What’s Old is New Again- Great Lakes Aircraft Back in Production

What’s Old is New Again- Great Lakes Aircraft Back in Production

By Jason Erdkamp

Notice the beautiful lines and massive rudder, wouldn't you just love to try to loop her?

Notice the beautiful lines and massive rudder, wouldn't you just love to take her for a spin around the patch?

We’ve seen the Retro-Modern resurgence in the last few years. An example is the return of the muscle cars with retrospective Mustangs, Cameros, and Challengers eyeing the past, but living the future in new designs. The soul of 1920’s Aviation now returns for a revisit with the just announced FAA Type Certified, Factory New Production of the Great Lakes Biplane by the Waco Classic Aircraft Corporation of Battle Creek, Michigan. Original production in 1929 produced only 264 airframes as the crash of 29’ hit. Resurrected once previously in 1978 with FAA certified production continuing through 1985 with 150 and 180HP Lycoming variants. The early ones had Warner Scarab radial engines. It was even the world record holder for consecutive outside loops in an airplane: 124 loops in 124 minutes!

I had the pleasure of flying our restored factory built aircraft. It was amazing to discover a whole new niche of aviation I’d never been exposed to before. I had flown over 40 different aircraft types, but never an open cockpit biplane. Your mind carries you back into the golden age, when to fly a plane you were called an Aviator, as the term pilot is simply for those who drove slow boats. I got checked out in it with only about three flights around the pattern, the Oleo strut landing gear was a first for me in a taildragger, and quite a modern feature for a 1920’s design.  The oversized rudder provides instant ground control and immediate yaw authority inflight. In the 2T-1A-2 variant with the 180HP Aerobatic Lycoming engine, 4 ailerons provide a sporty roll rate with decisive corrections.

Our fearless author, with leather cap and goggles adorned  flying his Great Lakes over the Long Beach Harbor

Our fearless author, with leather cap and goggles adorned flying his Great Lakes over the Long Beach Harbor

Living in Southern California it was a treat that summer to depart Long Beach Airport and within a few minutes I was flying with Pacific Coast Highway off my wingtip. The locals along the beach would look up at the yellow biplane and I’d wag the wings now and then in salute. A few minutes after landing I typically had a few airport friends stop by the hangar and admire the new plane, and usually made new friends with it as word spread about the fresh yellow and black biplane over at our hangar.

My last flight was on a crisp December 23rd morning. I departed a little after 7AM and climbed to 4,500 feet where the outside air temps hovered slightly below freezing. Leather jacket, chrome rimmed goggles, and a familiar old flying cap accompanied me along the mountain ridges north of Los Angeles. I paused a few moments to take a few pictures of my old Great Lakes. Few airplanes in my life have provided me the absolute pleasure of flight.

With the new production I am excited to see the new materials and processes that take a legend and move it forward. The dedicated folks at Waco Classic expect to have the new aircraft ready this spring for release at Sun-n-Fun. If you make it down to Florida I’ll probably see you there. I’ll be the guy hogging the seat time in the new aircraft on display.

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January 2011 Obit – Piper Sport and CSA Sport Cruiser

By Norm Goyer

The Czech CZAW Sport Cruiser was introduced in 2006. Many are being flown around the world.

The Czech CZAW Sport Cruiser was introduced in 2006. Many are being flown around the world.

I would like to thank Wikipedia for the technical information regarding both aircraft. NG

Hopefully you have read this week’s Under the Radar where we explain Piper has opted out of their arrangement with CSA Sport Cruiser. These are basically the same aircraft and are rated high in the LSA category as good airplanes and a good price. True? Could be, could not be. Let’s look at the press and flight reviews that these Czech designs have received. We will start with the Czech Sport Aircraft Sport Cruiser which has been available from 2006 until 2010. Then it was rebranded as a Piper Sport which was available from 2010 to 2011. Neither aircraft are currently available.

The two aircraft are basically the same airplane with minor changes to the Piper version.

The two aircraft are basically the same airplane with minor changes to the Piper version.

The CZAW (CAS)  Sport Cruiser is a fixed wing aircraft with side-by-side seating, single engine, tricycle landing gear, aircraft. The construction is all aluminum with a low wing configuration. It can be powered with either a 100 hp Rotax 912ULS or a 120 hp Jabiru 3300 engine. A variety of approved propellers include: Woodcomp SR3000 2 and 3 blade, Woodcomp Classic 3 blade and Sensenich 2 blade with nickel leading edge.

The SportCruiser was initially (optional) available with a Ballistic Recovery Systems parachute, auto pilot and Dynon or TruTrak EFIS. The aircraft is capable of cruise at 133 mph (115 knots) with a range of 630 statute miles. On a no wind day, gross weight takeoff is achieved in 350 ft and landing in 400 ft. The Sport Cruiser fits either an ultralight or microlight category in several countries as well as the USA‘s Light-Sport Aircraft category. Between 2006 and 2010 it was available either as a kit, or as a fully built production model. The Sport Cruiser is accepted as a US,  FAA LSA, an FAA homebuilt kit and accepted as home-built kit in the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the U.K.

The Cessna 162 SkyCatcher was Piper's main competition for flying school aircraft. The Cessna has a Continental engine while the Piper has a Rotax.

The Cessna 162 SkyCatcher was Piper's main competition for flying school aircraft. The Cessna has a Continental engine while the Piper has a Rotax.

Piper Aircraft needed an LSA to compete with the new Cessna 162. On January 21, 2010 Piper Aircraft announced that they had licensed a version of the Sport Cruiser and will market it as the Piper Sport. Piper’s CEO, Kevin Gould, said: “The Piper Sport is an amazing entry-level aircraft that will bring new customers into Piper and lead the way for those customers to step up into more sophisticated and higher performance aircraft within our line over time.” Many top aircraft writers and editors flew the new Piper Sport and found that it was a decent airplane, some loved it, others approved of its quality, a few had minor complaints about some aspects of its handling.

In January of 2010 Piper announced that the Sport is a minimally modified version of the existing CZAW Sport  Cruiser and will continue to be manufactured by Czech Sport Aircraft, with Piper’s manufacturing operation playing no part in the construction, although Piper will distribute parts. The changes to the aircraft are stronger nose gear, an optional Ballistic Recovery Systems parachute and leather interior, both as standard equipment. The sport Cruiser also includes a cockpit sunshade and modified pitch controls, plus a custom paint scheme. Previously the Sport Cruiser was available as a completed aircraft or a kit, but Piper will offer it only as a completed aircraft, sold as a Special Light-sport aircraft (LSA) in the USA. It will be distributed by the Piper dealer network worldwide. Deliveries under the Piper name commenced with the initial customer receiving their aircraft on April 13, 2010 at Sun ‘n Fun. The aircraft is offered in three different trim and avionics configurations, with higher end models offering the Dynon D100 glass cockpit and autopilot. All models will be equipped with the Rotax 912S engine of 100 hp. I also believe that Cessna’s use of a Continental 100-hp engine is a far better choice than the Rotax. The Rotax is an excellent engine but the 100-hp Continental certainly has a well deserved reputation as well. Incidentally, Continental was recently bought out by the Chinese government.

Maybe it is time for Piper to dust off, lighten up and ditch the T'tail of the Tomahawk, it might make a very nice LSA aircraft for Piper, one that is a real Piper and not a rebranded Czech airplane.

Maybe it is time for Piper to dust off, lighten up and ditch the T'tail of the Tomahawk, it might make a very nice LSA aircraft for Piper, one that is a real Piper and not a rebranded Czech airplane.

At the time of this report, neither aircraft is available, as all production has ceased as of January 2011. Its future is in question. It is always a loss when a viable quality aircraft is taken from the market place and the Sport Cruiser was indeed a very nice aircraft, being a CZAW or a Piper. Fortunately, the LSA marketplace is over populated. Maybe the expected shake out of LSAs has commenced.

Specifications: CZAW Sport Cruiser & Piper Sport LSA

Performance

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Aviation 2011, Reading Between the Lines

By:      Norm Goyer

The Piper Sport was introduced at the Sun 'n Fun 2010 Airshow and the first aircraft was delivered.

The Piper Sport was introduced at the Sun 'n Fun 2010 Airshow and the first aircraft was delivered.

The year 2011 is starting off with some good news and some bad news, but at least there is some news. The year had barely gotten off the blocks when Piper announced that it was not going to continue their program of importing the Piper Sport LSA from the Czech Republic’s CSA (CZAW). Their one year agreement had hit a bump in the runway. According to a Piper Press Release, the airplane was not at fault. That premise seems to hold water as many aviation writers had test flown the Piper Sport and reported very favorable about the aircraft, its construction and flight manners. The problem, as reported in the aviation press, was incompatibility of marketing philosophies. Now that is one real big bucket of worms. Piper was essentially going to rebrand the Czech CSA Sport Cruiser as a Piper, this is basically true, as Piper did make minor changes in the design of the aircraft. Neither Piper nor the Czechs are informing the aviation press what the real reason was. Here are a few of my guesses. And, they are only one man’s interpretation. I have suspected from the first I had heard was that future profit margins were involved somehow with the disagreements. Piper wanted to establish a dealer’s network of Piper Sport dealers who would subscribe to a learn to fly package program that involved the Piper Sport and other DVD and possibly  simulator instruction. When the initial deal was made and signed, CSA ceased building their Sport Cruiser and only supplied Piper with the rebranded Piper Sport.  Now the big question. Can CSA restart production or will this cancellation by Piper cause serious financial problems. It would be a shame to see that the Sport Cruiser was no longer in production. This is bad for both Piper and for CSA.

The Piper Sport was exported overseas including Australia where this photo was taken.

The Piper Sport was exported overseas including Australia where this photo was taken.

Piper did have an excellent name in the flight training category and had some very good airplanes. It’s hard to beat a Warrior for learning to fly and it becomes its own step-up aircraft. Back in the 1970s and 1980s, I owned four Piper Flight Centers and was very successful, mainly due to the excellent Warrior. Another factor, is the LSA program has really not been proven as potentially profitable in today’s laid back economy. Yes, the LSAs seem to be selling well but are those that have been sold mainly filled the pipe line in dealer’s inventories and were not sold in large numbers to pilots to use as their own aircraft?

The Piper Sport had a glass cockpit as standard equipment.

The Piper Sport had a glass cockpit as standard equipment.

Piper has ventured before into rebranding known aircraft and found out that it was not that successful an enterprise. Remember the Piper Stinson? There are actually a few Stinson 108s flying around with Piper’s logo on the cowl. Piper really just wanted the Twin Stinson, which after major redesign became the Piper Apache, the dreaded “Sweet Potato.”
Then there was the episode with Ted Smith’s Aerostar. Piper didn’t exactly fill the skies with sleek twin engine speedsters. At one time Mooney tried to rebrand the Mitsubishi Mu.2 and the Ercoupe as well; didn’t work, was the bottom line on those ventures. In my opinion, Piper should have done what Cessna did; Cessna redesigned their super popular Cessna 152 into the Cessna 162. If the LSA type of flying ever really takes off, my money is on the Cessna. But, the aircraft is built in China, good for saving money, and assembled at Cessna to handle the quality control. The jury is still out on the 162, I hope that it is successful. Why didn’t Piper redesign their Tomahawk as an all new aircraft with a conventional tail, dump a few pounds and they just may have competition for Cessna? I loved the way the Tomahawk flew; design out the complaints and it just might have a new life as an LSA, a real Piper. I sure wouldn’t call it the Tomahawk II however, maybe it should be named after a more modern weapon such as the Piper Tommy Gun or how about the Piper AK-47.

Many flight training schools around the country had plans to incorporate the Piper Sport into their training programs.

Many flight training schools around the country had plans to incorporate the Piper Sport into their training programs.

Now for some good news, hopefully. President Obama has signed a preliminary bill allowing current members of the armed forces and veterans  to realize their dream, that of becoming a commercial pilot. The initial plans call for $10,000 a year to be available for flight training. In my opinion here are the problems, Ten grand a year is not anywhere enough money to pay for flight training, might work as a down payment, but in 2011, you are not going to get many flight hours for ten big ones. But the real problem is, Obama did not fund the bill, and I doubt very much  that Congress will come through for our armed services, when all those illegals, sorry, meant undocumented visitors, need cell phones, food, new cars, housing and free education. Help for our veterans? Not so sure this will ever get funded. It should, but will it?

Posted in UnderTheRadar | Comments Off on Aviation 2011, Reading Between the Lines

Aircraft of the Week


1
Jets
1990 ASTRA 1125 1988 BEECHJET 1994 BEECHJET
2008 CESSNA CITATION 1983 CESSNA CITATION 1982 CESSNA CITATION
1984 CESSNA CITATION 1983 CESSNA CITATION 1980 CESSNA CITATION
1995 CESSNA CITATION 1987 CESSNA CITATION 1985 CESSNA CITATION
1991 CESSNA CITATION 1983 DASSAU 200 1990 DASSAU 900B
1980 DASSAU FALCON 1 1978 DASSAU FALCON 1 1975 DASSAU FALCON 1
2011 EMBRAE PHENOM 1 2011 EMBRAE PHENOM 1 2009 EMBRAE PHENOM 1
2011 EMBRAE PHENOM 3 2011 EMBRAE PHENOM 3 2000 GULFST G200 (Ga



1968 GULFST II



1986 GULFST III



1978 GULFST IISP
1971 HAWKER 125-400- 2005 HAWKER 400XP 1990 HAWKER 800A
1985 HAWKER 800A 1985 HAWKER HAWKER 8 1969 LEARJET 24B



1976 LEARJET 24E



1981 LEARJET 25D



1972 LEARJET 25DXR
1992 LEARJET 35A 1986 LEARJET 35A 1980 LEARJET 35A
1980 LEARJET 35A 1980 LEARJET 35A 1979 LEARJET 35A
1979 LEARJET 35A 1978 LEARJET 35A 2002 LEARJET 45
1999 LEARJET 60 1994 LEARJET 60 1982
MITSUB DIAMOND
1983 WESTWIND
Turboprops
1990 BAE JETSTREAM 2008 BEECH/ C90GTi 1971 BEECH/ KING AIR
1971 BEECH/ KING AIR 1970 BEECH/ KING AIR 1977 BEECH/ KING AIR
1975 BEECH/ KING AIR 1992 BEECH/ KING AIR 1980 BEECH/ KING AIR
2004 CESSNA CARAVAN 1998 CESSNA CARAVAN 1985 CESSNA CARAVAN



1985 CESSNA CARAVAN



2008 CESSNA CARAVAN



1982 CESSNA CONQUEST
1981 CESSNA CONQUEST 1983 CESSNA CONQUEST 1973 COMMAN 690A
1977 COMMAN 690B 1970 FAIRCH MERLIN I 1982 PIPER CHEYENNE
1977 PIPER CHEYENNE 1977 PIPER CHEYENNE 1975 PIPER CHEYENNE
2001 PIPER MERIDIAN 1990 PIPER CHEYENNE 1990 PIPER CHEYENNE
Piston Single-Engine
1967 CESSNA 150G 1980 CESSNA 182Q 1980 CESSNA T210
2007F MAULE M4-180V 1979 MOONEY M20K 231 2001 PIPER ARCHER I
1999 PIPER SARATOGA
Piston Multi-Engine
1970 BEECH/ 58 BARON 1980 BEECH/ 58P BARO 1978 BEECH/ 60 DUKE
1976 BEECH/ B55 BARON 1968 CESSNA 402 1977 CESSNA 414 RAM
1972 CESSNA 421B 1979 CESSNA 421C 1977 CESSNA T310R
2007 DA42 TWINSTAR 2006 PIPER SENECA V 1997 PIPER SENECA V
Turbine Heilcopter
2000 AGUSTA A109E Po 1978 BELL 206BIII 1983 BELL 206L III

1988 MCDONN 500E

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Attract the attention of 60,000 aviation consumers and high wealth
individuals.Contact Doug Stewart at (888) 723-1717 or doug@acmp.com for fulldetails.

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A Rap on Water Flying

By:      Norm Goyer

The tiny two-cylinder Aeronca C-3 provided my very first seaplane ride.

The tiny two-cylinder Aeronca C-3 provided my very first seaplane ride.

I love to fly seaplanes. I love flying boats, airplanes with pontoons or floats and those with the added bonus of wheels, they’re called amphibians. What’s an amphibian? A creature who lives in the water and on the land. I guess a frog is an amphibian, at least some are. My ancestors come from France and French Quebec. Growing up during the depression in New England all nationalities had nicknames, French people were called “Frogs.” Why? I haven’t the slightest idea, but it probably answers the questions of why I like water flying.

My second seaplane ride was in a Beechcraft D-17 Staggerwing.

My second seaplane ride was in a Beechcraft D-17 Staggerwing.

Before World War II I would haunt the small seaplane base at the foot of the Calvin Coolidge Bridge in Northampton, Massachusetts. I would sit on the river bank, next to my Iver Johnson bicycle, and hope that some friendly pilot would feel sorry for the kid on the bank and give him a ride. I believe that I was the first to carry a sign that stated, “Will work for a ride.” Finally “truth in advertising” paid off and a kindly gentlemen gave me a ride in an Aeronca C-3 on tiny EDO floats. The Connecticut River is the home of many boats, even in 1939, there were a lot of watercraft churning up the water. The pilot, a professor at one of the local colleges, guided the tiny plane under the bridge turned it around and headed into the East wind. This was not an STOL float plane, in fact it took a long time to get it on the step with its little two cylinder Aeronca engine banging away up front. But fly it did, and I was off on the first of many seaplane adventures. Labor Day was a big success for me, thanks to a generous owner of a Staggerwing Beech on floats. What a difference between the little 37 hp C-3 and big radial engine powered D-17. I was hooked on water flying.

I added a seaplane rating to my certificate with a check ride in a Piper J-3, 65-hp.

I added a seaplane rating to my certificate with a check ride in a Piper J-3, 65-hp.

After the Navy sprung me to the Inactive Reserves I made it official, I added a water rating to my ticket. I took a few seaplane lessons in New Hampshire and passed the check ride in Concord, NH, on a little pond adjacent to the Concord Airport. The 65-hp J-3 was a rocket ship compared to the 50-hp Cub I had been flying. I returned home with a fresh new rating in my pocket, I was officially a seaplane pilot. I celebrated by buying part interest in a 1947 Taylorcraft on EDO floats based at the same little dock where I had had my first float plane ride. My future wife Tina was still in college in Lowell, Massachusetts which was located on the Merrimac River with an adjoining sea plane base. Every weekend during the summer I would travel to Lowell via my T’craft. The J-3 was a fun seaplane, but the T’craft was a useful one, It could cruise around 90 mph compared to 65-70 with the Cub on floats. Its water handling was superior to the Cub as well.

I owned part interest in a 1947 Taylorcraft 65-hp float plane, it was a very nice aircraft.

I owned part interest in a 1947 Taylorcraft 65-hp float plane, it was a very nice aircraft.

One of my flying friends, the late Roger Atwood, owned a Sea Bee and an early Super Cub on EDOs. Then he acquired a 150-hp Colonial Skimmer, the grand daddy of the Lake Amphibian. Another friend had a float equipped Cessna 180 and his friend had a Cessna 195 on EDOs, now that was a piece of machinery. I flew copilot many times wth Roger on trips to Canada carrying a fisherman or a hunter. Of course in New England, there is no shortage of water for seaplane operations.

What did I learn about flying seaplanes? They could be dangerous in unknown waters, an accident in an out of the way location could make it super difficult to repair your aircraft or retrieve it. When the ice arrived, you had to convert back to wheels, which was a bit labor intensive and expensive, unless you had an repair certificate. You also had to learn to read the wind from other than the radio or windsocks; smoke, clotheslines and horse’s tails became very important wind indictors.

After I relocated to California I rediscovered water flying in aircraft far different from what I had been flying. I found that a simple ultralight, such as a Drifter or Hawk, or even a Quicksilver, could be a real blast to fly, talk about being part of the environment. You were in the open, sitting on tiny plastic seat with your butt about a foot from dragging in the water. In all my flying, I still believe that a good ultralight on floats is about the most “real” flying fun a pilot can experience.

My last two seaplanes were both 200-hp Lake Amphibians. Trips to the Salton Sea and Lake Mead, above the Hoover Dam, were routine summer fun trips. Son Robert and friend Sparky both received their seaplane ratings in a Piper J-3 at Jack Brown’s Seaplane Base in Winter Haven Florida while attending Sun ‘n Fun. Consider this option, when it is time for your Flight Review, get your water rating, you will never regret it, it is just plain fun.

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