Beautiful plane there. I so want to fly an airplane. I've had a love aviation since I was six and saw my first issue of Model Airplane News. When I would go to our family Chiropractor, I would leaf through his Flying magazines in the waiting room.
There was an old county run airfied near our previous home, had a short runway paved and an intersecting grass runway which they towed gliders from. An old Navion sat in the field for years, it was in fairly good appearance and had a canopy cover to protect the windows. Never saw it fly. Amazing how good looking that plane is. Always wanted a Cessna Cardinal but got out of planes before it got horribly expensive and thew money at powerboats instead !
Bunch of family members built a few homebuilts, there are some brilliant minds in EAA. If you're ever looking for something to do in August head to Oshkosh for the EAA convention, jaw dropping equipment there.
you know what I love about aircraft and values? Use, operating costs, and hours makes more of a difference in value than whether something is cool and old most of the time. that beech posted earlier is a great example - $75,000 is not a lot for an airplane, most decent cessna's will run you that, but those big radials will insure you are spending a decent cessna a year to keep it in the air.
The Maule mentioned above is very likely a pig and poorly built -- many, but not all, were. There was no quality-control at Mr. Maule's Moultrie, GA "factory." What was good about the company was promotion; they were able to convince many buyers that the airplanes they threw together were short-field performers. (They did okay, but not much better than a number of competitors -- and certainly not better than a Piper Supercub. Piper also made sketchy fabric-covered airplanes, but many models (not all) actually performed well. The Supercub even today is respected and commands high prices.
First airplane I ever bought was a Luscombe (yes, a tail-dragger with very stiff gear -- hard to land without ugly bounces). I gave my non-flying buddy a ride in it (from San Francisco Bay Area to Ogden, Utah and back) and he fell in love with it. Went out and bought one for himself, then took lessons in it.
Today he's got 5,000+ hours of light-plane flying and owns a Navion (which is the topic at hand). He's an officer in the National Navion Club and attends all the events in his beautifully modified airplane. He loves it, but willingly admits a Beechcraft Bonanza with the same engine will vastly outperform it. In fact, introduction of that Beech wiped out the North American Navion's sales. His airplane eats gasoline like a hog, so most of the time it is far cheaper for him and his wife to travel commercial air. And maintenance is also very expensive on such a complex airplane. Which is why he recently bought a Cessna 120 (meaning he's returning to his trail-dragger roots with an airplane that was well built and very cheap to fly). He'll soon be selling his Navion, so if you truly have an interest in a fine example, I'll put you in touch. It once won its class in judging at Oshkosh, and because it has always been hangared, it still is very nice.
As for Pipers: for 10 years I owned a Piper PA-16 (yes a tail-dragger) and never managed to fall in love with it. Flew it across the U.S. twice and way into Canada, but just never felt it flew all that well. One of Mr. Piper's crappy models. It was a four-place airplane that I felt was safe carrying only two.
Funnest airplane I ever owned (well, I was half owner) was a Cessna 180 on floats. Nothing more fun than spotting an interesting body of water and just going down and landing on it. My wife and I flew it into Northern British Columbia to remote trout-fishing lakes on several occasions. And Mr. Cessna did indeed know how to build an airplane. Nice, well-built machines.
Funnest airplane I ever flew: that would be the A-4 Skyhawk that Uncle Sam allowed me to fly off aircraft carriers (Oriskany two cruises and Hancock one). The fact that much of the time there were folks I had never met who were shooting at me added to the thrill -- until one day when a 37-mm round found my airplane; its remains are still in North Vietnam. I was luckier than that airplane; I was rescued by the bravest man I ever met: Major Glen York, a Jolly Green pilot. You may want to look him up; I attended his funeral at Arlington National Cemetery last summer.
Second funnest would be the F9F Couger, in which we trained.
Okay, after suggesting you look up Glen York on the Internet, I did that myself and was disappointed that Google has relegated this American hero to way down its list. So, below is a link to a site that says something about him. If you go down to Billy Walker's posting, you'll see a photo of me and the crew that rescued my sorry ass. York, the braves man I ever met (and I did meet many brave aviators back in the day) is in the center of the photo. The grinning fool is me. Hardly look like a guy who will spend the next three-and-a-half months in military hospitals. That's the magic of powerful shots of adrenaline.
York was awarded the Air force Cross, second highest award he could have earned, and the rest of his crew all earned Silver Stars. All of them volunteers, all of them super brave men.
When I got out of the hospital (in Oakland, CA) the Navy gave me some refresher training, and I then went back over there to fly almost 100 more missions off of USS Hancock.
I will give you that fabric planes may not be as nice as metal ones but I wouldn't call Maules pigs and poorly built. All airplane manufactured have to meet FAA certifications - last time I checked the FAA just do not hand those out unless the plane can meet the requirements. While I may not have the same flight hours you have I have flown a number of maules, pipers, cessna's and twins - I also cut my teeth on a farmers back fields in a older tail wheeled aircraft. I've flown fire watch missions and I use to fly people in the back woods as PIC. I helped a friend build a Christen Eagle - another fabric type plane. I also served in the Navy on tin-cans. I tried to get into flying then but I didn't have the college education to qualify for flight school - I had to wait till I finished my military to get into college. I did fly in the helo onboard my ship as a crew member. Speaking about the Oriskany - I was one of the crew member that pulled a pilot out of the water after he hit the round-out while landing (1972 or 73 time frame). I do have to say the Naval Aviators are the best trained pilots. I don't know of too many US built planes that can fly at 150mph and land/take off in very short rough fields.
I may have given the wrong impression. I have nothing against fabric-covered airplanes. In fact, there is a ground-looped J-3 Cub in this area that I have been eyeballing as a project.
And Cessna 120s and 140s with fabric wings outperform their full-metal counterparts (less drag). I'd like to own an example. And for a while I did own both a Stearman and an Ag Cat-- both biplanes with yards and yards of fabric covering their wings and tail-surfaces. I liked them fine. A fabric-covered Christian Eagle would be wonderful. I'd love one of those unconditionally.
But I don't care for airplanes that were poorly built. And -- now remember this is just my opinion -- both Maule and (at least in the early days, say through the '60s) Piper used engineering drawings as mere guidelines and just threw their machines together. Yes, the FAA watches over safety, but if an airplane flies slowly and out of trim and doesn't really fly like the STOL it is advertised to be, no problem.
Nevertheless, any airplane is better than none -- and right now I own none.
I remember when the Christian Eagle sales team showed up at Oshkosh their first year. Lots of kit options and for homebuilts very good packaging. Their aerobatic team followed the following year if I remember right. Since they couldn't buy out Pitts did they sorta copy it ?
I can not say about the early days for the maule planes - chances were they were thrown together. I don't believe the product today represents the product of 50 years ago. I had a friend that had an M5 and we use to fly it on ski's - land on frozen lakes with it - After a few landings I was hooked. I also looked at the performance of this plane and found it a lot faster cruise than the Cessna and pipers I was flying at the time. So I was sucked in. One other feature I liked was metal wings but fabric fuselage . At the time I was really into homebuilds and flying into remote locations.
One point I'm really with ya - The cost have gotten really out of line for me and I'm not flying anything at the moment -I do miss it. Naval aviators are still tops in my book - so that makes you an ace with me...lol
Thanks. I do miss flying. However, I have been promised a ride in a TA-4 that has just been put back into flying condition by a doctor (who also owns a Fury). I'm supposed to be the backseat guy during the testing phase. If that happens, I'll be happy for a long time into the future.
I have posted many silly priced things in the other CL thread.
But sometimes there are actually sweet and well priced things that deserve a look. Like this Hodaka: