Searching for Bear Metal
After an absence of many years, I’m starting to fly again and am looking to buy a homebuilt, already built. I learned to fly in Cubs, so that’s what I’m in the market for, in the LSA category. I don’t like the idea of leaving a fabric-covered airplane outside, and don’t want to pay the $4000 yearly rate for local hangar space. The perfect solution would be an all-metal airplane that I could tie down outside, for rates that range from $25 to $85 per month. The problem is, the type of airplane I want does not seem to exist. When I ask pilots and mechanics why there is no tandem, two-seater, high-wing that is all metal, they give me quick answers, and then, as they think it out, they too wonder. The Cessna L-19 Bird Dog is the look I’m after, but with about half the horsepower. Why do you think there’s no such kit plane available, or, for that matter, no such certified airplane available in the LSA category or even heavier? Or maybe there is, and I’m not aware of it? I’ve got the dough, just tell me where to go.
P.S. It occurs to me that this might be an idea for an article. Why don’t you, or someone, query all of the likely kit plane manufacturers as to why they don’t offer such an airplane? In addition to non-professional designers, I did talk to one kit manufacturer; he said that people who want to buy such airplanes would prefer that the fuselage structure be steel tube truss for strength and relatively easy repairability, to which I countered that people who would want such an all-metal airplane might not necessarily want it for bush-type flying, and in any case, there is the L-19 example of a fairly sturdy design in semi-monocoque fuselage structure. Also, the Cessna 180 and 185 variations are certainly still considered to be bush planes, along with the DeHavilland Beaver, etc. Really, this would be a good article to think about doing.
Well, there are some metal, LSA-legal homebuilts out there; Zenith Aircraft and Van’s Aircraft come to mind. However, the Zenith high-wing designs don’t have tandem seating, and the Van’s LSA design (RV-12) has a low wing and side-by-side seating (and these don’t look like Cubs). Texas Sport Aircraft makes a Cub-alike, but it uses tube and fabric with a bit of fiberglass. The Avipro Bearhawk Patrol’s gross weight is too high to have it qualify as an LSA. Readers?-Ed.
To Dick Starks: Just finished your “Bump Dummy” article in the July issue. Excellent-as always. I will make some inquiries at Oshkosh. If you, Sharon and the other stalwarts of The Dawn Patrol are there, I hope to meet you and look over your WW-I aircraft.
First, let me say that we love your magazine and are longtime subscribers. My husband just posted the sweetest blog post about you publishing our Completion (Velocity XL, August), and how it was extra special because your magazine was his first inspiration. We then got comments from people we do not even know about how he inspired them. How wonderful is that? Thank you for a great publication. Keep inspiring!
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