Aviat’s Husky an Excellent, Utility Aircraft

By:      Norm Goyer

An early Husky A1 sits on the side of snow covered mountain. Husky aircraft are perfect for many off airport duties.

An early Husky A1 sits on the side of snow covered mountain. Husky aircraft are perfect for many off airport duties.

Thanks Wikipedia for supplying the technical data on the Aviat Aircraft. NG

When Piper finally stopped building the Super Cub in the 1980s, it left a hole, a really big hole, in available utility aircraft. These aircraft are used for towing gliders, pipe line patrol and general use in Canada and Alaska. Christen Industries had been building tube and fabric aircraft for many years and supplying inverted fuel systems for aerobatic aircraft. Their certified Pitts aerobatic aircraft plus their homebuilt Christen Eagle aerobatic biplanes have been a standard in the industry for years. Stu Horn, Aviat Aircraft, a successful real estate developer and airplane lover, purchased the rights to Christen Industry designs in 1989 and continued production of all aircraft. The Christen Husky, now Aviat Husky,  and its subsequent siblings have been fabulously successful since being introduced in 1987. Over 650 were built and are in service all over the world. I have known Stu Horn for many years. I first met him while doing editorial duties for Sport Pilot, Custom Planes and Private Pilot. When a new Aviat airplane came out Stu and his crew would fly them to Apple Valley Airport for a day of flight testing and photography. For me, it was a day of fun flying in the type of aircraft I love best. When my travels took me to either AirVenture or Sun ‘n Fun we managed to fly any new Aviat aircraft that we had missed. On one of my last trips to AirVenture, Stu had brought along his latest Husky with amphibious floats. That meant I got to fly to several of the huge lakes surrounding Oshkosh, Wisconsin. I had a blast. Let’s take a peek at the progression of the Husky from its design days of 1986 to its current models.

The Aviat Husky is available in many airframe and engine combinations. This is a Husky A1B

The Aviat Husky is available in many airframe and engine combinations. This is a Husky A1B

The Aviat Husky is a two-seat, high wing, utility light aircraft built by Aviat Aircraft of Afton, Wyoming. It is the only all-new light aircraft that was designed and entered series production in the United States in the mid to late 1980s. The plane features a braced high wing, tandem seating and dual controls. The structure is steel tube frames and Dacron covering over all but the rear of the fuselage, plus metal leading edges on the wings. The high wing was selected for good all-around visibility, making the Husky ideal for observation and patrol roles. Power is supplied by a relatively powerful (for the Husky’s weight) 180 hp Textron Lycoming O-360 flat four piston engine turning a constant speed propeller. The Husky’s high power loading and low wing loading result in good short-field performance. Options include floats, skis and banner and glider tow hooks. The aircraft has been used for observation duties, fisheries patrol, pipeline inspection, glider towing, border patrol and other utility missions. Notable users include the US Department of the Interior and Agriculture and the Kenya Wildlife Service, which flies seven on aerial patrols of elephant herds as part of the fight against illegal ivory poaching.[The Husky comes in six versions:

Husky A-1

Certified on 1 May 1987. Maximum gross weight is 1,800 lb. Powered by a Lycoming 0-360-A1P or a Lycoming O-360-C1G of 180 hp

Husky A-1A

Certified on 28 January 1998. Maximum gross weight is 1,890 lb. Powered by a Lycoming 0-360-A1P of 180 hp

Husky A-1B

Certified on 28 January 1998. Powered by a Lycoming 0-360-A1P of 180 hp  The A-1B can be modified to accept a Lycoming IO-360-A1D6 engine of 200 hp and an MT MTV-15-B/205-58 propeller under an STC

Husky A-1B-160 Pup

Certified on 18 August 2003 without flaps and 21 October 2005 with flaps. Powered by a Lycoming 0-320-D2A, 160 hp. The Pup has a smaller engine, a gross weight of 2,000 lb and a useful load of 775 lb

Husky A-1C-180

Certified on 24 September 2007. Powered by a Lycoming 0-360-A1P of 180 hp. The 180 has a gross weight of 2,200 lb and a useful load of 925 lb

Husky A-1C-200

Certified on 24 September 2007. Powered by a Lycoming IO-360-A1D6 of 200 hp. The 200 has a gross weight of 2,200 lb and a useful load of 880 lb

The Husky is available with amphibious floats for land and water use.

The Husky is available with amphibious floats for land and water use.

Specifications

  • Crew: one
  • Capacity: one passenger
  • Length: 22 ft 7 in
  • Wingspan: 35 ft 6 in
  • Wing area: 183 sq ft
  • Empty weight: 1,275 lb on wheels
  • Gross weight: 2,200 lb  on wheels and floats
  • Fuel capacity: 50 US gallons
  • Engine:  Lycoming O-360-A1P four cylinder, four stroke piston aircraft engine, 180 hp
  • Propeller: 2-bladed Hartzell, 6 ft 4 in diameter

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 145 mph, 126 kn
  • Cruise speed: 140 mph 120 kn
  • Stall speed: 53 mph flaps down, power off
  • Range: 800 mi 695 nmi; at 55% power
  • Service ceiling: 20,000 ft
  • Rate of climb: 1,500 ft/min

The latest Husky is also available with a modern glass cockpit and 200-hp engine.

The latest Husky is also available with a modern glass cockpit and 200-hp engine.

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American Champion, Bellanca Aircraft Corporation and Champion Aircraft Corporation

By:      Norm Goyer

A special version of the Citabria, the 7EC, is available as an LSA legal aircraft. It is powered with an Australian engine.

A special version of the Citabria, the 7EC, is available as an LSA legal aircraft. It is powered with an Australian engine.

Champion Aircraft Corporation acquired the rights to the Aeronca designs (Champ, Chief and Citabria) in 1954. . The model 7ECA Citabria entered production at Champion in 1964. The 7GCAA and 7GCBC variants, added in 1965. These aircraft were joined by the 7KCAB in 1968. The name Citabria is essentially the word Airbatic (not even a word) spelled backwards, but the name Citabria tells it all. It was the first variation of the 7AC Champ that had been beefed up for minor aerobatics. At the time it was the only certified US aircraft that was certified by the FAA for entry level aerobatics. The year was 1965. Over 5,000 of the 115-hp two-place tandem tube and fabric aircraft were manufactured.

American Champion manufactures the popular aerobatic Super Decathlon 8KCAB.

American Champion manufactures the popular aerobatic Super Decathlon 8KCAB.

In 1970, Champion was acquired by Bellanca Aircraft Corporation, which continued production of all of the Champion-designed variants. Bellanca introduced two new designs with close connections to the Citabria: The 8KCAB Decathlon and the 8GCBC Scout. Production at Bellanca ended in 1980, and the company’s assets were liquidated in 1982. And, this is where my story begins. In 1974, Citabrias almost devoured our company. Our Corporation owned the FBOs at four High Desert Airports where we taught flying using Piper Cruisers, Warriors, Arrows and Senecas. In 1976 we added a Cessna Dealership, in another division, and flew Cessna 150s, a Cessna Aerobat and a Cessna 172. That same year we also added four Bellanca Champion 7ECAs for rental to our large number of military pilots who loved the small tail dragger and its ability to perform simple aerobatics. In 1976, I also took in a Bellanca Champion Decathlon, one that briefly held the world’s inverted flight record, complete with a huge map of the route emblazoned on the side. The feat had been performed by the late Cindy Rucker who now worked for us as a flight instructor. We had a divided instructor’s department, two thirds were ex-military instructors who preferred the Pipers and 150s for primary flight training. Our two younger flight instructors championed the Champions and thus the conflict began. Our problem was simple, our jet jockeys could fly the tail draggers and most of our new students couldn’t. At one time, all four of our 7-ECAs were in the shop due to ground loop accidents. Our business was dedicated to teaching people to fly safely. Finally our insurance company threatened to cancel us and it was decision time. Our farewell party for the two young instructors, was a sad affair. I then put the entire fleet of Citabrias and Decathlon on the market. I loved the Decathlon, but I loved our corporation more. (I had found equal or better paying jobs for both before I let them go.)

This serious blunder was not the fault of the Citabrias, they were a nice aircraft and our experienced pilots loved them. It was a problem with our 180/360, 150 foot wide, over 6,ooo foot hardtop runway which was installed to accommodate airliners, that never showed up, and not for the prevailing  winds, which blew daily and vigorously from 220 degrees to 270 degrees. This was an accident waiting to happen for inexperienced tail dragger pilots. We never harmed anyone, but the airplanes didn’t fare so well.

The American Champion Scout is used with wheels, skis and amphibious floats. It is very popular as an utility aircraft.

The American Champion Scout is used with wheels, skis and amphibious floats. It is very popular as an utility aircraft.

The Citabria designs passed through the hands of a number of companies through the 1980s, including the American Champion Aircraft Company, which was no relation to the Champion Aircraft of the 1960s. American Champion Aircraft Corporation acquired the Citabria, Decathlon, and Scout designs in 1989 and returned the 7ECA, 7GCAA, and 7GCBC models to production over a period of years. Most of these aircraft are still available from American Champion.

The Decathlons had 180-hp Lycoming engines with a constant speed prop, quick release doors, full aerobatic harnesses. Inverted oil and fuel systems were available. The Decathlons remains as a very good entry level professional aerobatic mount and serves as an excellent starting point for the Pitts S2B.

Along the way some pretty interesting aircraft were produced by the various companies producing these aircraft. I also purchased a Bellanca Scout, with a long wing which was used for fish spotting and pipeline observation duties. It was a truck and it did its job nicely. Huge fuel tanks were stuffed in the rear seat and the spotters could literally fly all day looking for schools of fish to direct the fishing fleet to their proximity.

The Champion Lancer is a multi-engine training aircraft suitable for low-cost, logable, twin-engine time.

The Champion Lancer is a multi-engine training aircraft suitable for low-cost, logable, twin-engine time.

One of my favorite weird airplanes of all times was the Lancer, also had Citabria roots. This twin-engine, fixed gear, high wing was a multi engine trainer for pilots with little money. You could retract the gear, but it never moved as it was welded down, you could feather the prop which never moved because they were solid aluminum but the phantom do nothing controls produced the necessary reactions for future multi-engine pilots. That one weird enough for you? Okay here’s another. They added a nose gear to the Champ and called it the TriTraveler, now this was a dumb looking aircraft, but, it did have a training wheel up front. Okay here’s another one, the Champ with a two cylinder cut in half Franklin four cylinder engine. I did fly this one, it was not overpowered, but it did fly with two people in for very little fuel. I understand that this airplane now has a four-cylinder Australian engine added and is available as an LSA aircraft.

This week’s Bird of the Week we will discuss the Aviat Husky, a certified tandem aircraft which is being manufactured for this market segment.  I have flown all of the various Huskies on wheels and floats and it is a well built interesting aircraft that does its job.

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Aircraft of the Week 2/18/2011



1

Jets

2000 ASTRA/ SPX 1983 CHALLENGER 600 1973 CESSNA CITATION
1997 CESSNA CITATION 2008 CESSNA CITATIO 2007 CESSNA CITATION
1986 CESSNA CITATION 1985 CESSNA CITATION 1985 CESSNA CITATION
1984 CESSNA CITATION 2005 CESSNA CITATION 2010 CESSNA CJ2+
1983 FALCON 200 1980 FALCON 50 1975 FALCON 1
2013 PHENOM 100 2012 PHENOM 100 2012 PHENOM 100
2011 PHENOM 100 2011 PHENOM 100 2009 PHENOM 100
2011  PHENOM 300 2011 PHENOM 300 1996 GULFSTREAM
1978 GULFSTREAM IISP 1999 GULFSTREAM IVSP 1979 HAWKER 700A
1989 HAWKER 800A 1978 LEARJET 35A 2001 LEARJET 60
2001 LEARJET 60

Turboprops

1980 BEECH/ KING AIR 1980 BEECH/ KING AIR 1990 BEECH/ KING AIR
1990 BEECH/ KING AIR 2003 BEECH/ KING AIR 1998 BEECH/ KING AIR
1997 BEECH/ KING AIR 2006 BEECH/ KING AIR 1979 BEECH/ KING AIR
1974 BEECH/ KING AIR 1976 COMMANDER 690A 1975 COMMANDER 690A
1978 COMMANDER 690B 1978 COMMANDER 690B 1977 COMMANDER 690B
1981 COMMANDER 840 1981 COMMANDER 840 1980 COMMANDER 840
1979 COMMANDER 840 1983 COMMANDER 900 1991 PIAGGIO P180

Piston Single-Engine

1999 BEECH/ A36 BONA 1983 BEECH/ A36 BONA 1982 BEECH/ A36 BONA



1973 BEECH/ A36 BONA



1967 CESSNA 150G



2002 CESSNA 172-SP
1978 CESSNA 182RG II 1979 CESSNA P210N 1967 CESSNA Skylane
1982 CESSNA T182RG 1979 CESSNA T182RG 2003 CESSNA Turbo 18
2004 CIRRUS SR22-G2 1979 MOONEY M20K 2001 PIPER ARCHER I
1999 PIPER SARATOGA

Piston Multi-Engine

1978 AEROST 601P 1975 BEECH/ 58 BARON 1975 BEECH/ 58 BARON
1978 BEECH/ 60 DUKE 1976 CESSNA 340A 1976 CESSNA 340A II
1973 PIPER NAVAJO 2006 PIPER SENECA V 1997 PIPER SENECA V

Regional/Commuter

1999 EMBRAE ERJ-145 1998 EMBRAE ERJ-145

List a single aircraft or your entire inventory on  www.ACMP.com and be included in the weekly FlyBy at no extra charge.
Attract the attention of 60,000 aviation consumers and high wealth individuals.
Contact Doug Stewart at (888) 723-1717 or doug@acmp.com for full details.

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Curious Coupe Craze

By:      Norm Goyer

This is the Aeronca LC that is owned by the EAA and is in their museum.

This is the Aeronca LC that is owned by the EAA and is in their museum.

High wings have always prevailed in the light aviation. Yet, a very curious phase was introduced in the mid 1930s by at least three main line manufacturers and several small ones. I always wondered what triggered the move from high wings to low wings with such manufacturers as Aeronca who almost had the patent on light weight high wing sport aircraft. Tandem aircraft were thought to be the best way to teach anyone to fly, But Taylorcraft and Luscombe proved them wrong as their side-by-sides were quite popular in the market place. After the war the all metal Cessna 120 & 140 sealed the fate of the tandems once and for all. Only the specialty market continued to manufacture tandem aircraft.

Ryan produced their SC as a sister ship to their Ryan ST-A, aerobatic aircraft. It had a Warner Scarab engine.

Ryan produced their SC as a sister ship to their Ryan ST-A, aerobatic aircraft. It had a Warner Scarab engine.

In 1935 Aeronca introduced their two passenger side-by-side seating, full cockpit radial engine low wing LC. They were available as the LA or LB with two different  LeBlond engines or as the LC with a 90-hp Warner Scarab engine. The engines were radial with a ring cowling for added speed and better air cooling. The LC was powered by the Warner Scarab Jr. radial 5 cylinder engine, rated at 90 HP. The LeBlond powered LA and LB had similar horsepower engines. The LC could fly up to a ceiling of 16,000 feet altitude and featured a top speed of 123 mph with a good economy cruise of 90-100 mph for long trips. Aeronca built 65 of them during the years 1935 and 1936. Compared to the Aeronca C-3 Flying Bathtub the LC was light years ahead in design and engineering.

Kinner also marketed a side-by-side coupe with an open cockpit and a Kinner five cylinder radial engine.

Kinner also marketed a side-by-side coupe with an open cockpit and a Kinner five cylinder radial engine.

The roomy cabin of the LC held two passengers in comfort and provided as an excellent ship for long journeys. The controls of the Aeronca LC featured dual floor mounted control sticks which enabled both occupants to fly. The landing gear and tires were set up for rough field landings, the tires being wide for soft touchdowns even on a rough runway. There are only a few still listed on the FAA Registry with several flying and a few in museums, it was a benchmark private aircraft. There were only 65 built by Aeronca but thousands built by model airplane builders from 10 cent Megow models to 6 foot span remote controlled scale models.

The best and only post war survivor was the two-control Ercoupe. Some early versions are also LSA legal.

The best and only post war survivor was the two-control Ercoupe. Some early versions are also LSA legal.

One of the most advanced of the coupe aircraft of the 1930s was the Ryan SC. This side by side full cabin aircraft was intended as the sister ship of the outstanding Ryan ST-A, winner of the National Aerobatic Championship of 1936 flown by Tex Rankin.  The ST-A is an all metal aircraft which was the starting point for the Ryan PT-22 WWII primary trainer. This airplane, redesigned by a committee, was as bad as the Ryan ST-A was good. The SC had a Warner five cylinder radial engine with a bump cowling and very streamlined wheel pants and strut covers. For years one visited west coast air shows and always gathered a crowd, it is a dynamite looking aircraft for 1936.

Kinner was known for its line of five cylinder engines of 105 to 160 hp used in large numbers during World War II in primary trainers. The Fleet used the small Kinner while the Ryan PT-22 and the Meyers OTW biplane used the larger cubic inch versions. They all had five cylinders and all sounded like John Deere tractors. Kinner decided to get into the act with their own version of the coupe but with an open two-place cockpit. This one was the ugly duckling of the coupes flying during the mid 1930s. There used to be one that would visit Flabob Airport, near Riverside, CA occasionally and appeared in many magazines. Alas, after the war was over all the coupes disappeared with the exception of the late comer, the Ercoupe which turned out to be the best coupe of them all. In fact, early models of the two control Ercoupes are eligible for LSA branding. Coupes have survived.

Specifications for Aeronca LC

  • Crew: one, pilot
  • Capacity: 1 passenger
  • Length: 22 ft 6 in
  • Wingspan: 36 ft
  • Height: 7 ft
  • Wing area: 150 ft²
  • Max takeoff weight: 1,852 lb
  • Engine: Warner Scarab Jr five cylinder engine, 90 hp
  • Maximum speed 123 mph
  • Range: 535 miles

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Aeronca, the Early Years, Part I

By:      Norm Goyer

Aeronca's best selling early light aircraft was their C-2/C-3 Collegiate, designed for use by college flying clubs. It was powered with a 37-hp Aeronca two-cylinder engine. This one is located at Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome, NY.

Aeronca's best selling early light aircraft was their C-2/C-3 Collegiate, designed for use by college flying clubs. It was powered with a 37-hp Aeronca two-cylinder engine. This one is located at Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome, NY.

I have certainly done my duty for the various Aeronca manufacturers over the years but, once again it never seemed enough, they still had money troubles. One of my most liked light airplanes has always been an Aeronca LC and one that I really didn’t like to fly was an Aeronca Defender. I have owned at least 10 Aeronca and Champions mostly because my customers wanted to fly them. My first seaplane ride was in an Aeronca C-3, which was pretty much an ultralight, even had an kingpost on top of the wing to attach landing cables to, similar to ultralight bracing. It even had a very fussy, a nice word for lousy, two-cylinder 37-hp Aeronca engine with horizontally opposed cylinders. One thing about Aeronca was their lack of engineering changes, way back in 1936 the C-3 used a triangular shaped steel tube fuselage which was then fleshed out with plywood formers and stringers to give it a fuller shape. More modern Citabrias and Decathlons still have the same basic triangular fuselage rounded out with plywood formers. But before World War II, Aeronca produced their very nice looking and great flying Aeronca LC (coupe) this low wing side-by-side two passenger had wheel spats and was the beauty queen of the normally butt ugly Aeronca high-wings. The mid 1930s seemed to be the decade of the coupes. There was the Ryan SC, the Kinner Sport and the Aeronca LC. There were less popular others but these three were the successful ones. At one time I built a large R/C scale model of the Aeronca LC and flew it on wheels and floats, a very nice airplane. (See this week’s Bird of the Week) And then there was the Aeronca Defender that nobody wanted to fly, even when they dropped the price to seven bucks and hour wet. Why? It was a truck. It had the control feel of a Peterbilt with four flat tires. Not fun. Aeronca knew that they were able to pawn off this buckboard to the Army as a liaison plane but civilians pilots wouldn’t buy it. Midnight oil burning in the design department produced the Aeronca 7AC Champ. And they finally had a winner, it flew very nicely, even as well as a Cub. It could be flown from the front seat, unlike the Cub, where the solo pilot was excommunicated to, hopefully with good 20-20 eyesight, because the instruments were a long way away. They tucked the 65-hp Continental inside the cowling, unlike the Cub with its four cylinders hanging in the breeze protected by a tin umbrella. There were other decent Aeroncas, even before the war. The Aeronca Chief was a side by side aircraft, similar to the Cub Coupe, with the cylinders hanging out. I used to fly a 1939 Chief until a couple of weeded-up Hadley farmers decided to troll for bass with their wingtip. Yep, caught the water and in she went, demolished it. I even helped pluck these poor guys out of the Connecticut River. A few cuts and bruises and a ticket for fishing without a licensee.

Aeronca produced their Defender for grasshopper duties during World War II.

Aeronca produced their Defender for grasshopper duties during World War II.

Aeronca even produced an Aeronca Sedan, a four place 145-hp that flew nicely and had a decent look to it. It had a large cabin and almost STOL performance. Many of the Sedans moved to Canada and Alaska for bush flying. It is interesting to note that other companies also produced four-passenger aircraft during this time. But only one had any real sales success, the Stinson 108. The Piper, Taylorcraft and Luscombe four passenger aircraft were not that popular for various reasons. Piper’s Pacer finally gave Stinson some competition but Beechcraft’s Bonanza  and Cessna’s 170  had won the four-place market by then. Aeronca did produce a liaison version of their Champ, the L-16. Early versions had 80-85-hp engines but later ones used the Continental 90-hp and some even had an enlarger dorsal fin to make up for the added P-factor. I flew for the local CAP for several years and had extensive hours in the Piper L-4, the Aeronca L-16 and my favorite, the Stinson L-5, by far the most advanced small liaison aircraft of this period. Only a hand few of the L-16s made it to Korea for various reasons all spelled “Sikorsky early helicopters.”

The Chief first appeared in 1939 and was continued after World War II. It was a side-by-side 65-hp sport aircraft.

The Chief first appeared in 1939 and was continued after World War II. It was a side-by-side 65-hp sport aircraft.

There are still a large number of Aeronca 7 AC Airknockers flying and they can be had for a decent price. The really good news is that the original 65-hp stock 7AC are LSA legal and for a quarter of the price of a new LSA you will have one fine flying airplane, just make sure you paint it in original colors chrome yellow with orange belly. Don’t worry Cub lovers, the good old 65-hp J-3 is also LSA legal as is the 65-hp Taylorcraft and some early Ercoupes. Much better buys than a $125,000 two place LSA, in my opinion.

The 7 AC Champ was brought out in 1946 to compete with the J-3 Cub. It was, and is a very nice aircraft with excellent flying manners. It is also LSA legal.

The 7 AC Champ was brought out in 1946 to compete with the J-3 Cub. It was, and is a very nice aircraft with excellent flying manners. It is also LSA legal.

Next week we will examine the Bellanca Champion and the Champion Aircraft companies who eventually ended up with the rights to build what used to be called Aeroncas.

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