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Thread: FX3 options/recommendations for off-airport ops

  1. #1

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    FX3 options/recommendations for off-airport ops

    OK, so I did it, I put a deposit in for an FX3 new build.

    I'm looking for recommendations on essential options or even custom options that might be considered. It's going to be an Alaska airplane, but just a for-fun machine. I'm not a big hunter so I'm not "needing" to haul 600 lbs of Moose meat at a time or anything like that. It's for adventuring/exploring/fun. I already have a set of Summit wheel penetration skis (which can also be ran as straight skis) so I will be using those in winter. Float flying is not in near-term forecast but is possible a few years down the road (it seems that the airplane would be of severely limited utility on floats, especially amphibs, due to weight).

    I've already been told the FX3 was the wrong choice and I should've gone FX2 or SS, but I honestly am tired of dealing with carburetors and the icing potential. I felt a bit silly taking delivery of a carb'd airplane in the year 2022. The main argument against the 3 seems to be the weight and CG of the CS prop, but that choice is already made.

    I asked a bit on the cubcrafters forum but obviously most CC customers are in the lower 48 where this type of flying isn't really possible.

    Thanks for any recommendations, I'll hang up and listen unless I need to answer questions. Just looking for options I should get, and/or options I should definitely avoid. Thanks.

    Here are my preliminary planned weight/budget options:
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/ko52fgweat...dget3.GIF?dl=0

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    Last edited by Narwhal; 06-11-2021 at 02:45 PM.
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    Weight reduction will help it fly nice and add utility. Most "G-whizz" "Would be Nice" and "might as well" add weight and remove utility.

    For example, Your FI and Constant speed prop choices add utility by improving fuel burn and cruise speed giving you a larger area to explore before refueling. How will a glass panel effect utility? Leather?

    Below is an article of what may be a good example of a new Maule with this in mind. You might also ask your manufacturer what is driving up the weights of there aircraft above what they advertise. They know. Can you contract with them to deliver an aircraft at an agreed upon weight?

    https://generalaviationnews.com/2018...ked-out-maule/
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    The one thing I am always short of when out exploring is fuel!! If they stick in the tabs for a belly tank and run the lines at build it is a simple mod. Keep the N number small. DENNY
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    Quote Originally Posted by DENNY View Post
    The one thing I am always short of when out exploring is fuel!! If they stick in the tabs for a belly tank and run the lines at build it is a simple mod. Keep the N number small. DENNY
    Great idea, thank you! I think something like the airglas LTC18 combo cargo & fuel pod sure would be nice eventually! Makes sense to have it plumbed to take a fuel pod if I decide to use one. The wings hold 39 gal useable on an 8-10 gph fuel burn.

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    Crash, Jr.'s Avatar
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    How big are the tanks in the FX3? Most folks I know stay away from the combo fuel/cargo pod. It doesn't hold enough fuel to really extend range much and it doesn't hold enough or large enough of cargo to be a great cargo pod. Neither fish nor fowl. A dedicated cargo pod can hold several fuel bladders or if you go a full on fuel pod it holds 32gallons extra fuel.

    Brakes, brake lines, and suspension would be the op of the list for me. Bushwheels are a given. The preheat is nice if you're somewhere cold. Definitely safety cables. The fixed rear seat can be nice if you take passengers regularly. Gap seals and the SBS-J16 battery are nice options as well. Everything else I see on there is just window dressing.
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    soyAnarchisto's Avatar
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    What's the lead time these days? Did you consider building with the EX3 yourself?

    You didn't mention long range fuel, and extended baggage. Those two would be must-haves for me. What about prop? Hartzel Trailblazer 83 or 80? Electronics?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crash, Jr. View Post
    How big are the tanks in the FX3? Most folks I know stay away from the combo fuel/cargo pod. It doesn't hold enough fuel to really extend range much and it doesn't hold enough or large enough of cargo to be a great cargo pod. Neither fish nor fowl. A dedicated cargo pod can hold several fuel bladders or if you go a full on fuel pod it holds 32gallons extra fuel.

    Brakes, brake lines, and suspension would be the op of the list for me. Bushwheels are a given. The preheat is nice if you're somewhere cold. Definitely safety cables. The fixed rear seat can be nice if you take passengers regularly. Gap seals and the SBS-J16 battery are nice options as well. Everything else I see on there is just window dressing.
    Quote Originally Posted by soyAnarchisto
    What's the lead time these days? Did you consider building with the EX3 yourself?

    You didn't mention long range fuel, and extended baggage. Those two would be must-haves for me. What about prop? Hartzel Trailblazer 83 or 80? Electronics?

    The FX3 by default has 19.5 gal useable in each wing (cc calls it "extended range" tanks) so it will have 39 gal total useable in the wings. Extended baggage is also standard.

    I was going with the default 80" prop for ground clearance when I run pen skis with 8.50's and extra cruise speed. The 83" is an extra $500 and 2 lbs. 83" decreases cruise speed by about 3% but decreases takeoff roll and increases climb performance by about ~5% from what I've heard. CC also does not recommend the 83" if you run on 8.50's due to ground clearance, and my penetration skis are designed for 8.50's. However, since it's experimental, I still could do it if I want to.
    Last edited by Narwhal; 06-11-2021 at 04:33 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by soyAnarchisto View Post
    What's the lead time these days? Did you consider building with the EX3 yourself?

    You didn't mention long range fuel, and extended baggage. Those two would be must-haves for me. What about prop? Hartzel Trailblazer 83 or 80? Electronics?
    World VFR is what I'm planning on in my spreadsheet:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    The panel below is an extra $50,000 and gives IFR LPV approach capability. I am tempted. $30,000 for just the G3X vfr only. +5 lbs for just G3X and +5 more lbs for IFR. Would probably not be very useful in Alaska where I'm at, but could be good if the airplane was ever down south. Remote mount ads-b transponders are available.
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    I considered building on EX but don't have the skill and patience sadly.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DENNY View Post
    Keep the N number small. DENNY
    Mr. Denny;

    Why??

    Not trying to be difficult, just want to understand what you're aiming at. And for that matter do you mean SHORT (i.e. N2B) or SMALL - as in 2 inch numbers?

    ROA
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    FX3 options/recommendations for off-airport ops

    They probably can’t/won’t do this, but I’d seriously push for thicker plexiglass. Sure it adds weight but 1/8” thick windows and no factory caps on the rear ones just seems silly.
    The heater alone in the -3 makes it a wise jump but you’ll still want to close out the free air vents in the wing roots from the flap control rod. A little .025” and foam goes a long way there.
    If you don’t spend the money on a rear seat at least get the Oregon aero cushion set for the rear sling, if you carry passengers.
    As others mentioned long range tanks for sure.
    Pb


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    Crash, Jr.'s Avatar
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    He means 2" numbers. Small numbers and red/white cub makes it hard to tell who's who and who's doing what to curious (state or federal) onlookers.

    Do they have an extended gear option? I would think that 82" would be fine on 850x6 with extended gear.

    Seems like plenty of gas for a regular cub with maybe a couple fuel bags in the pod but it is the big engine so I'm not sure what they burn. I know Denny will get in here demanding at least 100 gallons on board so he can hypothetically fly across the state without having to stop. Must be hauling a pretty good size pee jug too for that kind of range.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crash, Jr. View Post
    He means 2" numbers. Small numbers and red/white cub makes it hard to tell who's who and who's doing what to curious (state or federal) onlookers.

    Do they have an extended gear option? I would think that 82" would be fine on 850x6 with extended gear.

    Seems like plenty of gas for a regular cub with maybe a couple fuel bags in the pod but it is the big engine so I'm not sure what they burn. I know Denny will get in here demanding at least 100 gallons on board so he can hypothetically fly across the state without having to stop. Must be hauling a pretty good size pee jug too for that kind of range.
    3x3 gear are standard (included in base price). It supposed to burn 9-11 GPH to get 110-120 mph TAS with 29's and the bigger 83" prop according to the POH/AFM. That's at power settings from 22"/2200RPM to 25"/2700 RPM. So about 3.5 hrs/400 mile range with just the 39 gals in the wings. I'm sure you can pull it way back and get a lot more range and/or endurance.
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    Gabe is correct 2 in numbers and put them above the stabilizer. Flying around Alaska I have found lots of places to stop and piss most all of them don't have fuel, just saying.
    DENNY
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    RVBottomly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DENNY View Post
    Gabe is correct 2 in numbers and put them above the stabilizer. Flying around Alaska I have found lots of places to stop and piss most all of them don't have fuel, just saying.
    DENNY
    Don't want to open a can of worms or derail too much, but isn't it 3" minimum now for experimentals? 2" for antiques?

    Plus the idea that if you had 2" numbers before 1981 on a certified airplane, you can keep them but have to go to 12" if you repaint?

    I looked the regs over and they raise questions. Maybe an FX3 is considered an antique replica?
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    Order the cheapest battery possible then install an earthx. Biggest weight reduction bang for your dollar. 10lbs lighter than odyssey.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RVBottomly View Post
    Don't want to open a can of worms or derail too much, but isn't it 3" minimum now for experimentals? 2" for antiques?

    Plus the idea that if you had 2" numbers before 1981 on a certified airplane, you can keep them but have to go to 12" if you repaint?

    I looked the regs over and they raise questions. Maybe an FX3 is considered an antique replica?
    I think you are correct!!! That is what I get for listening to that damm Gabe!!
    DENNY
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    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    If I am not mistaken there are some structural tubes added at the build if the FX3 is ever going on floats. Might only apply to amphibs. My wife hates the sling rear seat. We made a trip to Arkansas and back in the first production FX3 which now has over 800 hrs on it and I have maintained it from day one. I doubt you will need those pop up vents in the skylight in Alaska. Don't think they fair well being parked outside for long periods of time. Hangar or some custom made covers because of the way the inboard flap hangers exit the side windows. The bigger brakes are a no brainer. I like the stainless braided brake lines as well. Didn't realize that was an option till they sent me the wrong ones to repair a wreck. I would get the gap seals as well, enhance the elevator authority. The FX3 is a nice flying airplane that I really like flying. I would chose my mechanic wisely because it is not a Super Cub, uses lots of 6-32 screws and there are tricks with the cowl that take some patience at first or you can end up with scratched up, paint chipped and carbon fiber hose ducts cracked or squished.
    Steve Pierce

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    Farmboy's Avatar
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    X3 on what Steve said.
    I had forgotten about the leaking roof vents. Never get them, but always get the gap seals.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    If I am not mistaken there are some structural tubes added at the build if the FX3 is ever going on floats. Might only apply to amphibs. My wife hates the sling rear seat. We made a trip to Arkansas and back in the first production FX3 which now has over 800 hrs on it and I have maintained it from day one. I doubt you will need those pop up vents in the skylight in Alaska. Don't think they fair well being parked outside for long periods of time. Hangar or some custom made covers because of the way the inboard flap hangers exit the side windows. The bigger brakes are a no brainer. I like the stainless braided brake lines as well. Didn't realize that was an option till they sent me the wrong ones to repair a wreck. I would get the gap seals as well, enhance the elevator authority. The FX3 is a nice flying airplane that I really like flying. I would chose my mechanic wisely because it is not a Super Cub, uses lots of 6-32 screws and there are tricks with the cowl that take some patience at first or you can end up with scratched up, paint chipped and carbon fiber hose ducts cracked or squished.
    Thanks Steve! Yes, the "factory float kit" is only needed for amphibs. It adds about 10 lbs and $2500 dollars and involves reinforcing the lower fuselage near the aft float attach point. Specifically, I believe the kit consists solely of extra cross tubes welded between the lower longerons. All fx3's come with float fittings so nothing additional is needed for straight floats. I hope I am not divulging trade secrets but I was told that this kit was needed to satisfy a 9 G drop test for amphib floats only when landing with wheels down on pavement when ONLY the aft wheel on one float touched first (@ ~9G). Do you know if the added structural enhancements between the longerons would be of benefit to wheel or ski operations?

    Mine will mostly live in a hangar, but of course I will overnight it outside occassionally. I will attempt to delete the overhead snap vents to prevent leaking. Maybe there are other solutions for fresh/cool air in the cabin. Worst case, I can always stay below 81 mph and keep a open window in-flight. It does actually get kinda warm sometimes in AK, but usually only on the ground, and I reckon taxiing with the door open solves that. I'm sure I will be well versed in how to keep as cool as possible after I do the Tac-Aero training in F-Burg, Texas. I wonder if there are any fixes for the leak potential around the flap hangers @ the side windows? It does actually rain a fair bit up here depending on which micro-climate you find yourself in (Seward or the SE!).

    There is a Cubcrafters "service center"/maintenance shop at Lake Hood, a few miles from my hangar where I might have maintenance done. I have even considered paying my current A&P IA's way to Yakima to come with me to assist me in building my machine and get him trained up on its maintenance, but I don't know if that is legal. He is a very busy man though and I'm not sure he would be interested.
    Last edited by Narwhal; 06-12-2021 at 11:19 AM.

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    "I have even considered paying my current A&P IA's way to Yakima to come with me to assist me in building my machine and get him trained up on its maintenance, but I don't know if that is legal."

    You can bring someone to help you but only one person can qualify for the repairman certificate.
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    Farmboy's Avatar
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    To retain the rear windows over 81mph, have your mechanic bend some .025 around the fuselage post and fasten to the plexiglass with #4 or #6 screws and nylocks.

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    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Farmboy View Post
    To retain the rear windows over 81mph, have your mechanic bend some .025 around the fuselage post and fasten to the plexiglass with #4 or #6 screws and nylocks.

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    Or keep the window closed above those speeds like the placard says. Doubt you need all that cooling air in Alaska.
    Steve Pierce

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    Quote Originally Posted by Narwhal View Post
    I will attempt to delete the overhead snap vents to prevent leaking. Maybe there are other solutions for fresh/cool air in the cabin. Worst case, I can always stay below 81 mph and keep a open window in-flight. It does actually get kinda warm sometimes in AK, but usually only on the ground, and I reckon taxiing with the door open solves that. I'm sure I will be well versed in how to keep as cool as possible after I do the Tac-Aero training in F-Burg, Texas.
    CubCrafters is proud of the FX-3 heating, particularly for the rear seat. I'm based in Arizona and I wish they had paid more attention to ventilation. The first time I took someone in the back seat he commented that hot air was coming out of the vents even though everything was shut off.

    The window speed limit means windows are not an option for cruise. I only open them in flight for photography. The green house vents are noisy and not very effective but I usually fly with the front one open and rotated at about 45 degrees to the airflow. Seems to be a tolerable compromise between noise and airflow. I was very tempted to re-route the heater hoses to bypass the exhaust heat exchangers but have not done that yet.

    Hard to get it right for the extremes seen in Alaska and Arizona.
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    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    Wow even a J3 will go 120 mph with the doors and windows open

    Glenn
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    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frequent_flyer View Post
    CubCrafters is proud of the FX-3 heating, particularly for the rear seat. I'm based in Arizona and I wish they had paid more attention to ventilation. The first time I took someone in the back seat he commented that hot air was coming out of the vents even though everything was shut off.

    The window speed limit means windows are not an option for cruise. I only open them in flight for photography. The green house vents are noisy and not very effective but I usually fly with the front one open and rotated at about 45 degrees to the airflow. Seems to be a tolerable compromise between noise and airflow. I was very tempted to re-route the heater hoses to bypass the exhaust heat exchangers but have not done that yet.

    Hard to get it right for the extremes seen in Alaska and Arizona.
    The early FX3 had to much inlet air pressure and would leak. The new heat box has a larger bypass opening for the air to escape when the heater is off.
    Steve Pierce

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    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cubdriver2 View Post
    Wow even a J3 will go 120 mph with the doors and windows open

    Glenn
    We were coming back from Hondo and the two Simmons kids were on fingers discussing why they couldn't open the windows on their Carbon Cubs like they could on the Legend they had been flying. I chimed in and told them to look at the difference in tubing size on the Carbon Cub window vs Piper and Legend. I remember flying Dianna Votaw's Sport Cub at New Holstein. It was the first one I had ever flown and it was hot so I left the window open. I thought it was gonna come off before I got it closed. Scared me to death to tear up someone's brand new airplane. Everything is a compromise, money, time, weight, performance.
    Steve Pierce

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    Too bad Carbon Cubs do not have Carbon window frames rather than undersize structure to reduce weight, I say this not knowing if the window is placarded to not be open in flight.
    Regards, Charlie
    Super Coupe E-AB build in process

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    We were coming back from Hondo and the two Simmons kids were on fingers discussing why they couldn't open the windows on their Carbon Cubs like they could on the Legend they had been flying. I chimed in and told them to look at the difference in tubing size on the Carbon Cub window vs Piper and Legend. I remember flying Dianna Votaw's Sport Cub at New Holstein. It was the first one I had ever flown and it was hot so I left the window open. I thought it was gonna come off before I got it closed. Scared me to death to tear up someone's brand new airplane. Everything is a compromise, money, time, weight, performance.
    IMHO it's not a real Cub if you can't fly with the door open

    Glenn
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharlieN View Post
    Too bad Carbon Cubs do not have Carbon window frames rather than undersize structure to reduce weight, I say this not knowing if the window is placarded to not be open in flight.
    The FX-3 maximum window open speed is 81 mph. Windows and door must be closed for takeoff and landing and only one window may be open in flight.

    I was told the limit is set to prevent the rear windows blowing out but the hinged windows do flex while in transit. I flew J3 and Husky windows open in Arizona so the FX-3 limit is disappointing but not a major problem. It's easy to keep well below the limit for photography.

  30. #30
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Had some discussions about this and the rear windows which are held in with 3M double sided tape could be reinforced and another latch or stop for the trailing edge of the flip up windows could be installed.
    Steve Pierce

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    Farmboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    Had some discussions about this and the rear windows which are held in with 3M double sided tape could be reinforced and another latch or stop for the trailing edge of the flip up windows could be installed.
    Hence my post showing this above. I haven’t seen the pilot window flex issue but blowing out the rear windows bothers me.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Farmboy View Post
    To retain the rear windows over 81mph, have your mechanic bend some .025 around the fuselage post and fasten to the plexiglass with #4 or #6 screws and nylocks.
    Resolution of the image is too low to see the detail of the mod. Any chance of a better image or a sketch?

    What was the demonstrated usable speed after the mod? Did you find the limiting speed?

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    You should be able to click on the image and see it full size, and even zoom in on it. I can on my phone.

    I do not go into test pilot mode after installing these, I look at it with a discerning eye and say “yup that works for me”.

    Mind you I did not “invent” this concept - others have secured the front edge as well in their own way. I am simply presenting how I did it to allow window/door open flying without worrying about speed.

    Pb


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    Yes, it does get hot inside airplanes in Alaska. Maybe not every day, but I was flying the beaver bare foot yesterday!

    Things to consider: it is experimental, correct? So you don't need to be limited to certified pods. Get the internal pipes and ports for the pod installed, then have Carbon Concepts add a fuel tank to his pod and strap it on. I loved my combo pod. Yes it as a small tank, yes the cargo portion was smaller than others... but it increased my fuel by almost 50%, and gave me enough room to put all my covers in, or lots of camp gear. We don't all need a conex with wings... sometimes just a bit more room is enough.

    Biggest concern I would have is making sure I had at least one old style mag for hand prop reasons.

    IFR panel? Why? for emergency reasons an iPad with synthetic vision will do more than the fancy panel mount for less $ and less weight. Quick to replace if needed.

    My 2$ worth! Please feel free to stop in with the new bird and brag a bit on it. Cool to see Alaska folks getting new toys!
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!
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  36. #36

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    I wish I knew how much additional maintenance things like glass panel/G3X or an autopilot would add over 5/10/20 years. I'm guessing all that stuff would be significantly more maintenance $$$ than round dials, but maybe not? Glass panel in a Super Cub clone seems to be a very polarizing issue, people are either 1000% in favor of it or say it's the stupidest thing ever.
    Last edited by Narwhal; 06-18-2021 at 05:16 AM.

  37. #37
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Put it this way, usually the old steam gauges just keep on trucking. If one goes belly up it is easy and relatively inexpensive to replace. With the pretty light weight all in one modern glass panels, it only takes one electron to stop holding hands with the others for the screen to go blank. It may still be working but you can't see it. Now you are totally without any instruments to get you out of whatever situation you're in. And, it usually costs a few $Thousand to get the electrons back in concert. Most often the manufacturer insists you send it back to them for a 2 cent repair which they'll take care of for a flat rate $Thousand+. Then there is no guarantee it won't go belly up with just a few hours more use and you have to send it back again. This usually happens only after the warrantee has expired.

    Then on the other hand you may get lucky and not have any failures, ever. It's like buying a lottery ticket.
    Last edited by skywagon8a; 06-18-2021 at 05:03 AM.
    N1PA
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  38. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by aktango58 View Post
    Biggest concern I would have is making sure I had at least one old style mag for hand prop reasons.
    Why would a magneto offer any advantage over dual electronic ignition for hand starting? With the main battery completely discharged (the likely reason for needing to prop) the emergency ignition battery is still available.

    You can forget about starting a cold FX-3 with no main battery though. Can't prime the engine without the electric fuel pump. The solution is to carry a lithium start pack and hope you never need it. I did enough hand starting with rented J3 and owned Aeronca Chief.
    Last edited by frequent_flyer; 06-18-2021 at 08:18 AM.
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  39. #39
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Some are skeptical of electronic ignition. Having worked on, maintained, trouble shot and flown the Lightspeed ignition I will take it over mags any day.

    NX Cub has beefier rear window retention.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers
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  40. #40
    aktango58's Avatar
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    Glass would probably be my choice if I was weight concerned and had someone that could fix it easily close to my field. I would want to ensure that folks had used the units in super cold situations prior to purchase though. For emergency IFR I would still not upgrade but have an iPad.

    Mags: Batteries go bad up here in below zero weather, even emergency batteries. I was not aware that you had to have an electric fuel pump to prime prior to starting... I think I would find a solution to work around and hand pressurize for up here. All to often I am in places that help is not available, and communications are tough. Start packs are a good solution, but they also fail, and do so at an inopportune time.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!
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