140s and Luscombes - The Hidden Gem of the Market?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Seanaldinho, Sep 20, 2020.

?

Which would you choose?

  1. Cessna 140

    27 vote(s)
    56.3%
  2. Luscombe 8A

    13 vote(s)
    27.1%
  3. Other two seater in the same price range?

    8 vote(s)
    16.7%
  1. Seanaldinho

    Seanaldinho Pattern Altitude

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    Playing the might be realistic in 6 months game on barnstormers today...

    What are the gotchas with buying a 140 or a Luscombe 8A? I've flown in both, owners loved them, I've always thought they were gorgeous, and haven't seen anything scathing about them.

    So why are prices for these aircraft so low? Looks like good examples can be found for 20-30k. Is it just age that keeps the market down? Two seats? Too slow (I'm not even sure what real life cruise numbers can be expected)? Low useful load? Aversion to bare metal?
     
  2. Bacho

    Bacho Pre-takeoff checklist

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    $20-30k doesn’t sound low to me. I guess you have to compare that to the $40-60k 172.

    They have a limited market and limited usefulness.
     
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  3. GeorgeC

    GeorgeC Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Looked at both, ended up with a 140A. Low acquisition price, but they are old, and old stuff wears out and needs to be replaced, and the prebuy (or annuals) won't catch everything. Mx is a process rather than an event, and it can take some time to get everything into a known good state. Can't be beat for local hamburger runs with a kid. I plan for 6gph / 100mph in mine, but a friend of mine will outrun me in his 120.
     
  4. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    Both have a bit of a reputation, warranted or otherwise...the Luscombe is “a ground looping SOB”, IMO more due to the fact that the flat crosspiece On the gear is fairly intolerant of compression, and can collapse the gear with too much side load. Largely fixed with the “ski” landing gear.

    the 140 has a reputation for nosing over because “the gear is too far back”. There are some mods that move the wheels forward from the springs, but I never saw a problem. I don’t know if the gear itself was moved at some point in production.

    plus, they’re both fairly snug for two people.
     
  5. Llk

    Llk Pre-Flight

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    A 140 in decent condition just sold on eBay for 14,400


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  6. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    ??
     
  7. Shepherd

    Shepherd En-Route

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    Been looking at Luscombes. The biggest problem is finding one with enough on board fuel. Many have the tank (12 gal) behind the seats, so no real place for baggage, and not much useful range.
    I took a pass on a beautiful, low time 8A because the first question my wife asked when she climbed in was "Where do I put my purse?", and I didn't have an answer for her.
    Of course, as I get older, my useful range is decreasing also. I guess when we get to the point were we intersect, it won't be a problem anymore.
     
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  8. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I learned to fly in a 120. Nice little airplane. Stupid easy to fly. It did go over on it's nose once when the old man put it into a ditch...

    But it's not a Cub. Cubs are cute. Everyone wants a Cub. The market wants Cubs. The market is never wrong. Cubs are worth twice as much as a 120/140 because they are slower, don't have as much room, aren't as comfortable, and are yellow.

    The other big problem with a 120/140 is the gross weight is over 1320 pounds so you need a medical.
     
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  9. SneakyGrouse

    SneakyGrouse Pre-Flight

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    Old planes are a great value, I have had less dispatch issues in 1940s airframes than I have in 10yr old stuff, they are simple and built like tanks.

    Out of the two, I’d take the luscombe, they are pretty similar but the luscombe is a little more sexy.

    If I was going to buy a 2 seat plane of that type and in that budget I would go for a 7AC, unless I REALLY wanted a bench seat, which I do get the appeal towards.
     
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  10. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 En-Route

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    I paid less than that for my Luscombe and flew it from Wisconsin to Texas! There are some real junkers out there, but if you have experience in the field, or have friends who do and are willing to help, deals are out there!

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. tonycondon

    tonycondon Gastons CRO (Chief Dinner Reservation Officer)

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    8A and 140 really isn't apples/apples unless the 8A has some or most of the mods to make it.more like an 8E.
     
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  12. MarkH

    MarkH Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The gotcha is insurance. If you have enough time (especially tailwheel time), then these are gems. I looked at a near perfect 8A/85hp for about 3 grand cheaper than my Yankee. I almost bought it (and some day I will have one like it), but with a fresh PPL (80hrs TT, 10hrs of tailwheel, no endorsement yet), the insurance would have cost an extra $1500/yr vs my Yankee, which would have exceeded my budget for the plane's fixed costs.

    Having said that, long term they are great deals. Keep in mind that these are old airframes, and need to be checked really well for corrosion.

    If you compare these to a few others in terms of total cost of ownership, a Cessna 150 will likely be cheaper, and if you insist on a tailwheel a Stinson 108 can be bought for the same money (and seats 4). Having said that, 8s/140s met my desires for a mostly metal taildragger.
     
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  13. Arnold

    Arnold Line Up and Wait

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    8A owner here. There seems to be a consensus that the 140 is a bit easier to land. That said my plane partner has had no problems and is a low time tailwheel pilot. @birdus just learned to fly in a Luscombe and is now on an epic adventure. You may want to read his many detailed posts. Insurance went from 900 ish to 1300 ish this year but that seems consistent with what everyone else is experiencing. Hangars at home drome are unaffordable so mine is all metal. The fabric wing will usually buy you about 25# decrease in empty weight. Luscombe spotting 101, single strut = metal wing, double strut = fabric wing. I get an honest 100 mph TAS at high but reasonable power settings. It is approved for mild aerobatics - loops, rolls, spins - if you are into that. I have 12.5 gallon wing tanks which frees up the space behind the seat for a shelf where I put soft stuff. The tanks also allow me to ferry fuel. With 25 gal. the aircraft endurance far exceeds my endurance. It has never had an electrical system so I am exempt from Transponder and ADSB-Out requirements. PM if you have specific questions. Good luck.
     
  14. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 En-Route

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    I have a personal 8A and teach in a 140. Differences exist in ground handling but a good instructor could work with either. I personally prefer my plane for my missions.
     
  15. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    I can not compare- as I’ve no Luscimbe experience- so my statements are stand alone:

    I’m smitten with my 140... 100mph on 5 gph, two ppl, camping supplies and 3/4 fuel is doable if ya make sure she’s light on the ramp... and don’t pack a household of goods to camp... tent, sleepy bags, and dry food weigh little...

    Definitely fun to fly, she won’t bite ya for the least error but she won’t cover your sins for ya like a 150 or 172 will!

    Doggedly simple to work on. Most models have very few ADs... I have one recurring for a wing wire check every 100hrs- my IA doesn’t even charge me for doing it...

    Iv flown mine twice from Michigan to Idaho into the Rockies camping- she got me in and out of Johnson creek faithfully...

    take a good looksie at the gear box... anecdotally a good handful have had issues with an axle cracking... simple $200 fix for new solid grove axles easy approval... it’s a cheap insurance policy...

    great association- great people
     
  16. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    Btw- I think you will hear little negative of either... both are beloved... sure U’ll hear the slow/useful load stuff but those aren't secrets or gotchas...

    and we shouldn’t put the two against each other on ease of landing... I understand the consensus is the 140 is a touch easier but come on if we were hunting easy to land plans we’d be looking for 150s and ercoupes .
     
  17. Seanaldinho

    Seanaldinho Pattern Altitude

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    20-30k is a pretty low entry price to owning a plane in my opinion. The problem with a lot of cheaper options is it starts to get into the "no way I'm getting into that thing" territory. My rule of thumb is if Mom wouldn't get in it, it won't work.

    Cubs are lovely and I am glad they are so coveted and kept around, and its the only thing I like in yellow. Hopefully one day the remake carbons or something come down in price.

    Good to know! I hadn't delved into the different Luscombe models yet.

    I'm not terribly interested in Champs (always looked like a dog dragging a gut to me), and I've only flown their bigger brothers the Citabria and Decathalon. I personally prefer tandem seating, but everyone I fly with regularly (family and friends) seem to prefer bench seating and thats fine by me.

    Ah interesting, I hadn't considered insurance yet. I flew a 150 quite a lot, nice airplane but not something I want to own. Will look into Stinsons also, but I would rarely need 4 seats.

    I'm interested not necessarily in a tailwheel specifically, but something older - a piece of history to keep around. Nothing too fancy so I can work on it with the A&P but I'm not afraid of fabric either (polishing is another story). Comfortable on grass, two seats, and low GPH are my biggest concerns. One day I would love to graduate to or build something faster and more aerobatically capable, but that is years down the road.


    Thanks for all the input from everyone!
     
  18. Jim Carpenter

    Jim Carpenter Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Not specifically a "gotcha", but any of those planes mentioned are notably lacking in legroom if you have long legs.
     
  19. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    They ain't big inside, but at 6', can't complain.
    But, I am reminded of a Gotcha in the 120/140. Cabin heat outlet is right in front of the right rudder pedal. The bottom of your shoe gets so hot you can't stand to push the pedal, but the rest of you is still cold.
     
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  20. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 En-Route

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    Doesn't happen in all of them. I've flown enough of them to be skeptical of that particular plane!
     
  21. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Sez the guy in Texas. Do you ever even turn on the heat? :)
     
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  22. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    Thats interesting- mines on the pax side...

    I also took a computer fan and wired it to a cigarette lighter plug- I set it in the ash tray hole and it pulls that trapped heat up and around a bit... and it’s just sat in there, not permanently attached, so no approval needed and ya get a defroster and more movement of heat :)
     
  23. Morgan3820

    Morgan3820 Pattern Altitude

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    To me the better question is why isn’t there a no fee parking available for people who don’t want services. My beef Is actually with the airport which is publicly funded. Raleigh North Carolina there’s no place to park your plane that doesn’t involve a fee. Even though it is publicly funded infrastructure.
     
  24. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    Luscombes don’t ground loop and 140’s don’t nose over. Incompetent pilots do that.
     
  25. Shepherd

    Shepherd En-Route

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    Desperately seeking wing tanks and 85hp.
    Desperate/foolish enough to go a couple of hundred miles to look at one with a leaky left tank next Sunday.
    Lucky enough to have a friend with an almost new tank in his hanger. :)
     
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  26. Lowflynjack

    Lowflynjack En-Route

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    I've had and flown both... never put one on the nose and never ground looped one. I always tell people, the Luscombe goes where you tell it to go, when you tell it to go. Catches some pilots by surprise. I loved it!
     
  27. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Duct tape doesn't work.
    Bar soap works for a while.
     
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  28. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 En-Route

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    We actually do... and I know that "kind" of problem from a Cardinal I've flown before.
     
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  29. flyersfan31

    flyersfan31 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Arnold’s partner chiming in here! Low time tailwheel pilot. Well, almost 1700 hr commercial multi-engine rated who has worked up the ladder to a twin turbine, so a good mix of experience. My only other tw experience is in a TopCub with tundra tires, so kinda extreme variance for tailwheel experience. Circa 2010 180hp fuel injected with flaps, donut wheels and an electrical system, vs a 1946 65hp (maybe) hand-propped antique with little wheels.

    That being said, once we had the oleo strut rebuilt, landings in the Luscombe are not a big deal. I say that as a still nervous tailwheel flyer. I have very little experience with properly-functioning oleo-strut landing gear (and brakes, and engine, and...well, it takes a while to nurse these babies back to health) but I now find landings easy to execute. 3pts are simple. I love flying it. So direct, so connected. My flying skills, especially cross wind landings, have improved dramatically. You can fly for an hour, go nowhere, burn 4 gallons of 100LL, and feel as though you went on a great expedition.

    So 140 vs L8a? Well light sport limits may not be as big a deal these days, but for me, a tailwheel plane needs a stick. YMMV.
     
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  30. Lowflynjack

    Lowflynjack En-Route

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    Yep, we should burn Cessna 180s, 185s, 140s, 190s, 195s, 165s, Beech 18s, Beech Staggerwings, Waco Cabin Biplanes, Maules, DeHavilland Beavers, Lockheed Electras, DC3s, DC4s... ;)
     
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  31. AdamZ

    AdamZ Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Lets face it you never had great skills to begin with so improvement was a very low bar ! ;)
     
  32. Arnold

    Arnold Line Up and Wait

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    Wait, DC-4? And I presume you mean the pre-war Electra not the post war Electra.
     
  33. Lowflynjack

    Lowflynjack En-Route

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    Yes, C-54!
     
  34. Gary

    Gary En-Route

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    Long time no see! Welcome back!

    All the above is well and good, glad you are enjoying it. My question would be how you tolerate an airplane that doesn't have an airstair?? ;)
     
  35. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    I always thought the two seater tailwheel stuff was a lovely value for the rec flyer.

    Unfortunately at this density altitude pretty much all two seaters are always on the struggle bus unless it’s wintertime.

    Further limiting their usefulness during the summer is no fun. Not really being able to go into the mountains most of the time is also no fun.
     
  36. Ghery

    Ghery Touchdown! Greaser!

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    A C-150 does not have enough legroom for me. How about these two planes? How do they compare?
     
  37. Shepherd

    Shepherd En-Route

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    A honking wad of Double Bubble bubble gum will work for a while also.
     
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  38. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Given that the 150 was originally a 140 with the tailwheel on the wrong end, I wouldn't expect any more legroom in a 120/140 (there was a change to modern "bucket seats" at some point for the 150 - dunno how that effected leg room.)
     
  39. GeorgeC

    GeorgeC Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Mine has 150 seats on rails. I'm 5'7" and fly with the seat all the way forward.
     
  40. j1b3h0

    j1b3h0 Line Up and Wait

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    I have flown and instructed in several vintage machines of that ilk. Tandem airplanes are usually more comfortable—much less likely to have not enough shoulder room. I was always comfy in the back seat of a Citabria, but when I had to teach a bigger person-shoehorned into a side by side two-seater well, let’s just agree one shouldn’t neglect personal hygene. If said personal space were shared with someone to whom you’re smitten, by all means side by side. One thing to consider is the minimum horsepower. Many of those budget planes have 65hp which means not only armstrong starting, but limited useful load: a man, woman and one hour endurance with any reasonable fuel reserve. I prefer a stick, yet another reason to like tandem: they all have sticks. Sidebys not so numerous, Luscombes, Vagabonds, Clippers and (not really similar) Faichild 24s.
    The Cessnas, though copies of Luscombes, are constructed better. My friend’s 140A makes my Luscombe look like a Jenny in comparison. Better landing gear, cowling, much advanced wing and so forth. But I’d much rather FLY my Luscombe, with its stick, responsive steering, 1930s winder trim and patrol doors.
    I don’t know your price point, but what ever model you decide to buy, buy a nice example, because buying a cheaper one can be way more expensive. A nice, well-sorted Luscombe will set you back $35-40K. You might also look at PA-16s, (very fun to fly) Stinson 108s, or even a Cruiseair/Cruisemaster (flys beautifully). Oh, and good luck!
     
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