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Affordable and rugged aerobatic airplanes: just Decathlon (and Citabria)?

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Affordable and rugged aerobatic airplanes: just Decathlon (and Citabria)?

Old 15th Sep 2014, 15:54
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Affordable and rugged aerobatic airplanes: just Decathlon (and Citabria)?

Inspired by a discussion among the aerobatic section of our flying club (with a 40-year old Citabria as a basic yet so far apparently very reliable "budget workhorse"): it appears that apart from a Decathlon there are no reasonable alternatives which would fit the bill, i.e.:
  • not too expensive in purchase and maintenance,
  • able to withstand the wear and tear of club life for a long time,
  • suitable for aerobatics incl. instruction (just basic aeros in case of the Citabria),
  • preferably tailwheel.
As there are obviously some experienced aerobatic GA pilots around here: are these two really the only types which correspond to the abovementioned profile?
Armchairflyer is offline  
Old 15th Sep 2014, 18:34
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How about this for a start;

Pitts S2
http://www.planecheck.com/index.asp?...ype=&grp=&id=0

Cap
http://flightplanet.com/single-engin...p-20__2045.php

Robin 2160
http://flightplanet.com/single-engin...port__2417.php

T67 firefly
http://www.afors.com/index.php?page=...d=29542&imid=0

Aerobat
http://www.afors.com/index.php?page=...d=17450&imid=0

Bulldog
http://www.afors.com/index.php?page=...d=30068&imid=0

Rod1

Last edited by Rod1; 15th Sep 2014 at 19:00.
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Old 15th Sep 2014, 19:09
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.
As far as the T67 goes, I was quite disappointed by its lack of power, being not a lot better than a modern glider.
If you want to do some half-mile high loops, I suggest you join the RAF and get some R.R. thrust behind you....


.
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Old 15th Sep 2014, 20:26
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Fuji FA180 or 160

Not tailwheeel to be fair but unusually 4 seater so also a good tourer, reasonable aerobarics (+6, -4) and does most things ok, injected in the 180 version, not expensive and pretty reliable.
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Old 16th Sep 2014, 09:21
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The suggestions of Rod1 are good, but I would personally be careful with a Pitts or Cap-10 in a club environment. OTOH, the R2160 at my club is holding up very well, and is used for initial training as well as aerobatics competitions up to Standard level.

One other aircraft to mention would be the GeneralAvia F.22. Very similar to the R2160.
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Old 16th Sep 2014, 10:12
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What is the club willing to do and spend? Do you need Cofa or will a N-reg Experimental do the job? If I recall correct, the Pitts runs under N-experimental and need permits every 3-6 month to stay in the EU?
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Old 16th Sep 2014, 14:51
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Thanks for the input so far, gents. It's deep EASA land, so I presume anything other than CofA and EASA reg will not be eligible. Some would probably like the Pitts idea , but not sure whether it is comparable to the Citabria/Decathlon in terms of docility for learners. CAP looks fine, but aren't there structural issues owing to the wing spar taking the punishment from hard landings (think I read that in this PPRuNe section recently)? As for budget, I can only make a SWAG which would amount to 30k-45k Euros (39k-58k USD), maybe a bit more if the aircraft looks promising.

Tailwheel would be greatly appreciated AFAIK; actually I am astonished that there are apparently more trike than tailwheel options in this sector.

Thx again,
ACF
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Old 16th Sep 2014, 15:28
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"Do you need Cofa or will a N-reg Experimental do the job? If I recall correct, the Pitts runs under N-experimental and need permits every 3-6 month to stay in the EU? "

Pitts aircraft come in both factory built CofA and permit. I recommended a factory machine similar to the one used by Northampton school of flying. The Cap is in use at aeroclubs all over France but is probably more of an intermediate trainer than a novice mount. The Decathlon is not a very good lead in to Aerobatics or "vintage" TW in my opinion. I would recommend avoiding the TW requirement and going for the Robin as the low cost proven solution.

Rod1
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Old 16th Sep 2014, 15:45
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why tailwheel specifically?

I cant remember the Tiger club ever having any major problems with their 10c when I was there other than French electrics. The 10c is easy to land and fly its also got decent g limits, decent enough rate of roll, can do inverted manoeuvres, ie will keep keen pilots interested longer than something like a bulldog - which is a great trainer, pretty solid and will take a lot of punishment but they are thirsty - budget 12 gals/55L per hour for aero's and limited to standard aeros.
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Old 16th Sep 2014, 18:53
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Originally Posted by Camargue
why tailwheel specifically?
I think this thread says it all
http://www.pprune.org/private-flying...ml#post8637849

OC619
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Old 16th Sep 2014, 19:02
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Seeing you are in or near Vienna, and if cost is a prime factor, isn't it an alternative to go and do your aeros in Czechia or Hungary, in a Zlin or so?
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Old 16th Sep 2014, 19:55
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The preference for tailwheel might be due to it being one of the few clubs in Austria where you can do a tailwheel endorsement so far, and they might want to keep it that way.

BTW, having taken some tailwheel and aeros lessons for fun in the Citabria, I can understand the TW preference. It might be a docile TW aircraft, but still it's a lot more fun and "old school" feeling than in a 152, Katana or Aquila. Granted, it has only limited aerobatic capabilities, but it does indeed appear that there are few other airplanes which bridge the gap between versatility/affordability/durability/fun to fly equally well, other than a Decathlon with a bit more aero capabilities for a slightly higher price. But maybe the Cap 10 is worth a closer look. Thx again, messieurs.
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Old 17th Sep 2014, 17:33
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PS: Browsing through some aircraft sale platforms, there are apparently some Zlin Z526 and Bücker Jungmeister (open cockpit biplane) for sale (two-seat versions). Admittedly not heard of those before, anyone with pertinent experiences by any chance? CAP 10 does indeed sound like a nice one, too, but it seems that unless a certain wing modification has been performed, they are quite restricted aerobatically owing to safety concerns.

Some of the trikes look fine, too, maybe keeping the Citabria for TW instruction and getting a separate airplane for aerobatics, is an option for the club, too. Not my decision anyway (unless I suddenly turn filthy rich), but in any case, thanks for all input so far!
ACF
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Old 17th Sep 2014, 22:41
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I flew a privately owned Zlin 326 for about 10 years from the early 90's. The 526 has 180 hp (some were 160) and constant speed prop, think single leaver compared with 160 hp and fp prop on the 326.
Nice planes, fun to fly BUT extremely complex engine, inverted fuel/oil but carbs not injection. I think it was sent to Czechoslovakia twice for repairs and was away for over 6 months at a time and even basic parts took ages as they had to be shipped in each time. I reckon you could run an aeio540 for less


Retractable main gear as well, adds to running cost.
Narrow gear track, long fuselage, big rudder, big floaty wing - poor cross wind capability - even after a lots of hours flying 10kts could be a handful

Rate of roll ok, quite heavy for the power, it's a big plane, can do basic aeros and in theory a few inverted ones as well though according to the translated poh on ours very unpleasant inverted spin characteristics. Never tried so don't know if that was scare mongering or not.

Neil's Williams flew a 326 so enough said, it would be a fantastic learning experience as more difficult to fly well than a lot of other aerobatic planes I've flown since BUT as a club trainer it will be far far too expensive to run, too limited in cross winds.

Of course the one I flew could have been a particularly knackered one but these should be owned by pilots who like old idiosyncratic planes and have very deep pockets.
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Old 18th Sep 2014, 12:19
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There is also the Victa / AESL / Glos Aero Airtourer available in either 115hp or 150hp variants. There are a few in the UK where they are EASA Annex II aircraft. +6/-3 with delightful light handling. Short wingspan due to having flaperons so easy to hangar.
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