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Thread: Acquiring a PA-18. What would you do?

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    aviatoraf's Avatar
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    Acquiring a PA-18. What would you do?

    I want a Super Cub. My mission is to learn and grow STOL and backcountry skills. Iím a 1,000 hr pilot, 300 of those hours are tailwheel (Luscombe, Citabria).


    Iíve got a cash budget of $120K (excluding the must-have reserve for things like an unanticipated overhaul). Iím a cash-only guy. Iíve got aircraft building experience and Iím open to building or buying an experimental. Iím also open to buying a certified PA-18 and modifying it as needed. My highest priority, beyond mechanical soundness and quality, is having heavy duty landing gear minus the bungees.


    If money was no factor, Iíd go with a Carbon Cub EX2 or FX2. But, that is well outside my budget, as is a Backcountry Cub Rev 2 or anything like that.


    Looking for recommendations on how best to accomplish my goal within budget. What would you do?

  2. #2
    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    Search Bill Rusk Javron Cub

    Glenn
    "Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you!"
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  3. #3
    aviatoraf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cubdriver2 View Post
    Search Bill Rusk Javron Cub
    Thanks. I’ve read thru quite a bit of Bill’s posts around his Javron build but don’t recall seeing bottom line costs. Can a Javron be completed, ready to fly, for under $120K?
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    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Here is the Javron order form: http://www.javronaviation.com/conten...derFormRev.pdf As you can see the kit cost starts at $48,500. You should have no difficulty in finishing your new Cub within your budget. There is no better starting time than NOW!
    N1PA
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    Farmboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aviatoraf View Post
    Thanks. Iíve read thru quite a bit of Billís posts around his Javron build but donít recall seeing bottom line costs. Can a Javron be completed, ready to fly, for under $120K?
    Pretty sure Bill did not. But, I expect others have, depending on what gets installed, and where engine and such are sourced.

    In my opinion one of the items to consider is the build time, or ďhow much assembly is left to doĒ. Although FAA states 51% youíll swear itís 90% done and 90% left to go a number of times during the build.

    The Rans S-21 can be assembled with pull rivets in 500-600 hours. As can some Zeniths and such.
    The Bearhawk Patrol/Companion models can probably be done in 1200-1600 hours due to metal wings nearly complete on arrival.
    Legend cub I canít speak to, but Iíd expect similar to Javron they will be a little more time.
    And the Carbon cubs with the kits should be less time?

    So you have to weigh what you want with when you want it, and value accordingly. Might be better to buy now, or compare the offerings again.

    Pb




    Transmitted from my FlightPhone on fingers...
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    aviatoraf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Farmboy View Post
    So you have to weigh what you want with when you want it, and value accordingly. Might be better to buy now, or compare the offerings again.
    Appreciate what you’re saying here. My budget is fixed and my time is free, and as much as I want it to be done quickly, those are my constraints.

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    cubdrvr's Avatar
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    My 2 cents............
    I rebuilt a cub I bought in 2000.
    Plus side: I learned a lot about the airplane and I configured it like I wanted.
    Down side: It took 2 yrs. working in my spare time.
    Looking back I would have found one to buy as I lost 2 yrs. of cub flying........ and I would have gone experimental.
    "Sometimes a Cigar is just a Cigar"
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    windy's Avatar
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    Start a YouTube channel


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    The key to building a decent cub at a lower price is to avoid anything with the word carbon in it!! A lot of planes that are winning STOL events are in the 1200 pound range so don’t get hung up on weight!!! 3 inch extended gear, inch and a quarter axles/wheels/brakes, 31 inch bush wheels will get you most anywhere you would ever need to go. Scott 3200 tail wheel with three leaf spring is all you really need unless you’re doing tundra or soft sand. On any build project words like powder coat and laser cut usually means a lot more time and money. The Javron cub fit and finish is exceptional and excellent bang for the buck. If you really wanna have fun in the back country build a cub that is easy to load and unload, has decent fuel range, and easily available parts! DENNY
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  10. #10
    jjack's Avatar
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    Buy the best cub you can find and fly NOW !
    JohnnyJackson

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    Taledrger's Avatar
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    First question.. have you ever owned an airplane?
    Bob D
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    courierguy's Avatar
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    In talking with some other local pilots today, one mentioned that another local 82 year long time pilot is hanging it up and putting his SC up for sale. I believe the price was 74K. Located in SE Idaho FWIW.
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    Gordon Misch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by courierguy View Post
    In talking with some other local pilots today, one mentioned that another local 82 year long time pilot is hanging it up and putting his SC up for sale. I believe the price was 74K. Located in SE Idaho FWIW.
    Sad, but perhaps prudent. I dread the day - - -
    Gordon

    N4328M KTDO
    My SPOT: tinyurl.com/N4328M (case sensitive)

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    With a $120,000 budget you should be able to buy a really nice flying machine.

    Building one for that depends on how many compromises you’re willing to make.
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    I actually just became aware of a very low time '76 model 160hp Super Cub right in that price range. If you're interested, pm me.
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    aviatoraf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taledrger View Post
    First question.. have you ever owned an airplane?
    I have. A Cherokee, two Bonanzas, a Mooney, a Citabria and a Luscombe.
    Last edited by aviatoraf; 05-31-2021 at 01:51 AM. Reason: Forgot one :-)
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    Same disease as me, the collectorís bug. I have a Cherokee 235 which almost cured me from tail dragging until I got my modified J-5 (essentially a 12 with 160hp at this stage). I prefer it to the 18 I had so in your shoes I would get a nicely enhanced 12 and save the balance for other toys.


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    Margaret Thatcher
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  18. #18
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Buy a flying Super Cub. You will discover what you like and don't like and if you want to quit flying enough to build you will know how you want your new one.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers
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    Taledrger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aviatoraf View Post
    I have. A Cherokee, two Bonanzas, a Mooney, a Citabria and a Luscombe.
    Excellent, then you understand ownership.. take Steve Pierce's advice above and find the best SuperCub for the money. (save a little for Mods, you will eventually want )...
    Bob D

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    aviatoraf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taledrger View Post
    Excellent, then you understand ownership.. take Steve Pierce's advice above and find the best SuperCub for the money. (save a little for Mods, you will eventually want )...
    I appreciate what you and Steve are saying here, thank you.


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  21. #21
    Crash, Jr.'s Avatar
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    It's better to be flying than building. I would 2nd the notion to just buy a nice flying cub and see what works and what doesn't for you.
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    aviatoraf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crash, Jr. View Post
    It's better to be flying than building. I would 2nd the notion to just buy a nice flying cub and see what works and what doesn't for you.
    This has been a lot of really good input, thank you all for responding.

    Iíve decided to shop for a Super Cub instead of building immediately. If my passion for all this persists, Iíll build one later.

    Yíall let me know when you see a clean PA-18 for sale


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    Another option to think about is if you're already open to the idea of building a super cub, but don't necessarily want to be grounded until it's finished, is to buy a PA-11 or PA-18 95 and fly it while you build an experimental. Either of these models can be found in airworthy confition from 30-40k, fly it for a couple years as you decide what you would really want in a new plane. Take the remaining 80k from your budget and buy a kit exactly like you want. When its close to finished, sell the plane you bought for what you gave for it.
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    aviatoraf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1934A View Post
    Another option to think about isÖ
    Excellent idea!



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    Plus, as you're building, if you keep an eye out in the various classifieds for parts and pieces that you know you'll need down the road, a person could save a significant amount of money over paying retail for everything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1934A View Post
    Another option to think about is if you're already open to the idea of building a super cub, but don't necessarily want to be grounded until it's finished, is to buy a PA-11 or PA-18 95 and fly it while you build an experimental. Either of these models can be found in airworthy confition from 30-40k, fly it for a couple years as you decide what you would really want in a new plane. Take the remaining 80k from your budget and buy a kit exactly like you want. When its close to finished, sell the plane you bought for what you gave for it.
    I wish I could find one for $30-40k, I could last year.
    Catch the fish, to make the money, to buy the bread, to gather the strength, to catch the fish...

  27. #27

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    I know of a couple 'flying projects' that could be had for under 40k. Not the prettiest planes at the fly-in, but airworthy.
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