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Old 19th Feb 2011, 18:13   #1 (permalink)
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Citabria 7KCAB vs Cessna 152 Aerobat

Hi there

Looking for a CofA, two seat, economical aircraft capable of basic aeros. Preferably would like a tail-wheel aircraft ( Citabria ) but recently been looking at the Aerobat as perhaps a more affordable alternative to the Citabria.

Does anyone have experience of aerobating these two types and whether or not the Aerobat is comparible to the Citabria. ie: does it make a good, more affordable alternative, or is it quite shabby in comparison.

I have been spoiled so far flying Pitts and have flown in a Decathlon. I realise the perfomance will fall way short of these types but currentky I am flying a rathewr old, underpowered Auster, so a Citabria or Aerobat will seem pretty good! I am also looking for a real long term aerplane - an all rounder that I can keep for many years, so these two would seem to fall into that bracket.

Any input appreciated

Many thanks
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Old 19th Feb 2011, 19:11   #2 (permalink)
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If you're used to a Pitts or Decathelon, you'll find a 152 Aerobat dissapointing for power and capabiity. I quite enjoy the Aerobat, but it's not really a "fully areobatic aircraft". They are, however, a bit more of a "known quantity" in terms of the expense of long term ownership. As you are aware, the Citabria will demand a bit more skill as a tail dragger, but excellent skill building. The Aerobat snap rolls nicely, which I have not done in the Citabria, but loops and rolls in the Citabria seemed to benefit from the additional power.

The Citabria will make a better ski or floatplane. The Citabria is more challenging to fully inspect for structure. The one I used to fly was known to "not spin left well" for years. We just spun it right, and did the rest of the aerobatics in it. Some time later, when it was damaged, and the fuselage fabric removed, there was broken structure back in the tail, which had gone undetected for years. Not so reassuring. The 152 is very easy to inspect, and has no surprises by type.

The side by side of the 152 is a bit more plesant when flying with a passenger (unless they're really big - then put them in the back!). STOL kit is not eligible on the Aerobat, as it takes the spin approval away.
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Old 19th Feb 2011, 19:50   #3 (permalink)
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Is the tailwheel conversion for the C150 applicable to the A150? While maintaining aerobatic category, I mean. I don't think it affects the aircraft's aerobatic certification but I've only flown a C150 tailwheel so don't really know.

If aerobatic certfication is unaffected then a Texas taildrager might be a reasonable option. There are even STCs to upgrade the engine to something a bit more powerful. Again, would want to confirm aero. ability isn't lost.
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Old 19th Feb 2011, 20:40   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for input - I realise flying aeros in these aircrfat will be a whole different kettle of fish but I think the overall versatility will make up for that. The Texas taildragger conversion interests me ( I just lke tailwheel aeroplanes! ) and afaik doesn't affect the aerobatic certification.

Anyone advise on going rste for a good condition Aerobat? I know I can pick up a 1970's Citabria for approx 28 - 30k STG. The Aerobat comes in at about 10k less than that, doesn't it?
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Old 19th Feb 2011, 20:49   #5 (permalink)
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If you want an aircraft that's able to fly the full aerobatics repertoire up to Standard level (-1 to +4G, no snaps, no prolonged inverted flight), you might also want to take a look at the Alpha/Robin R2160, the GenerAvia F22 and even the Fuji FA-200. At least, those are the three aircraft types that we see in the competition here in NL up to that level. You'll find they're not going to be a lot more expensive/complex than the Aerobat, but far more capable. And at least as versatile - all make good touring aircraft as well.

A bit more specialized are the Decathlon and Cap-10. And beyond that, there's the Pitts/Extra/Cap-21 and friends of course.
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Old 20th Feb 2011, 09:07   #6 (permalink)
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There's also the very nice to fly Zlin 142 but I'm not sure it's certified in the UK. Just can't snap it, otherwise perfect for entry-level aerobatics.
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Old 20th Feb 2011, 11:53   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks again for input, but I'm not interested in competition aeros and as my previous post explained, I used to own a Pitts - I'm looking for just a simple, rugged all rounder that is capable of basic aeros - loops, rolls, cubans, stall tuern ( hammerheads ) etc - something i can go places in, fly out of grass strips, throw around, maybe even instruct in in the future - an aeroplane that i can keep for many years and that I know is going to be affordable. The Fuji FA 200 and others sound interesting though - I'll check them out. Thanks again.
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Old 21st Feb 2011, 09:53   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks Silvair - yes, the Citabria ticks all the boxes and I had pretty much decided on it but the numbers were looking expensive to own solely. I recently 'discovered' the Aerobat and wondered if it made a real world alternative to the Citabria - a more affordable 'ticks all the boxes' answer. ie: lower purchase cost, lower running costs etc.

The Airtourer is quite a nice one too - a friend has one, but again - more expensive than an Aerobat and greater fuel consumption etc - I'm looking for a low biggest 'bang for the buck'

I hate those Bolkows!

For me it's either the 7KCAB, or the Aerobat - hence the post title!

I guess I'll go and find a school and fly one to find out.

Thanks all.
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Old 21st Feb 2011, 10:54   #9 (permalink)
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It is a while since I have flown both of the types you want information on. The Aerobat is capable of flying modest aerobatics - but its rate of climb particularly is pretty weak. Start at 5000 and it does not take long before before you're down at 3000. It is quite a fun machine but nothing to get excited about. Two up it becomes pretty sluggish.

The KCAB is a fair bit better, it is actually built for Americans so it will take two large people - pretty cramped in an Aerobat. The performance is good enough that you can pretty much maintain altitude doing modest aerobatics. It is more expensive and probalby needs more maintenance than the Aerobat - but it is worth it!
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Old 21st Feb 2011, 12:04   #10 (permalink)
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Yes, thanks gasex

I suppose you get what you pay for - the Citabria appeals more, certainly and i would be interested in getting a DA and perhaps down the line, doing tw conversions etc, so it's probably the one to go for - the fixed costs probably aren't that much different than an Aerobat and if I bought a late 70's model, could run it on an Annex II CofA as opposed to the new EASA annual. It's just that initial purchase price! The Pitts I had was a bit crippling as a sole owner and i couldn't sell shares in it ( based Scotland ) - but the citabria will probably appeal more as a group machine having the second seat and being more of an all rounder.

Like those early 150 Aerobats, though - a future classic I would imagine.

Thanks all for your input.
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Old 21st Feb 2011, 16:07   #11 (permalink)
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Having never owned an aircraft, I cannot comment on costs.

However the Cessna 150 aerobatics are less than enjoyable, and very limited. And I will never spend another single dollar renting one with the intention of aerobatting.

The Citabria is an all round great builder of skills, and much more capable, and nicer to fly.
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Old 21st Feb 2011, 18:05   #12 (permalink)
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I think the Aerobat rudder authority isn't enough to support a tailwheel conversion
All Cessna 150's are approved by STC to be taildragger modified. Across the C 150 model range, there are three different rudders, with the Aerobat's having the latter two, and all 152's having the latest. I have flown several of the earliest versions of the 150 straight tail as a taildragger, both as a wheel plane, and ski plane. I've done the cross wind tests for wheel ski certification. It passes with excess rudder effectiveness available. I cannot speak to the swept tail as a tail dragger, but there are lots of them around, they must work!

The two versions of the 150 with a swept tail have different heights, with the (M) model (1975, 1976, 1977), and all 152's having a rudder 6 inches taller than the earlier models (E through L). This was said to have been changed to improve the spin revovery of the Aerobat A150M, based upon comments form the aerobatic use of the A150L. Prior to the L model, 150s were spin approved, but perhaps no one ever went at spinning the non Aerobat versions of the 150 with the gusto to show up a deficiency in rudder effecivness during spin recovery.

This is well discussed in the book "Cessna, Wings for the World".

This book also mentions that the 150 HP versions of the 150 do not spin as well as the originals. Chaged location of mass in the fuselage being the stated reason. I have spun several 150 HP 150's, and did not detect a difference, though those were just one turn spins, so I am opened to the fact that the differences probably show themselves after the first turn.

I do not consider the expendature of the tailwheel mod, or engine change on a 150 worthwhile, unless it's being done as a whim, while repairing one after damage. By the time you've modded the 150, you've spent more than the cost of a good Citabria, Cub, PA 18, or excellent Champ or Luscome.
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Old 21st Feb 2011, 19:23   #13 (permalink)
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I find it strange that you did not say Citabria, you specificaly said 7kCAB and no one has picked up on it.
The 7KCAB is effectively a mk1 Decathalon, being the link between that and the Citabria.
It has the shorter wing for improved roll rate and no flaps, it also has inverted fuel and oil as standard.Its a much better and totally different animal to the earlier lower powered Citabria models.
As an ex owner of a Cessna 150 aerobat and a 7KCAB I can tell you there is no comparison.
The 7KCAB rates amongst my alltime favourite aircraft.Compared to a CA150 it is a far more capable aerobatic machine, it is a better tourer, it is better short strip, better rough field and will even tow gliders. I have owned 90 aircraft, as an all rounder it is the best a/c I have ever owned.
As they are rare in this country I imagine if you have one in mind it is probably my old one.
PM me if you want more details. If it was on a permit I would probably still own it after all these years!
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Old 21st Feb 2011, 21:13   #14 (permalink)
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Thankyou hatzfler - Great to hear - it would seem that the Citabria's extra outlay is worth it!

I did specify the 7KCAB as that has the 'real' aerobatic capability compared to the other marks and as you point out, is not far off the Decathlon for the reasons you mention - there's nothing else out there really, that I can see, offering that versatility along with decent aerobatic capability. It's not going to be a Pitts for aeros, but I think you get a lot more for your money at a smilar price point ( single seat PItts comparison ) - an extra seat for one!

Thanks for your response - it's helped make my mind up. The Aerobat appealed after looking at the costs of a Citabria - not just the initial purchase, but the ongoing running costs, but, if I could run it as a group machine, it would probably be by far the more satisfying machine.

Thanks again. I'll certainly pm you!

Silvair - no offense meant against the Bolkow! I have nothing to qualify my off-hand remark - just not too keen on their unusual look. I'm not a fan of the Tippsy Nipper either, for the same reason, but I have flown neither.

All the responses have been very helpful so thanks to all.
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Old 22nd Feb 2011, 19:54   #15 (permalink)
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If you do settle on the Citabria, one thing would be to ensure the one you buy has a good wing spar situation: wood or metal, AD compliance etc. At least you can get factory parts easily for a Citabria!
Thanks for that Silvair. The Citabria is certainly the one I want to go for, but it sounds an expensive mount to operate over here in the UK. Still trying to figure out the comparitive costs of the two types vs performance benefit.

The Airtourer is a possibility and I do know of one that might come up for sale.

Tricky ( and expensive! ) game this flying lark.............
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Old 22nd Feb 2011, 22:54   #16 (permalink)
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Another possibility, to help control costs, would be to consider a 7ECA, same basic airframe as the 7KCAB but with less horsepower, (and fuel burn). I owned an early (1964) 7ECA which was powered by a Continental O-200 and it was a great combination aircraft. Later aircraft use the 115 hp Lycoming which are preferred by some. Doesn't have the vertical or inverted performance of the 7KCAB but still a lot more fun than a C-150; just seems like aerobatics should be flown sitting on the center line of aircraft with a control stick in your right hand and the throttle on your left.
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Old 23rd Feb 2011, 10:44   #17 (permalink)
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just seems like aerobatics should be flown sitting on the center line of aircraft with a control stick in your right hand and the throttle on your left.
I certainly agree with that! I hadn't really considered the other Citabria models as it was the aerobatic performance I was interested in and I suppose the 7ECA would be a more direct comparison to the 150/152 in terms of performance - similar horse power and a lack of inverted fuel and oil.

Worth looking at, thanks.
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Old 15th Apr 2011, 05:49   #18 (permalink)
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Ian - you might want to see if you can get a flight in a Robin 2160 - it's much better for aeros than the Citabria, which is slow to roll and needs a lot of rudder to help it round. The Decathlon is much better than the Citabria, IMHO.

The Robin being a tri-gear and a reasonable tourer, would probably also be better to cross-hire or for initial training than a tailwheel like the Citabria, which means more usage and better costs amortisation. A lot of passengers will probably prefer the side-by-side seating, too.
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Old 15th Apr 2011, 21:19   #19 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by whifferdill View Post
Thanks Silvair - yes, the Citabria ticks all the boxes and I had pretty much decided on it but the numbers were looking expensive to own solely.
At the risk of asking a personal question, how much are we looking at; roughly?
And what age / condition is the plane you´re looking at…..if you looked at one, that is?


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