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Thread: Help Me Decide

  1. #1

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    Question Help Me Decide

    My wife and I want to buy a plane, and THINK we have reduced the options to the PA-12/16/18/20 universe. We do not need STOL performance, and a cruise speed to 110 knots is fine. We can get by with two seats. My wife is approaching 60 and I am 70, to the effect that it matters. I am a pilot, she is not. She is a great navigator, but expects to spend the majority of our time in the plane knitting.

    The “90% mission set” goes as far as regional fly-ins and a 350 nm trip to see grandkids.

    What particular features or problems in these models make one or another a more likely fit for us? And what power level should we look to? 150-160 hp? Or will 115 hp suffice?

    Thanks,
    Alan

  2. #2

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    Bang for the buck it is very hard to beat a short wing piper. Most that early piper stuff has MPH not knots instrumentation so you are looking at 126.5 MPH. That is extremely fast for a 12/18. Pacer might do it with a cruise prop but you would want a 150-160 HP. My wife prefers the view from a cub over that of a pacer. You will most likely need a fuel stop with any of them when going to see the Grandkids.
    DENNY

  3. #3
    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    Does she like tandem or side by side?

    Glenn
    "Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you!"

  4. #4

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    Let’s correct my speed reference and call it 110 mph if that is what matches the specs I’ve seen. How does that help or hinder my decision?

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    We think tandem will work out best for us. As I see it thru cloudy lenses, so to speak, that leaves all of these options open, but the pilot of a PA-18 may be more comfortable since he is sitting on the centerline. Yes?

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    Still pretty fast for a 18.
    Denny

  7. #7
    akavidflyer's Avatar
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    12 or pacer. If you are looking at going to see the grand kids, the pacer wins hands down. Pull out the back seat and you have a lot of room for baggage. Not to mention, you can get it at under 1/3rd the cost of the 12 and closer to 1/5th the cost of an 18. As an added bonus, if you fly in areas of any turbulence, the pacer is much more comfortable and wont beat you up as much.
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  8. #8
    RVBottomly's Avatar
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    I think you want a Stinson or Pacer. Not tandem, but a bit faster cruise for 300 + mile journeys.

    Even the "fast" PA 12 cruises a little slower than your target, generally speaking.
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  9. #9

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    What RV said. Can’t go wrong with a Stinson.
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  10. #10

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    Talk to someone about insurance before you get very far down this road.
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    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    Climb in and out of any choice then decide if that's a limiting factor. Some require more limber souls than others.

    Gary
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  12. #12

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    Tripacer is great little plane. I have much tailwheel experience over the last 50 years. Would take a Tripacer over Pacer all other things equal.

    Don
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  13. #13

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    172. Your wife will thank you.

  14. #14
    RVBottomly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    172. Your wife will thank you.
    Too obvious!. LOL. Of course that is the grandparents' airplane. I'd buy one too if I didn't have all these other things going on.

  15. #15
    RVBottomly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AV8R_1951 View Post
    but the pilot of a PA-18 may be more comfortable since he is sitting on the centerline. Yes?
    I missed noting this question before. Side by side seating can be quite comfortable if the fit is right. Conversely, sitting on the centerline in a cub might not be comfortable, again, depending on fit.

    You should try sitting in all kinds of models before committing. Some folks have trouble getting into a cub, for example.

  16. #16

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    I’ve been married a long time. My wife loves to knit but in a Cub? She’d be knitting a barf bag. Wives like side-by-side seating and elbow room. No old airplane smells. Their own door. Room behind them to reach stuff. My first airplane was a 172. My second was the 180 I still own. My wife has no affection for my Cub and didn’t think much of the last one. A 172 will do the job, cost less to own, will sell easily, and is cheap to insure.

  17. #17
    Crash, Jr.'s Avatar
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    I'm with stewart, a 172 or 182 fits the bill. Heck, for perhaps even less money a Cherokee fits the bill and you wouldn't get made fun of for flying a spam can.

    Cub type aircraft and 110mph are fairly well two mutually exclusive things. You might get there in a REALLY slick PA-12 with a cruise prop and wheel spats and the whole thing and you could probably do it in a Pacer but unless you're looking into rag and tube Pipers for nostalgia/collectors sake you're looking in the wrong place for a plane that fits the criteria you've laid out.

    Now if you've got the money for a Cubcrafters FX-3 or X-cub now you might be in the ballpark of the speed range you're looking for and they still fly fairly well like a cub. Might be worth looking into.

  18. #18

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    It is fun at our Young Eagles events to see the youth get in a Cub, But then the 65yo pilot, oh just turn away and watch something else.
    Regards, Charlie
    Super Coupe E-AB build in process

  19. #19
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    You do not mention what elevations your airports will be. That should have some influence on the size of engine.
    Crash mentions a Cherokee. A nice 180 Cherokee would fit the bill....except you are 70 and have no idea of how fast that will turn into 80. A low wing airplane requires climbing for access.
    A 172M or N or newer model has the power, the high wing ease of access, two doors, your wife can chose whether she wants to sit in front or back, is easy to fly, economical and is a reasonably good performer.

    Years ago I had a 172N which I used on wheels and floats. It was a great airplane. If my interests in flying didn't wander all over the map and I would be happy to settle on just one for general overall flying as you describe, it would be another 172N or newer.
    N1PA
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  20. #20

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    I do not know of any airplane that is "easy to get into" Some are easy to get out of but you get sprains or bruises.
    I do like having a door on each side though.
    Oddly enough I am just as happy in a C-150 as I am in a more versatile cruising plane, just depends on the mission which does not match the needs here.
    The little 150 is low to the ground.
    I wish there was a Cherokee with two doors.
    Granted I am not a big guy who needs the room.
    Regards, Charlie
    Super Coupe E-AB build in process

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crash, Jr. View Post
    Now if you've got the money for a Cubcrafters FX-3 or X-cub now you might be in the ballpark of the speed range you're looking for and they still fly fairly well like a cub. Might be worth looking into.
    My FX-3 with 80 inch prop and 26 inch ABW will cruise at 110 mph TAS on 6.5 gph. No problem at all getting 110 mph IAS but it takes a bit more gas. PA-28 is a better cross country airplane and a LOT less expensive to insure. FX-3 does things a PA-28 can't do but it's the wrong choice unless you need/want to play in that corner of the envelope.
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  22. #22
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharlieN View Post
    I wish there was a Cherokee with two doors.
    N1PA

  23. #23
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    If you really want a tail wheel, the Bearhawk and Maule are great planes, and fast.

    Trust me, the 350 nm trip to grandkids will be fun for the lady ONCE in a cub. Heck, my Maule cruised at 130+ mph and I only had to do 150 miles to work and it got tiring.

    How often will you WANT to see the Grands?

    Are you going to do much just looking around having fun? Landing in the farm field? I would talk to insurance and lean to a Maule or Bearhawk, with 8:50x6 tires they are not bad to get in and out and FAST! Also, you have some room.

    172 is a good bird for sure, as is the Cherokee.

    Again, 90% of the time you will be doing what with the plane? Might just get a cub or a champ to own and play, then rent a Bonanza from the local field for seeing the Grands.


    Did we forget Citabria??
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!
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  24. #24

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    How often? Seriously? That has to be a question from a guy that doesn’t have any. You can’t get enough, trust me!
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  25. #25

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    Well aware of them, still does not have a "crew" door for the pilot. You can back a van up to it and put most everything in and fly it legally. Even a C-402 has a crew door.

    For ease of access I would consider a Beechcraft, the BE23 series, Sundowner-Musketeer. Their cabin is about as easy to enter and egress as any I have spent time with.
    Regards, Charlie
    Super Coupe E-AB build in process

  26. #26

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    Thanks to all for the inputs. As a result of Cessna’s excellent marketing strategy in providing 150/152/172’s to flight schools at a good price, I too learned in a 172. We rented those, and then a Cherokee 160, for all of our previous flying. One thing a lot of people forget is that getting out of a low wing plane can come down to getting UP and out of the plane. A year ago, I made the mistake of getting into a small single seat experimental, and almost needed an overhead crane to extricate myself.
    Until recently, I was planning to build a Thatcher CX5, a tandem low wing, instead of the side-by-side CX7 because of the knitting and our combined (clears throat) width. The grandkid trips would be only 3-5 times a year. And, yes, we will be practicing the entrance/egress cycle with everything we consider. My original question was just to initially thin the herd. And I will look into the Beech planes as a possibility.

    Alan

  27. #27
    jimboflying's Avatar
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    I had a Pacer for many years. It was fast, had a big back seat for gear or an extra kid type passenger, and was economical to purchase and operate. It does not have a pilot side door which can be a problem if you need to check something or get out before your passenger. The front seat was a little cozy for 2 people. I currently own a PA12 and a C180. The PA12 has a huge back seat for the passenger with lots of knitting room and a large front seat area for the pilot. The 12 doesn’t have comfortable room for an additional passenger The baggage area is more constricted and is of course slower than the Pacer or 180. But if you sit in one long enough you can still cover quite a bit of ground. A 350 mile trip would be in the adventure class range rather than quick transportation. The C180 has lots of room, good cruise speed, 2 front doors, can do off field work, burns more gas, costs more to maintain and insure, is heavier to move around solo, and is still quite fun to fly. As with all tailwheel airplanes there are days you can not fly because of crosswinds.
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  28. #28
    aktango58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    How often? Seriously? That has to be a question from a guy that doesn’t have any. You can’t get enough, trust me!
    My point exactly. A cub speed plane would hinder my travel at that distance, much less getting my wife in the plane for that long very much.

    I am sort of in this though process myself right now. Trying to get down to see our son and granddaughter, dealing with the local small airline and then AK air and TSA... I keep looking at wanting something that makes my Maule seem slow. Maybe at some point I can afford a small twin and build my twin and instrument tie. The hop from KTN or Klawock to Seattle is much easier to consider with a 3 hour leg vs 5 hour. Even if I have to stop in Canada, the Twin gives a bit more confidence for cloud flying all the way!
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  29. #29

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    Lots of good data, jimboflying.

    Re-reading all of these comments this afternoon makes me think I may be trying to “square the circle”, which never worked out for the Greeks - that whole “pi thing”. When I was designing ships, the customer would inevitably specify a combination of speed, range, and payload that defied the laws of physics. After which, we would have a nice discussion about what was possible. If I haven’t actually done that, I may have at least defined something that has yet to be built.

  30. #30

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    Ahh there are experimental planes that provide all new boundaries.
    Regards, Charlie
    Super Coupe E-AB build in process
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  31. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by CharlieN View Post
    Ahh there are experimental planes that provide all new boundaries.
    I started to build a Thatcher CX5, but decided my back would deal nicely with the rigors of crawling in, out, and about enough to complete it. And besides, I wanted to fly, not build. Hence, my search. But then, we’ve climbed into and out of that design, so maybe I can find one that’s been completed.

    We’ve already had a go at the Zenith 750. We fit and the specs should have made that one work - however, the builder had used an O-320, which drove up the empty weight, driving the useful load down to a level we couldn’t live with. The plane really wants Rotax 912 or ULPower, not an O-320. So, with a more suitable power plant, that one could be back in the running.

    Not familiar with the Super Coupe you are building. For my edification, can you provide me with a web site?

    Alan

  32. #32
    Gordon Misch's Avatar
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    Budget permitting, an RV10 might be sweet.
    Gordon

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  33. #33
    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon Misch View Post
    Budget permitting, an RV10 might be sweet.
    Or RV9

    Glenn
    "Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you!"

  34. #34
    Steve's Aircraft (Brian)'s Avatar
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    So my parents are 75 and 76…. Mom has pretty bad arthritis in her knees.. She has an extremely hard time getting into the Super Cub without help and the Pacer is impossible since with only the one door dad can not help her in since he has to get in first..

    We recently picked up a Cessna 172XP that sat for 13 years.. been resurrecting it to include a new interior… we tested it to see if mom can get in it easier and she can with minimal help… Point being that you need to decide on ease of entry with your choices..

    Brian
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  35. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon Misch View Post
    Budget permitting, an RV10 might be sweet.
    The magic phrase…..”budget permitting”. We all know it well, don’t we?

    Alan

  36. #36

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    Very good data, and appreciated. You have hit our conundrum square on the head, and that investigation process is at the center of our search.

    Alan

  37. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by AV8R_1951 View Post
    I started to build a Thatcher CX5,

    We’ve already had a go at the Zenith 750.

    Not familiar with the Super Coupe you are building. For my edification, can you provide me with a web site?

    Alan
    Thatcher's are neat, but not for everyone, well nothing is really.
    I doubt I would like that much weight up front on a Zenith.

    My build is a look a like of a Piper J4, it just has little in common with the original, which I also have.

    Have you considered an RV6? More of a common mans plane.
    Regards, Charlie
    Super Coupe E-AB build in process

  38. #38

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    From what you've described your mission being, a 172 fits the bill, is affordable to own, and is easy to get serviced. That being said, depending on your budget, there are lots 'cooler' choices out there.
    What sort of budget do you have in mind?

  39. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by CharlieN View Post
    Thatcher's are neat, but not for everyone, well nothing is really.
    I doubt I would like that much weight up front on a Zenith.

    My build is a look a like of a Piper J4, it just has little in common with the original, which I also have.

    Have you considered an RV6? More of a common mans plane.
    I had a RV 6 and you step into the cockpit after a looongdtep up on wing.
    Getting out takes upperbody strength to hoist yourself up while getting your legs under you

    I have a RV 8 and after rotater cuff surgery it was a while before i could struggle out of it.


    Sent from my iPhone using SuperCub.Org mobile app

  40. #40

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    Humm, My last time in an RV I had full use of both arms. My shoulder surgery back in '15 only provided hope, Bone spurs just keep on growing and I have about 30% of the AC tendon left.
    Regards, Charlie
    Super Coupe E-AB build in process

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