I'm looking at purchasing an 1980 Artic Tern. My questions are:
1. Spare parts: are they still available
2. Skis and floats. Haven't seen very many Terns to know if there is "standard" rigging or are there limfacs to using either.
3. Performance: I've heard a few different opinions when inevitably compared to the supercub but, again there are not that many flying.
Please forward any inputs form anyone ho has any experience either flying or wrenching, pro or con.
1. Spars are readily availabe as standard sized blanks (no special ordering)
2. I have seen several terns on both floats and skiis (landes and dodge skiis, and edo 2000 floats) Mine has dodge skis, but no stc so need the bit of FAA involvement to use them.
3. Terns are more room inside by far, have less useful load, cruise faster, more stable in rough air, but will not land or take off quite as short as a supercub (so im told). I dont have enough time in a cub to know for sure. I was told a tern can operate out of 300ft with good approach/departures loaded. I dont have enough time in mine yet to land that short, but take off at weight in 300ft seems pretty accurate.
Terns do have some parts that can be hard to find, are very forgiving tailwheel planes and designed with a machanic in mind for working on them.
My neighbor has a friend with an Arctic Tern, and frequently keeps it here in our neiborhood in Wasilla. You can PM me.
The Tern is a great little airplane. It has some difficulties that are not due to its ability but to the paperwork.
The history is that a local here took an Interstate and put a bigger engine it and a few other things but when the TCDS was submitted, the gross weight was never changed. It's a shame too because these birds do a great job. Truly and unsung hero sort of thing. They are built Hell for stout, are very comfortable inside and are resonably fast with the right prop. I have a friend I hunt with who has the first one and worked with Bill very closely over the years. Unfortunately, the current owner of the Type Certificate was killed in a shop accident and his Estate I believe holds it with no intent of releasing it. A real shame too. I am real impressed with it. There are several flying w/ Landes 3000's, Bushwheels and Goodyears. There's even a 4-place (experimental) floating around out here.
What are the letters in the tail number? AA or AT?
Feel free to PM me and I'll put you in touch with my friend. They're Outside for the next month but email works. They've rebuilt theirs and are meticulous record keepers, if you want to know Terns, they're the folks Short of Bill Diehl.
The guy that bought the type cert from Bill was indead killed while moving equipment around in the hanger (not a crash). His estate (wife and fellow employees of the project) finished the new type cert and sold it to Charles Nearburg who is evaluating how he wants to proceed (and I assume if to proceed or not)
Their info is at