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Thread: What is Alaska's favorite all around bush plane for a family?

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    Member agoyne's Avatar
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    Default What is Alaska's favorite all around bush plane for a family?

    I was wanting everyones opinion of the best all around bush plane for a family. Not really getting into real small postage stamp areas, but moderate grass/gravel strips, equipped with either tundra tires, floats or skis. I would love to see pics.

    I was looking at buying a Maule.

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    Maule is a great all around airplane. It seems like in Alaska the Cessna 180 is the preferred alternative. They fly very different, so it may be more a question of what you are used to flying and which makes a better fit for your experience.
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    Member agoyne's Avatar
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    Yeah all of my very small amount of flying hours (58) have been in Cessnas. 150,152,172,182

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    If you not looking to do much rougher off field stuff a c182 or Cherokee are great family planes. The 180 is most popular I own a 185 and love it

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    Member agoyne's Avatar
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    I will definately be doing off field stuff when hunting season rolls around. The good thing I like about the 185 is the fuel injection and of course power.

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    On the budget end of the spectrum the Pacers seems to be a great deal. Probably the most common (non-airtaxi) plane here in DLG.
    -Out-of-State for school, remembering why I love Alaska so much

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    A very much over-looked and under appreciated aircraft is a Aeronca Sedan. They make very good float planes and have a back seat like my grandmas 48 Oldsmobile touring car.
    For tight spots yet more room than a Super Cub, a PA-14 with a 180 horse or one of the Stretched Pacers that are called PRODUCERS, being built by Steve Bryant of Anchorage.

    Floats and a good Alaskan float-rating can turn many non-bush planes into a bush cruiser. You would not want to take a nice C-182 onto a beach, gravel bar or rocky runway very often. But a straight floats equipped C-182 can get into most of the thousands of lakes that dot Alaska. Even a 180hp C-172 does OK on floats.

    Of course it is hard to beat an older lighter weight C-180 on floats or on skis.
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    How many people in your family? If you have more than 4 people than you will want a C-206. My 185 will handle a lot off airport stuff but the 206 with the landis nose wheel will handle about the same strip but with more room in the cockpit. If one of your goals is ski flying than the 185 hands down. If you have a good 206 and driver and you are telling yourself that you could land in a spot if only you had a 185 you probably need a cub instead.

    My vote, turbine otter!

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    Member agoyne's Avatar
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    Counting me it would be 5. I don't know if the difference in buying a 4 seater and a 6 seater is worth the money for me. When you go to a 6 seater, the operating costs go way up because that means you are buying a larger plane. From what I've seen the 170 is anywhere from 35-55K, the 180 is anywhere from 40-90k, and the 185 is anywhere from 80-150K and the ones above that are wayyy out of my price range. To where I'm looking at buying a cabin, it would only be about a 15-20 min flight from Talkeetna or Willow. For the price of the higher planes, I could make a couple of trips, no problem. I'm looking to spend about 65K. Of course, I would love to find a low time engine. I think if I look hard enough, I might be able to find a 6 seater 180 for that price if I take my time and don't get in a hurry.

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    A 180 is in that price range but I wouldnt call them 6 seaters. They are more like 4 seaters with a little itty bitty 5th & 6th seat.

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    Member agoyne's Avatar
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    Roger that AKHUNTER

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    The Cessna 180s are one of the best airplanes ever designed and developed. They will even operate grossed out from 500-ft gravel strips, beaches, tundra strips, and bars, in the hands of an experienced driver. In my estimation, the Maul is not so comfortable in rough turbulence, has rather poor directional stability, meaning more rudder work in turbulence, and has comparitvely limited visibility until you get used to it. All you Maule owners: please forgive m e for that . . .

    The C-185 is a bit pricey, and quite noisy. The C-206, turbocharged or not, is really comfortable and roomy, but the electric flaps steal a little from short takeoffs at times. It's certainly my favorite on floats or amphibs, but not on skis or wheels in a bush environment. All round, the C-180 will always be the best airplane of all, both from a purchase price and its much lower operating costs. Consider them 4-place aircraft . . . . .

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    Thanks for the insight Grizzly. I would really like to have a 180, no doubt about it. But for around 65K or less I was kind of thinking of buying a really nice 170 with a 180hp engine, low time on the engine, good avionics(GPS), good paint and so forth. I could buy a really nice plane. On the other hand for the same money I would have to buy a low end 180 in rough shape probably. What are your thoughts on that?

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    You keep your eyes open , you'll Find a 180 in your price range, trust me!! Turn over every stone.

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    Roger That! I would rather have a ratty looking $70,000 C-180 than a nice look $65,000 C-170B.
    Just because a 180 HP C-170B has four seats does not mean you can use all of them unless you only plan on flying to the scene of the crash.

    Look for something that you can eventually put on floats, LEGALLY, some time in the future. A fully loaded landing on a gravel bar will scare the crap out of your wife and kids, BUT a fully loaded trip into a nice lake is like a Sunday drive.
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    Quote Originally Posted by agoyne View Post
    Thanks for the insight Grizzly. I would really like to have a 180, no doubt about it. But for around 65K or less I was kind of thinking of buying a really nice 170 with a 180hp engine, low time on the engine, good avionics(GPS), good paint and so forth. I could buy a really nice plane. On the other hand for the same money I would have to buy a low end 180 in rough shape probably. What are your thoughts on that?
    Used to have a Cessna 170A (with the small flaps) and a 165-heavy case Franklin engine with a climb prop. It turned out to be quite a good airplane, and I flew it for some time. It was comfortable, quiet, and roomy enough. It would carry a load, too. A C-170B, with the larger flaps, would be an excellent choice, in my estimation.

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    Grizzly 2, I read your post because as a new pilot I want to absorb what I can from experienced pilots such as yourself and guys like Mr. Pid. Just a question for you? I have a Stinson 108 Voyager, It has 28 hrs smoh with Heavy case Frankin 165. The plane is in great shape! What do you think of the Stinson?

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    Agree with Grizzly ... craigslist has 2 right now close to your price range and not all that ratty ... I think they both have bigger engine http://anchorage.craigslist.org/rvs/2927402253.html

    I have owned a 56 C-180 beginning in 1991 and was a great family plane, at overhaul in 2007 upgrade to 260 hp and new prop.

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    There is a semi local guy selling an older C-182 on straight floats. But I think it weighs around 2,050 to 2,100 empty,,, with a legal gross of 2,900 something.... Start adding fuel at 6 pounds per gallon and how much a couple people weigh and things get a little thin....
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    agoyne, as the owner of a c170b with a 0-360 (180hp), I really honestly would not recommend it as a "family bush plane". Yes it is a GREAT plane by most peoples standards, and one hell of a performer when kept light. Light being the key word. With 3 adults and full fuel you better be doing a dang good evaluation of your gravel bar you landed on and make sure you have enough room to get back in the air.
    Now, if its going to be the family bush plane to haul you and your hunting partner around and once in a while take the wife and 2 children to town, thats a different story. You couldnt go wrong doing that.
    A early c-180 would fit your bill nicely i think. Power when you need it most.

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