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New guy from WI

PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 4:55 pm
by TaterTot
Hello everyone! Newly minted private pilot in central WI and I'd like to introduce myself. My wife and I have considered buying an older Stinson with 180 or 220 hp. We really like the classic look of it, load carrying capability, and STOL characterisctics with the higher horsepower engines. However, as I learn more about aifcraft ownership, I'm really turned off by all of the regulations and costs that goes along with owning a certified aircraft, especially an older 1940's aircraft.

We've shifted gears and are strongly considering building a Highlander or Super Stol. We try to get to EAA every year and my wife has been hynotized with the SS ever since Just Aircraft came out with them years ago. The ultrafield is the first place she wants to go to watch the Super Stols do their takeoff and landing demos. I really like them too and I'm attracted to the idea of being able to maintain my own aircraft and knowing it inside and out. We're considering a trip to the factory in South Carolina to get a demo ride, or I've heard there may be a dealer in North Carolina?

I really appreciate this forum for all of the info, and experiences people are willing to share, be it good or bad. I'm looking forward to learning much more!

Wausau, WI

Re: New guy from WI

PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 7:27 pm
by RV6
Need to call Billy Payne 828 557 4833 Brass Town NC You will Love IT..
He is THE Dealer with all you need :D :D :D
John McMahon

Re: New guy from WI

PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 7:37 pm
by BDA
X2 For Billy

Re: New guy from WI

PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 7:46 pm
by ja30driver
Great choice in the approach to avoidance of certified aircraft.
The costs of parts is much more expensive and generally they are a PITA when they are that old.
I've owned a 1962 C310G and a 1977 172M and both amazed me at the exhoribitant costs of even very simple items like plugs, battery.... avionics... you name it. Once I had to replace the air box and it was $1,475 just for the box... CRAZY!
I'm sure parts for that Stinson are scarce and higher than giraffe butt!


GREAT CHOICE! Go anywhere, carry most anything, fun to fly.... true "head turning" airplanes with a very proven track record.
I'd "buy one" personally rather than build one but that's because there is no way I have the time or the patience to embark on a project of that magnitude and expect that I'd ever finish.... plus there are some guys who are highly experienced SS/Highlander builders who are true craftsmen of their trade! I could never match the quality of their builds!

I can personally recommend a builder but won't do that here publically because that's a conversation I'd rather keep private.... but I'm sure they are all really great! If your really on the bandwagon.... go to Billy Payne's Plane Fun Fly-In on Labor Day weekend in Brasstown, NC. You''ll get all the valuable info you need to knowledgeably decide on a Just if you haven't already done something by then.... he will probably have one or two for sale right there!

Good Luck!,,,

Re: New guy from WI

PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:34 am
by TaterTot
Thanks a bunch guys, I absolutely appreciate all of the insight and suggestions. My wife and I are really looking forward to EAA this year and getting addition info from the folks from Just Aircraft and other owners.

Re: New guy from WI

PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 1:46 pm
by Tralika
It sounds like you have already decided against buying a Stinson but since I'm a former 108-2 owner and am now building a Highlander I thought I'd pass some of my experiences. Stinsons are really nice airplanes, very easy to fly, I don't think you'll find a more forgiving taildragger. I bought mine when I had about three or four hundred hours total time and did my tail-dragger training in it. I tell people that plane taught me how to fly. I flew my plane both on and off airport here in Alaska as well as one trip to California and back. The Stinsons are far from being a STOL aircraft. Even with the Lycoming or Continental conversions it just will not fly slow enough for real STOL operations. I flew my plane into some pretty tight spots. I landed in a few places that I wished I hadn't. I always got back out but never went back. My plane had the 165 hp Franklin engine but I've flown Stinsons with the 220 hp Continental. In my opinion the 220 is not a good fit for the Stinson air-frame. I think it's too heavy, it uses too much fuel and you really have to pull back the power to keep the plane under the 153mph Vne. The 180 Lycoming is a better, lighter than the Franklin, more power and uses less fuel. The fuel injected Lycoming 200hp engine is STC'd for the 108-3 and would be the gold standard as far as I'm concerned. Even more power and no carburetor. The bad news is that if you convert the engine in a Stinson you are joining the "More Money Than Sense" club. I looked into it when I had my plane. By the time your done you'll have so much money in the plane you could have bought a C-180. Maintaining a Stinson, assuming you an find a mechanic that knows tube and fabric planes in general or better yet, has first hand experience with Stinsons, is no more expensive than any other airplane. New parts are available from Univair and while expensive, for the most part they are less than parts from Cessna.

The difference between an experimental and an older certified plane, it's less money to buy the certified plane but you pay as you go maintaining it. With an experimental you pay up front both in cash and time to build and then in theory it's cheaper to maintain, assuming you have a repairman's certificate. Keep in mind it's a good idea to get an A&P or other experienced person to help you with the annual condition inspections. Another thing to consider is that since you are a new pilot you need to plan how you will maintain your flying skills while you build. However long you think it's going to take you to build your kit, double it and add 20 percent and you'll be getting close. If you stop flying during the build process you should expect your flying skills to deteriorate significantly. You'll need additional training before you'll be safe to fly again. I'm also a CFI and I've worked with many pilots who have not flown for a long periods. It's not like they are starting over but it's close.

Good luck,
John N.

Re: New guy from WI

PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 5:52 pm
by moving2time
Bill, I am also a newer pilot with about 150 hrs to date. Last year was a total bust starting in April when we discovered while going through the 2016 annual that my engine needed work on a 1946 J3 Cub I purchased in August of 2015 . I purchased the Cub to build up my tail hours while I save to build the Highlander I really want to be flying. The decision on the certified Cub was based on believing that the certified Cub would be a better short term investment than an experimental when it comes time to sell the Cub.

2016 was a complete bust as I spent the entire year hunting for parts that are so over priced it hurts to write the check and that is if and when you can find them. In my opinion the whole idea of certified is a joke because although as the owner you can be held liable for anything that the FAA might find not up to regulations on the aircraft while it appears that no one else is liable for anything they have done or say they had done. It turned out that there were more lies in my maintenance log books than there was truth. The engine was documented to have less than 300 hours since a major overhaul in 2008 but we found that it looked like the engine had not been touched in forever. There was a hole in the case behind one of the mags, cracks in the cylinders, cam that looked original considering the engine had less than 300 hours on it. It seems that much of the aircraft maintenance world is corrupt and I believe that it has sunk to these low practices because the costs of maintaining and parts is so crazy that everyone feels that it is OK to lie and cheat on the books. The regulations prevent you from doing anything to the engine or air frame no matter how sound and logical it may seem if it isn't in the FAA type documents. After dealing with this ordeal I believe I would have been better off buying an experimental that would have done the job just as well and probably had better performance with just as much confidence as I originally thought the certified AIRCRAFT would provide me.

I will finally get my Cub back into the air in a couple weeks when the weather allows after nearly a year of frustrating and expensive work. The only good news that I have regarding this purchase is that when I go to sell it in the Fall it will have a completely documented nearly complete rebuild of the engine which should help me when it comes to selling the Cub in the Fall when I hope to buy a Highlander kit and start building through the winter. I hope to put between 70 and 100 hours on the Cub this year while I only logged a few hours on the Cub in 2016. Knowing I have been away for a while I did get some refresh instruction time in a Husky which is the closest thing I could find to a Cub in the area. Clearly not everyone in aviation has resorted to lying on their logs and/or cutting corners in their maintenance but the fact that there are clearly some out there that have done so sours my opinion of certified aircraft. I have seen more attention to detail in the experimental world than I ever expected. Some people clearly are not up to the challenge but most seem to complete very fine sound aircraft.

Perhaps I have just been burned and my opinion is ill founded but I have seen enough experimental aircraft in my 150 or so hours to see that experimental aircraft have a lot to offer over certified aircraft. Several experienced pilots my local EAA group have purchased completed experimental aircraft and put hundreds of hours on them. Of course all of this is just my limited experience opinion. Good Luck Joe B

Re: New guy from WI

PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 6:54 pm
by AV8R Paul
I had exactly the same experience with my Cessna 120. Nothing good to say about the log book entries or the actual repairs. There are some A&P that must have gotten them by stealing someone else's AP Log book entries. I purchased a Kitfox SLSA, and I'm planning on selling it to get a SuperSTOL.

Re: New guy from WI

PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 7:39 pm
by mnwinger
Hey Bill,

As a non-pilot, I finished my Challenger II build 8 years ago, learned to fly in it, and received my sport pilot license in it. Currently flying it out of Osceola, WI. Best experience of my life. When I fly, I highly value all of the knowledge that I gained during the build. It's also great to be able to customize it to your liking. Starting a Highlander build this summer. Can't wait for the upgrade :D


Re: New guy from WI

PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 8:58 pm
by Tralika
Buyer Beware! It's sad to say but Joe's experience is all too common. When buying a plane, certified or experimental, it's up to the buyer to verify what's in the log books. You start with the aircraft records maintained by the FAA in OK City. Then run the N number through the NTSB data base. The most important thing is a pre-purchase inspection. This should NEVER be done by the mechanic that has been maintaining the aircraft or even knows the seller. Find a picky, no nonsense IA that is knowledgeable on the air-frame and have him do an Annual Inspection or Condition Inspection. Let the IA that you will want him to sign off the Annual if you buy the aircraft. If problems are found during the inspection that the seller won't correct and you don't want to accept, then don't buy the plane. You will have to pay for the inspection, and that can be expensive, but cheap at twice the price over buying a plane with lots of problems. NEVER-EVER buy a plane and accept a "Fresh Annual" from the seller. Assume the plane is a basket case until proven otherwise.

Re: New guy from WI

PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2017 10:16 am
by alan
Hi guys.

In reading John Nealon''s first post I saw him say that you can maintain your experimental aircraft as long as you have the repairman certificate.

The only thing that certificate is good for is the annual condition inspection. Anybody at all can do any kind of work on any experimental aircraft and it is up to the owner to log it and determine if it is airworthy aferwards.

The annual can be conducted by an A&P if the holder of the repairman certificate is not available.

Just a heads up.

Alan (716 hours and almost 11 years on my Highlander)

Re: New guy from WI

PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2017 12:44 pm
by TaterTot
Thanks again to everyone who has provided input.

I'm looking into a local flying cub right now and will be checking the plane out next week. From what I've heard from other local pilots it is suppose to be a good plane and their prices are very economical campared to renting from the FBO. So if everything works out with that, I'll maintain my skills by flying the club plane while we are building. I definitely do not want to loose the skills I've developed up to this point. I think the big thing will be balancing time building, flying the club plane, and dealing with everything else life throws at a guy! But, I'm excited and looking forward to it.

I also think it will be easier to stay motivated with all of the support from all the folks on this forum. I've received so many public and private messages from people wanting to offer their input, share experiences, and even invites to stop buy and see their projects. It's very encouraging!


Re: New guy from WI

PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 11:25 pm
by av8rps
Welcome to the group Bill. This is a great bunch.

I can attest to the certified aircraft ownership cost issues as I own a certified factory built aircraft in addition to a homebuilt.. It is mind blowing sometimes what certified production aircraft manufacturers can get away with, not only in costs for parts needed, but also in mandatory parts or components replacements known as Airworthiness Directives. If it were an automobile it would be known as a Recall, and the manufacturer would foot the bill. But in factory built aircraft, when they make a mandatory Airworthiness Directive (recall) you either do it or you turn your aircraft into a lawn ornament. And you pay the price, which is whatever they feel like charging. I once paid 10 grand for a 2 lb box of 24 bolts and 4 very simple to make flat metal straps, for a problem that never existed. So if cash is down they just condemn their own product and the $$ start flowing in! The owners have no real choice in the matter. It truly is like they have a license to steal, and they aren't bashful about using it... (ok enough of that).

I own a Highlander and love it so much that I bought another Highlander project a while ago. Unfortunately I've been too busy lately to do much with any of my planes, but one day I'm hoping that will change. In the meantime, if you want to see and touch a Highlander, I base my plane at the Wausau airport. I'd be happy to show it to you.


Re: New guy from WI

PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 12:43 pm
by marl59
Hi Bill,
I look at this forum every day at my break time at work and have learned quite a bit from all of the great people that contribute. As an owner of a 1959 Bonanza and having bought a Highlander a year and a half ago I can echo all of the comments posted so far about the difference between certificated and Experimental aircraft ownership. If I had to give up my travel airplane or my low and slow fun airplane for cost of ownership reasons alone the Bonanza would be in Trade-A-Plane tomorrow. Sounds like you have the skills deterioration problem solved which is fantastic. Anyway, welcome to the highly maneuverable world of low and slow fun! I would suggest taking anyone in your area that offers a flight in their Highlander up on the offer from time to time to keep you motivated! Hats off to you for wanting to embark on the journey of building your own airplane!!