Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Piston Singles Buyer's Guide 2013
You want it, you got it: trainers, cross-country haulers, bush planes and more!
Stu Horn's Husky is a kind of super bush bird, fitted with 180 hp for max performance and maximum lifting capability. Better yet, the Husky doesn't need much space for departure and arrival. Just as the Christen Eagle homebuilt was an updated version of the Pitts S2A, the Husky is an improved variation on the Super Cub. As a result, the Husky can make its own runways on muskeg, deserts, water or snow. Price: $218,262.
The Pitts can do virtually every maneuver required in aerobatic competition, and it can train aspiring acro pilots all the way up through the unlimited class. Perhaps the best feature of a Pitts is that it feels almost like an extension of your thoughts. Pretty much any maneuver you can imagine, the Pitts can do. The S2C has only about 28 gallons of fuel capacity with 260 hp to feed, so it's definitely not a cross-country airplane. Aviat doesn't build S2Cs on a scheduled basis, but the airplane is still technically in production, and they will build one to your specifications. Ask for a current price when ordering.
The Top Cub is the modern successor to the Piper Super Cub. Certified at 2300 pounds gross, a full 550 pounds more than the Piper edition, the Top Cub represents some dramatic improvements in practically every performance parameter. Engine power jumps from 150 to 180 hp, fuel supply increases from 37 to 50 gallons, useful load improves from 767 to 11,00 pounds, baggage capacity leaps to 205 pounds, the gear is now three inches taller, seats are Oregon Aero and the restraint system now complies with the FAA's 26 G rule. You get the idea. Price: $219,935.
A purpose-built airplane, the Expedition has a wide-body fuselage that sports an uncommon four doors for access to its four seats. The cabin spans 52 inches in the aft seats, giving the airplane plenty of space for people, cargo, a moose carcass or whatever else you can imagine. The Expedition's big wing and 315 hp Lycoming engine allow the airplane a useful load in excess of 1,500 pounds and a payload of 900 pounds, plus a cruise of 158 knots in normally aspirated configuration, 170 knots with turbocharging, impressive for a four-seater. Adaptable to bush tires, floats, skis or amphibious operation, the Expedition comes as close as you can come to a go-anywhere, do-anything airplane. A tailwheel version is certified and should be on the market sometime this year. Prices: $565,000 (normally-aspirated); $595,000 (turbo).
The Extra family of aerobatic aircraft is almost universally regarded as among the most agile, best handling airplanes of their kind. There are a number of varying configurations with mid-wings and low-wings mounted on single seat or two seat fuselages. Horsepower varies from 300 (with the Lycoming AEIO-540 engine) to 315 (Lycoming AEIO-580) with an improved prop, but aerobatic capability remains exceptional with either powerplant. The 300LT is designed specifically for a combination of aerobatics and cross-country travel. All Extras can climb at well over 3,000 fpm and cruise at 170 knots. Prices: 330LT (two-seat touring) $438,000; 330LX (hard- core, two-seat aerobatic) $407,500; 330SC (hard-core single) $428,000; 300L (basic two-seat) $368,500.
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