Second plane exclusively for fun – straight tail 172 or Kitfox?

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by German guy, Jan 11, 2017.

?

What is your choice for the mission described?

  1. Straight Tail 172

    6 vote(s)
    16.2%
  2. Kitfox IV with Rotax 912

    12 vote(s)
    32.4%
  3. Pacer / Tri-Pacer

    2 vote(s)
    5.4%
  4. Bonanza, always the best choice

    1 vote(s)
    2.7%
  5. Cirrus with an AOA, anything else would be entirely irresponsible

    1 vote(s)
    2.7%
  6. Other

    15 vote(s)
    40.5%
  1. German guy

    German guy Cleared for Takeoff

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    OK, I know this sounds like a ridiculous apples vs. oranges comparison, which doesn’t make any sense at all. Please hear me out, though. ;)

    We have a Mooney M20E, which we will keep. She is fast, I also take her comfortably into most grass strips. Because of the Mooney’s versatility, we already have a plane with which we can go pretty much anywhere we want.

    My wife and I however wondered why to limit ourselves to a single plane, if we can have two. :cool: Seriously, though, the Mooney is not the best choice for poking holes in the sky on a nice summer evening or as a photo platform, due to its very deep wings, which block most of the view to the ground.

    Local evening flights, pancake breakfasts and the occasional trip to a few grass strips, in Michigan or the neighboring states, to camp for a night or two, will be the main mission.

    We have no kids and therefore need only two seats. Resulting from this, we have only 3 hard requirements: High wing, spare parts easily available and max. $30K.
    Originally, we had Stinson, Piper (Tri-)Pacer, Cessna 172, Rans S6 and Kitfox 4 on our list, but narrowed it down to straight tail 172, Kitfox 4 with a Rotax 912 or maybe a Pacer or Tri-Pacer with an O-320.



    Cessna 172
    Pros:
    - Proven design
    - Lots of space in the cabin for stuff, particularly with the rear seat removed
    - Good useful load
    - Flexibility of 4 seats
    - All aluminum
    - Every mechanic knows how to work on them

    Cons:
    - Take off performance OK, but no great
    - 60 years old
    - Needs more fuel
    - I need a mechanic to at least sign off on my work
    - Use of certified parts mandatory, even if the original part is not made anymore and better, non-certified, alternatives would be available.



    Kitfox
    Pros:
    - Proven design
    - Cockpit space similar to 172
    - Great visibility out of the cockpit
    - Can be flown with the doors open
    - Great STOL performance
    - I can do my own maintenance
    - Ability to use cheaper, non-TSO parts
    - 50% lower fuel consumption
    - Agile and fun to fly
    - Stick instead of yoke
    - Plane would be at least 40 years younger than the 172
    - I can install the latest tech
    - If I want, I could install fat tires, skis or even floats without much legal drama

    Cons:
    - A little bit slower than the 172
    - Elevated risk that somebody might have messed up the plane during construction or maintenance.
    - Very limited baggage space, we would for example not be able to take folding bikes with us. Camping gear should still be fine, though.
    - Limited useful load. My wife and I would be close to max. gross with full tanks. If we’d want to haul gear, we couldn’t fill the tanks anymore.
    I don’t want to go into the tail- / vs. nose-dragger discussion, as I think that this is a question of personal preference.

    A Piper Pacer or Tri-Pacer might also be an option, with generally the same pros and cons as a 172. The short legroom and the potential risks which come with an old, fabric covered airplane are however a concern.

    So – what are your thoughts on this pressing first world issue? :rolleyes:

    Oliver
     
  2. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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  3. German guy

    German guy Cleared for Takeoff

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  4. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Or a Breezy! Most fun fun fun!

    upload_2017-1-11_14-9-37.png
     
  5. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Out of your options, I think the Kitfox or the Pacer/TriPacer make sense. There are also a bunch of other old fun taildraggers, such as Luscombes, Champ, Chief, etc. I'd talk to @VanDy and see what he might have a lead on.

    We're thinking of building a Zenith 750.
     
  6. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

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    Stinson
     
  7. RyanB

    RyanB Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Are you multi-rated? The Aircam is about as cool as it gets!
     
  8. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

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    That is WAY WAY WAY outside his budget.
     
  9. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Not 100% true for 172 or other certified aircraft. There are some work arounds such as 'owner produced parts'. Also type clubs can be very helpful at finding the suitable parts you need.
     
  10. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies En-Route

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    Citabria would take my vote.
     
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  11. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Now that's a fine choice, fun airplane, fairly common, gentleman's aerobatics, and every seat in the house has a good view. But, finding a good one for $30k?
     
  12. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies En-Route

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    You won't get a 7KCAB or 7GCBC for 30k, but a 7GCAA sure!


    7KCAB: (150hp no flaps, inverted oil system)
    7GCBC: (150hp flaps)
    7GCAA: (115hp no flaps)
     
  13. Cpt_Kirk

    Cpt_Kirk En-Route

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    A 172 is about as boring as you can get. Anything but a 172.
     
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  14. slacktide

    slacktide Line Up and Wait

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  15. ktup-flyer

    ktup-flyer En-Route

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    Not sure about parts, but a Fairchild would be cool
     
  16. N659HB

    N659HB Pattern Altitude

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    Lather, rinse repeat!
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    Kitfox. For sure. Fold the wings and trailer it home!
     
  17. RyanB

    RyanB Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    An Aircam? You can find a nice one for around 35k, not that far outside of his budget.
     
  18. Chip Sylverne

    Chip Sylverne Final Approach

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    Fear is the poison of our lives.
    I'd love to have a Kitfox. I even have room in the hangar to store it with the wings folded. There's a guy who trailers one in to play at DMW on nice days. Beautiful.

    Unfortunately I hardly have time to keep the Comanche exercised.
     
  19. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

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    If you find an Aircam for 35k you better buy it or show me so I can. Those are 6 figure airplanes.
     
  20. JB1842

    JB1842 En-Route

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    I would go with a Kitfox. But if it is only for 2 peoeple, I would look for a Cessna 140.
     
  21. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    How about a Searey? Looks like fun to me.
     
  22. Stephanie B

    Stephanie B Pre-takeoff checklist

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    For two people, especially American adults, going in and out of a grass strip, I'd consider looking at the Stinson 108 series, if I were you. One will handle two adults, camping gear, baggage and full fuel.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  23. ChemGuy

    ChemGuy Cleared for Takeoff

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    30k on a tripacer - 180hp 360, seaplane door, big tires, maybe skis....hell yeah.
     
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  24. VanDy

    VanDy Cleared for Takeoff

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    A couple quick question before I give my answer!
    1. Have you down any of the aircraft suggested!
    2. What kind of grass strips?
    3. Any tail wheel time?


    Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk
     
  25. Hank S

    Hank S En-Route

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    Get a biplane! Look into things like Hatz, Skybolt, etc. Then there's a guy in St. Louis making WWI kits (mostly single place under $10K, but with some two-place kits for $14K) and a two-week quick build that let's you trailer home a completed fuse and wings. If only I had somewhere to put one . . . .
     
  26. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Next to the Harley in the living room, where else would you put it? :dunno: :biggrin:
     
  27. Acrodustertoo

    Acrodustertoo Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Get on barnstormers and start looking through the experimentals. You would be amazed at the fun you could buy for 30K! Acro ships, biplanes, stol, amphib and everything in between. Find a nice Pulsar with a rotax and have a blast for around 15k or skip the kitfox, get an Avid since they are the exact same plane in the early years and the avids can be had for the price of a sunken rowboat!

    Why go for a certified when you can buy a fun plane that you can do your own work and annuals on?
     
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  28. Hank S

    Hank S En-Route

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    My driveway is too short to land on, but a nice STOL plane could certainly depart.
     
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  29. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

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    Technically he couldn't do his own work and annuals unless he built one outside of what is allowed by the FAR for certified airplanes. The annnuals can be completed by an a&p without an IA sign off. In all though they are much less regulated and scrutinized.
     
  30. Jimmy cooper

    Jimmy cooper En-Route

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    A Stinson 108 with a 180 hp lycoming is a great airplane. If it's got a Franklin I'd pass. Nothing wrong with tube and fabric if it's been done correctly and always hangared. If I flew mainly alone , it would be a luscombe F model, 90 hp. In good condition. A 140 Cessna is a boring airplane and with two people and full tanks won't get out of its own way. I owned one, a trophy winner and got rid of it. If money were not tight, a rans courier for sure.
     
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  31. Dana

    Dana Pattern Altitude

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    Of your list, the Kitfox is the only one I'd put in the "fun plane" list. Maybe the Pacer. Bonanza and Cirrus are pretty much the same mission as your Mooney. 172 is one of the all time great planes, but as said above it's just boring.

    But there are lots of other planes in the Kitfox class. Not only the Avid (which the Kitfox is a clone of), but all the classic light planes (Cub, T-Craft, Aeronca, etc.), and lots of different experimentals. Personally, I don't see myself ever owning another non-experimental due to the cost of maintenance.
     
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  32. Dana

    Dana Pattern Altitude

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    Anybody can work on an experimental; only the annual needs an A&P (or the original builder) to sign off.
     
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  33. skier

    skier Line Up and Wait

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    The 172 while a good plane is not high up on the list of what I would consider a "fun plane". It's a good plane and is utilitarian, but fun. Not quite the word I'd use. Actually I find the M20C I did my complex in to be a much more "fun" plane than the 172.

    Now that we've gotten that out of the way. How about a M-18. Doesn't meet any of your requirements (other than being fun) but hey, this is the POA board. And it would nicely compliment your current Mooney.

    In more seriousness, how about a CH-701 or CH-750? Champ. Citabria (already mentioned but a good option). Anderson Greenwood AG-14. Pietenpol. Glasstar. Quicksilver. Searey (also already mentioned, but seaplanes are a ton of fun). Quad City Challenger.

    What about getting a gyroplane add-on and get a nice 2-seater. Heck, even the Air & Space 18A and McCulloch J2 would fit your mission if you want to stay certified. And then you get to learn a new type of aircraft, doubling up on the fun. Same goes for a weight-shift trike.

    The list of possibilities is almost endless with how open you've left it.
     
  34. Jimmy cooper

    Jimmy cooper En-Route

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    A citabria 150 hp gcbc, ( I've flown one a lot) is great fun but a nice one is 30 grand times 2.
     
  35. Shepherd

    Shepherd En-Route

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    Look at the Kitfox with the Rotec radial engine.
    It's a really nice combination. IMG_3527.JPG
     
  36. German guy

    German guy Cleared for Takeoff

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    Thanks for all your responses and proposals. :) Of course, I scan all relevant sections of Barnstormers on a daily basis. ;)

    Cirrus and Bonanza were not serious suggestions, I thought this wold be obvious. :cool:

    While I indeed think that Cessna 120s / 140s are actually one of the most beautiful aircraft ever built and while my wife and I also like Champs and the like, their take off performance is rather marginal, as is their useful load - even without camping gear. We would therefore only go for a two-seater, if it was a good performing experimental like a Kitfox. Having only two seats and not much baggage space would be the trade off for good performance with a small engine and the advantages of an experimental.

    Seareys, Zeniths, bi-planes, Drifters, etc.: All cool planes I like and considered, there is however always something wrong with them: Beyond our budget, questionable engine, insufficient useful load (we want 400 - 450 lbs + full tanks), not really suitable for two adults or they have an open cockpit (a bit chilly in MI).

    Until a few days ago, I was sold on a Stinson and tried to convince my wife that this would be the perfect plane for us. I however learned from an A&P in our EAA chapter, who happens to be specialized in Stinsons, that parts for the 150 hp Franklins are very hard to find and that also some parts for the 165 hp Franklins are becoming (very) rare. One of his customers would also be looking for a Stinson and they already checked out a number of planes in the $20K - $30K price range: All looked good on pictures, but turned out to be crap. Good planes, particularly those with converted engines, are however way over $30K.

    The more I think about it, the more I believe that a Kitfox (or maybe an Avid Flyer) with a Rotax 912 would be the best and most fun choice. A recently restored Pacer would be my second option. A 172 my third.

    Let's see, if I can convince my wife that this is the way to go, as she is a big Cessna fan and also prefers trikes for their ease of operation. ;) :cool: :D
     
  37. German guy

    German guy Cleared for Takeoff

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    Gorgeous!
     
  38. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You won't get one if those for under $30k though.
     
  39. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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  40. SoCal RV Flyer

    SoCal RV Flyer En-Route

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    Yep. The original builder can do annuals if he gets the Repairman Certificate from the local FSDO. Buy an Experimental secondhand and you'll have to pay someone else to do it.