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Good and bad comments on Flight Design or Skycatcher

mrivc211

Well-Known Member
#1
I'm trying to purchase a newer plane. I have a 1980 cessna 152 and a 1981 cessna 172. After going through a lot of time, money, cancelled lessons trying to get the mx up to speed on these old birds, my thought process has been to move to something newer yet still relatively cheap. Both the Flight Design and Skycatcher are under $90,000 used yet still under 10 years old. I've been doing some research and it seems the flight design is the plane to buy. Does anyone have comments about either plane?

http://flightdesignusa.com/

 

mrivc211

Well-Known Member
#3
Buy a 172.

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Can you provide some more information why you prefer a 172 over a light sport? It seems the light sport is better suited for flight schools with its low fuel burn and ability to take 91 octane fuel. The 172 has 4 seats, 2 more than we need for training. The aircraft won't be used for rentals so we don't need the extra seats.
 
#4
Local flight school had 3 skywatchers, keyword being "had".. wadded up the first two on off runway excursions, one of them into a running helicopter i believe. Sold the third before anything else happened, probably at their insurance providers request. Or demand.

Having a couple hundred hours in one, they are not great trainers. The Garmin is too distracting for new pilots, still recommend a six pack. And the goofy yoke and castering nose wheel made for some interesting landings. Its a bit dicey in crosswind for new guys too... I could go on.

Its a nice plane I might consider one for personal use but not as a trainer. If you want two seats get another 152.
 

DE727UPS

Well-Known Member
#5
If you can get auto gas for your LSA at an airport you can burn it your Cessna's. If you are going to use autogas as a reason to get an LSA make darn sure you have a source of ethanol free gas and the blessings of your airport management before you start thinking it will be an advantage.
 

bike21

Stabilizer Motion
#6
Flew a Skycatcher a few years ago and wasn't impressed. The 'stoke' is just weird and the performance sucks at altitude FWIW. My old flight school promptly got rid of them after some other issues. No experience in the other plane, but I'm not sure light sports are really cut out for primary flight training.
 

trafficinsight

Well-Known Member
#7
Can you provide some more information why you prefer a 172 over a light sport? It seems the light sport is better suited for flight schools with its low fuel burn and ability to take 91 octane fuel. The 172 has 4 seats, 2 more than we need for training. The aircraft won't be used for rentals so we don't need the extra seats.
My airfield had 2 flight designs, both were damaged in landing accidents. A friend instructed a lot in them and said they had the weirdest flight characteristics of any airplane he'd flown. Support wasn't great.

As for the skycatcher, I really wanted it to be the 150 killer but nothing that costs 130k is going to kill the 150 until we run out of 150s, which you can still find for 15k. I definitely wouldn't buy one now since support has been ended for them.

If you want to run a flight school don't reinvent the wheel. People buy 150s, 172s, and Cherokee derivatives for fleets like that because the support is as good as you'll get, they're refined over the years, parts are plentiful and cheap.



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killbilly

Vocals, Lyrics, Triangle, Washboard, Kittens
#8
@hook_dupin @mrivc211

I'm told that the RV-12 is an excellent alternative to the traditional training fleet, especially given the MX costs. I do know that one of the flying clubs that the field I normally use has one, and they are just tickled with the thing. You guys should talk.
 

mrivc211

Well-Known Member
#10
Can students take checkrides in them? I read previously that some light sports can't be used for checkrides because they lack some equipment?
 

ahw01

Well-Known Member
#11
From what I heard, LSA should be fine for a checkride if properly equipped (how small are we talking?)

The problem with checkrides is an experimental where you need an LoA etc.

I too thought we could get back to the $70/hr rental costs a C-152 used to command.

Even if your C-172 has 10,000 hours + if properly maintained, they're solid as.

Never flown an LSA though, so looking forward to at some point.
 

killbilly

Vocals, Lyrics, Triangle, Washboard, Kittens
#14
Don't buy a LSA for a flight school.
They are not meant to absorb abuse and you can refurb 2-3 152s for the price of one LSA.
I don't understand this statement.

Is there something structurally different about a specific LSA vs. a 152 that makes it less durable? Is there something in the book that says, "not advised for primary training?"
 

ahw01

Well-Known Member
#15
I don't understand this statement.

Is there something structurally different about a specific LSA vs. a 152 that makes it less durable? Is there something in the book that says, "not advised for primary training?"
I think the possibility exists, but it would seem due to the light weight and generally composite construction, they are less forgiving and more expensive to maintain vs a traditional 172 etc. I'd love to see a successful fleet of them, there must be a niche somewhere.

I think handling might also suffer in any kind of wind, turbulence, heat - you need something that can perform/power out of a downdraft.

Alex.
 

BigZ

Well-Known Member
#16
I don't understand this statement.

Is there something structurally different about a specific LSA vs. a 152 that makes it less durable? Is there something in the book that says, "not advised for primary training?"
Take a good hard look - they are built out of beer cans.
I built one and flew it and pulled few apart - mine was pretty beefy at 820lbs empty, but the landing gear was nowhere close to let's say 152/pa28/in terms of what it can take
 

bucksmith

Did you lock the doors?
#18
I'm trying to purchase a newer plane. I have a 1980 cessna 152 and a 1981 cessna 172. After going through a lot of time, money, cancelled lessons trying to get the mx up to speed on these old birds, my thought process has been to move to something newer yet still relatively cheap. Both the Flight Design and Skycatcher are under $90,000 used yet still under 10 years old. I've been doing some research and it seems the flight design is the plane to buy. Does anyone have comments about either plane?

http://flightdesignusa.com/

My short experience in a skycatxher was similar to what I would expect sitting in the bottom of a coffee can looking out. I have to imagine you could find something, age-wise, between a 152 and a 162 that would make you happier.
Could you expand upon you mission more? If so, I'd bet there are a lot of people here who could help.
 

mrivc211

Well-Known Member
#19
My short experience in a skycatxher was similar to what I would expect sitting in the bottom of a coffee can looking out. I have to imagine you could find something, age-wise, between a 152 and a 162 that would make you happier.
Could you expand upon you mission more? If so, I'd bet there are a lot of people here who could help.
I"m looking for a newer replacement for the 152 I have now. It burns 6.1 GPH, requires a valve adjustment every 100 hours, and doesn't fit 30-40% of the students that show up. Most of the light sports out there seem to have tweeked the seating configuration for taller students, fuel burn seems to be 4.5GPH or below, and doesn't require a $440 valve adjustment every 100 hours. With just my two planes I'd be looking at saving an average of $2,400+ per month by ditching the 152 in favor of a light sport fleet. The only thing that concerns me that I have been reading on this forum thus far is the "dinkiness" of the light sport. It makes sense because the airplane is small as heck so it won't handle too well in winds. Good thing is my home airport doesn't really get windy. The max we see once a year in the fall is 30+ during Santa Ana winds which a 172 wouldn't be flying in anyway. Winds here average calm in the morning and maybe 12-13 in the afternoon.

Additionally, my 152, and most used ones out there are old and beat down and need paint jobs. All these newer light sports look new and shiny which makes a difference when trying to compete with other schools.
 

Vector

Well-Known Member
#20
That seems the issue with trainer aircrafts these days. The C-172 or a Piper Cherokee seems to meet your requirement. I would stay away from O-300 powered Cessna's. The cranks are hard to find and almost all of them out there won't pass particle inspection. Which means you will fork over about $4K for a new crank from Continental along with whatever else the overhaul is going to cost you. A Lycoming engine is hit or miss. You will still find engines with good cranks that will also pass S.B. 505.

There really isn't a lot of options for those without deep pockets.