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Thread: New member building a PA18-95

  1. #1

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    New member building a PA18-95

    Hello everyone,

    I'm a new member and a first time builder. I'm going to scratch build a PA18-95. I have Wag Aero PA11 plans and the Northland CD, fuse print/book, and the erection manual. I hope to get some good advice from people who have been there and done that. I've wanted to build for years and I have researched the Barrow's designs, the Christavia, and actually bought plans for a Fisher Dakota Hawk. I've finally decided to build a Supercub because I feel it's the most proven design for what I want and if I come across something I don't want to or can't build, I can likely buy it. Here are the facts: I have a C90-8. I will operate from wheels, floats, and skis. I want a bare bones machine. I am not planning on electric and I want to keep it as sparse and light as possible. I am not a bush pilot, but I want to do things that I'm not comfortable doing in my 172. I'm going to start with the wings. Unless someone talks me out of it, I'm not planning on flaps.

    My first question is: Should I build wood or aluminum wings? Wag plans call for either, Northland plans aluminum. I know the Wag ribs are slightly different from Supercub ribs. I don't want to get too exotic or fancy and I don't want to create problems later because I strayed from the beaten path with my wings. My fuselage will be Supercub, not PA11. I' m leaning towards wood because I'm under the assumption it will be slightly lighter in the end.

    My second question is: If going with wood, how do I make substitutions into the Northland plans and not create problems for myself later or create an unsafe wing?

  2. #2
    Roger Peterson's Avatar
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    There are no right or wrong ways to do it. You will get many opinions here, and they are just that, opinions. Wood, Alum, both work great for the wings. Not much difference in weight. Did 2 PA11s, one wood and one Alum. No difference. The one thing I would do if you are going to fly floats, is put a starter on it. Sure you can do it without one, but one day you will want to fly off a lake and the wind and trees are in the wrong position. Then you wish you had the starter.
    Do it the fastest way possible so you can get the floats on and start flying and come up to the cabin for a fish dinner.

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    Welcome Jim,

    I'm currently rebuilding a PA11. My next plane I'd do from scratch too. Keep at it.

    Flaps: if you're not going to do any serious back country or short field stuff, I vote to leave them off. Unless you decide to go with a bigger moter, in which case you should sell me your C90

    Please post progress and pictures of your project.
    Chris

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    The aviator formally known as 89.

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    Welcome Jim,
    I'm scratch building a Wag 2+2 with wood wings; everything documented since day one on my web site. All the great help I have gotten over the years is there for the taking. I'm 30 days till retirement so the rest of the project should go a lot faster. Welcome aboard.

    Marty57
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    Psalm 36:7 "High and low among men find refuge in the shadow of His wing"
    www.marty2plus2.com

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    Jim,
    my dad and I are about 4 months ahead of you. We started building a PA-18-95 at the first of the year. We choose to make the wings out of aluminum. The spars and the T rail for ribs came from Carlson Aircraft. The other materials have been coming from Air Parts in Kansas City. Also some other odds and ends are being scavaged up on the secondary market. I'm not sure what the wing will weigh but we should known in about a month or two when its completely assembled, minus the covering of course. So far I think we have about $3000 in parts. We have been using the Northland plans and Christian's website plus we are fortunate enough to have some local Cub builders that have been helpful answering our questions. One more thing, we choose to go aluminum spars because factory made wood spars were much more expensive but I am sure if you made them yourself you could probably save money.

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    Larry G's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kizoom View Post
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    Jim,
    my dad and I are about 4 months ahead of you. We started building a PA-18-95 at the first of the year. We choose to make the wings out of aluminum. The spars and the T rail for ribs came from Carlson Aircraft. The other materials have been coming from Air Parts in Kansas City. Also some other odds and ends are being scavaged up on the secondary market. I'm not sure what the wing will weigh but we should known in about a month or two when its completely assembled, minus the covering of course. So far I think we have about $3000 in parts. We have been using the Northland plans and Christian's website plus we are fortunate enough to have some local Cub builders that have been helpful answering our questions. One more thing, we choose to go aluminum spars because factory made wood spars were much more expensive but I am sure if you made them yourself you could probably save money.
    Jim
    Welcome, you might want to also call Jay at www.Javroninc.com for parts or a fuselage.
    Kizoom
    Did you buy the ribs complete, or the parts to do it your self? Could you weigh one for me?

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    Bugs66's Avatar
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    Sounds like some great projects here! You might consider the Taylorcraft airfoil if not looking for best STOL. Has better performance in cruise at a slight loss in low speed. D&E sells the Taylorcraft ribs in addition to the Cub. Just a thought and something I would consider for future.

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    Larry, we put the ribs together ourselves. A full length rib comes in at 13oz and we have an original Piper rib which is 9oz. I will say that these new ribs seem a lot more robust than the old Piper ribs, I don't think that I will have to repair them after 40 years of wear and tear.

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    Thank you to everyone who has responded to my post. This is wonderful information and advice. Please keep them coming. I'm reading and researching what everyone has posted. I should have asked, what are the advantages/disadvantages to wood vs aluminum?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim A. View Post
    Thank you to everyone who has responded to my post. This is wonderful information and advice. Please keep them coming. I'm reading and researching what everyone has posted. I should have asked, what are the advantages/disadvantages to wood vs aluminum?
    Pick the material you prefer to work in / what tools you have.

    Timber for the spars is difficult to come across, but it is not insurmountable.

    I don't like the idea of an all wood wing, because the ribs are glued to the spar and sliding out a spar to replace it is not really an option like it is with aluminium ribs..... wood or aluminium spar. But the idea is not to crash it, so it may be an issue you never have to face.

    Andrew.

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    Roger Peterson's Avatar
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    Jim, if you go with the PA11 style spars, got a extra new fuselage hanging in the shop.

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    Jim,
    Seems to me that Lowrider recently posted that he has a set of ribs or spars available that he won't be using... don't recall exactly what. May help in a decision???

    Mark J (just up the road from you)
    Practicing open cockpit extremism

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    Jim, Its good to see another person building a 90 supercub. I have never heard of anyone that ever had or has a 90 supercub/pa11 that doesn't speak very highly of it. I sure have enjoyed the one I have (homebuilt)
    I would suggest putting flaps on it as I can tell quite a difference on takeoff or landing with flaps versus no flaps. I would guess that my takeoff and landing roll are shortened by a good 30% or so. That being said, you will do yourself a big favor by building it light and simple, and flaps will add to weight and complexity. They are worth the extra 15 lbs to me though.

  14. #14
    behindpropellers's Avatar
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    Although your not building it to sell....

    Building aluminum spar wings will probably be a lot easier to sell when the time comes.

    Keeping as many parts the same as piper parts will also make future maintenance issues easier.

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    Flaps with a overhead flap handle.

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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim A. View Post
    Hello everyone,

    I'm a new member and a first time builder. I'm going to scratch build a PA18-95. I have Wag Aero PA11 plans and the Northland CD, fuse print/book, and the erection manual. I hope to get some good advice from people who have been there and done that. I've wanted to build for years and I have researched the Barrow's designs, the Christavia, and actually bought plans for a Fisher Dakota Hawk. I've finally decided to build a Supercub because I feel it's the most proven design for what I want and if I come across something I don't want to or can't build, I can likely buy it. Here are the facts: I have a C90-8. I will operate from wheels, floats, and skis. I want a bare bones machine. I am not planning on electric and I want to keep it as sparse and light as possible. I am not a bush pilot, but I want to do things that I'm not comfortable doing in my 172. I'm going to start with the wings. Unless someone talks me out of it, I'm not planning on flaps.

    My first question is: Should I build wood or aluminum wings? Wag plans call for either, Northland plans aluminum. I know the Wag ribs are slightly different from Supercub ribs. I don't want to get too exotic or fancy and I don't want to create problems later because I strayed from the beaten path with my wings. My fuselage will be Supercub, not PA11. I' m leaning towards wood because I'm under the assumption it will be slightly lighter in the end.

    My second question is: If going with wood, how do I make substitutions into the Northland plans and not create problems for myself later or create an unsafe wing?
    Q1- Agreed wood is lighter.. however with your plan to stay light you might punch 3" holes in the front and 2" in the rear spar saving a couple # per side. If you use Plaschems Carbon leading edge (very strong) and leave out the short ribs you save another several pounds. Hanger rash proof LE alone is worth it. Either way (wood/metal), I tend to lean toward metal spars for resale and because I have more metal experience.

    LIGHT- If you are serious about light.. Oratex fabric saves a lot of labor and weight (20-30# savings).. no interior
    helps in that effort as well. A simple rule that helps (light) = (If it doesn't help support it's own weight, don't do it)

    Q2- Like Roger sez.. it's all good many choices may be based on what is available or your knowledge.

    FLAPS- All about your dream.. however a lot of bang for <4# per side! the overhead handle is the only way to go.. better visibility and much easier to rig. Possibly rig them so you get more throw and run the flap all the way to the fuselage. Personal preference but I like the 'trigger' on the back side of the handle so it's released as you grip, the CC finger release seems a bit clumsy.

    Are you doing anything to the engine before installation? If so you might consider higher compression, a good polish/port job and a good exhaust does wonders. Electronic ignition sounds good but a lot of extra stuff, keep it simple as possible.

    One thing for sure.. what ever your budget we can all find suggestions on how to spend it!

    good luck

    frank

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    Frank, do you happen to have any pictures of your flap setup before your wings were covered?

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    hi
    does anyone know where i can get pa-18 wing drawings?

    thank you

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    Little_Cub's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1934A View Post
    Frank, do you happen to have any pictures of your flap setup before your wings were covered?
    1934A - Please look at your PMs frank

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    Bill Rusk's Avatar
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    Very Blessed.

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    Lowrider
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcusofcotton View Post
    Jim,
    Seems to me that Lowrider recently posted that he has a set of ribs or spars available that he won't be using... don't recall exactly what. May help in a decision???

    Mark J (just up the road from you)
    I have a set of Carlson cub spars in their wrappers and one full rib for sale but I don't think they will help Jim because they are in Idaho and would be expensive to ship.

    Jim,

    Welcome and you've chosen a wonderful site to become a member. I'm new here too but have learned a lot in a few months and have gotten a lot of help from the members. Good luck with your plane and put flaps on it...it was a hard decision for me but I'm sold on them now...besides...planes are supposed to have them!!
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

    There are no new ways to crash an airplane no matter how hard you may try!

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    I've decided. Going aluminum and with flaps. Roger and Marty, your wings are beautiful. After viewing your pictures however, reality set in. I have spent more time butchering and burning wood than working with it. Drilling holes in framing members to accomodate wiring/plumbing, not to mention the sometimes unsavory things I have had to do with a sawsall to accomodate ductwork, have not developed my finish carpentry skills. My first build better involve more metal than wood.

    I am going to build my own ribs like Kizoom. Pattern ribs, spars, and T rail will come from Carlson. I wish I had a trip planned to Idaho Lowrider! Roger, if you and your son built that -11 fuse, I'm sure it's top knotch, but I want to start with a pile of tubing and be -18. Thanks though.

    Thanks to everyone for the input. Time to build a work table, create a material list, and buy some aluminum.

    Jim

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    Lowrider
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    70 degrees, 28% humidity and not a cloud in the sky....Idaho...worth the trip!!
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

    There are no new ways to crash an airplane no matter how hard you may try!

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    I spent some money today. I didn't buy lumber and I didn't buy aluminum. I did however talk to Bob Barrows from Bearhawk again. I' ve talked to him three times now and each time he has been patient, straight forward, and he's answered all of my questions. I know he' s in the business of selling his design, but he gives me the impression that he knows what he's talking about. His proto now has what is essentially a C-90 hanging on the front of it. It weighs 738 pounds. This is with interior, basic VFR, no flaps, no electric, and no changes from his plans. (Other than a bigger engine). Bob doesn't think the aircraft need's flaps and I don't disagree, but from what I've read here, I think I want them. He said I'd gain 20 pounds and lose 2 mph in cruise. He said I wouldn't benefit much in landing from a speed standpoint, (How much slower do you need to go? Was the impression I got), but he didn't argue much about possible gains with floats and from TO with wheels. He also said it was possible to do from scaled down Patrol plans if one was wiling to spend the time and really wanted a flap handle. 758 pounds, flaps, 170 sq. ft. of wing with less drag sounds like something to take a look at before I buy any materials. I can still build my table. I now have more money in plans than what some guys have in materials to build one wing. I just want to be somewhat sure I've looked at all the options that seem right for me before I start a scratch build. I know this isn' t a Bearhawk sounding board, but I thought I'd share what I learned today to possibly help someone else and get thoughts from other people who have traveled this path before.

    Thanks,

    Jim

  25. #25
    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    Lots of great planes out there but few fill the mission and still fly as sweet as a Cub. Total opinion based on flying over 40 different TW aircraft. E2 Cub - PT17. I know, I'm no help at all

    Glenn

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    Glenn,

    I value and appreciate your opinion along with the other responses to my thread. The fact is I don't know. I haven't built before. I haven't been around Cubs and TW aircraft all my life. There are most likely guys on this forum who have been flying and or building Cubs/similar aircraft longer than I've been alive and I definitely want their input. It may not make my decision easier, but at least I'll have some information to make a decision from. This is what I know for sure: The Cub is proven. Some variation of it would fit my needs. Is there a step by step manual on how to build one? Unfortunately no. Is there more than one way to build a Cub? Definitely yes. Are there easier aircraft to build from plans? Yes. Do they measure up to a Cub? Not any from the plans I have seen. Is the Bearhawk LSA worth building and will it somewhat measure up to a Cub? I don't know. Should I take a look at it before I pull the trigger on a Cub build? Yes.


    Thanks again,


    Jim

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    It is difficult to couch a response to your question without sounding like bagging the Bearhawk. But a couple of things worth considering and thinking about:
    1. How many different Patrol LSA's are there that you can go and look at and/or get a ride in?
    2. How many Cubs are there that you can go and look at and/or get a ride in?
    3. There are many different suppliers of Cub parts and as far as building one goes, you can fabricate as many or as few parts as you want, and buy as many or as few as you want. I know there are some kits and parts for the Patrol, but the type isn't as well served as the Cub.
    4. What do you want? A Cub or a Patrol? I think a lot of the people that would opt for a Patrol, either just don't want to build a Cub or just want something different. I really doubt what is "better" comes into it, though they will justify it by saying that it is better.

    I would also sit down with the drawings of each and get it clear in your own mind which is going to be the more straight forward to build. Get some help from someone who has built if you haven't built before.

    All the best,
    Andrew.

  28. #28
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim A. View Post
    Bob doesn't think the aircraft need's flaps and I don't disagree, but from what I've read here, I think I want them. He said I'd gain 20 pounds and lose 2 mph in cruise.
    Jim,
    Did Bob elaborate on the 2 mph speed loss? What did he attribute to the 2 mph? Was it drag on the hinges? Air leakage through the slot? A curious mind would like to know. If it is hinge drag, then some of that can be eliminated with the use of fairings. Same thing with the slot.
    N1PA

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    Andrew,

    I have been struggling with point 4 and your last sentence the most. The first three points I already know the answer to and the answer is build a Cub.

    Point 4 is a tough one. 792 pounds is what I want the aircraft to weigh in the end. This may seem like a strange number, but I came to it like this: 1320- 360lbs of humans-168lbs of gas(24 gal.)=792. I think 90- 100 horsepower would throw this around quite nicely under 170-180 square foot of wing. I want to go with aluminum spars and ribs. I want flaps. Speed is nice, but STOL is more important to me. Can I build a fairly stock PA-18-95 with flaps and achieve my goal end weight? I think it will be tough. I can live without interior and electric. I could probably afford Oratex fabric when the time comes. I really would have a hard time modifying the wing structure and fuselage much and not be concerned about it. The Bearhawk LSA claims to fit the weight I want to achieve, but it has a heavier, cleaner, smaller wing. I don't know much, but with a heavier, smaller wing, the weight reduction has had to come from lightening the fuselage and landing gear. This doesn' t appeal to me either. I couldn't agree with you more. It's not a matter of which airplane is better. They are different machines.

    As far as plans go, like you said, I'll have to compare the two and decide which will be the easier for a first timer like me to build. I'll ask my A&P and the few scratchbuilders I know what they think and go from there.

    Thanks again,

    Jim

  30. #30

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    Skywagon,

    He didn't elaborate much and I didn' t know enough to ask. I think he said that by adding flaps I would be slightly changing the wings efficiency. This made sense to me since it would no longer be an uninterrupted surface and I left it at that.

    Sorry,

    Jim

  31. #31
    Cub junkie's Avatar
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    I'm a Patrol builder so I'm partial to Bob's designs. I would like to be present sometime when the LSA is weighed. 738 with a C-90 seems light. Bare bones J-3's weigh more than that.

  32. #32

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    Bob barrows told me a few years back that he didn't like to have to re trim after adding flaps and that is why he uses a plain flap design. If you can add flaps and not have to retrim, that tells me that the flaps aren't doing much more than adding drag.
    My cub has flaps similar to those on a husky and my plane weighs less than 800 and they make a HUGE difference in takeoff and landing. I suspect that if the bear hawk and the patrol had more of a fowler flap, they wold make quite a difference. Don't get me wrong, I like bob's designs, but I think fowler flaps on the lsa would be the cat's meow.

  33. #33

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    Cub Junkie,

    I know what you mean, I'm skeptical as well. I really want to compare the plans and see how it is accomplished if it is indeed true. How do you like working from the Patrol plans? I just noticed you live in scenic Indiana. I grew up outside of Star City and still have family down there. I usually make the journey to the farm in the fall to deer hunt and visit with relation.

    Jim Allen

  34. #34

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    Clint,

    Please tell me more about your plane. J3 syle fuse? Wood or aluminum wing? How did you stay under 800#? Did you work from Wag or Northland plans? What airfoil did you use?

    Thanks,

    Jim

  35. #35

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    Jim, I have a Super Cub fuselage, all aluminum 14 rib wing, one 18 gallon tank in the left wing and absolutely bare bones on everything. I used univair drawings and used the stock piper airfoil. I did add 1.5" to the chord of the flaps and ailerons. It's all the details that make a plane heavy. Little things like the wheels for example, I switched out my single puck grove wheels for the matcos and there's about 4 lbs right there, (the groves are for sale by the way) I can now run 8.50-6 tires tubeless and there's another 4-5 lbs again. .060 or .080 plexiglass for side windows instead of 1/8. lots and lots of the little things and you can find 100 lbs pretty quick.

  36. #36
    Lowrider
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    CLint,

    I may have asked this before but it's lost in the fog somewhere...do you think the extra cord in the ailerons bought you any significant slow speed control?

    I've thought about Fowlers but they are more complicated than just a simple hinged torque tube activated flap and heavier.
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

    There are no new ways to crash an airplane no matter how hard you may try!

  37. #37

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    Jim,

    http://www.supercub.org/forum/showthread.php?41880-Super-Cub-95-Weight&p=523092#post523092


    Here is a thread about empty weight for PA-18-95’s. You can get them under 800 lbs if stock. Out of the factory they had a nice glossy butyrate dope job over cotton. If you want to add flaps and big tyres and keep the weight the same you just need to drop things like interior and the glossy paint job.

    Super11XP’s Cub is under 800 lbs.

    There was a long thread on J-3Cub dot com about empty weights and the mid-700’s was common for a J-3, but some of them were around 700 lb.

    Rans S-7’s are generally in the mid-700’s but that is with a Rotax, which could be 60 lbs lighter than a C90.

    From the photos I have seen, Bob Barrow's aeroplanes are very plain. He doesn't embellish them much. That may be the secret to his light weight, as much as the design. I have a vague recollection that Bearhawks built in the "field" with "embellishments" were coming out heavier than Bob's planes, probably in the weight range you would expect.

    There is a lot of data out there to gauge where your PA-18-95 replica should end up, but we have only one data point for the LSA Patrol.

    What I come back to is that if you build a PA-18-95 replica and aim as close as you can to what Piper built them you know exactly what you are going to end up with. Guys like Glenn will tell you exactly how well it will fly. But if you build a Patrol?

    Cheers,
    Andrew.

  38. #38

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    Very good advice Andrew, I'm feeling better already.

    Thanks,

    Jim

  39. #39
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lowrider View Post
    CLint,

    I may have asked this before but it's lost in the fog somewhere...do you think the extra cord in the ailerons bought you any significant slow speed control?
    The extra chord could likely increase the control stick forces.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lowrider View Post
    I've thought about Fowlers but they are more complicated than just a simple hinged torque tube activated flap and heavier.
    You could move the hinge point further down to get a little more aft movement with a larger slot opening. Take a look at the Husky flap hinges and compare them to a Super Cub. The extra long flaps on my Cub with standard hinges, are so effective that I often get the feeling that I need to be shot down. It just floats and floats.
    N1PA

  40. #40
    Cub junkie's Avatar
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    Barrow's designs are only as light as any stock piper except he doesn't run any electrical systems. Its real easy to become a "moron". That is a term of endearment Curtis Pitts used one time when I was hanging out around him at an aerobatic contest. Guys keep putting more on and more on then all of a sudden their airplane gained 90 pounds.

    @Jim A. Bob's plans are good in my opinion but I have built and repaired a lot of tube structures. He expects you to scale off the drawings unless he draws the parts in full size or gives dimensions. Star city is almost chicago to us southern indiana hillbillies. I have said it many times on this board, I don't expect anybody to be excited about the BH or the Patrol on this cub board.(exception would be if you have a C-180(or C-170) then you are kool on this board.) I would like to see a lightweight Patrol in the hands of one of the grizzled bush jockeys that come to Valdez to see how it really stacks up against the similar equipped 18. @Clint, can you share a part # for the Matco wheels/brakes? What size axles. I know Barrow's put them on the LSA.
    Last edited by Cub junkie; 05-09-2013 at 09:18 AM.

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