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Thread: A bunch of PA-11 Questions

  1. #1

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    A bunch of PA-11 Questions

    I'm considering a PA-11 and have some questions.

    Here is a smattering of questions:

    1. Price Range- What is the reasonable price range on a PA-11 from airworthy to creampuff? I thought $45k-$75k but the I read this https://www.aopa.org/news-and-media/...ky-cub-special - written in 2017 and it said a completely freshly refurbished PA-11was sold to AOPA for $50k! That seems extremely inexpensive to what I see on the market- I would think that plane would be much much more. Most PA-11's I see start at $45k and go up significantly from there.

    2. I hear alot of people say "get a light PA-11"- What weight is considered "light?" Is this advice because it will fly better or because of the 1220 gross which limits the useful anyways? If it is because it will fly better- how much better are we talking? Let's say a PA-11 is 900#- is that not going to be a nice airplane to fly? What is the number to shoot for? What weight is too high?

    3. This is an impossible one to answer probably- but here goes- How much would a very nice PA-11 be worth with 300 hours SMOH that is approaching a need for a recover in the next 5-10 years? A ballpark of +/-$10K is fine. I'm considering one with older fabric and I'm just wondering what the value of the plane will be in a few years if I am ready to sell and a recover is on the horizon. (I asked something similar in another thread- but that was just around generic recover.) Certainly a nice PA-11 that needs a recover has value independent of fabric value. I just don't want to get stuck holding the bag and take the big hit on the final years of depreciation (something a few others relayed in my other thread.)

    Thanks in advance for all the insight.

    I did like the advice I got in another thread- "The experience comes from making the mistakes." I may just heed that and charge ahead.

  2. #2

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    48-03-03 PIPER: Applies to PA-11 Aircraft Serial Numbers 11-1 Through 11-301, and 11-1350 Through 11-1400, Except Serial Numbers 11-233, 11-243, 11-261, 11-266, 11-281, 11- 296, and 11-300.

    Compliance required by April 1, 1948.

    In order to prevent engine malfunctioning due to insufficient fuel flow when less than 5 gallons of fuel are in the wing tank and the airplane is operated in prolonged glides and dives, a header tank (Piper P/N 10725) must be installed in the fuel system. Until the header tank is installed, avoid prolonged glides and dives when less than 5 gallons fuel are in the main tank. (Piper Service Bulletin No. 99 dated July 29, 1947, covers this subject.)

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    From what I've seen, a good, low to mid-time PA-11 with 10 year old fabric, with a C90 sells in the 45-50k range. There are some exceptions that I've seen go for 60, but the ones with an asking price of 75k will sit for a long time. Something that will need new fabric in the not so distant future, with a good motor will be right around that 35-40k range.
    As far as weight goes, I'd say under 825# is a light one, most being in the 850# range.

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    850 making it a single place Cub. Stay away from scales.

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    The problem with most a PA-11, J-3, and most fabric covered planes, is that it costs about the same to restore them as it does a super cub, but at the end if the rebuild it's not a $150,000 Super Cub, its a $50,000 PA-11...or J-3, Champ, whatever, etc... That being said, there's not a much better plane than a PA-11 when it comes to an economical, fun, bird for building time.
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  6. #6
    Crash, Jr.'s Avatar
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    For a PA-11 I would try to stay in the $40-45k range for that plane. Like I said in the other thread, just because the fabric is old don't assume it needs a recover right away. There's a ton of fabric planes out there with much older fabric running around. Do the normal checks for fabric degradation and if you don't find any red flags don't consider it timed out.

    Light would be closer to 800lbs but you'll probably have to settle for 850 like Bob said. Small engine Pipers really feel the weight when you start to add it on. I would say 780-850 is the sweet spot where it's not so light you get beat up in turbulence but not so heavy the plane loses it's lively feeling.

    As far as value for your specific plane, mods are going to play a big part. Does it have 6" wheels and disc brakes or the old 4" wheels and drum brakes? Lifetime struts? Which engine? Is it a factory PA-11 or a J3 with a pressure cowl? Is the paint scheme nice or some god awful thing? The fabric condition isn't going to discount it any IMO since most all these old planes have old fabric unless it's been rebuilt but then you're talking show plane prices and that's a totally different level. The engine is low time which is nice. What engine does it have?

  7. #7

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    The big question is what does YOUR IA think of the fabric?? What we think or would do means nothing. It would suck to buy a plane then have your IA decide the plane needs a recover at the first annual!! If you do not have a IA that is willing to take you on as a customer stop looking at planes until you find one then follow advice given by that IA. The advantage of older fabric/fading paint is if you do have a day when you fly past you skill level you won't feel that bad about getting the new cover job. DENNY
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  8. #8

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    The airplane in question doesn't have a header tank. That's why I posted the AD. The tank itself is around a grand, and I bet it is eight hours to install it.

    At least one J3 has been approved without a header tank, but its owners are careful to not run around with an empty left tank. I don't think a PA-11 can be operated legally without the header.

    Amirite?

  9. #9
    mvivion's Avatar
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    The airplane you reference in question 1 was a cub with a ton of $$ put into a rebuild. My understanding was the owner had north of $150 K in it. And it was around 1000 empty, or a little less, but HEAVY. Full electric, all the bells and whistles (except tires) and O 200.

    I think the owner sold it to AOPA as a “gift”. They were going to do training in it, but realized wouldn’t work.

    They are GREAT single place planes, with plenty of “stuff”, but two people and gas and you’re pretty much there, legally. And not much gas in many cases.

    MTV

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    Mine is not a real PA11….it’s a plans built Experimental, plans allow 1400 lb gross which is quite a bit more than a certified Piper PA11…maybe look around for an ex model if you don’t mind experimentals….I see them for sale from time to time. Mine is just under 850 with electrics, O200, 26” bushwheels, and TK1 shocks….2-18gal tanks, balanced tail feathers. It’s no rocket ship , but it’s quite a step above my J3 IMO
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  11. #11

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    My question is what are you going to do with it, what type flying, what altitudes, what distances, what will you carry. Are you just want to circle the field doing touch and go's, or just learning to fly a tailwheel? If you're an experienced pilot, and proficient in tail wheel, I'd sure recommend going and flying a variety, from standard J3 with any combination of engines, and PA-11's, and SuperCubs with variety of engines. Also don't forget Legend cubs. It really just depends on what you want to do, I wouldn't want to let the weight be the primary factor of decision. If you like to go a little faster, climb at a higher rate, go a little farther, have electric start, and charging capabilities, and supply power to USB devices, or have a little more baggage area, then think, more fuel quantity, more horsepower, more useful load. I read where Piper designed the ultimate load for the J3 at 6 G's. That's a damn strong airframe.
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  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crash, Jr. View Post
    For a PA-11 I would try to stay in the $40-45k range for that plane. Like I said in the other thread, just because the fabric is old don't assume it needs a recover right away. There's a ton of fabric planes out there with much older fabric running around. Do the normal checks for fabric degradation and if you don't find any red flags don't consider it timed out.

    Light would be closer to 800lbs but you'll probably have to settle for 850 like Bob said. Small engine Pipers really feel the weight when you start to add it on. I would say 780-850 is the sweet spot where it's not so light you get beat up in turbulence but not so heavy the plane loses it's lively feeling.

    As far as value for your specific plane, mods are going to play a big part. Does it have 6" wheels and disc brakes or the old 4" wheels and drum brakes? Lifetime struts? Which engine? Is it a factory PA-11 or a J3 with a pressure cowl? Is the paint scheme nice or some god awful thing? The fabric condition isn't going to discount it any IMO since most all these old planes have old fabric unless it's been rebuilt but then you're talking show plane prices and that's a totally different level. The engine is low time which is nice. What engine does it have?

    It's a factory PA-11 with many legal upgrades.

    - Maule tailwheel
    - super cub seat
    - c90-12
    -full electric
    - adsb out
    - radio/transponder
    - big tires
    - grove disc brakes
    - univair lifetime struts

    Yes- with all the upgrades it's heavy pushing 900#. (I am wondering if I should just look for a PA-18-95.)

    It appears to be in very good condition. but a more thorough examination would be needed.

    I would get it checked out prior to purchase.

  13. #13
    Crash, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Wow, that's quite a list. Definitely on the heavy side but a lot of weight there is easy to lose such as the electrical system. If you want a PA-18-95 then that PA-11 with all the goodies added is about as close as you can get. You really wouldn't gain much by going to a PA-18-95. Kind of depends on your wants/needs. If you want an economical plane but also want a full electrical system with ADSB and all that stuff then by all means that's a great setup. Personally I would look for a J-3 with no electrical because it's a better performing plane being much lighter (usually mid to high 700lbs range) and is just a simpler experience. As a nice side benefit the J-3 is an iconic plane so you will never have to explain to folks what plane you own and I see the resale value of J-3's only increasing over time as they become more collectable. For me the beauty of a small engine cub is the simplicity. If you want full electrical and all the gizmos you might as well go to a proper PA-18-150 and have a better, more modern plane overall.

    To answer your question directly I would think that plane with all the mods would fetch the upper end of the price range even with old fabric. Like Denny said, get the A&P/IA who will be doing your maintenance to check the fabric before buying.

  14. #14
    JP's Avatar
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    Where does one start?

    The reality is many PA-11s with basic upgrades for safety and otherwise are gonna hover around 850 or higher.

    CC and Legend make some fantastic versions, as well as many reputable kit companies.

    There's a difference between a PA-11 and a PA-18-95. Both are a delight to fly. A PA-11 that is trying to be a -95 or SC is not as much a delight (see AOPA experience and comments ref weight in general).

    Better tailwheel, slightly larger tires, real brakes, real seatbelts, VGs and cabanne cables are great improvements.

    Hangared airplane will have longer fabric life. Fabric is not the boogeyperson it's made out to be. You can very quickly acquire the skills to work with fabric.

    Avionics are super lightweight nowadays. Portable GPS (like a decent Garmin Aera or successor), intercom/com (panel mount or otherwise), powered by a lightweight, compact 12v battery gives the Mighty 11 decent eyes and ears with very little weight added on.

    Flight planning is simple. C90 at 5.7 gallon per hour to give you a decent margin. Each one has a sweet spot for cruise somewhere in the 86-96 mph range.

    Because it never had an electrical system there is no Red Barchetta Tax, Fee and Nanny State No Fun tracing mechanism required.

    If you want to see what is around you there are some keen ADS-B in solutions for your gps or portable tablet. Or just run flightradar or another tracker on your mobile....

    Back to weight. I have heard tales of people flying anything you can stuff in an -11 with 1750lb gross rumoured to be the most I've heard of. I've heard tell they only climb about 200 feet a minute at that rate. I also note that you can certify a Legend and others to that gross.

    Just you and not much gas on a lovely summer eve is about as fun as they get. Delightful airplane to fly. Nimble and responsive. You wear the airplane.

    That's my 2 cents.
    Last edited by JP; 06-15-2021 at 10:14 PM. Reason: forgot to put a word in
    JP Russell--The Cub Therapist
    1947 PA-11 Cub Special

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    By the way, in that price range you can get a used Legend. Good airplanes.
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  16. #16
    Cub Special Ed's Avatar
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    Another selling point for pa-11's is the "rare" factor. Rare, but, parts aren't an issue like other rare aircraft.
    "There are 3 kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves." Will Rogers
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  17. #17
    mvivion's Avatar
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    The OP still hasn’t listed his mission for this plane. That is REALLY critical with these planes. Most 11s frankly are legally a single place plane, due to useful load constraints. Yes, the plane will fly at more than 1220, but you’re on the wrong side of the regs, and that can bite.

    If most of what you want to do is geek around close to home by yourself, or with an occasional (light) passenger, they work fine.

    I took mine from Montana to Oshkosh more than once. By myself, but legal weights. So, it can work.

    A PA-18-95 is pretty close to the empty weight of the 11, but has a 1500 GW.

    But your mission is vitally important with these airplanes.

    MTV

  18. #18

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    His mission is to learn to fly. His choice right now is between a heavy PA-11 with old fabric and paperwork issues for (I think) 70 grand, and a truly primo 18-95 with exquisite paperwork and logs only from the latest restoration for the same price.

    There really isn't any choice. I would go 18-95 over a PA-11 any day in the week, even if they were both primo. And I am a J3 nut.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by JP View Post

    Hangared airplane will have longer fabric life. Fabric is not the boogeyperson it's made out to be. You can very quickly acquire the skills to work with fabric.

    That's my 2 cents.
    All great advise, but “boogeyperson”??
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  20. #20
    Little_Cub's Avatar
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    FWIW I agree with Bob.. if you can find a used Legend your going to have a newer machine and less chance of hidden tube cancer. We have a couple 40's Pipers that are doing just fine but a lot to be said for TIG welded and being 50-60 years younger, I could do with that myself Personally if the Legend was Experimental it makes the deal even sweeter.. it looks and flys the same but so many things are just easier. All that said if its simply a time builder you won't loose as long as the major stuff is reasonably solid.. fly the heck outta it and probably make a few bucks by cleaning it up a little and sell it once your ready to get a newer machine. They are like an ol pickup.. if they are too shinny its harder to have fun!
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  21. #21
    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oliver View Post
    All great advise, but “boogeyperson”??
    You have to be politicaly correct today. Boogeyman would imply that there aren't any scary women!

    Glenn
    "Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you!"
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  23. #23
    mvivion's Avatar
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    If his mission is to learn to fly, then at some point, he's going to have to be LEGAL to fly with himself, an examiner (plan on someone with a bit of girth) and enough gas to fly for a couple hours.....one hour for the ride and reserve. Most 11s are going to be able to do that LEGALLY. Most DPEs are pretty picky about legal weights.

    I know one who lost all his certificates for conducting a checkride in a Cub which was clearly over gross weight.

    An 18-95 really makes a lot more sense in that context.

    MTV

  24. #24

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    But I thought we all weighed 170 lbs! That’s what the regulations say.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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    Utah-Jay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgapilot View Post
    But I thought we all weighed 170 lbs! That’s what the regulations say.
    Please find me a scale that subtracts 30 pounds so I can have more ice cream.

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    I think that ultimately the stock PA-18-95 will wind up increasing in value faster than any other Cub. It is a Cub with capabilities, yet doesn’t burn ten gallons an hour. MTV’s point is well taken - the PA-11 the OP was looking at has a field approval for 1350 gross weight, but a DPE might question whether it applies to the standard category - it was part of a Sorenson sprayer approval.

  27. #27
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgapilot View Post
    But I thought we all weighed 170 lbs! That’s what the regulations say.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    Geeeez, that increased to 180 years ago. Probably should be 200, frankly.

    MTV

  28. #28

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    There is a black knob on the side of most cubs that determines the fuel burn. It is not hard to get below 6 GPH and lower with a 160 hp cub.
    DENNY

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    I have had that conversation before. The 160 is a lot better than the 150, but it is displacement per mile that sucks the fuel.

    One of my 1965 Mustang convertibles had a 200 ci "six" and got 24 mpg. I converted it to a 289 - now it gets 14 mpg. Same driver, exactly the same mission and driving technique.

    My buddy and I flew practically in formation - he had a 150 Super Cub and I was in my 85 hp J3. We were going to Lock Haven. At each fuel stop he took on twice the fuel I did.

  30. #30
    Crash, Jr.'s Avatar
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    While there is a little knob that dictates fuel burn, you'll never talk to a super cub pilot who uses the extra power for going slower.

    Also, you can make an O-320 lope along and only burn 6-7gph on a good day when you feel like cruising but usually it's more like 7-8gph for normal use. On the other hand, a C-85/90 or O-200 won't usually burn more than 5.5gph no matter how you run the engine. Most of the time if you use that little black knob on the left judiciously you're burning closer to 4.5gph in a small engine cub.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob turner View Post
    I have had that conversation before. The 160 is a lot better than the 150, but it is displacement per mile that sucks the fuel.

    One of my 1965 Mustang convertibles had a 200 ci "six" and got 24 mpg. I converted it to a 289 - now it gets 14 mpg. Same driver, exactly the same mission and driving technique.

    My buddy and I flew practically in formation - he had a 150 Super Cub and I was in my 85 hp J3. We were going to Lock Haven. At each fuel stop he took on twice the fuel I did.
    My 180hp PA-12 burns the exact same amount as btracy’s 160hp PA-18, flying on our many trips together, zig-zagging around the country at the same speed. We both used the little black knob & the little red knob to try & beat each other’s fuel burn, but we were always within 1/2 gallon or less either way.
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  32. #32
    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    That little knob in a real 11 is blue

    Glenn
    "Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you!"
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  33. #33
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob turner View Post
    The PA-11 the OP was looking at has a field approval for 1350 gross weight, but a DPE might question whether it applies to the standard category - it was part of a Sorenson sprayer approval.
    Exactly. Restricted category only ..... very likely true.
    N1PA

  34. #34

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    I currently have a customer's J-3 that has been modified with an O-200 and electrical system. It also has PA-18 tail and wings with flaps. It's a nice little airplane but heavy, 910 lbs. A modified J-3/PA-11 is nice if you are looking for a light sport airplane but otherwise a PA-18-95 makes much more sense.

  35. #35

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    The 160 is less gas hungry than a 180, but the PA-12 is less draggy than the PA-18. I wish I had a 160 in my Super Decathlon - it would drop to 7 1/2 gph. Maybe a bit more - the mixture moves to rich all by itself when inverted.

  36. #36
    JP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oliver View Post
    All great advise, but “boogeyperson”??
    I have to be very careful. My charming daughter went to a very expensive liberal arts college on the Eastern Seaboard. They taught her some very interesting things there. I am simply trying to put off being rounded up and sent to AOC's reeducation camp a little longer.
    JP Russell--The Cub Therapist
    1947 PA-11 Cub Special

  37. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1934A View Post
    As far as weight goes, I'd say under 825# is a light one, most being in the 850# range.
    Our PA-11 [c/n 11-906], A-65-8, Sensen 72/42, no electrics, on little wheels, 761 pounds (actual weighed) empty weight at last recover. Flies like a dream with 422 or so pounds on board.
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  38. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by Utah-Jay View Post
    Please find me a scale that subtracts 30 pounds so I can have more ice cream.
    You should subtract 29.92 for the air in your lungs, that's almost 30.

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