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Best Bang for the Buck STOL

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Ardent

Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2007
Messages
21
I vote Murphy Rebel, I own two now, one flying one partial build I acquired. It’s a “real” plane without compromise, will carry a real load (750lbs), up to 3 people, and has lots of room inside. Most home builds suffer from a lack of space, lack of useful load, and poor engine options. In the end as a result they get used less than they should. A Rebel on the other hand Cruises fast, takes off fast, and can actually take the Camping gear and friends you imagine to, and out of the gravel bar.
 

WWhunter

Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2011
Messages
24
Location
Virginia/Minnesota
After years of researching, I ended up going with the Murphy Rebel also. As Ardent mentioned, not sure if there is a better 'bang for the buck' airplane in it's class out there. One of the biggest load haulers and more of a size/feel of a certified plane than most of the others. I have a Cessna 172A, Murphy Rebels, and a RANS S7 and have owned a few others.
The previous advice on getting a Champ or something to fly in the meantime is perfect advice. You'll find that having something to fly while building is also a motivator.
 

allonsye

Member
Joined
May 28, 2013
Messages
6
Location
Winchester, VA
As far as the "bang-for-the-buck" goes, Avid Flyer and early Kit Foxes seem conspicuously not listed in this thread.
Some good examples frequently pop up on the market and at sub 20k prices as well as uncompleted kits or projects. Yamaha conversions are gaining popularity. I have an Avid C Heavy Hauler STOL project bird and considering going with the Yamaha Phazer 2 cylinder, if I don't sell it which I've been giving some thought to.
My B Model STOL Avid Flyer has a jewel of a motor - 85 HP Jabiru. Empty wt 545, gross 950. The folding wings capability is such a nice feature of these aircraft and quite handy now and then.
Plenty of info on the Avidfoxflyers.com site and the Avid Flyer FB page. Also check out the Yamaha Apex FB page.
 

Ardent

Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2007
Messages
21
WWHunter nice to hear another Murphy Rebel opinion. Folks will wince at the price of a Rebel build or completed plane (though there are some great deals out there on completed planes), but the difference is as you allude it‘s a “real” plane in a sea of hobby planes, that’s also why the price is double many of the other planes mentioned here. But the capability in my eyes is worth spending for, and it means it’ll actually get used, and actually do the things you imagine doing with your plane. It’ll scare you less too, as you learn to bush fly. That’s bang for the buck in my eyes.

I’m not putting down lighter options, or trying to say it’s the only “real” plane you can homebuild as there are a good few. I spent 20 years wanting a CH701 until I actually got in one, yes there are things they do very well, but put it on floats or try and take two full sized males, full fuel, and gear and it’s essentially unusable here in British Columbia with our mountains and distances travelled.

I’ve had a few planes and fly bush for a living up to a 300hp Wilga 2000 on floats, and the most important factor for me has always been available power and useful load, which are very closely related subjects. Power is life, especially in bush flying, and none of us imagine getting to the gravel bar or mountain strip with 30 mins of fuel left and nothing but a sleeping bag. We’d like to bring a friend, comfortable camp gear, and be able to have a couple hours extra fuel to explore.

I’d aim for the top of the US sport category rather than the light end, and choose an engine that has surplus power to requirements. You’ll get much more enjoyment out of your plane and won’t be tempted to overgross and push the envelope to extract adventures from your plane when it’s done. If I had the money, I’d really consider a 915iS in my second Rebel, that’d be a beautiful package and a very high useful load.
 
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Marc W

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2017
Messages
547
Location
Colorado
I have been in a Rebel twice and even flew it a bit. I am going for a ride in one tomorrow morning. It is a decent airplane except I cannot see out to the sides without bending over and twisting my neck into uncomfortable positions. It has a wide upper door frame that really blocks the view. Are they all like that or is it just the one here?
 

Ardent

Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2007
Messages
21
Mark, that’s normal for the Rebel, though guys do have full window doors for them, not sure if that’d address the upper frame you mention. This said, if you’ve flown the 185 the view from the Rebel is rather panoramic in comparison. Frankly all I do in every high wing aircraft is rock a wing and fly a little S to have a look around, from the Cessnas to the Wilga to the Rebel, so I’ve honestly never noticed the problem.

cluttonfred I’m with you, I eye the 9S a good deal for the Rebels. But it’s hard to beat the 320 for just going flying, this said... man would that be a sexy marriage if my 320 ever gets tired. The 7U would be a better dimensional fit, but we need the 9S’ jam for the mountain lake float stuff we do up north here.
 

WWhunter

Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2011
Messages
24
Location
Virginia/Minnesota
Ardent,
I see we think along the same lines! I actually have 3 Rebels, one nearly ready for sign off, another kit that has the tail section, wing and flapperons close to closing, and the last Rebel is a damaged one with a Formula Power Subaru engine. I'm thinking of selling the kit and the damaged one since it seems aging comes faster than my abilities to finish airplane projects. ;)

Several unfinished projects out there that can be purchased for no more than most of the other options listed. Heck, I wouldn't want to be looking for a good deal on a Kitfox....they sell for top dollar.

The comment about the others being 'hobby' planes is spot on. Still fly my RANS S-7 and also had a KF-IV. Both were great one person aircraft for local playing around. Load either of them up though and it really changes their flight characteristics. The Rebel is more in the Super Cub category where a guy can load it up and still have great capabilities.
 

Victor Bravo

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Jul 30, 2014
Messages
8,019
Location
KWHP, Los Angeles CA, USA
From the OP: "I've been looking long and hard for a scratch build STOL plane. There's really not a lot to choose from (at least for me) because price is an issue too, as is customer support and length of time building. Needs to be LSA capable and have a scratch build option."

I forgot if it has been mentioned or discussed thoroughly, but the Super Cub is considered by just about everyone to be the "Gold Standard" for light bush flying. You can scratch build two or three different versions of Cub from Wag-Aero plans and I recall one of them can be a pretty close match to the "Gold Standard" factory PA-18. However, a stock PA-18 or exact E-AB replica is not LSA weight.

BUT, Wag-Aero does sell the J-3 and PA-11 version, which will make LSA weight in stock configuration.

AND, if you go with the Apex or other hi-po engine option, you can reduce the empty weight, which could give you "real" Super Cub performance starting with the lighter structure, and staying within LSA weight and airframe load limits.

The cool part of this is that you can pick and choose and fine-tune ANYWHERE on the spectrum between scratchbuilt and quick built. Each and every part is available from several vendors, and you can even start with a damaged fuselage from a factory airplane if time is a factor.
 
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