New plane info

Discussion in 'Acrosport' started by Ron, Feb 13, 2018.

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  1. Feb 13, 2018 #1

    Ron

    Ron

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    I am in the process of retiring, and selling my Mooney. I have about 1500 hrs. mostly cross country and looking for an alternative to expensive ownership. We are moving to Eastern Oklahoma to be near kids, grandkids etc. A 2 seat plane would be great.
    I am thinking about a lot of planes, but the idea of a biplane interests me. I probably would not fly aerobatics though, or maybe light aerobatics, low back problems, and anything that tries to make me shorter does not work for me.
    Would an Acrosport or similar be practical for me, for Sunday and maybe all week joy rides.
    Thanks in advance
    Ron
     
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  2. Feb 13, 2018 #2

    pigpenracing

    pigpenracing

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    A Christen Eagle would be great :)
    Very roomy, great visibility and easy to get in and out.
     
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  3. Feb 13, 2018 #3

    jetsareforkids

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    My vote is for a Hatz. Simple and easy, perfect for cruising around and doing touch and goes.
     
  4. Feb 13, 2018 #4

    Jerry

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    Ron, welcome to the club!

    The Acrosport would be a fine fit for your needs... two seat biplane with only light acro... the world of biplanes is your oyster. Try a few on for size.
     
  5. Feb 13, 2018 #5

    Lotahp1

    Lotahp1

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    Starduster Too was literally designed for the mission you state.
     
  6. Feb 13, 2018 #6

    cactusav8r

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    A Skybolt is a great plane capable of aerobatics but also great fun to just fly. I’m a little biased..
     
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  7. Feb 13, 2018 #7

    IanJ

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    Agreed, the Starduster Too, Hatz and Marquart Charger are all intended as sport planes with "gentleman acro" as a secondary mission. The Hatz CB-1 version is not practically a two-seat plane unless you have very small or very flexible passengers. The Hatz Classic appears to be better set up for passengers, and I think the Kelly D variant is also more passenger-friendly.

    Quite possibly you've already pondered the following, but just in case you haven't yet: if this will be your only plane, consider the question of practicality carefully. A biplane, particularly an open cockpit biplane, is not a travelin' plane. You can do it, of course. Lots of people fly across the country in biplanes, but it takes fortitude and a willingness to be uncomfortable for much of the trip with lots of wind, zero baggage allowance and noise levels through the non-existent roof.

    Lower back pain suggests to me that you would be well advised get a few hours in any plane you consider buying to make sure the particular seat in that particular plane isn't going to be a problem. Small biplane seats are usually not adjustable in the automotive-seat sense of the word: they're welded in place, and if you don't like the seating position, installing different cushions is all you can do without actually cutting up and re-welding the fuselage.

    Small biplanes are comparatively slow and inefficient, particularly the ones that are not acro-focused like we're discussing. They are great fun, very maneuverable, and engaging/demanding to fly in a way that modern planes aren't. The transition from a Mooney to a biplane is likely to be a bit of a shock. If I were in your position, I'd either get my tailwheel certification if I didn't already have it, or get current with it if I did, as a preliminary step, since any biplane is going to be a taildragger (I did this, and liked it so much I went out and bought a taildragger Champ, though I looked for a biplane too). Consider getting your tailwheel cert in a Pitts if you can find one, or at least get a few hours check-out in a Pitts, which will require sharper flying than most of the other models discussed so far.

    I don't think you'd regret having a biplane, but the realities of biplanes make them ideally suited to being a second plane. I know you said you're looking for a fun/weekend plane, so hopefully moving to Oklahoma means you don't need to do the cross-country hours any more. I'm looking forward to hearing what you decide on!
     
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  8. Feb 14, 2018 #8

    bipedream

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    I'll second Ian's post on going out and flying a couple of airplanes you think you may like.

    Every homebuilt is unique so one may not fit but another may, even of the same type. I flew a Glasair built buy a fellow who was about 5'4" and it was so tight I couldn't get on the ground fast enough. I had a Skybolt built by a guy who was about 6'2" and needed extra cushions to see.

    The lack of visibility in a biplane can be a challenge in congested airspace and on the runway. The upside is huge character, great flying qualities, lots of performance, and a fun plane. The market is also pretty good (for buyers) so the bang for the buck is great.
     
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  9. Feb 14, 2018 #9

    Jerry

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    Are you looking for a certified or experimental? The Great Lakes would be a nice choice if looking for certified.
     
  10. Feb 14, 2018 #10

    EAABipe40FF

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  11. Feb 14, 2018 #11

    EAABipe40FF

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    I'd suggest "paying your dues" first and then start thinking about which airplane. Best way IMO is to get your tail wheel endorsement and/or a Pitts Special checkout. You could get the endorsement in a Pitts but @ $400/hour or so it would be cheaper to do at least initial flying in maybe a Decathlon or Citabria.

    Any of the aircraft mentioned would work but there can be major differences between individual airplanes. You need to find a good fit. Flying various types would be nice but might be a logistical nightmare?

    How much do you want? A decent S2 Pitts or Eagle will start in the $70k range to well north of $100k. Best bang for the buck will the "right" Starduster 2 or Skybolt with at least 180 hp. I'm partial to the Starduster 2. But you must get an individual aircraft in the correct/latest configuration of gear placement and engine mount length. Then the airplane should be tailored to you and your passenger's size coupled with whether you will be wearing a chute.

    There is a wealth of info on this forum. Take time to read all you can absorb. But again, I'd suggest first getting your flying skills up to speed.

    It's still a buyers market. In the past year there have been a couple very nice airplanes sold in the low $30k's. Be wary of old builds with obsolute and/or very heavy 6 cylinder engines such as the O435.

    Jack

    Maybe before you sell the Mooney, fly out the the left coast and pay Dave Baxter a visit. He has probably guided more people into biplane ownership than anyone on the planet. If you don't like his airplane you likely won't be happy with any of them.........?
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
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  12. Feb 14, 2018 #12

    IanJ

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    100% agree with the idea of visiting Dave, that's a great suggestion. You'll learn a ton about the Starduster Too and biplanes in general.
     
  13. Feb 14, 2018 #13

    Ron

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    I think that meeting Dave would be a great idea. Where is Dave, and how do I get a hold of him. Is he on that left Coast?

    The Mooney is sold, and it is time to slow life down, I think that a Biplane would be great, but would like to fly in one. I did get a ride in a ww2 trainer once, and that was fun.
     
  14. Feb 14, 2018 #14

    Dave Baxter

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    Ron I was beginning to think we had scared you off with all of this information overload, as the romance and reality of open cockpit flying is not for everyone. And if you want to find out what it is like to be an air mail pilot in the 30s open cocpit in the winter is one way? Also believe it or not one can fly one cross country in these airplanes, for me 9 times to Oshkosh as well as numerous fly-ins and Starduster open house's at Fla-bob in So Cal Salt lake Heber Wendover UT and Copper State AZ!

    Ours have big baggage compartsments and with Oregon Aero seats which are pretty comfortable, we generally flight plan for about 200, to about 250 nautical miles, and at about 105 knots or 120 mph, much like a 172, but it is also like having a convertible with the top down all yr! My wife has taken irons hair curlers and lots of clothes way more than most think, but it can be done with the fine art of careful planning and packing, we have also taken a lot of stuff when we camp, sleeping bags air mattresses tarps coffee maker and ice chest. My sons airplane if flying by himself is more like a pick up and can haul just about anything that will fit in his baggage compartment and front cockpit!

    Again not for everyone but we have made it work, as Ian and others have said most, like the Hatz Acrosport and Charger generally do not have much in the way of baggage area, but you are looking mostly at local flying, and anyone of these airplanes including the Starduster Pitts or Eagle would work for your stated intentions. The challenge is finding one at the right price and one that has few issues, as many do would be the trick.

    I have offered to fly with most anyone in either of our Father And Son Airplanes, those that are building and those like you that are looking to buy.

    I am not a flight instructor nor do I charge money as it is an experimental, and can not be used for hire we just split the cost of expense's mostly fuel. I have flown with many, and a lot are on this site. It is a little chilly this time of yr, but both airplanes have heat, and if you dress right and stay low, most are surprised especially as a front seat passenger of how comfortable it is.

    It is really important that you find one you can at least set in and even better go fly, as reality can be very different especially on short final when the runway, or county disappears. We are based at Scappoose OR KSPB it is about 20 miles North of Portland on the Oregon side of the Columbia river.

    Please pvt message me if interested and I will give you my E-mail and number. Dave

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    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
  15. Feb 15, 2018 #15

    Ron

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    They look fantastic. Yes info overload. Keep it coming. After being in the certified world for almost 50 years, there is a lot to learn.

    Cold weather flying, are there any heaters in these to keep the toes warm?

    Thanks again, keep it coming. Ron
     
  16. Feb 15, 2018 #16

    IanJ

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    Many amateur built planes include cabin heat, and I suspect most could be retro-fitted with it if you really want it (but it could be a bear to install, since the exhaust clearance to the cowling might not allow for another heat shroud). Most reports I've heard suggest that cabin heat is at least good for warming the toes, if not the rest of you. I would seriously consider including some kind of 12V plug in the cockpit to allow for a heated vest or gloves such as you can easily find in motorcycle shops. Works wonders on the bike, I imagine it'd work even better in an open cockpit plane, since you're not getting direct wind blast to the chest.
     
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  17. Feb 15, 2018 #17

    Larry Lyons

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    Another option is a canopy that is removable or can be flown 100% open. My Smith did not have cabin heat when I acquired her but she does now and is gloves off flying down to freezing.
     
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