Citabria on Skis?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by David, Dec 13, 2009.

  1. David

    David Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I put my bonanza up for sale a couple of weeks ago and it looks like it's sold. I've been thinking about going back to a citabria since I rarely used my bonanza for any real travel. I've got two offers. Both are very good. One is cash and the other is cash plus a very nice citabria. I wanted to limit my choice of citabria to the newer ones with the metal spars. I have no problem with wood spars. I think the whole metal spar thing is nonsense but that's another story. I just want the extra useful load. The one I may take in trade is an older one with wood spars that is absolutely beautiful. It's truly mint. It's a GCBC - I'd prefer a GCAA but this thing is really nice so another compromise. There's a couple of things I'm not nuts about so I'm still on the fence but....

    It comes with wheel skis :thumbsup:. I kept thinking that I wouldn't want the skis but the more I think about it, the more I think that it would be a lot of fun - if we can find any snow near Philly. I know of at least one instructor that can offer training - which is a must before I attempt ski flying although I don't think it's a FAR requirement. I've read that wheel skis are not nearly as good as straight skis. Since I'm based at a paved field with excellent snow removal, I've got to have wheels. As neat as they sound, I'm not sure how much I've ever really use them in the Philly area.

    Does anyone on the board have experience with wheel skis on a citabria? Anyone with wheel ski experience near Philly and suggestions on where to go?

    decisions :rolleyes:

    Dave
     
  2. dmccormack

    dmccormack Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Isn't every pilot supposed to have two airplanes? One for low and slow and one for fast and far? :D

    When would you fly with skis in Philly?

    We lived in Lancaster co for 16 years and every so often there would be a good snow -- that would melt 2 days later. :frown3:
     
  3. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas En-Route

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    Having had experience with both the wood and metal spars, I know it's not nonsense.

    Check the weight and balance stuff for the 7GCBC. If it hasn't been weighed since new, don't believe the empty weight. There was a time that they were bad for fudging the numbers. We have a 1979 7GCBC that had the factory's empty weight as 1200 lb, and when I weighed it I found it was 1319 lb., though a bit of that was metal spar conversion. Without the metal spars and heavier lift struts, the gross weight is 1650, which leaves next to nothing for useful load. The metal spars and heavier struts give 1750.

    See their tech website: http://www.amerchampionaircraft.com/Technical/Technical.html

    Dan
     
  4. rottydaddy

    rottydaddy En-Route

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    I've only got a little ski time (straight skis, Cessna 140), but it's so much fun I'd take the one with skis if I were you. :D
    Don't know about your area, but these guys could certainly teach you how to work with skis:

    http://www.andoverflight.com/index.html
     
  5. David

    David Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Hopefully, this winter there'll be snow on some of the grass strips near me. I'd like to find out if there are any fields in the poconos that might be a more reliable winter destination for some fun in the snow.

    Hi Dan - I mentioned in my post that I did want metal spars solely for the gross weight increase. I think the rest of ACA's line that the metal spars are better is nonsense. Metal spars are easier and cheaper for them to build with than wood but not stronger. There's no practical reason to have a gross weight increase solely due to the metal spar. I understand that there have been some real problems related to the metal spar and the attach fittings.

    Thanks
     
  6. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I've flown a J-3 on wheel skis from Northwoods Aviation at KCAD (Cadillac, MI). Fun! I don't know why straight skis would be "better," I'd rather have wheel skis for the exact reason you state - Take off on the wheels from the paved home 'drome, then extend the skis and have fun. :yes:

    Really, if you're an OK tailwheel pilot, you'll do fine on skis. Don't do any "wheel" landings, always 3-point. Other than that, snow is even more forgiving than grass. About the only additional problem I can think of is handling flat-light situations - You may land before you expect it! I guess having a seaplane rating might be helpful too, as flat-light landings are similar to glassy water landings.

    Man, I love flying skis. I'm jealous. :yes:
     
  7. dmccormack

    dmccormack Touchdown! Greaser!

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    There are a few nice strips in and around Lancaster Co that would be great on skis if there was adequate snow -- Keller Bros and Farmer's Pride , for example (I think those two are in Lebanon Co, actually!)
     
  8. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I'm guessing the flat light landings are done by keeping power in and setting it for 100fpm descent until you go bump?
     
  9. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Something like that. Or, you can land right next to (and parallel to) a line of trees to help you figure out where the ground is. :yes:
     
  10. rottydaddy

    rottydaddy En-Route

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    Actually, you kinda go "schuussss"...:D
     
  11. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    You've never seen Kent land. :rofl:
     
  12. David

    David Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The citabria didn't pass the prebuy and more good news - the gentleman that wanted to pay cash already bought something else :rolleyes:.
     
  13. Rob Schaffer

    Rob Schaffer Cleared for Takeoff

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    double bummer... :mad2: Hope someone else comes along, your plane is very nice!
     
  14. flyersfan31

    flyersfan31 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I came to the party late. I think it's for the best that the Citabria fell through.

    You're better off buying the plane you want instead of taking a trade with a bunch of compromises.

    AFA skis - sounds like fun. Is VanSant open in winter? You could land there. Andover/Aeroflex is probably open in snow, since there's a bush flying school there.
     
  15. David

    David Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Thanks Rob. I'm not going to push selling it. I only advertised on beechtalk.com and got a fair amount of interest very quickly. Right now, I'm back on the fence about selling it.

    I don't know if VanSant is officially open but that would be one of my stops. I used to fly in and out of there often. I also got my PPL there. In fact, that's where I had the prebuy done on the citabria. The mechanic there, George Taylor, is excellent. It's always fun to take a walk through the shop and see what they're working on. The day I was there, they had a stearman, one that I flew a couple of years ago, a pitts and a couple of others. The stearman is going through a total restoration - every nut and bolt. When George is done it will be museum quality.
     
  16. AdamZ

    AdamZ Administrator Management Council Member

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    Dang Dave Just read the this thread. That is a beautiful M35 I'm sure it will go quickly.
     
  17. Jeanie

    Jeanie Pattern Altitude

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    I'm considering buying a Super Decathlon... what's this about the metal spars having problems??
     
  18. tonycondon

    tonycondon Gastons CRO (Chief Dinner Reservation Officer)

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    i always thought the metal spars were desireable over the wood spars.
     
  19. Jeanie

    Jeanie Pattern Altitude

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    Me too- that's why I was surprised by the previous coment re: metal spars and their attach points
     
  20. tonycondon

    tonycondon Gastons CRO (Chief Dinner Reservation Officer)

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    first i've ever heard of it but i don't really pay much attention to the Citabria line.
     
  21. David

    David Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Here's a link to one article regarding the fuel tank problems
    http://iac35.aerobaticsweb.org/news/Hammerhead-Fall-04.pdf
    Here's the AD for the attach fitting
    http://www.airweb.faa.gov/Regulator...066242886CE596AA86256A49005C5485?OpenDocument
    Frankly, that AD looks different than what the owner of a 2005 GCBC told me. He thought the part was to be replaced at 1000 hour intervals.

    You should check out the yahoo group for citabrias for more information and call the factory. There's also been some problems with the paint cracking but I think that's been resolved. A friend bought a new GCAA that developed paint cracks and there's a newer citabria at my field that's been back to the factory to get the paint problems addressed.

    Regarding the wood spar wings, I would buy a 7ECA, GCAA or GCBC citabria with wood spars but I'd want them inspected by someone that knows how to inspect them and I'd also want a plane that had been stripped and recovered in 10 years or less. I wouldn't buy a decathlon or 7KCAB with wood spars. Honestly, you're really better off buying any of them with metal spars simply because when it's time to sell, it won't be an issue. When I sold my 7ECA almost 4 years ago, the first question from every buyer was, "Does it still have wood spars?" It did but it was in excellent condition and sold easily.
     
  22. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas En-Route

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  23. David

    David Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Thanks Dan. I heard that there was one accident in a metal spar decathlon that prompted the AD but I haven't seen any specific NTSB report about it.