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Thread: Older Aircraft

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Question Older Aircraft

    Hi All,

    I've been on before, but have a different type of question this time around.

    I'm looking to just get into recreational aerobatics (for now) and wondering about the age of some aircraft available on the market. I'd love to have Decathlon to use for cross-country flights and the occasional loop/roll/hammerhead, but the fact is they are part of an aging fleet. Quite frankly, they are the most comfortable for me as far as price range goes. Who wouldn't want a Super-D, but I have to be realistic right now.

    Let's leave off the discussion of wood wings vs. metal wings for now (on the Bellancas) as I've hashed that out enough.

    What are your thoughts on aerobatic aircraft (such as the Citabrias, Decathlons, etc.) that are now pushing 30+ years old? Still a trustworthy mount? Of course, maintenance and any damage history would factor in.

    Thanks!
    Casey

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    New Hampshire
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    My Pitts S-2A left the factory in 1974. Just went through its second rebuild. I fly to +6G and -3G almost every flight. I compete at the IAC Intermediate level.

    All aerobatic aircraft benefit from the owner spending quality time looking at the innards on a regular basis. This especially applies to older aircraft. If you know the nuts and bolts of your airplane, you can fly with confidence.

    Have fun.

    Wes
    N78PS

  3. #3
    bigdog's Avatar
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    Aug 2011
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    Maintenance is the issue not age. Age only allows the effects of no/poor maintenance to accumulate and eat into the safety margin. The wood wing Citabria is an example. If the nails come loose and the ribs float long enough they can damage the spar enough to be an issue. Nothing wrong with it if you maintain it. I had a 1974 7KCAB and enjoyed it for 650 hours. Same kind of issue with rust inside the struts on almost any high wing. A good pre-buy becomes more critical as the airplane gets older and the mission more demanding, like akro. That way you are confident of your starting point.
    Regards,
    Greg Young
    1950 Navion N5221K
    RV-6 N6GY - 90% done, 90% to go
    3.5 L-2 projects

  4. #4
    Banned
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    Feb 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigdog View Post
    Maintenance is the issue not age. Age only allows the effects of no/poor maintenance to accumulate and eat into the safety margin. The wood wing Citabria is an example. If the nails come loose and the ribs float long enough they can damage the spar enough to be an issue. Nothing wrong with it if you maintain world of warplanes. I had a 1974 7KCAB and enjoyed it for 650 hours. Same kind of issue with rust inside the struts on almost any high wing. A good pre-buy becomes more critical as the airplane gets older and the mission more demanding, like akro. That way you are confident of your starting point.
    I totally agree,maintenance is the most important
    Last edited by Kaitlyn; 03-05-2012 at 10:40 PM.

  5. #5
    prasmussen's Avatar
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    Build your own; you will know every bolt and rivet. If you want a job done right........ Small decisions like painting the tubing white so I can see cracks will make me feel better about throwing this airplane around in the sky. Just a suggestion. The fact that I've been building mine forever, it seems, is the down side. Best of luck!.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by kchansen View Post
    Let's leave off the discussion of wood wings vs. metal wings for now (on the Bellancas) as I've hashed that out enough.

    What are your thoughts on aerobatic aircraft (such as the Citabrias, Decathlons, etc.) that are now pushing 30+ years old? Still a trustworthy mount?
    Absolutely! These airplanes are pretty simple and there isn't much that can't be refurbished to like new condition. Maintaining an aging aircraft is all about inspecting. Once you get familiar with the type you'll be able to locate and address issues long before safety is compromised in any way.

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