View Full Version : SC vs. 7GCBC ?

10-05-2006, 12:37 AM
Contemplating purchase of near new 7GCBC,would be great to hear some real world opinions based on experience in both types...are they similar enough to even make inteligent comparison? My understanding so far: the Citabria will not be near the short field performer that the SC is, the SC is not aerobatic (nor is it intended to be).Depending on mission profile, is one as much fun as the other? Thanks in advance for the education I'm about to recieve!

Arctic Flyer
10-05-2006, 01:58 AM
I owned a 7GCBC before I bought my PA-12. My PA-12 has a 150hp, flaps, 18 gear, 18 tail, borer prop, 29" gar aero's, etc. It's not an 18 but for comparison purposes in this conversation it's pretty close. Keep in mind I am not johnny bush pilot, but I do get to go out and do some fun off airport stuff.

These are some of the differences I remember:
1) The GCBC is a fast plane, even faster than the PA-12. It's fast all the time including short final, so I don't think it makes a very good short field aircraft.
2) The GCBC couldn't carry very much. Mine didn't have ext baggage or anything special. I climbed out once with a passenger, some winter gear, and full fuel and it didn't seem to want to fly, compared to the PA-12 that will fly with a much, much heavier load. I am very impressed with the PA-12's performance, even around 1900 lbs.
3) I remember doing different weight and balances on the GCBC and I was out of CG pretty quick. I don't remember specific examples, but we were stuck at a buddy's cabin once with nothing else to do :drinking: so we started doing w&b's and I remember it was an eye opener for me.
4) I liked the Citabria but it wasn't the right plane for the stuff I wanted to do, however, if 1 guy and some gear want to do airbatics and ~800' it's a cool plane. I had a 160hp that burned about 7 gal/hr.

My 2 cents...

10-05-2006, 02:10 AM

bob turner
10-05-2006, 03:03 AM
I have a J-3, regularly fly three different Super Cubs, and own a Super Decathlon. The Cub is simply different from the Champs - all of them. If you want fun in the pattern, or landing in wierd places, then a Cub is it. If you just enjoy going places, have long runways available, and don't care about flying around with a door you can open and close at will, any Champ will do.

My Super D can fly a decent approach at about 62 mph, but it takes twice the runway of a Cub flown at the same speed to the flare. Don't know about the GCBC. The 180HP Lyc can lift anything you can cram in there, at least at sea level. Don't ask me how I know that. Paperwork limits you to a very light passenger and no baggage, even for normal ops.

10-05-2006, 06:28 AM
I have 50 hours in the Citabria and just over 100 in a Super Cub so I am less expert than most here. I love flying them both. If you are flying to and from airports and not carrying a big load, either one will do fine. They are both a lot of fun.

The Champs are still supported by a working factory. Super Cubs are supported by 100s of shops all over the place.

Since owning my Cub, I have really enjoyed flying to off-airport sites and have done some things that have required a load that the Champs simply could not carry. My Cub has an useful load of 850 pounds and the room to hold a lot of stuff.

I miss the aerobatics.

If you are looking at relatively new airplanes, you will find the Cubs significantly more expensive.

10-05-2006, 06:38 AM
I've owned both.

If you want an airplane to go places and roll around when in the mood, buy the 7GCBC.

If you want an airplane to fly and land anywhere... carry all you can cram in it, buy a Super Cub.

The Citabria is faster, warmer, quieter and roomier..... but it is not, and will never be a Super Cub. You can learn to get a Citabria in short and off in a reasonable distance if you want to push the edge of its performance envelope. It's heavy on the controls, but an honest airplane in turbulence and crosswinds. The flaps do help. Watch out for a rear CG if you plan to do aerobatics.

My preference would be a modified PA12 or a Wide Body SC over the Citabria.

Either way, you will have a fun plane to enjoy

10-05-2006, 08:20 AM
Probably the only reason I would chose the 7GCBC is it's aerobatic abilities. I got my commercial in one years ago and have owned both the GCBC and the Decathlon. The type holds a special place in my life. Unfortunately I've also lost two friends in them. One doing aerobatics and one in turbulence. In both accidents "possible" spar failure of the old wood spar was cited.
Also if your considering the purchase of a late model GCBC and your spending enough to also consider the Husky. Near Citabria speed and near Cub capable but also not aerobatic.
I would buy the Cub, a PA12 or the Husky and rent the aerobatic plane.
Just my humble opinion....

Jon B.
10-05-2006, 09:47 AM
Instead of the 7GCBC, you may want to consider the 8GCBC Scout. With 180hp and a CS prop (on some), they will get up and go. If you want to get in short, plan on using lots of power, and drag it in, or you'll run out of elevator. This is true also for really short stuff with the 7, I think.

The 7-series are a hoot to fly but the useful (legal) load is pitiful. They'll carry lots more than is legal but so will most aircraft, including the Cub. It's possible but stupid. Both the Scout and the Citabria are fast - 110 (100 to 105 with a climb prop) for the 7GCBC and more like 125-135 for the Scout; less with a fixed-pitch climb prop, of course.

A newer Citabria, with metal spars, or an older one with new metal spars is exempt from the AD, so that's a good route. They gain weight with the spars, though.

If you won't be needing strips shorter than 600-800 feet, the 7 and 8GCBC will be fine. If you'll be fully loaded and operating out of less, you'll probably need a Cub. There, I said it. I fly a 90-horse Champ, though.

Jon B.

10-05-2006, 01:12 PM
I have a 7GCBC with the extended Safe Air wings, 1974 model, I also have 800+ in Super Cubs 90 HP 160HP and 180HP. With the experience I have with the both is the 7GCBC is very similar to the SuperCub however the Citibria feels a little heavier in elevator controls and really light with the ailerons cause it has the spades. The Citabria also has the funky spring landing gear wich takes some used to on short landings, The Citabria can be flown as slow as a stock SC with the modified wings of the Citabria. Also I have the split door and windows that swing out and latch to the bottom of the wings wich gives it a great photo platform........ BUT how I long to have myself a Super Cub wich Im in the midst of looking for a Cheap project(oxymoron) with the Paper work I have.

10-05-2006, 01:20 PM
I forgot to add something, the 7GCBC Citabria is a joke doing Aerobatics, might as well spend your time doing half assed L-shaped loops with a Cessna Aerocrap. might actually do them bettter than the Citabria, however if you want a good performer the Super Decathalon is the Shiz.

10-05-2006, 04:40 PM
Do the spades help the 7gcbc that much? I always thought the Citabrias had heavy ailerons and light elevators.

10-05-2006, 04:45 PM
Do the spades help the 7gcbc that much? I always thought the Citabrias had heavy ailerons and light elevators.They make a noticeable difference, but it's still heavier on the controls than a Supercub.

Never owned a Supercub, but had a nice 7GCBC once. ;)

10-05-2006, 04:49 PM
I got a couple hundered hours towing banners with one. I always thought they were kind of a pig. If your going to fly out of 1500 ft grass strips they would be ok.

10-05-2006, 06:08 PM
WARNING: Personal opinion follows. Read at your own risk!

Personally, I would walk past a whole row of Aeronca/Bellanca/Champion/American Champion "Champ" variants to get to a Super Cub (or any Cub for that matter). In my opinion, the Cubs just fly nicer. The control feel is nicer (lighter in all axis), they handle the wind better, they get off and on the ground shorter, you can fly with the door open (except the Cruisers and Coupes). And the Pipers look better too!

No Aeronca products (or their derivatives) for me!


bob turner
10-05-2006, 09:18 PM
I agree. I keep the Super D because I like to do slow rolls and I like to get there this week. I keep the Cub because it is a delight to fly.

Those spar failures: Any of them Decathlons?

10-05-2006, 09:51 PM
Those spar failures: Any of them Decathlons?

If your referenceing the ones I mentioned, yes, one was a Decathlon. The airplane was a 1975 (I think) 150hp with C/S. It was about 5yrs old when the accident happened. During a spit s manuver the right wing appeared to give way. The owner/pilot was in the process of renewing his low level airshow waiver with the FAA. They witnessed it from less than a 1/4 mile. In defense of the airplane it had a wing "tap" accident a couple of years earlier and I just don't think the cracks were ever found.
I did my waiver in it the day before and it flew fine....

Greg Smith
10-06-2006, 10:14 AM
One day last winter I went to fly the J-3, but it was already booked. I decided to go flying anyway, and went and rented a Champ. Most of my tailwheel time is in Citabrias and Decathlons, but I had never flown a 65hp Champ.

The Champ has several things over the Cub, but IMHO, flying isn’t one of them. I like the ease of entry and exit, the trim system, the visibility on the ground, and the heater. Getting off the ground seemed to take forever compared to the Cub, and the climbout was anemic. In the pattern it sank like a stone when power was reduced. It just didn’t feel like it enjoyed flying as much as a Cub does, and it was looking forward to being back on the ground.

The Champ (and its descendants) isn’t a bad airplane, but the Cub (and its descendants) is better. Even on the ramp sitting next to a Cub, the Champ looks… well… pudgy, with it’s little potbelly.

Between the two I’ll take the Cub -and when $$$ permits, a SuperCub- because it suits me best. * Determine which aircraft fits your needs and your budget, get it, and fly it a lot.

*My wife’s “love of flying” is different from my own, I’m afraid… For me, “the fun is in the going.” For her, the fun is getting there quick. Ideally, I’d like to own a light, bare bones, mostly stock 160hp SuperCub and a 182.

10-06-2006, 11:48 AM
Didn't we loose Jim Batterman out of Timmerman and a student in a Decathalon spar failure accident around 1989?

10-06-2006, 12:29 PM
Have time in both. Both fun airplanes , cubs are my pick for most reasons already mentioned. If you park in a small hanger and put the plane away tail first as I do. Most of the time I simply pick up the tail of my 12 and in the hanger we go----now try the Citabria. My geezerhood really shows up here cuz I can't pick up that heavy tail.

10-06-2006, 03:17 PM
Didn't we loose Jim Batterman out of Timmerman and a student in a Decathalon spar failure accident around 1989?

The accident was in 1990, and was actually due to the failure of the strut-to-spar attach fitting, rather than the spar itself. Here's a link to the NTSB report:



10-07-2006, 01:14 AM
Thanks to all for responding...large pool of knowledge and experience on this forum!

The plan is a 1500' grass strip at my house, the hangar is under construction (when I'm not on SuperCub.org). I think the 7GCBC will serve my needs as a newbie and be an adequate platform to take some aerobatic instruction in the future. I have no plans on serious aerobatics, just my own enjoyment. The plane I'm contemplating has the factory seaplane equipment which opens the door for future float flying. (I live by a lake) The G.W. is lame, but it helps that I weigh under 150. Not sure what the best choice for tires would be due to those damn pocket gophers augering my field but I'll get some more experienced pilots to size it up before I start using it. Now if I could just learn to land the 7ECA that I'm taking lessons in.......

10-07-2006, 04:27 AM
Had dinner with Paul Mantz in 1964 at Pensacola. I was a student, he was a master. His story that i remember to this day was of a movie stunt where he flew a Champ into a barn. He recounted that the plane was so strong that he cut the wood spars half-in-two with a hacksaw so that the wings would break away evenly upon impact. He felt that the steel tube airframe "cage" of the champ was the strongest in the business and could keep you alive.
A cub above stall speed kites, a champ above stall speed has a definite "sink-rate." If you learn to use it, you can use the sink rate to come in over the trees to land VERY short.
A champ is not a cub, but a champ has a flight envelope that is very useful, also. Figure out how it flies, then use it that way. It's a pretty good plane. Have fun.. :)

10-08-2006, 08:04 AM
You should fly a CUB before you make up your mind!

Roger Peterson
10-08-2006, 09:26 AM
I learned in a Cub. bought a Champ because I was short of money. Flew it 3 or 4 times and sold it. It was a poor excuse for flying in my book.

10-08-2006, 09:27 PM
One think nice about a 7GCBC is you can just buy it and fly it. Dont have to figure out what kind of prop, tires and cargo pod or aux tanks you need. Biggest mod is figuring out what GPS to buy.

Ron Babos
10-08-2006, 10:40 PM
Roger: You didn't fly it enough. I remember the first flight in myChamp. I thought, man what a piece of sh*t. I'd really have a hard time parting with it now. Like T-28 says, learn to fly it and use the flight envelope.

10-09-2006, 06:29 PM
I think that the single biggest difference here is the $$$$$$ involved.

Personally, I've flown 7AC's, 7 GCBC's, 7KCAB's, 7GCAA's, etc. They are all great little airplanes, and they have a lot of good attributes.

Are they a direct replacement for a Super Cub?? Nope.

But you can buy two pretty good champs for hte price of one pretty good Super Cub.

A lot of the Citabrias now have metal wings. They are heavier than the wood wing aiprlnanes and thus have VERY little useful load.

But, they are honest airplanes, they are fairly fast, economical, and they are fun to fly.

Are they a Super Cub? No.

I'm with T-28--learn to fly the things, and you'll find that they are a lot of fun to fly.

As Adolf Galland replied when asked what his favorite fighter aircraft was during WWII "The one that I was flying at the time".

Some's bettern others, but it's hard to beat that guy's logic.


10-10-2006, 02:01 AM
A lot of the Citabrias now have metal wings. They are heavier than the wood wing aiprlnanes and thus have VERY little useful load.

Mike, how much heavier are the metal spar wings? It doesn't seem to me that there'd be a significant weight difference. Also, if you install the factory aluminum wings, you get a gross weight increase. I don't know how much, but hte new citabrias have a 100 lb higher gross weight (150 for the GCBC)

Do you know for certain that difference in weight between wood and metal spars is greater then the gross weight increase on the STC?

10-10-2006, 02:52 AM
not that big of a difference put milman metal spars in my 7ac conv.115hp champ don't remember exact but not more than 10# per wing if that..

10-10-2006, 07:50 AM
I don't know what the increase in empty weight is on a wood wing Citabria, but I know when I was told what it was, I was pretty surprised. Thirty pounds or so seems to be what I heard, but that's guessing.

In any case, if I were rebuilding a Citabria, I'd go with the metal wings.

In fact, the local mechanic told me that AC has a wing exchange program that is, according to him, a LOT cheaper than rebuilding a wood wing yourself. He said he almost cant' afford to rebuild a wood wing for the price that the factory will sell a brand new metal spar wing, covered and painted white.


m wittler
10-10-2006, 11:07 PM
The 7GCBC is a Real "GOOD" airplane, notice I didn't say Great, I had a old timer tell me the are every bit as good as a SC, Well that depends.

The Big, Flapped Champ does pretty good but just add 100+ feet to everything, take offs, & landings. Guys like Kase and Wilber, And all the Pro pilots up north, Could put one in & out where most average pilots couldn't do with a hot rod SC.

If short IN & Outs don't really give you a woody like me, Then they are a great plane. Cruise is A lot Better, Way more comfortable, and easier to get in and out.

The first Taledragger I owned was a 74 7GCBC, with 750TT, Great plane to learn to Stick and Rudder in, only because you are on the ground longer to Learn!!! I Traded it for a SC Have'nt missed that bird since, except on a Long Flight.

Thanks Matt

10-16-2006, 09:38 PM
I don't know what the increase in empty weight is on a wood wing Citabria, but I know when I was told what it was, I was pretty surprised. Thirty pounds or so seems to be what I heard, but that's guessing.

In any case, if I were rebuilding a Citabria, I'd go with the metal wings.

In fact, the local mechanic told me that AC has a wing exchange program that is, according to him, a LOT cheaper than rebuilding a wood wing yourself. He said he almost cant' afford to rebuild a wood wing for the price that the factory will sell a brand new metal spar wing, covered and painted white.


Mike to follow up, I posted a question about this on the Bellanca/champion forum. I'm interested because I'm rebuilding a citabria at the moment and I'm considering replacing the spars with aluminum. Anyway, according to the responses I got, the milman replacement spars add about 10 lb, and the new Champion wings add about 15 lbs, and you get the full 100 lb max gross weight increase that the new citabrias have. (150 lb for GCBC) One of the guys who responded was an owner of American Champion. He said that the reported large weight increases were because many airplanes had never been on a scale, and they were much heavier than the w&b showed, so when they weighed hte plane after re-winging, it *seemed* like they gained a great deal of weight. After they figured out what was going on, they started weighing the airplanes before the conversion (the ones why converted at the factory) and after, and it was found that the conversion typically added 15 lbs. The reported large weight increases were due to old fat airplanes with inaccurate weight and balance sheets.


bob turner
10-17-2006, 12:17 AM
Never weigh one of these things. If my wife (110 lbs) and I (195) and full fuel are over gross at computed weight, think of how bad it will be if I weigh the thing!

Jerry Gaston
10-17-2006, 09:33 AM
Heres my 2 cents!! I have owned a 7kcab and have probably 1800 hours in that plane. I have had it to Canada several time on fishing trips and have flown it all over the place in the states. It flew great and was a real pleasure to fly with or without the wife or kids.
I would crawl over all the Citabrias ever made to get to my supercub. It has all the right STCs and can be used with great utility for everything I need. And I got tired of doing acrobatics.

bob turner
10-17-2006, 08:14 PM
Have one of each, like me. I never get tired of going fast, upside down. But I sure prefer the Cub in the pattern.

Bill Cangero
10-18-2006, 06:37 PM

OK--so now that we have heard about the Citabria's good and bad points--who would like to talk me out of owning my 7GCAA 150 HP Citabria. (no flaps)

Jerry Gaston
10-19-2006, 11:13 AM
Bill i'll talk to you about owning one... It all depends on two things money and use. What you going to pay for it and what is the use. My motto is that "you can't put and price on fun"
Flaps are or should be optional-who needs flaps on any plane with 150hp my 7kcab didn't have flaps and I never needed them a slip is just as good as flaps.