Airplane selection opinions

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Re: Airplane selection opinions

Postby drseti » Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:44 pm

Sundancer wrote: I see 'em with a variety of engines, from Jabiru to Rotax to Continentals.


As an E-AB, I've seen them with many diffetent engines. Two of my students recently got licensed in CH-601s, one with a Jabiru 3300, the other with a Corvair engine. The SLSA version (or Stan's, which is a SLSA re-licensed as an ELSA) was equipped only with a Continental O200.
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Re: Airplane selection opinions

Postby Scooper » Tue Jan 14, 2020 5:27 pm

Sundancer wrote:
Scooper wrote:I've been a Varga Kachina fan for decades; it's like an affordable fixed gear Beech T-34. When Brian and Carol converted my Zodiac to experimental I got a close look at one of theirs.

Curious about your Zodiac - engine, handling? The odd "Y" stick (I'm guessing you get used to it quickly and it's not an issue?) There are a LOT of models/variations. I see then fairly regularly on Barnstormers, Controller, etc. My impression is it may be easy to maintain? I see 'em with a variety of engines, from Jabiru to Rotax to Continentals.

I really like the Zodiac. Mine has the dual stick option (which I also like), but friends have the "Y" stick which they say makes entrance and exit easier without the stick getting in the way. Personally, I've never felt the stick between my legs to be a problem. I flew aero club T-34s with sticks when I was in the Air Force and prefer them to control wheels, but have owned a C150 and a C172 with control wheels so my preference for sticks isn't exclusive. My Zodiac is an SLSA manufactured by AMD and has the "B" structural upgrade that was done by an FAA certified repair station. I converted it to experimental so I could maintain it myself, and it's a very easy airplane to maintain. The cowling between the firewall and the instrument panel is easily removable with machine screws for access behind the instrument panel to get to wiring, pitot-static tubing, etc., and there's a large hinged access panel in the fuselage aft belly big enough to get your whole upper body inside for maintenance.

The handling is responsive but stable, and I describe it in terms of the way automobiles I'm familiar with handle. The Zodiac is like my Porsche 914-6 compared to a Cessna 172 which handles more like a Chevy sedan.

The Zodiac isn't an aerobatic airplane, so if that's something you want you'll have to look elsewhere. As far as powerplants are concerned, the CH601XL was designed to accommodate a wide range of engines and Zenith supplies engine mount drawings for several popular engines. Personally, I'd avoid auto conversions with reduction gearing. My airplane is a 601XLi (the "i" is for IFR certified) and came from the factory with an O-200-A which is a 14 CFR Part 33 certificated engine. The O-200 is heavy, which limits useful load. If you want to carry full fuel and a passenger, I think a Rotax 912 is the way to go.

BTW, decades ago I visited Ladislao Pazmany at his home in San Diego and spent a couple of hours with him. I had purchased the plans for the PL-1, but when the PL-2 came out that was a little bigger and aesthetically more attractive, I called him and he invited me to visit. I left with a set of PL-2 plans (which I still have somewhere).
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Re: Airplane selection opinions

Postby Scooper » Tue Jan 14, 2020 6:47 pm

drseti wrote:
Sundancer wrote: I see 'em with a variety of engines, from Jabiru to Rotax to Continentals.


As an E-AB, I've seen them with many different engines. Two of my students recently got licensed in CH-601s, one with a Jabiru 3300, the other with a Corvair engine. The SLSA version (or Stan's, which is a SLSA re-licensed as an ELSA) was equipped only with a Continental O200.

Paul, I somehow missed your post. Great summary!

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Re: Airplane selection opinions

Postby Sundancer » Fri Jan 17, 2020 3:06 pm

Scooper wrote:
Sundancer wrote:
Scooper wrote:I've been a Varga Kachina fan for decades; it's like an affordable fixed gear Beech T-34. When Brian and Carol converted my Zodiac to experimental I got a close look at one of theirs.

Curious about your Zodiac - engine, handling? The odd "Y" stick (I'm guessing you get used to it quickly and it's not an issue?) There are a LOT of models/variations. I see then fairly regularly on Barnstormers, Controller, etc. My impression is it may be easy to maintain? I see 'em with a variety of engines, from Jabiru to Rotax to Continentals.

I really like the Zodiac. Mine has the dual stick option (which I also like), but friends have the "Y" stick which they say makes entrance and exit easier without the stick getting in the way. Personally, I've never felt the stick between my legs to be a problem. I flew aero club T-34s with sticks when I was in the Air Force and prefer them to control wheels, but have owned a C150 and a C172 with control wheels so my preference for sticks isn't exclusive. My Zodiac is an SLSA manufactured by AMD and has the "B" structural upgrade that was done by an FAA certified repair station. I converted it to experimental so I could maintain it myself, and it's a very easy airplane to maintain. The cowling between the firewall and the instrument panel is easily removable with machine screws for access behind the instrument panel to get to wiring, pitot-static tubing, etc., and there's a large hinged access panel in the fuselage aft belly big enough to get your whole upper body inside for maintenance.

The handling is responsive but stable, and I describe it in terms of the way automobiles I'm familiar with handle. The Zodiac is like my Porsche 914-6 compared to a Cessna 172 which handles more like a Chevy sedan.

The Zodiac isn't an aerobatic airplane, so if that's something you want you'll have to look elsewhere. As far as powerplants are concerned, the CH601XL was designed to accommodate a wide range of engines and Zenith supplies engine mount drawings for several popular engines. Personally, I'd avoid auto conversions with reduction gearing. My airplane is a 601XLi (the "i" is for IFR certified) and came from the factory with an O-200-A which is a 14 CFR Part 33 certificated engine. The O-200 is heavy, which limits useful load. If you want to carry full fuel and a passenger, I think a Rotax 912 is the way to go.

BTW, decades ago I visited Ladislao Pazmany at his home in San Diego and spent a couple of hours with him. I had purchased the plans for the PL-1, but when the PL-2 came out that was a little bigger and aesthetically more attractive, I called him and he invited me to visit. I left with a set of PL-2 plans (which I still have somewhere).

Thanks, much appreciated! I'll dig into research on the Zodiac; I already see it's a bit complicated, between models, and factory vs kit, etc., and a bit of controversy concerning flutter/control cable rigging from one model. Regarding the Pazmany, there was one on Barnstormers recently, in the mid-west, I think. It looked familiar, and I saw it had been in Maryland before that, at a significantly lower price point. Still, I should have called the seller - they just don't appear too often, and are more common in Europe. I've more-or-less settled on Lycoming, Continenental, or Rotax (912) for power. Eliminates the cute, but VW powered Thatcher. I'm lucky enough to be getting a fam flight soon in a Thorp T-211 as well as a LongEZ, though the LongEZ is probably not the airplane I'll settle on.

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Re: Airplane selection opinions

Postby Scooper » Fri Jan 17, 2020 5:05 pm

Sundancer wrote:Regarding the Pazmany, there was one on Barnstormers recently, in the mid-west, I think. It looked familiar, and I saw it had been in Maryland before that, at a significantly lower price point. Still, I should have called the seller - they just don't appear too often, and are more common in Europe. I've more-or-less settled on Lycoming, Continenental, or Rotax (912) for power. Eliminates the cute, but VW powered Thatcher. I'm lucky enough to be getting a fam flight soon in a Thorp T-211 as well as a LongEZ, though the LongEZ is probably not the airplane I'll settle on.

There's a 1969 PL-2 with retractable gear posted on airplanemart.com priced at $12,950, but it needs a little work (gear check, seats, nav light lenses, and inspection). The photos look nice (I had to click on the photos to see them). I know nothing about this airplane; I just Googled "Pazmany PL-2 For Sale" and the ad, placed on January 14, popped up. Caveat Emptor.

http://www.airplanemart.com/aircraft-for-sale/Experimental-Homebuilt/1969-Pazmany-PL-2-Retractable/9243/
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Re: Airplane selection opinions

Postby Sundancer » Sat Jan 18, 2020 1:16 pm

Much obliged - reached out last night, hopefully will hear back soon. Did some reading about the O-290G that's in the PL-2 in the ad, the ground power unit conversion. Looks viable, though not widely used any longer. Appears the O-320 is preferred now, but not a show-stopper for me. I'm old enough to remember those when I was a USAF avionics guy in the early seventies. They were being phased out for turbine units then, I believe.

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Re: Airplane selection opinions

Postby designrs » Sat Jan 18, 2020 7:15 pm

Fokker Dr.I: This might qualify for Light Sport, be fun to fly... and definitely something that you don’t see every day. Aerobatic capable and flown by the Red Baron! :lol:

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Re: Airplane selection opinions

Postby Sundancer » Sat Jan 18, 2020 7:33 pm

Might be tough to tie down outside!

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Re: Airplane selection opinions

Postby Scooper » Sat Jan 18, 2020 9:45 pm

But the castor oil used for lubricating the Oberursel rotary engine in the Dr.I burned and escaped through the exhaust and had a laxative effect on the poor pilot. :oops:
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Re: Airplane selection opinions

Postby FastEddieB » Sun Jan 19, 2020 9:26 am

As an aside, Charles Darwin’s historic Fokker Triplane flight was commemorated thusly at our N GA home, now at our E TN digs:

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Re: Airplane selection opinions

Postby drseti » Sun Jan 19, 2020 10:01 am

That's most appropriate. We all know how, in his "Origin of Specious," Darwin wrote about the evolution of biplane into triplane, and then ultimately into monoplane. Natural selection at its finest!
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Re: Airplane selection opinions

Postby Scooper » Tue Jan 28, 2020 4:13 pm

Another thought, especially since you mentioned how impressed you are with the SF-260, is that you consider an F.8L Falco. The design is by Stelio Frati, the same guy who designed the SF-260, and it is a hoot to fly. It's fully aerobatic.

Construction is wood, but personally I don't see that as a liability. Used Falcos are often on the market for $50k - $100k.

https://www.airliners.net/photo/Untitled/Sequoia-F-8L-Falco/1883318
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Re: Airplane selection opinions

Postby Sundancer » Tue Jan 28, 2020 4:30 pm

Beautiful airplanes, and I saw one on Barnstormers recently; but, I've no access to a hangar, and in the DC Metro area, not much chance of renting one at a price I can afford, or a location that's close enough. My assumption is a wood airplane should be hangared . . .

As I advance in my search, I'm narrowing down to aluminum (or composite), proper airplane engine, still supported (Lyc, Cont, Rotax 912), low wing, canopy & Stick, and I'd like some acro capability. I may have to relent some on the acro, at least for "approved" for acro.


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