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Thread: Looking for a SC - are there more desirable model years?

  1. #1

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    Looking for a SC - are there more desirable model years?

    I know “desirability” is a subjective term but condition and improvements aside, was a given model year or range of years considered to be the best?

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    Basically the answer is NO. My 1951 Pa 18-A came with a 125 hp engine and a 1500 lb GWR converted for passengers. It now has a 160 hp engine with a 2000 lb GWR and all the mods a good bush plane should have. Most every part of the plane has been replaced or rebuilt since 2000. All the cool pilots fly an "A" model after that the rest is just personal preference in mods. Figure out the mission and find/build for the mission. DENNY

  3. #3
    Crash, Jr.'s Avatar
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    From what I've heard the fuselages from 71 onward were all 4130 instead of a mix of mild steel and chromoly.

    But really the answer is NO. Most have been rebuild some better than others. Maintenance history, quality of work, and quality of previous ownership are going to determine which ones are more desirable.

  4. #4

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    Lighter is better - look for 160 hp under 1100 empty.
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    behindpropellers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by durhas View Post
    I know “desirability” is a subjective term but condition and improvements aside, was a given model year or range of years considered to be the best?
    Mainly just buy on condition and what mods you want. Always cheaper to let the other guy pay for the mods.

    Tim

  6. #6
    aktango58's Avatar
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    Later ones had aluminum flaps and ailerons.

    I would avoid ones with the metalized coating (forgot the actual name) on the tubes, and would be very Leary of an old frame that has been around the coast or on floats lots. Tubes corrode from inside out, had a 50's one that came from western Alaska beach work, and the frame was really bad when it was time to change.

    As said above- mostly on condition and mods though.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

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    At this point any mechaniclly sound pa-18 would do. Emphasis on mechanically sound, as in good pre-buy. Then you can make improvements as finances allow, and your skills with this model improve. Because your skill improvement will trump most performance mods, untill you're some kind of hot stick

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    I agree with Denny...A models are cool, and the really cool guys fly A models in S Central.
    if his was a ‘53 then he’d be super cool
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  9. #9

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    Cool is when you have an A model built the year you were born!
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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rice farmer View Post
    Cool is when you have an A model built the year you were born!
    Mine was also built the year I was born, though not a A model.

  11. #11
    TurboBeaver's Avatar
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    Don't buy one with extended wings and unextended aileron's.
    If it doesn't have the tail" boxed in"; and has ever been on Bushwheels, the tail is likely 'tweeked". Irregular wing strut
    Rigging???? Yup it's twerked.

    Stay away from ones that have been on floats in salt water, or lots of beach work....
    If fabric is over 20 years old and recently painted; you might want to pass over it...... Pig with lipstick??
    If you fly it and it feels heavy, it probably is....
    But #1 golden rule is find the mechanic that is very Cub
    Savy..... One that rebuilds them, and does lots of annual's
    On Cubs, he will find many things you and your A&P buddy
    Probably won't.
    If it's a certified Cub make dam sure ALL the paperwork is
    there??? Most of them are missing a bunch, if you get fussy looking them over.
    In today's world a well built experimental has some
    HUGE advantages if your not using it commercially.
    Good Luck in your search
    E
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  12. #12
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crash, Jr. View Post
    From what I've heard the fuselages from 71 onward were all 4130 instead of a mix of mild steel and chromoly.
    That is when they started TIG welding but had not heard they went to all 4130.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers

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    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Some info on the changes as they came from Piper in this thread. https://www.supercub.org/forum/showt...y-Year-and-S-N As you can tell from going to a super Cub fly in or looking at ads, there are hardly any two Super Cubs that are alike and few that are like they left Piper.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers
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    So what makes the A models "cool"? I understand the basic differences, but why are they desirable differences?

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    Crash, Jr.'s Avatar
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    My understanding is that Piper had a few jigs of varying accuracy to build normal PA-18 models and the angle of incidence and other things can be hit or miss. The A model cubs all came out of one jig that was purposely built for them and all the angles are more accurate to the drawings. That's pretty much the reason why they fly better.
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  16. #16

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    A models have a little bigger baggage are, look a little more unique and seem to fly a little faster and fly really well.
    On the negative side, if it was used as a sprayer depending on how they cleaned up the fuselage there could be a little corrosion on the airframes. Some mods also aren't approved for A models, and they can be a little heavier from some extra tubing in the fuselage.

    Brett '53 A Model
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  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by alexstoll View Post
    So what makes the A models "cool"? I understand the basic differences, but why are they desirable differences?
    The pilot is definitely the main contributor to the coolness of the A models. The airframes themselves can have some major issues as can the paperwork as TurboBeaver mentioned. One thing some people like is they came with a single stick torque tube, this makes it easier to build a big flat floor cargo area in back. Some prefer that, I prefer to have controls in the back seat also because I end up there at times. As far as flying better I think by the second or third wreck it is all about who rebuilt it. DENNY
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  18. #18

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    The big thing is to find a good IA!!!!! Don't dream, hope for an affair, or fall in love with any plane until the IA approves of the affair!!! A good deal a plane your buddy knows of could be a huge money pitt. Do not get hung up on year or A model, or latest, U-tube mod. What part of the country do you live in we may know a good IA near you. DENNY
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  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by DENNY View Post
    As far as flying better I think by the second or third wreck it is all about who rebuilt it. DENNY
    Now that's funny! And I'm sure very true!
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  20. #20

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    TurboBeaver, you point out not to buy one with extended wings and unextended ailerons. Are extended wings WITH extended ailerons ok? Anything you can elaborate on re flying characteristics of either combo would be much appreciated.

  21. #21

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    I have a '63 PA-18 with extended wings and "unextended" squared off ailerons . Fly's just fine, however i have no experience with any other wing configuration so admittedly don't know any better. I wouldn't be concerned with what year it was born. Super cubs are expensive, even beaters. Get the nicest one you can afford, it likely will save you money in the short and or long run.

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rice farmer View Post
    Cool is when you have an A model built the year you were born!
    My A model pre-dates me by 11yrs. But I did have the honor of soloing her on my 16th birthday
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  23. #23

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    Single Stick Torque Tube

    Quote Originally Posted by DENNY View Post
    The pilot is definitely the main contributor to the coolness of the A models. The airframes themselves can have some major issues as can the paperwork as TurboBeaver mentioned. One thing some people like is they came with a single stick torque tube, this makes it easier to build a big flat floor cargo area in back. Some prefer that, I prefer to have controls in the back seat also because I end up there at times. As far as flying better I think by the second or third wreck it is all about who rebuilt it. DENNY
    Did they all come from the factory with the single stick torque tube? I have a 1953 PA-18A-135 barn find that has the standard torque tube. There is a 1961 logbook entry "Removed spray equipment Item 601 and installed rear seat converting airplane to standard." That's the only reference in the logs of any change. The change was conducted by St Louis Flying Service, FAA Repair Station 1360. Interestingly they never had the Airworthiness Certificate changed. When I found the airplane in 2000 it still had a current Restricted Airworthiness Certificate. Is it cool to have a PA18A of the same year you were conceived?

  24. #24
    TurboBeaver's Avatar
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    Durhas,
    In reference to longer wings with standard aileron's: this was a very common Mod in Alaska back in late 70's and early 80's. Of course the theory was by extending the wing
    And increasing lift outboard was going to get you off quicker. Lots of the Cubs got converted over, were many times, the Cubs that didn't really "cut the mustard" when compared to ones that were " real performers". And many believed after the mod, that there was a noticeable increase in performance.... However as the years went by ALOT of folks began to REMOVE the extension because story's of these longer winged Cubs
    "Getting away" from highly experienced Cub pilots became
    Common, when these aircraft were exposed to crosswinds that were manageable in a standard wing Cub.
    There had been lots of talk about ALOT of loss in aileron control and harmony, I remember a fellow guide asking me one time if I had flown a long wing with standard aileron's, I told him I had and didn't like them at all in crosswinds. He says, you know a Cub has 18 degrees of
    Aileron deflection, but when you extend the wings without
    Extending the aileron's it feels just like it has 9 degrees!
    Bunch of fellas have tryed simply removing the "wind stops" off the middle hanger to get "overtravel" deflection's
    Up/down into the 22/24 degree range trying to compensate for the lack of control, but it made no difference, the ONLY cure was to extend the Aileron's
    Out to the tip, that will allow you to regain control of the
    Wing again. There has been many dozens of Cubs, rolled up into a ball, by some very experienced Cub pilots with short aileron's on long wings. That's a fact. Be very careful with that combination. This is of course just my own
    personal experience with them, your mileage my vary, And to all the guys that own Cubs, with this combination, Sorry if I have offended you in advance!
    Best of luck
    E
    Ps. So direct answer: Extended wings WITH extended aileron's work fine!
    Last edited by TurboBeaver; 03-06-2021 at 06:43 AM.
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  25. #25
    Joe Wood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rice farmer View Post
    Cool is when you have an A model built the year you were born!
    Heck, when I was born the J-3 was only in its third year of production!

  26. #26
    RaisedByWolves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aktango58 View Post
    Later ones had aluminum flaps and ailerons.

    I would avoid ones with the metalized coating (forgot the actual name) on the tubes, and would be very Leary of an old frame that has been around the coast or on floats lots. Tubes corrode from inside out, had a 50's one that came from western Alaska beach work, and the frame was really bad when it was time to change.

    As said above- mostly on condition and mods though.
    Rebuilding one with that coating from the 50's. A lot of it has chipped off the smaller steel parts. Sure is a PITA to get the rest of it off

  27. #27
    RaisedByWolves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    Some info on the changes as they came from Piper in this thread. https://www.supercub.org/forum/showt...y-Year-and-S-N As you can tell from going to a super Cub fly in or looking at ads, there are hardly any two Super Cubs that are alike and few that are like they left Piper.
    Kind of neat when you get to see an original piper. Just flew one this past week. Only mod was aoss. Still had the original fabric too

  28. #28
    aktango58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RaisedByWolves View Post
    Kind of neat when you get to see an original piper. Just flew one this past week. Only mod was aoss. Still had the original fabric too
    Even the 'new' ones are older than you

    Study that unmolested one, and take pictures. You may be the next Guru that actually knows cubs.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

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