients and hamburgers in the sun.