Discussion in 'Classics' started by Pete Barker, Sep 13, 2008.
Any pilots with comments on flying the Luscombe 8E/C85?
I miss it
I've got a little over 10 hours in an 8A... it's the first plane I took lessons in. With myself and my CFI it was a close fit, but not uncomfortable. The goofiest thing was the trim knob. The indicator was between the seats, so we both had to squirm around to see it and it was always a guessing game on which way I should turn it... I never really did get the hang of it, so I usually just ignored the trim. We had to hand prop it... and "hot starts" could get a little frustrating. I don't really believe that it had any bad habits... but you do have to coordinate your turns and I'm glad that I learned how to do that. A bit underpowered by today's standards - a 98 degree F day with the normal 90% humidity meant that climb performance was poor enough to warrant a cancelled lesson.
Would you rebuild one (8E) if you had the opportunity for a good price?
A classic airplane, worth rebuilding... depending on condition. IIRC there are some corrosion issues that can be expen$ive to fix.
America is two Mack trucks colliding on a superhighway because all the drivers are on amphetamines.
No, I probably wouldn't do it. I'd dearly love to fly N2850K again... but I don't think I love the Luscombe enough to put all the effort into rebuilding one. I'd certainly join a partnership built around a Luscombe 8 in a heartbeat, but restoring an airplane almost seems to be as much (or possibly more) effort than building one from scratch. And if I'm going to put that much effort into something then I'd want it to be "perfect" for me... which means I'd want to change things... and that sort of thing doesn't go over well with the FAA.
Now, it might be important to keep in mind the fact that I'm a 34-year old married man with a 2-year old daughter and nothing to fly but rentals... so my time and "airplane money" are both at a premium these days. I might answer the question rather differently in 16 years or so...
I've had 2, an 8A years ago and the O-200 powered 8E I have now. They are really great airplanes. As for rebuilding, this goes for any type: Rebuilding/restoring is a hobby in itself. Do it if you love the work involved. If you really want to get in the air, buy. As for the Luscombe, like any of the birds of its vintage, unless you already have a lot of parts, tools and materials you will probably spend as much to rebuild as you would to buy. The difference will be that you will get exactly what you want and you'll really know the aircraft. An all monocoque structure like the Luscombe can be a particular challenge if it is bent or if there is significant corrosion. Usually, you'll need to build jigs to keep the whole thing straight while you remove and replace skins and structure. If the one you're looking at is just tired with no significant structural problems, then it can be a relatively easy rebuild.
I'd consider doing another Luscombe, however, it would have to to be a select project. No more rebuilding every single part! Takes too long. Still have quite a collection of Luscombe parts.
No time in 8E's, however, a few hrs in an 8F and couple years with a remanufactured 8A Standard. The 8A outperforms them all if it is kept light. Down side is no electrics which doesn't appeal to everyone.
Luscombe: 8E, aerobatics and the new 8F LSA
Any experience with inertial aerobatics in the original Luscombe from any who have flown it?
BTW, good short article in the latest Plane & Pilot on John Dearden's new Luscombe 8F, a new 0-200 powered original style Luscombe that comes in under the LSA weight and performance limitations. He's building them out of Flabob.
Purchase price for the new 8F is $89,700.
I've got about 200 hours in an 8E, and I loved it. They are great flying little airplanes. It really bothered me when I sold it. The Luscombe really is a pilot's airplane.
Many believe that the Luscombe was certified for aerobatics, but that is untrue. However, the CAA (former FAA) did publish a list of suggested entry speeds for various aerobatic manuevers. This along with the fact that the Luscombe has a very strong airframe contributed to the rumor that it was aerobatic. With that said, I think it would be safe to say that most of the Luscombes out there have done aerobatics at some point in their lives. My tailwheel instructor (14,000 hour + CFI) had an 8A when he was young, and he did about everything in it. It got rolled, snap rolled, looped, hammerheaded, etc. Then, when annual time came around, several cracks were found at the vertical stab attach fitting, and at the rear of the vertical stab. He didn't do any more aerobatics in his Luscombe. I never looped or rolled mine, but the previous owner did. During my annual inspections, no structural issues were found.
As far as the new LSA Luscombe goes, I don't believe that it is actually being produced yet, but I could be wrong.
Re: Luscombe 8E
Probably a good idea to minimize stress on a 60-year old airframe.
The 1946 8E photos on your website are great. Did you do the rebuild, or do you have contact info on the mechanic who did? Could you say a little about how your C85 is configured, and the specifics on the starter, alternator (or generator if original) and whether you are using Slicks, Bendix or Eiseman magnetos? Looks like it is configured with a keyed ignition, instead of pull ring. Are the seats Luscombe original? Some 8Es are retrofitted with 150 seats. Finally, which prop is installed, and does this work for your type of flying?
We would be interested in hearing from anyone involved in 8E restorations with experience, parts and/or advice.
I would strongly recommend a Sky-Tec starter. For a pull start engine this does require modifications to the engine that can be done without removing or disassembling it. Instructions are on their web site:
Likewise an alternator in place of the old boat anchor generator. These two will save quite a bit of weight over the original equipment and give you a much more reliable electrical system. Since the Sky-Tec starter uses less current than the original, and the alternator puts out current even at pattern and approach RPM's you can then switch to a smaller battery and save even more weight. I use the Odysee Powersafe.
SBS J-16 Aircraft Battery
I have C150 seats in my current O-200 powered Luscombe; my first 8A had the original. The adjustable seats are a really nice addition. I did have to buy a 1/4" shaft extender, meant for knobs on electronics equipment, to extend the trim control shaft so I could adjust the trim with either seat all the way forward.
Shoulder harnesses are a valuable safety addition and can be done with either seat type as they attach to the cabin top behind the rear spar carry through.
The Luscombe is capable of aerobatics but I would not recommend it as a place to start. You have to understand energy management and be ahead of the aircraft enough to avoid getting out of control. It does not have the structural or control margins to tolerate major mistakes. Get training in something more capable and then practice maneuvers using part throttle and less than full control. I have done loops, aileron rolls, snap rolls, cuban 8's, even 4 point hesitation rolls in my 65 HP 8A. I used entry speeds between 130 and 145 (Vne) MPH. It was quite easy to get those speeds even with an A-65 and throttling back to keep the RPM within limits. Aileron roll rate is not that great. Replacing all of the pulleys in the aileron system with ball bearing ones will help as it reduces friction and allows you to have a little more cable tension. It was carefully restored by a trusted crew and I had added the then newly required 4130 steel vertical tail attach fitting in place of the original aluminum one. Any aircraft you buy today should have that, it was an AD in the late 70's or early 80's.
What are the weights on your O-200 8E? Sounds like the 8A/A-65 was pretty light with minimal electrics. Sky-Tec is the preferred starter from all reports.
Any chance you could post some photos, especially engine compartment and panel?
Is there a reason the original Luscombe seats were replaced with 150 rails and seats?
Have a lot of work ahead before we are anywhere near thinking about running up the C85-12F, much less aerobatics, so this is good info.
Thanks for the comments.
Hit 'Go Advanced' then click the 'paperclip' to attach pictures..
Hit 'browse', find the pic you want on your computer, click it, then hit 'upload'.
Here are a couple of pictures of the Luscombe's engine and panel
woo, nice airplane.
Thanks much. it's a joy to fly. Here's what the rest of it looks like
Re: Luscombe 8E Docs
Are there books/manuals you recommend for the Luscombe?
N1404B arrived here last weekend and we're looking her over, rivet by rivet. She has some 8A features (no "D" windows) and A-type sliders where the stock 8E has door handles.
Lots of stuff available for free download from
Luscombe Aircraft Manuals
The Luscombe Association Welcome to the official Luscombe Association website puts out a nice newsletter with tips for owners.
Pete.. cool journal.
What happened to the Pixie?
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