talk me out of a luscombe 8a

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by GeorgeC, Jun 6, 2015.

  1. GeorgeC

    GeorgeC En-Route PoA Supporter

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    I can feel one of my turns coming on, where owning an all-metal Luscombe 8A with no electrical system begins to sound like a good idea.

    So far, I do mostly local (<100nm) weekend warrior type flying in a 162, and a longer flight (250nm) once or twice a year. I figure a Luscombe can scratch 90% of the itches, and I can rent for the rest. I already have my tw endorsement but I have no time in type and would need a refresher. My family currently does not fly with me, and I'm not assuming that that will change.

    The list of pros as I see them:
    * Can be flown under light sport rules = hedge against medical reform regulatory uncertainty
    * No engine-driven electrical system = no ads-b requirement, modulo airspace limitations
    * Cheap to fly
    * Hopefully cheap annuals
    * Hopefully cheap to insure
    * Can be purchased for around $20k

    I understand that the A65 may be hard to get parts for. Any other gotchas?

    I probably do not fly enough hours/year to justify ownership rationally at this point, or even a partnership, but as Dr. Gustave Whitehead said regarding time travel, "What the hell".
     
  2. RotorAndWing

    RotorAndWing Final Approach

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    My first airplane was a 46 Luscombe 8A metal wing.

    Join the type club, get some advise on what to look for as far a corrosion and ground loop damage.

    Good luck with it.
     
  3. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 En-Route

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    I wouldn't try to talk you out of it. You'll enjoy it.
     
  4. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Not having ADS-B is not a benefit, however battery technology can actually get you the info you want and cheap even if you don't participate with an out signal.

    No electrical system means hand proping the engine every time. This is not a show stopper, but it is something to consider as to do safely is an extra process, and several extra risks, added to every flight. You cannot slack off and be lazy on procedure propping up, it'll kill you or at least do a butt load of damage; happens more than once a year. Starting a cold engine in a cold wind can leave you cursing mightily.

    The Luscombe is a smallish plane, but if big enough for you, is a very nice little plane. It is not the friendliest of the genre, and the stick makes getting in and out a little trickier than with a C-120/140, but as you say, it's SP permitted and they are not.
     
  5. BiffJ

    BiffJ Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Many of us old codgers hand propped our planes and those of others for many years and still have all our hands and fingers. It can be done safely and it shouldn't be a worry for those who take care. The pros you listed are good and valid. A65's may be tough to find parts for but there are parts out there and unless you are flying 500 hours a year you probably won't need a lot. I think its a great idea and have considered the same myself. I learned in taylorcrafts and the luscombe is a great plane too. My only reason for ending up in a cessna is that the wife thought she might like to learn to fly and tailwheels aren't great for teaching those who don't want to be dedicated. Also the weight limitations of the luscombe were an issue since the friends who do actually fly with me are on the tall side and heavier than will reasonably fit.

    Have at it and have fun. Its a great idea.

    Frank
     
  6. N659HB

    N659HB Pattern Altitude

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    Don't ask me to talk you out of it. I love mine, and they can be a great value when you find a good one. But you should get some time in one before you buy. They have a bad rep for ground handling, but are not much worse than a Champ once you get used to it. The original landing gear does not like side loads!
     
  7. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    Don't buy it! It's one of those horribly dangerous taildraggers that will flip over or groundloop at least every third landing. All such airplanes should be outlawed, especially since so many pilots are afraid to try them, using the excuse that the whole taildragger design is outdated and deficient and anachronistic. Taildraggers require considerable testosterone to master, you know.

    Which, of couse, is all bunk. I taught teenage girls to fly taildraggers. Actually, I found that female students were less likely to damage any airplane, maybe because they didn't feel they had to prove they were macho and therefore take silly chances.

    Dan
     
  8. Jimmy cooper

    Jimmy cooper En-Route

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    I've owned both an A and an F. If you like propping an airplane in cold weather or when you try to restart it hot,..... and knowing that unlike the " old days" when someone would gladly give you a prop, is long gone then by all means get one. Read what henning said twice. The F with a starter and 90 hp. Is a much better performer. As for ground handling it's pretty much like any other taildragger of its size. About side load I know nothing. Never had a problem. Be advised that mechanics that really know these aircraft well are few and far between but there are many bs artists especially when it comes to carbs. Get a few rides in one, prop it before you decide might be wise. Great airplane, great design, fun, easy to fly.
     
  9. GeorgeC

    GeorgeC En-Route PoA Supporter

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    I've read of examples with an electric starter but without an engine-driven alternator.

    Apparently there is also an stc to put an O-200 in an 8A, that sounds like a hoot.
     
  10. Jimmy cooper

    Jimmy cooper En-Route

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    The a with a 65 hp cannot be equipped with an electric starter. The F with 90 hp has one from the factory. Mine also had a transponder and wingtip strobes, landing light, etc. If you watch carefully on TAP and barnstormers, a nice one will come up eventually but the nice ones, naturally, are not cheap. The dogs are.
     
  11. docmirror

    docmirror Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Cowboy - yeehah!
    Yes, it can.

    Hamp Safe Starter:

    My name is Mike Hamp with Hamp Aircraft Service in Elwell, MI. I thought you might be interested in our new STC#SA02604CH Safe Start Starter Systems for 65 continental starter. It is approved for Taylorcraft, Piper cub, Champ and Luscombe. Our system operates with a 18v cordless drill mounted on the firewall to a ring gear installed behind the propeller. To start, just pull the T-handle starting cable mounted in the cabin. At this time it must be installed by Hamp Aircraft Service, we have a PMA pending. The cost for the starter will be $1850.00 + tax and installation. If you have any questions please feel free to call Harold Hamp anytime at (989) 463-1762 or email hampaircraft@aol.com

    There's a lot that you don't know about a plane you are supposed expert on. I"m sure you won't know about side loading the tension strut on the gear until you fold one up.
     
  12. l8evator

    l8evator Pre-takeoff checklist

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    But the 8E (85hp) and the 8F(90hp) are not eligible for the Light Sport rules. Anyone can handle the Luscombe 8A thru 8D, but it requires a manly, medically certified pilot to handle the 1,400 pounds of the 8E and 8F.

    If I were looking for a light sport eligible Luscombe today, I would look for the lightest fabric wing 8A in good condition I could find.

    Scott
     
  13. docmirror

    docmirror Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I've got some time in them way, way back and I think they are fine planes. For some reason, they are a tad faster that the comparable planes on 65 or 85HP. Once you get over the 85HP, Cruise speeds sort of flatten out, but take off distance can be improved a bit.

    I've been shopping them for a while, and may pull the trigger one of these days. Although the fabric wing plane has two struts, it's about 30-35Lbs lighter than the metal wing variant
     
  14. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking PoA Supporter

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    Once again, you are full of shi- as a christmas turkey.
     
  15. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I learned to fly in a no electrical 7AC, I say go for it.

    Only thing I would do diffrent is get a fabric wing.

    Hand propping is not a big deal, I've seen a few with glider towing tail hooks, they tie a loop in a line, start her up, get in, release and off they go, it's overkill but there a tons of little tricks to it.

    Remember all GA was hand propped back in the day.


    Now that's bunk, guess you never taught a girl who had that "I can do anything a man can do" complex, I'll take male testosterone over that crap anyday.

    I've seen good and bad from both sexes, to me the biggest indicator was if the student had any experience riding motorcycles, skydiving, riding horses, or even operating equipment, those folks were often very easy to teach, especially the skydivers.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2015
  16. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    If I was buying a plane that I had to hand prop, it would have a tow hook on it real soon if not already. "Back in the day" there was usually someone around to prop you up too. Tow hook gives the most elegant single handed solution.
     
  17. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Administrator Management Council Member

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    Slip knot on a long rope is a lot cheaper.
     
  18. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Using nothing is even cheaper ;)


    Besides now days most peoples knot skills barely allow them to tie their shoes properly.
     
  19. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Yes, but those don't exist on all ramps.
     
  20. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Tieing a bowline with a double bight to remote release is simple, however it takes a long line to be able to trip it from the pilot's seat. Is a tow hook an added expense that isn't totally necessary? Yes, to me it's just cheap one time payment insurance that makes life easier to boot. Will a set of clocks suffice? Yep, do it all right and you'll be fine. Only a fool uses nothing though.
     
  21. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Indeed.

    Another benefit of the tow hook is being able to use chain and a screw link, one time install at your home drome, doesn't care about weather, won't rot or get worn by the sun and it works well with the tow hook if you buy the right size chain.

    Besides, really what does a tow hook cost?
     
  22. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking PoA Supporter

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    And it was done with a pair of chocks on a rope that could be retrieved from the cockpit. By pilots that were trained on how to do it. plus the aircraft was able to be started at IDLE. set low enough that it would not taxi with out adding power.
     
  23. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    Coonsiderable, but much less than an accident.

    http://www.wingsunlimitedtowhooks.com/index.html

    Once you add up all the bits, it comes to plenty, but much less than it was ten years ago when I put one on a 7GCBC.

    The guy with a homebuilt can make his own tow hook. It doesn't even have to be all that strong if it's just for hand-propping.

    I use, in my Jodel, a brake lock. With both systems locked up, the airplane is going nowhere, and if there's a tiedown available I tie the tail, too.

    Dan
     
  24. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    Never encountered a difficult-to-teach girl, but plenty of guys that already knew it all. The most dangerous types were the anti-authority ones, who were often bad drivers, too, a significant sign. They were the guys that took stupid chances.

    Dan
     
  25. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    If you look around, you can find used ones for a few hundred.
     
  26. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I bet you could get one on eBay or barnstormers, install it yourself with a few pointers and a signature from your favorite AP, 337 it if needed, and be done for well under 500 bucks.

    Plus I'd wager it would make your plane more desirable if you go to sell it.
     
  27. Stewartb

    Stewartb Final Approach

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    all this yak about a tow hook? If you have a place to tie the plane off, do so. Hand prop it and get it into a steady and stable idle, which takes about 3-4 seconds after a normal start. Once that's done, untie it. It won't go anywhere while you get into the cockpit. The only potential danger of hand propping is doing it wrong and having a rev-up event at initial start. That's rarely a problem for anyone who hand props their own airplane. All the talk about a tail hook is overkill.
     
  28. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Stuff happens

    I've seen throttles slowly slip

    People screw up

    Things get bumped

    Especially with folks who don't have much experience hand flipping a plane


    For a few hundred, it's not a big investment.

    Chalks on a rope would be the least I would do



    Having a running plane untied, not chalked and with no one at the controls, what the worst that could happen :rolleyes:

    How would the NTSB, FAA and or Insurance report read?
     
  29. Stewartb

    Stewartb Final Approach

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    I have friends who fly no-electrics every day in and out of remote places that have no tie-downs. Not a problem. A very good friend started his flying career with an 8A and did what I described and never had a problem. Guys with no experience around hand propping dream up all sorts of horror stories. Guys without starters just go flying.
     
  30. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Nothing is ever a problem until it is, just remember throttles fail to open. Don't want a hook? Fine, not required.
     
  31. N3368K

    N3368K Cleared for Takeoff

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    I grew up in Cubs and have been around them and people who flew all manner of hand propped airplanes all my life. I've hand propped thousands of times and still do as does my brother with our Cubs. I've never witnessed or even had a friend or acquaintance let one get away from them...they all knew what they were doing and none tied down nor used wheel chocks.

    It is a matter or proper training not a bunch of unneeded gizmos.


    Sent from my iPhone
     
  32. Jay Honeck

    Jay Honeck Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It looks like someone here has to be the devil's advocate, so I'll go first.

    Luscombes are cool, old planes. Emphasis on old.

    They are slow. They don't climb. They are small, drafty, and noisy. You have to hand-prop them, which is nuts, in 2015.

    They like to swap ends, especially in a crosswind landing. Oh, and they are OLD. Lots of things about to break, from spars to control cables.

    That said, for less than $15K, I'd buy one in a heartbeat. Old planes are cool, and, if nothing else, they will park you in the front row at most pancake breakfasts. (That's how it worked in our bright orange Ercoupe, anyway. Another drafty, slow, old plane that is an absolute hoot to fly!) :)
     
  33. Jimmy cooper

    Jimmy cooper En-Route

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  34. Stewartb

    Stewartb Final Approach

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    My buddy that started in a Luscombe is now a SH aerobatic pilot and mechanic. He describes his time in his Luscombe as learning to fly the wing as opposed to most folks learning to fly the prop. It served him well.
     
  35. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Same can be said for gliders and any underpowered plane. Heck, it's true even in 600 hp Ag Cat on a hot day when you have 285 gallons of fish gut fertilizer onboard.:lol:
     
  36. N1347B

    N1347B Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Go for it!
    [​IMG]

    Deb


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  37. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    Yup. And this thing requires hand-starting in 2015, too, but would be a hoot, even though they're known to break arms and wrists if they fire at the wrong time. Old stuff has a certain indefinable charm that escapes many folks.

    [​IMG]

    Dan
     
  38. GeorgeC

    GeorgeC En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Joined the type club and yahoo groups, talked to some locals, sat in one and made engine sounds, so far so good. Need to line up some dual.
     
  39. ClimbnSink

    ClimbnSink Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Need a cheap hook talk to a rigger and learn how a three ring works. Hang and paraglider tow folks make them where all three things are fabric. Not stc'd of course but you could tie to the tail ring and call it a non attached accessory.
     
  40. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Thing is, you can retard the timing on that car to keep it from snapping back, and even then broken arms and wrists were not uncommon. Planes have no such facility.