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Thread: Citabria, opinions?

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    Member hoose35's Avatar
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    Default Citabria, opinions?

    I am not a pilot, yet, but getting very interested in learning. Just curious about opinions on citabrias as a first time pilots plane? Are they good planes? Are they difficult to fly? Any opinions welcomed. THanks
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    Member IndyCzar's Avatar
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    A citabria was one of the first planes I flew after getting my license...its a fun airplane and can teach you a lot while not spending a lot of coin for gas...its been a long time since I have flown one, but as I recall, good basic aerobatic plane, (citabria = airbatic) can spin, loop and roll if thats your thing...I have not flown one up here so can't comment on off airport operations but I think with the right tires and good off site recon it would be fine with due diligence...Good luck on your training

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    Member AK-HUNT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hoose35 View Post
    I am not a pilot, yet, but getting very interested in learning. Just curious about opinions on citabrias as a first time pilots plane? Are they good planes? Are they difficult to fly? Any opinions welcomed. THanks
    I owned one as my second airplane. Pretty docile airplane and fun to fly. Visibility is great. Probably a great choice for a starter rig.

    I'm not sure I buy into the "too hard to fly for a first airplane" theory. While I understand the premise, the airplane I owned as my first was one of these short coupled "monsters". It may have taken me a couple more hours to master it but I'm not even sure that is true….You learn to fly and love and get the most out of whatever you own.
    IF you fly it as much as possible.

    One cup of coffee thoughts---->Don't spend too much on your plane (vs your budget) because you need to have enough left for gas to fly it every possible minute. THEN you get your money's worth out of an airplane (and yourself). Save enough gas $ to fly, fly, fly. Then fly more.

    Haven't done the math lately but it used to be a no-brainer….buying an airplane and getting private in it paid for itself pretty fast.

    Edit: Just saw Indyczar's post- as to the off airport, no problem, stay off of the LARGE stuff. The gear attach structure won't support real rough stuff. Just not built for it. But with some soft tires and some common sense its fine.

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    citabria is a good airplane, watch out for "great" deals on wooden spar models. you may be paying more later for spar removal/wing rebuild...

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    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    I have flown 7ECA's which are light and super fun to fly but slightly underpowered for some operations. But they sip gas.
    Also 7GCBCs which took care of the power problem and added flaps. They also make a good float plane.
    and 8GCBC Scouts.... which truthfully I do not like.

    Also the CHAMP, which is the father of the 7ECA is a great plane. Just watch out for old wood spars.
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    Member BobK's Avatar
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    What is so bad about wood spars? I've got a champ with wood spars, and other than the added 10 minute annual AD inspection there doesn't seem to be much difference. A mechanic once told me that as long as I didn't hit anything other than air with the wing, that there was nothing to worry about. Sure, I'd prefer metal spars, but I think that wood spars seem to get such a bad rap on internet forums that it scares people away unnecessarily. Very similar to how people get scared away from Pacers and Maules because they are short-coupled, squirrelly, etc...

    My champ was my first plane, and it was a GREAT plane to learn to fly in.

    Bob K.
    Anchorage, AK

  7. #7

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    You can see by my forum name that I think Champs are great. Don't pass up one of the "big Champs" - the 7GC, 7GCA, 7GCB. They are all 1650 gross weight and have 135 to 150 hp engines, the 7GCB has flaps. They are almost sure to be lighter than a Citabria, which has a marginal legal useful load for 2 people. They have oleo gear, which has its limitations off-airport, though with the big tires can work ok. Mine has the field-approved bungee/hydrosorb gear with 160 hp - sort of a poor man's SC (though with what I spent this plane, I could have had a nice SC).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    I have flown 7ECA's which are light and super fun to fly but slightly underpowered for some operations. But they sip gas.
    Also 7GCBCs which took care of the power problem and added flaps. They also make a good float plane.
    and 8GCBC Scouts.... which truthfully I do not like.

    Also the CHAMP, which is the father of the 7ECA is a great plane. Just watch out for old wood spars.
    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    What is so bad about wood spars? I've got a champ with wood spars, and other than the added 10 minute annual AD inspection there doesn't seem to be much difference. A mechanic once told me that as long as I didn't hit anything other than air with the wing, that there was nothing to worry about. Sure, I'd prefer metal spars, but I think that wood spars seem to get such a bad rap on internet forums that it scares people away unnecessarily. Very similar to how people get scared away from Pacers and Maules because they are short-coupled, squirrelly, etc...

    My champ was my first plane, and it was a GREAT plane to learn to fly in.

    Bob K.
    Anchorage, AK
    Champs and Citabrias are great starter planes. I have my private pilot license but I haven't flown in over ten years. Ever since I started having kids, my flying addiction had to take a back seat. But there was a day when I had my wings and I used to fly a 7ECA Aeronca Champ with a 90 horse. The nice thing about Champs and Citabrias is they are very fuel efficient. I believe I was burning about 4 gallons per hour compared to a Super Cup that burns I believe 8 gallons per hour (I could be wrong this was years ago I was flying). Anyhow, the only bad thing with a Champ or a Citabria is that they need significantly more length of runway to get off the ground than a Super Cub. If my memory serves me right, on a good day I could get off the ground into ground effect in about 700 ft. So, if you want to use this plane to hunt, you might be limited in the places you can land your plane and get back off safely. I believe the 7GCBC models have a little bit better performance than the 7ECAs. And yes, the wood spars tend to get small cracks and then they need to be replaced. The wood spars are more flexible than the aluminum spars though. I had an annual done once and a tiny crack was found on one of the spars and it had to be replaced.

    Also, you can burn unleaded gas in the 7ECAs instead of avgas which also makes it more economical. Good way to build hours.

  9. #9

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    I bought a pacer before I started flying. It worked out great!! I did look at a Citabria and really liked it but ended up with the pacer. As a first plane I think a Citabria would be great. They have a great view over the nose, handle fine, and can carry two with ease. I now have a cub and 90 percent of the places I land a Citabria will do fine. They won't carry the load of some of the other planes will but, you, blond, and 5 days worth of camping can be done with no problem. Don't fall in love with a plane until you IA has seen it!!!!!! If the IA is happy you will be happy.
    DENNY

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    I own a citabria 7ECA with 31" bush wheels and it does good off airport just have to be sure where you land has enough room to take off. Very easy and forgiving to fly and others have said cheaper than most on gas. Also have it on skis righ now and is a great ski plane. if you are interested let me know be glad to show it to you.

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    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Another thing is that Citabrias and champs are generally faster than Cubs in the same power range. Back when I lived in the Valley I used to fly down to the Polly Creek area all the time. My buddy would leave 15 to 20 minutes after me in his Citabria, then pass me and eventuality be digging clams while I was still pounding along at 80mph in my Super Cub. When I was still half-way home, he was already taking a hot shower.

    They also have better heaters.
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  12. #12

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    It's all been said. Good Plane! A 7ECA was my first plane which I bought before I started any flying. It's sure bags more fun to fly than my scout. I did quite a bit "unimproved" work with it on just 8.50s. I doubt you will be disappointed. As far as the spars, just make sure they get looked at on the prebuy. A well maintained set of wood spars will likely last longer than you'll own that plane. At least to the next recover.

  13. #13
    Member Toddler's Avatar
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    I have to vote for the Champ too. I don't mind the wood spar and the plane is fun to fly. Lots of good advice above. IMHO what you will need most is AVGAS and a Champ or a Citabria will leave enough $$$$ to buy it.

    Just my nickel
    Drew
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    You'll never be sorry for owning and flying a Citabria. I've got a few hours in both the original Aeronca Champ and in the Citabrias, including aerobatics (actual aerial acrobatics to those who fly those maneuvers), and can highly recommend either for your first airplane. Again, you'll never be sorry . . . . . and I don't even find fault with the Citabria Scout. I even owned an Aeronca Chief. Great wing, but too crowded and not up to Champs or the Citabria line.

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