2-33 Fleet!

General Discussion Board. Public access. The opinions expressed here may not reflect official York Soaring policies and procedures. Posts deleted after 240 days.
Post Reply
tom fraser
Posts: 230
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2009 7:39 am

2-33 Fleet!

Post by tom fraser » Wed Jul 17, 2019 5:03 am

What is the long term plan for our 2-33 Fleet? It includes CLC and YSB that have had major refurbishing in the last few years. It also includes YSW and YSY that are looking long in the tooth cosmetically and YSW will need new fabric soon.

The lowly four aircraft have for decades provided close to 50% of flights that our York fleet fly in any given year. Almost all of our youth train on the 2-33 due to factors of cheaper relative costs to train and it's robust nature and benign stall, spin characteristics. The truth is that most of us started into gliding on this type.

IF we were to move away from the 2-33 as a primary trainer, where is the money coming from to purchase at least three , 2 seat trainers to replace them? Remember that our twin Grog (GIKI) and two K21 aircraft are mostly flown by our senior members. These advanced aircraft are in no small part available for general use and advanced training because the four 2-33 aircraft carry the bulk of training of new members beginning to fly.

We can usually get a student solo on the 2-33 at about 30 dual flights. The Air Cadets in Britain use the twin Grob and plan on 53 flights to solo due to the more advanced nature of Grob's. The Grob will stall, spin; as well as requires higher skills on landing to prevent damage to the aircraft.

We have a critical shortage of new Instructors this last decade and our current volunteer Instructors are mostly sixty years old or more. They are only going to Instruct a given number of flights a year. Dual flights per student add up.

If we get rid of 4 training 2-33's , the math says that one or two replacement training aircraft will not be adequate to cover the number of training flights that our 2-33 fleet currently provide, lrt alone the extra 30% or more dual flights to get a student to solo in advanced trainers (K211 and Grob).

May I suggest that finances dictate our best move forward is to refurbish YSY and YSW over the next two years at less than $15,000 per airframe, New paint, Interiors and zero time the flight control bushings and cables. The economics are clear.

PART TWO!

tom fraser
Posts: 230
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2009 7:39 am

Re: 2-33 Fleet!

Post by tom fraser » Wed Jul 17, 2019 5:22 am

PART TWO

Our regular members have the choice to train in the 2-33 ...OR......the K21. Many do choose to fly the more advanced trainer, aware that it will be more expensive and takes a greater number of training flights to go solo. Our club Instructors have no issue with our members training in either aircraft. Members choice ! Students such as youth and foreign students need a speedy and low cost, three week course that the 2-33 provides.

The reality is if we abandon four 2-33 trainers, we need at least a minimum of three replacement training aircraft. Twin Grob aircraft sell for about $40,000 US. That is at least $50,000 plus Canadian, time three aircraft.

Do we refurbish YSY and YSW and carry on? Do we abandon them and shrink our training fleet? Do we move away from youth and foreign student training? It is time for the Board to decide on the issue. We must decide and act NOW. We have pushed the issue off far, far too long. Refurbish our two 2-33 aircraft as it is time to address the situation one way or the other. Pushing this issue down the road is NO LONGER an option.

One of the reasons we stay open seven days a week is the amount of training flights we do as a club. Less training and we might drift down to a four or three day a week operation. Unknown.

User avatar
James Kingdon
Posts: 466
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 1:51 pm

Re: 2-33 Fleet!

Post by James Kingdon » Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:47 am

Do we expect to still be doing enough training flights to justify the four 2-33s plus glass? Perhaps two 2-33s in reasonable shape with one held back to tide over downtime is enough. The ~30k from not refurbishing the remaining two would go a long way towards another grob if we felt that was right (but then, why are we selling one?), or for an additional early solo single.

User avatar
Charles Petersen
Posts: 1901
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 2:48 pm
ysa membership #: 150
Skype: onewhisky
Location: Toronto or Florida

Re: 2-33 Fleet!

Post by Charles Petersen » Wed Jul 17, 2019 8:46 am

Sorry, did I miss something? What is the "additional early solo single"? If it's the Junior to which you refer, that would be another Youth Flight Canada purchase.

And even if we had 4 pristine 2-33s, where are the instructors to man them? I'm not alone in avoiding the 2-33 with the excuse of age.

But consider: we opted to borrow and spend over $200,000 for a septic system to preserve the campground because without the campground, where would we house the students and instructors in the Youth Camps (what were formerly called the 'Air Cadet Camps")? And then someone decided that we were out of the Youth Camp business, because we didn't have the chaperone capacity. So we solved that with the hire of Molly, but didn't restore the youth camps, opting instead for the AME students, and even then stretched for instructors.

So indeed, the 2-33s are the most used aircraft, as measured by the number of flights (and therefore tows which = revenue). So is that our revenue model? And if we need more, is it better to rejuvenate than replace (what was the cost of the CLC reno?)?

And all of this makes me again suggest the guide to strategic planning tailored for glider clubs:
Strategic_Planning_Glider_Clubs_V5.pdf
Straegic Planning for Glider Clubs
(665.79 KiB) Downloaded 5 times
We can't plan a fleet for the future if we haven't defined what the future should be and how we will get there. Fleet Planning is but one factor, and we are again (still) behaving reactively, not proactively. This is an imposing process, but how serious does the situation have to get before we are driven to it?

But, it's on to younger hands...
They will soar on wings like eagles - Isaiah 40:3`

tom fraser
Posts: 230
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2009 7:39 am

Re: 2-33 Fleet!

Post by tom fraser » Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:10 am

Thanks guys! It is time for the debate and make a decision for the direction we will go. I don't think less than three 2-33s will work for any camp. If we go that way I would not sell the 4th aircraft but keep it for spare parts for the other three aircraft.

User avatar
James Kingdon
Posts: 466
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 1:51 pm

Re: 2-33 Fleet!

Post by James Kingdon » Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:13 am

Sorry to have caused confusion by mentioning single seaters, it was just on my mind as an alternative use of money that might be spent refurbishing the 2-33s. I'm prone to harping on about our singles because I have painful memories of my early days flying in the UK where I nearly left the sport over frustration about access to appropriate club ships. When I arrived at York I was delighted to find a fleet with generous provisions for our newer pilots - at the time there were 1-26s, 1-23s, a 1-34 and the grob single. We got rid of almost all of them, leaving our current pilots vulnerable to the same frustrations I experienced. The addition of the pw5 helps, lets hope we can keep it. I would love to see the addition of a junior to the fleet, an excellent aircraft that I greatly enjoyed flying.

You make an excellent point - we have to decide where we are going with the club before we can make appropriate decisions about what to do with our mix of aircraft.

tom fraser
Posts: 230
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2009 7:39 am

Re: 2-33 Fleet!

Post by tom fraser » Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:16 am

James Kingdon wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:47 am
Do we expect to still be doing enough training flights to justify the four 2-33s plus glass? Perhaps two 2-33s in reasonable shape with one held back to tide over downtime is enough. The ~30k from not refurbishing the remaining two would go a long way towards another grob if we felt that was right (but then, why are we selling one?), or for an additional early solo single.
This year we used three 2-33s on a camp and will again (Hong Kong) and kept the Grob, and two K 21s busy with both training and member flying. Without the 2-33s I doubt if we could sustain very much training for Youth and Foreign nationals. We would be looking at 40 duals plus for members on glass ships, on average. Still the issue of ageing Instructors and few new Instructor prospects.

User avatar
Doug Carman
Posts: 494
Joined: Wed May 20, 2009 9:15 am
ysa membership #: 437
Location: Toronto
Contact:

Re: 2-33 Fleet!

Post by Doug Carman » Wed Jul 17, 2019 1:29 pm

Tom is quite correct in his assessment of flight training and fleet requirements.
Charles is quite correct in suggesting a strategic plan of some sort.
Doing a projection for the future can take 2 forms. Extrapolation of existing history and factoring in trends like falling membership or costs for fuel, OR it can be the scintillating future of flying cars and world peace. I suggest that every time we try the latter, we are severely disappointed, and then rationalize why we didn't get there. So I suggest we take the present trends and history and extrapolate, with some thought to strategy like asking questions like, "can we increase intros by 50%?". So far the only data we have is that the ATPL course has created more members for York, per participant, than anything we've tried so far. We just started the Aeronautical student "Norm Perfect Scholarship", so it's a little hard to predict, but we know our odds of retaining Hong Kong students, for example is about zero. In our assessment we need to balance revenue and costs with the potential for retention. And our costs, and student costs, are minimal if we continue training in 2-33s. Personally I'd like to order 2 new 2-33B's and sell off YSY and YSW, hopefully keeping the registrations. But refurbishing them is not a tall order. Look over our expenses for a year and you will see that $15K is peanuts. It is only the desire for new plastic gliders that drives the resistance to fixing 2-33s. There is no logic there at all, considering that $30K will not even get you one crappy twin Grob. If manna falls from heaven we can buy 4 more K21s, more instructors, and sell the 2-33s to the air cadets. But until then, lets get them fixed.

User avatar
Charles Petersen
Posts: 1901
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 2:48 pm
ysa membership #: 150
Skype: onewhisky
Location: Toronto or Florida

Re: 2-33 Fleet!

Post by Charles Petersen » Wed Jul 17, 2019 5:02 pm

I too agree with Tom's proposal to fix up YSY, and stash YSW in the back of the hangar, or on a trailer, deferring the decision.

But that's short term. A strategic plan, and no Doug, not the flying cars kind, will again get left on the wishlist, and again we will stumble with a put out the brush fire mentality from problem to problem, or crisis to crisis.

Sigh...
They will soar on wings like eagles - Isaiah 40:3`

User avatar
Stan Martin
Posts: 563
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 1:07 pm

Re: 2-33 Fleet!

Post by Stan Martin » Thu Jul 18, 2019 11:23 am

The question of the 2-33 fleets future is one that will not have an answer anytime soon. It is not due to the aircraft but the various opinions of the membership which remain unresolved and hard held. Having said that there are a few things that get bantered about that are misleading in my opinion.

Cost of maintaining the aircraft:

I have seen no clear evidence that it costs more to maintain a glass ship than a cloth and tube aircraft. The 500 might be an exception due to the yearly maintenance contract with the manufacturer.

We have demonstrated that we can do a reasonable job of repairing 2-33's for under $20,000 dollars, but only after many weekends and hundreds of hours by the few, who are now becoming fewer. However, that work is not a complete refresh for a 40 year+ tube aircraft. The cost of that done at the factory is closer to $60,000.

All aircraft at our club have been shown to be robust and have demonstrated that they can take a beating in the normal coarse of our operation. Each type has it weakness too.

Survivability has improved in modern aircraft and they are required to meet higher standards. 2-33's are not the only safety aware air frames.

Training:

Often used in supporting the use of the 2-33's is the number of flights they do and the speed at which we can get pilots to solo.

The 2-33's have slowly fallen away from their historic position. Once used for most of the intro flights, they are now not the first choice. Once used as the daily driver for members, most members progress into other aircraft soon after solo. The high flight numbers represent a policy and a mandated direction within our programs and therefore something we control. That can be changed.

We are suffering a lack of 2-33 instructors. Some of this may be due to instructor preference, but for some it is also the physical limitations of the aircraft.

Getting a student to solo standard quickly is an advantage, particularly if students are only available for 3-4 weeks in a season and are looking for a licence in that time frame before they go on into other types of aviation or will not otherwise return. Most of our students fall into this category. However, getting a student to solo standard in an aircraft that is of lower energy and has other particular characteristics has disadvantages when approaching most other aircraft in the fleet. It can be argued and demonstrated that primacy plays a roll in delaying progression into higher energy aircraft.

Shorter training periods are not an advantage to the club except for the cases made above. Shorter training periods mean less revenue. Training in less revenue rich aircraft, leaves the club with less revenue.

It has been suggested that shorter training periods mean we have a better chance of retaining a pilot. I would not know how to quantify that, our retention numbers are fairly low.

tom fraser
Posts: 230
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2009 7:39 am

Re: 2-33 Fleet!

Post by tom fraser » Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:58 pm

Lets not talk about a full rebuild at $60,000 ! The fact is the new upgrade 2-33B costs about $60,000 for a brand new aircraft. We are looking at about $15,000 to return YSY to a decent aircraft that does not look like crap. We spent about $20,000 on CLC ten years ago and it still looks pretty good. A lot less on YSB as a great deal of the labor was done internally by Rob, Paul and Doug.

We spent well over $50,000 on an LS4 that is flown by only about 10% of our members.

The issue of Instructors and the 2-33 is pretty true. The much bigger issue is we are short, critically short of ANY Instructors ! Many will age out over the next five years and the majority of us are on our last ten years of Instructing. Few; very few of our members are willing to join the Instructor ranks and be our replacements.

Don't loose sight of the issue at hand. The 2-33 fleet either has to be repaired or replaced. We have been kicking the issue down the road for far too long. Do we want to train youth or go down a different road? How about the Hong Kong cadets? The major advantage to lots of training going on is that the club has been open seven days a week. If we back off from the training model we will drift into a 4 or 5 day a week Club. Where will we be as a club from five to ten years from now? Soaring is ageing fast and it is time to plan our future. We have an ageing membership and only have a few years to plan York's long term future.

Hard questions but it is time for the discussion about our direction and future.

User avatar
Stan Martin
Posts: 563
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 1:07 pm

Re: 2-33 Fleet!

Post by Stan Martin » Fri Jul 19, 2019 4:36 pm

We are in agreement. We are short of instructors amongst other talents. Of those instructors we have, how many can also spend days at the field required? How many of those still train in a 2-33? These are the questions that we have to resolve.

Students have not been a problem so far. We get enough that want a three week intensive program. They don't return. This leaves a growing disconnect in supply and demanded as time has passed for that part of the operation in particular. As you are aware we tried an experiment this year to prepare for this evolving issue. We foresaw we do not have enough people otherwise to feed the beast.

It is not practical to spend 60,000 in a refit. It was not a suggestion, only more information about what choices we have should the worst case present itself. We can patch them up pretty well if the bones are in good shape. It is a lengthy process. The last one we did took over a year to get organized and finished as I recall. There is approval for a refit program. It was put in place by the Board several years ago. One 2-33 to be rejuvenated every two years on average. It has never been rescinded and still has support. It awaits the human resource.

tom fraser
Posts: 230
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2009 7:39 am

Re: 2-33 Fleet!

Post by tom fraser » Fri Jul 19, 2019 7:02 pm

We seem to be pretty much on the same page !!! A rare thing in a Glider Club.

With the remaining two 2-33's fixed up we can still push off the Fleet issue for several more years. If we fell into a large pool of cash then K-21s could be our new fleet trainer but we have issues of considerable debt and a shrinking membership ( less revenue ) to overcome first.

Big bills for new tow plane engines will not be pushed off for too many more years. Now that will be some BIG bucks.

User avatar
Stan Martin
Posts: 563
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 1:07 pm

Re: 2-33 Fleet!

Post by Stan Martin » Fri Jul 19, 2019 9:13 pm

There are other options, but they will be controversial. Too soon perhaps.

User avatar
Dennis Medland
Posts: 111
Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2009 7:42 pm

Re: 2-33 Fleet!

Post by Dennis Medland » Sat Jul 20, 2019 1:04 pm

Interesting discussion regarding our fleet of aircraft, but the key factor to me is the instructor issue. We won't be able to use our fleet, no matter what aircraft are in it, if there's no one to instruct.
We need to address that issue and sooner rather than later......and...they will need to be fully competent to instruct on the full progression of aircraft in our fleet. This is a desperate and immediate challenge.
Instructor candidates in the past had to progress through the S.A.C. course. Those who took that course will remember it as comprehensive, thorough, detailed and solid. What/whom are we teaching today? Maybe we should reconsider doing what we did in the past, as most of the "advanced" instructors at York are products of that course. The problem of course, will be sourcing the instructor candidates. It seems that there are very few pilots who wish to take on what is a many years long commitment, at their own cost, for essentially no reward.
Yes, I know the "we get to fly for free" argument. That argument on careful dissection, simply doesn't hold. It's amazing how much time and money instructors must spend to fly for free and get qualified to instruct on the various single and dual aircraft. I'm sure all instructors will agree with me when I say they do it for the love of the sport. These are the people we must convince, or York will have an "overcast" future.

User avatar
Jim Fryett
Posts: 64
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 5:50 pm
ysa membership #: 189
Location: Elora, Ontario
Contact:

Re: 2-33 Fleet!

Post by Jim Fryett » Sat Jul 20, 2019 4:58 pm

I have been following this conversation which thus far includes 6 members of our club although I suspect there has been much discussion and thought put into these topics. The club has been undergoing change for the past years and seems to be accelerating in this process for a variety of reasons. Overall, our membership numbers are declining with a concurrent aging of the senior members that have served the club so well. The need to manage our infrastructure and fleet continues to put financial pressure on our club. Additionally, the level of volunteer effort has declined in recent years as evidenced by the Line Chief Schedule and support during the week, hence the need to hire 'staff' for mid-week operations.

In my view, it is imperative for us to take stock of our situation in some detail and open a constructive visioning exercise to identified priorities and strategies to take the Club into the future. This is never an easy process, however, without informed discussion and planning the Club will not prosper and succeed. We have a good resource base, including our current assets and information base from which we can move forward. As the end of season approaches, I am recommending that we have some planning meetings to address the 2-33 Fleet in context of our entire operation with a goal of establishing a 5 Year Plan.

tom fraser
Posts: 230
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2009 7:39 am

Re: 2-33 Fleet!

Post by tom fraser » Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:27 am

Looks like YSY is going to get an upgrade this winter. Some new paint and a new Interior are on the plan for a winter project. Great to hear.

User avatar
Doug Carman
Posts: 494
Joined: Wed May 20, 2009 9:15 am
ysa membership #: 437
Location: Toronto
Contact:

Re: 2-33 Fleet!

Post by Doug Carman » Fri Aug 23, 2019 1:10 pm

With a $5000 proposal YSY this year and YSW in a year or two and we really don't have an issue continuing flight training and leaving our new plastic gliders for members and intros. Trianing in K21s sounds great until you add up the cost. Will students be ready to pay a lot more for a course?
Power pilots so far have shown to be the best return on investment, as we now have members who are hanging around and towing. However, I do agree that a lack of instructors, tow pilots and members who will help out is more of an issue than aircraft, and we have to be careful not to lean on anyone too much like we did with Jean Egan and others, who then left when they got burned out.

User avatar
Stan Martin
Posts: 563
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 1:07 pm

Re: 2-33 Fleet!

Post by Stan Martin » Fri Aug 23, 2019 2:35 pm

The cost of training in other aircraft is not a great issue. 40 flights at an average of 20 min per flight would be a difference of $300 or less, particularly if we choose to discounted the rate per minute. It is the matter of access that would be a concern.

Our attention has to be the upkeep of the 233 fleet. Just like the issue of instructors, there are fewer members to do the 300+ man hours it takes to do a very modest refresh. If we are looking at a more extensive refit, the man hours will be a lot more, as will be the cost. Burn out for this kind of activity has been a growing problem.

Post Reply