I am looking at purchasing a Bi-plane. I have been a pilot for only a few years, took my instructions in a Cessna 172 but just cant seem to warm up to buying a plane of that type. I have decided on a Stearman but think maybe I would be better with a YMF-5C of a few years old. I know there would be a lot of things to cover but I have to start somewhere. Any input?
If you haven't already, I suggest you get your tailwheel endorsement and fly a tail dragger for a number of hours before you try a BiPlane. Stearmans are easier to find than Wacos and the newer Waco YMFs are quite expensive. With proper training and experience, both are great planes.
The choice of biplanes depends on what you want. Both the Stearman and Wacos are "antique" type planes. If you want serious aerobatics, then something like a Pitts would be much more suitable.
Hope this helps.
Steve Edited by: SteveN452
I am not doing hardcore aerobatics, just gentlemans sunday afternoon fun flying with buddies. I fly a Pitts S-2C now and love it. I love it because its a hotrod and fun to fly , not because its a hardcore aerobatic plane.
My next door neighbor never flew a taildragger and bought a Pitts S-2B. He learned to fly a taildragger in a Pitts so it is duable to start out in a bi-plane. In the old days thats all they had was bi-planes to learn in. Don't think you have to have a million hours in a taildragger to fly a bi-plane. Lots of guys will scare you off. Don't let that happen, bi-planes are the most fun out of anything.
Do you want a slow sluggish just sightsee buplane or sonething with some snap to it?
Its an interesting comparison. I owned a beautiful Stearman, right out of the museum years ago and now I own an Acrosport 2.
If your thinking of competing then buy an Eagle or a Pitts or one of the other smaller aerobatic bipes. If you just want to have fun then its hard to beat a Stearman or maybe a Waco. These aircraft are much harder to do really nice aerobatics in compared to the little bipes but check out this guy if you want to see a world class pilot that manages energy better than almost anyone on the circuit. Generally you'll need to spend more money to purchase and maintain a classic biplane but it may hold its value better. Either way, little or big biplanes are nothing but fun.
OK! I am getting some input and what the group has written is making a lot of sense to me. I am also very involved in antique Motorcycling and it appears that just like motorcycling, flying is a different thing to different people. Some love the wind in the hair, some seem to like the challange of mastering the different flight manouvers, some the thrill of aerobatics and others seem to just like the planes. I think I fall into the last catagory. Not that the others are not important but I really enjoy the "machine" aspect of airplanes and flight. That is why a Cessna 172 just is not for me. Some of you may understand and some may not.
I already have some time in the Stearman and will not only need to take additional lessons in tail wheel but will also have to satisfy the requirements of thehigh performance endorsement (engine is over 200hp). I have been warned already several times about how tricky the Stearman can be in cross wind landings and now one of you has indicated the WACO is even more tricky? Please explain this. What are the challanges that an inexperienced flyer like me would be faced with? That I want to hear.
Does anyone out there have a plane like a YMF-5C. I already looked at the Pitts but want to have the ability to take another person or two and some luggage and the Pitts is limited. In addition, when I looked at the Pitts it did strike me as an aerobatic aircraft and thats not really (at this time) my interest.On that subject, what are the capabilities for simple aerobatics with the WACO?
Thanks for the responses. They have already helped.
The YMF-5 is on my list of airplane I really want to fly someday. Wish I could give you first hand experiences about it but I suspect drooling over one wouldn't account for much. You should find a way to buy a ride in one and find out for yourself. I think there was a guy selling rides around Marthas Vineyard at one time.
You will find a lot of biplane guys like bikes as well. Classic British bikes are my ride of choice.
Wacos have similar characteristics to a Stearman but I think most Wacos are a little lighter and faster. Harold Johnson in the Dayton Ohio area did air shows for many years in a 1935 F Model Waco and it was a really great performance.
I don't know of anyone doing air shows or aerobatic competition in one of the new production Waco YMFs but they are certainly capable of the basic maneuvers and I think it would be comparable to a Stearman.
A big heavy biplane does things slowly and gracefully and the pilot must work a little harder due to higher control pressures. In motorcycle terms, a Pitts is like a high performance sport motorcycle while a Stearman or a Waco is more like an old Harley. They both do things differently.
Keep in mind the Stearman and Wacos were designed prior to 1940. Most airports were grass and there were few airspace restrictions.
Hope this helps.
As to Stearmans being tough in cross winds..well keep in mind that these days not that many guys are high time tail draggertypes because if you are then the Stearman is not that big a deal in cross winds but it does like grass better than pavement in stronger cross winds.
The smaller bipes are all pretty good in cross winds certainly better than a Stearman.
Neil is right about motorcyles and biplane owners, between my wife and I we have 4. As to the comparison between Pitts being like sport bikes and Stearmans like Harleys...can't agree with that as Harleys are more like Seabees.
Most people when they talk about aerobatics want scalpel precession with sledge hammer power which is why most say Pitts. Waco is gentlemanly, stately. One is a crotch rocket one is a Harley or to me one is a new Porsche 911 and the other is a Auburn/Duesenberg; both are sports cars, but the frame of mind is different. Much more than a occasional loop or roll and your out of character with the Waco. Although the plane is big, baggage is still limited if you want some heavy packing. You do get the pack of Harley sound with the radial which is very enticing; fuel cost not so much fun. It is all about your personality; motorcycles, golf clubs, and airplanes are about picking the right tool for the mission and very rarely do they do multiple jobs well.
You might want to consider a Great Lakes. This is a good compromise between the traditional biplane and an aerobatic one. It has a modern engine that is easier on fuel than a Stearman, is easier to land, and easier to maintain. It is larger than the Pitts and smaller than the Stearman. It is a great sport plane that can do many things well. They were made in the late 1970s and early 1980s and will now be produced again by the same company in Michigan that builds the Waco YMF-5s.
If you are serious about Waco YMFs, I am sure you could tour the factory and get a demo ride if you could travel to Michigan.
I've only had a short ride in a Waco UPF-7, but unfortunately didn't get to fly it as it was set up for 2 passengers in the front cockpit forsightseeing rides. I must say it was a completely different experience than the Pitts or even the AcroSport II. Much more relaxed and everything seemed to happen at abit slower pace combined with thatuniquesound of the radial.(Sorry I just re-read your previous post that you already have some time in a Stearman, so this probablywasn't very helpful to you!) Big, open cockpitbiplanes couldbe easy to get used to, but definitely would be a different style of aerobatics as the others have said. Until I have deep enough pockets to have both though, I'll stay with the AcroSport II and then the Eagle when it's done.
I'd recommend going and getting ashort checkout with a guy like Steve Wolf in his Pitts S-2. He has a ton of experience in Pitts' including the radial Pitts Samson,but if I remember correctly, he alsodid a lot of his early learning in a Waco, and he's donesome work on Stearman's, so I think he'd be able to give you some good feedback. I flew with him when he was located in Creswell, but now that he's in Florida, he'd probably also be able to point you in the direction of some instructors with Stearman's or Waco's to compare to the Pitts before you buy. I'm sure there's other's out there, but I found Steve's styleworked very well for meand he's prettyhonestwhen it comes to sharing what he sees as the pro's and con's of different planes.
I have flown most of the airplanes you are talking about and instructed in the Stearman and UPF7. I have not flown a Taperwing Waco nor one of the new YMFs. From your talking about the feeling of history and the "machineness" of the airplane I think you are most likely to be happy with the Waco, Stearman or Great Lakes. You will want to be aware of insurance costs. As a low time pilot insurance will be expensive and they will require much more time in type than what it will take to get your tail wheel and high performance endorsements.
The Great Lakes would be the easiest to fly and most practical to own. (Assuming you avoid the Warner radial engine powered versions. You really don't want to maintain one of those engines.) The Stearman and Wacos are really very similar in pilot skill requirements. Both require that the pilot learn the required skills and use them any and every time the airplane is moving. The difference being that the Steaman has a narrower main landing gear and a slightly higher center of gravity so if you let it get away from you in a ground loop it is more likely to trip its self and wind up on its back, thus causing major damage. You haven't mentioned price range. If you can afford it a "New Waco" would be a very nice way to go. Heck, hands down the best in my opinion. If cost of ownership is a large issue a Great Lakes with the Lycoming engine would be best. The Stearman or Waco UPF 7 would fall somewhere in the middle. History has the Steaman being the most likely to hold value although price paid and overall condition is the big variable.
If you would like a discussion on the phone pm me your number and a good time to call as I talk better than I type....
Hello. I own a 1935 YMF and have flown the Classic WACO YMFs. There is a real difference between the earlier models of the Classics and the later ones. I spent 7 years restoring one of the original YMFs. If you are interested in WACOs I recommend that you go to the websites of both the American Waco Club and the National Waco Club. They both will help you find out everything there is to know about these neat airplanes. I think that there is one of the early Classics YMFs on Barnstormers for sale right now. The early airplanes were much lighter and quicker.
I would be more than happy to send information and photos to help in your search. Contact me at Flywaco@juno.com.
Oh yes my WACO cruises at 110 mph at 1750 rpm with a top speed of 145 mph at 2200 rpm. The "S" airplanes don't have the same performance and only have one seat in the front. The UPF-7 has a wider gear and thus has better ground handling. These are often for sale. There are two on Barnstormers right now as well. Good luck in your fun hunt. Open cockpit flying is a new dimension.Edited by: flywaco