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Thread: Legend AL3 vs AL18?

  1. #1

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    Legend AL3 vs AL18?

    I've recently flown a Legend Aero AL3 (100hp J3 clone, no flaps) and am considering ordering one from the factory in 1-2 years. My question is how much of a difference would the AL18 (115hp and flaps) make on performance for once a year trips to the backcountry (Colorado, Idaho, etc.)? 99% of our flying will be sea level(ish), pattern work and training for my son in TX, but I'd like to pack camping gear and fly rods once a year and head to the backcountry for a week. I used to fly a 150hp Super Cub during grad school and that felt quite a bit more robust than the AL3, but the next notch up from Legend is 180hp and that's just more than I need for most days. Would the AL3 with some 26" Airstreaks suffice for my stated use case... or do I need flaps and more power? If not, I can spend the $50k delta on an RV8 kit

  2. #2
    Richgj3's Avatar
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    Well, remember unless you get an experimental amateur built version of an AL 18, you are limited to 1320 GW. So two people and camping gear are not in the cards if you want to be legal. I understand it’s a paperwork limit, but it is a rule. I owned the first AL3 delivered and flew it for 700 hrs. Although I never flew the AL18, I was very close to the company and others that did. The reports were with that engine and at the 1320 GW it performed as well as a 150 Super Cub at its GW (whatever that is. Can’t recall)

    I flew my AL3 for many years mostly at sea level in and out of plenty of short strips. With the ground adjustable prop you can get the best of both worlds.

    You should talk to some AL18 owners. I know there were some issue with that Lycoming O-233 LSA engine early. That may be history now.

    Based upon what you’ve posted, I would suggest you find a pre owned AL3 and fly it a while. When you decide to sell it and upgrade you probably won’t lose anything.

    I’m assuming you want to Fly LSA as Sport Pilot. If you fly with a medical or basic med there are many other options open to you.

    Rich
    Last edited by Richgj3; 07-23-2022 at 06:26 PM.

  3. #3

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    Thanks, Rich. Those are helpful insights.

    Agree a used AL3 is probably the right short term choice. I'm on the waitlist at Legend for a low time 3 and will keep looking. I really loved flying the 150 SC back in the day and that seems like the ideal platform for my use case, but I'd prefer a newer airframe and don't want a Carbon Cub or Husky. Being able to fly with both doors / windows open in TX is magical, too. My son enjoys flying the Citabria now, but there are several features I don't love... closed windows, crappy tailwheel steering and slicker wing.

    Medical isn't an issue and don't need an LSA, just AL3/18 happen to be so. What am I missing?

  4. #4
    Richgj3's Avatar
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    Sounds like you’re not missing anything. If you want new or close to new Legend is a good choice. Very well built and strong airframe. Hardly any Service Bulletins on the airframe. Only one that affected my plane was an O-200 SB from Continental. And availability of spare parts almost as good as Piper. Tail feathers, landing gear, struts all common with Piper so can be bought on the open market.

    Plus, you’re close enough to Sulphur Springs to get expert help when you need it. After I got mine, two of my friends bought one each from the first batch of 25. Then a few years later another friend bought one based on flying mine. I only sold mine when Basic Med came along and I bought a C170B

    Good Luck

    Rich

  5. #5

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    Thanks so much, Rich. Congrats on the C170! I have fond memories of landing one of those on a dirt road in rural AZ ages ago. Sounds like an AL3 is probably in my future.

  6. #6

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    Tailwheel steering on the Citabria can be fixed to be as good as a Cub. Parts are now readily available.

    Proficiency is everything. If you plan to hit sand bars once a year, at high density altitudes, with passengers, a pinch-hitter course prior might be a good idea.
    Likes Kid Durango liked this post

  7. #7
    Grant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob turner View Post
    Tailwheel steering on the Citabria can be fixed to be as good as a Cub. Parts are now readily available.

    Proficiency is everything. If you plan to hit sand bars once a year, at high density altitudes, with passengers, a pinch-hitter course prior might be a good idea.

    ???

  8. #8

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    I took it to mean a tune up with CFI. Not a course for the passenger.
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