Murphy Yukon or Alternative

Discussion in 'General Experimental Aviation Questions' started by johwiltb, Mar 13, 2019.

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  1. Mar 13, 2019 #1

    johwiltb

    johwiltb

    johwiltb

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    Hey everyone,

    I'm pretty new hear, but figured this might be the best place to look for information (and join a community that seems to be quite amazing!). I searched the forums for about an hour and a half (and another 2 hours just rabbit-holing into discussions), but didn't come up with much. If this is a repeat, please point me in the right direction and you'll have my apologies.

    I have been looking at building my first plane, and have a few things I'm trying to look for. I've always been a hands-on kind of guy, so I'm not overly intimidated by the build process, plus I live in an area with a lot of EAA guys and they are all pretty nice. One of the things that are a requirement for the build choice, though, is m wife wants us to have a plane that can fit the four of us (wife and I and two kids) so we can still do things together. I personally wanted a tailwheel, STOL-ish type plane, or at least one I can take off airport (within reason. I'm not a "Gotta put it down on this 150-ft mountain top" type of person). Living in Arizona, there is plenty of beautiful country to check out and possibly spend an overnight at, and would love a plane that can fit both missions.

    After a lot of bouncing around, I found the Murphy Yukon as a potential fit for what I'm looking for. It's a 4-seater, seems rugged enough for off-airport ops, and is within a reasonable price range for me. My problem, though, is that I can't find a lot of information on it. I have heard Murphy is a solid manufacturer, but I can't really find a lot of Yukons that have been built. I sent a message to Murphy last week (or maybe it was Sunday, the days flow together sometimes), but haven't heard anything back yet. Some things on their site seem to be broken (I couldn't get the Purchase Agreement to come up), so I'm just a little in the dark about what kind of company they are and if it's a good option.

    I'm also open to alternatives if anyone has any that fit those missions. I *NEED* to have a 4-place or higher, and I would *LOVE* it to be able to go off-airport. STOL capabilities are a big plus (~500ft landing and 300-400ft takeoffs), so if there are any suggests, I really appreciate it!
     
  2. Mar 13, 2019 #2

    TFF

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    At one time some of the Murphy bush planes had some problems; don’t remember what. I would be looking at a Bearhawk.
     
  3. Mar 13, 2019 #3

    Pops

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    Sounds like you need a 4 place Bearhawk. Can be scratch built from plans, scratch built with any parts bought from the kit factory, to a complete quick build kit. I have flown the proto-type and its a great flying airplane for the mission. A true 4 place with baggage and full fuel tanks airplane.

    https://bearhawkforums.com/forum/bearhawk-general-discussion-news
     
  4. Mar 13, 2019 #4

    johwiltb

    johwiltb

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    I'm checking out the specs on a Bearhawk 4-place now. I remember looking at one at one point and deciding not to go that route...I'm not sure why. It's probably a lot easier to find someone who has one around to check out than it would be to find a Yukon. I liked the idea of being an all metal plane for the Yukon, but I am not hard set on that. How does build time look for a first-time builder?
     
  5. Mar 13, 2019 #5

    BJC

    BJC

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    For any aircraft that you consider, take a realistic look at the empty weight of a “typical” version, not the light weight one built by an expert in weight control, the baggage capacity, the balance with camping equipment aboard, and the realistic STOL performance. Homebuilts are like the children in Lake Wobegon.


    BJC
     
  6. Mar 13, 2019 #6

    rv6ejguy

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    The Moose is only a bit more money than the Yukon and bigger with more payload. You can also fit an LS-3 V8 as Ray Watson did on his.

    moose1.jpg

    Ray will be offering FWF LS kits later this year.
     
  7. Mar 13, 2019 #7

    TarDevil

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  8. Mar 13, 2019 #8

    cluttonfred

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    Hi and welcome. A few quick thoughts....

    You have defined your mission as four seats, STOL, and off-airport operations but we'll need a little more info. A simple way would be to point to a factory aircraft and say, "I want to build a plane that can do what [that plane] can do."

    Otherwise we'll need some numbers. Two big parents with two teenage football player kids and a lot of luggage would require double the payload capacity of two slim parents, a couple of toddlers, and lightweight camping gear. You don't need to tell us anybody's weight but I'd suggest adding up you and your wife, doubling that (kids have a habit of growing over time) and adding a realistic allowance for baggage/gear to come up with a target.

    Also, do you have a budget in mind, a preferred type of construction (sheet metal, welded steel tube, wood, fabric, composites), a preference for high or low wing, minimum cruising speed in mind, minimum range?

    Cheers,

    Matthew
     
  9. Mar 13, 2019 #9

    johwiltb

    johwiltb

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    I'm not opposed to that, I just wasn't sure I wanted to go that big. Operating costs seemed to be pretty high on the Moose (at least from what I read, but no first-hand experience there), but maybe the LS-3 makes it not as much as the radial? I'll definitely stay on the lookout for the kit you mentioned. Any link to more info there?

    I've been trying to figure that in as well, and keeping my expectations reasonable. I figured if the deviation of my skillset between the different homebuilts is pretty close, I can use those as reference numbers (as in, one says 400ft takeoff roll, another says 700, so I'll just say that the first would yield a little more than half the roll, not necessarily 300ft better). But I don't know a better way than trying to find ones around to check out in person (I've already been scoping out the Bearhawk builder's map) and/or building and seeing.

    That isn't bad, either! I'll keep that as an open option. Thanks!
     
  10. Mar 13, 2019 #10

    johwiltb

    johwiltb

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    I appreciate the response, and thank you! Those are definitely helpful questions to be answered, and helps me with giving out pertinent information.


    I am not entirely sure what certified plane would match my mission, but the specs on the Bearhawk mentioned earlier were pretty decent.

    Size-wise, I'm about 5'9" and ~180-200lbs (Arizona heat still fluctuates my weight pretty well in the summertime), and my wife is pretty petite, running in around 100lbs when soaking wet. My kids are little babes right now, with a 2 1/2 yr old daughter and 3 month old son. So, what they'll be when they're older, not sure, but probably somewhere between 100-200lbs ;) Payload-wise, I'd love to be able to take the kids camping (wife isn't huge on camping), so maybe minimal camping gear for us on a weekend. Biggest trips would probably be a family vacation to a spot in California or Colorado, ~200lbs luggage tops, and that would be all four of us. I'd say at heaviest, we'd be 700lbs all in at that point (before fuel)?

    Range would be good down to 600nm, although I'd prefer possibly a little further (800-900nm). Cruise in the 140kts is good, but I'm willing to budge on that, too. I would prefer high-wing, and like metal construction, although I'm good with partial fabric (again, like the Bearhawk). Budget-wise, firewall back, before avionics, I'd like to keep it under $60k.

    Hopefully that's a little more clear? And thanks again for taking time to ask those questions.
     
  11. Mar 13, 2019 #11

    rv6ejguy

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    Ray's website is here: http://www.moosemods.com/

    Yes, the fuel (and oil) burn is lower with the LS-3 compared to the M14P radial. It's less expensive, lighter and more powerful as well. Parts are readily available.
     
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  12. Mar 13, 2019 #12

    Riggerrob

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    I have seen Murphy Moose powered by the usual Lycomings and Continentals and even one powered by an Allison/Rolls Royce C250 turboprop! Murphy has a great reputation among Canadian home builders!
    The only Moose problem I have heard about was larger than stock vertical stabilizers bending. The Murphy factory probably has a fix for that problem.

    Seabee Pilots tell me that the Corvette liquid-cooled, V8 engine conversion is by far the best engine for their heavy flying boats ..... half the fuel consumption, cabin heater, stock oroovette parts, etc.

    Also look at the Christavia Mark 4 and Wag Aero Sportsman 2 + 2. But both are totally covered with fabric. The Christavia 4- seater is comparable with Cessna 170 ...... enough for hauling small children. The Christavia series are only available as plans sold by Aircraft Spruce and Specialty.

    The larger and more powerful Sportsman 2+2 is more comparable with a Cessna 180. Wag Aero will cheerfully sell you a completely welded fuselage and tail feathers, engine mount, landing gear, etc plus enough wing parts to make it a quick-build kit. Wag Aero also manufactures a wide variety of PMA certified parts for fabric-covered Aeronca, Bellanca and Pipers.
     
  13. Mar 13, 2019 #13

    cluttonfred

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    Most of the options have already been covered but the Zenair CH801-HD and higher payload -SD might also be worth a look. They are slower than your mission brief and not cheap but they have STOL chops and good payload.

    www.zenair801.info
     
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  14. Mar 14, 2019 #14

    Victor Bravo

    Victor Bravo

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    Matthew beat me to it! As the Red Baron said to Snoopy (as told by the Royal Guardsmen) "Curses, foiled again!"

    The CH-801 might be an easier build (sheet metal and pop rivets), and will have as good or better STOL performance than any other choice. The 801 has been built with everything from an aluminum V8 auto conversion to the Walter LOM inline 6, to the (standard) O-360.

    The aircraft will reliably operate out of a 500 foot clear strip I believe. Well worth considering, quite a few have been built, very very good support form the manufacturer, the builder community, and two or three additional entities.
     
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  15. Mar 14, 2019 #15

    rv6ejguy

    rv6ejguy

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    The CH-801 is pretty slow as a serious traveling machine. Not going to go 140 knots as the OP was hoping for.
     
  16. Mar 14, 2019 #16

    johwiltb

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    I appreciate all the input. I hadn't thought about the Zenith's for this, partially because I always thought they were 2-place only. The Wag-Aero looks pretty interesting as well, a little slow, but definitely interesting. This has definitely been helpful getting some idea of where to go.

    I also got a response from Murphy yesterday evening, and they gave me all the info I was looking for as well, including an invitation to come up and check them out. They're definitely not out of the running for me (especially with the moosemods referenced earlier), but it's good to have options.

    On an aside, yesterday was a huge moment. My wife and I were talking about this topic a little bit, and she's always thought it was crazy that anyone could build something and just take off into the skies with it. After explaining the process and how it isn't *quite* like that, she looked at me and said "Well, this whole idea of building something and then you being able to work on it, and we can go take the family somewhere, I think it's growing on me a little bit..." <-- That right there, huge win!
     
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  17. Mar 14, 2019 #17

    Victor Bravo

    Victor Bravo

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    Congratulations John, you just won the lottery :)

    Are you in Maricopa, AZ? I remember when that town was a small road intersection with a couple of gas stations on the way to Estrella gliderport. My crew and I stayed there one time for a regional glider competition, one of the gas stations had two or three cheap (and unsavory) motel rooms above the mini-mart. One entire wall of that mini-mart was covered with hundreds of bottles of Thunderbird wine, apparently a big seller in that area.

    At that time Maricopa was an agricultural area - I'm pretty sure they harvested dust for worldwide distribution! Poverty would have been a compliment So three 22 year old kids from Los Angeles showed up, with a shiny glider trailer, driving a rattle-can camouflaged Chevy pickup. We must have looked like spoiled rich punks mocking them, or at best aliens from another planet. Somehow managed to not get shot, stabbed, or beaten in this little place.

    Now I understand there are thousands of houses and residential developments all over that area, and it is considered a primary suburb of the greater Phoenix area.
     
  18. Mar 14, 2019 #18

    johwiltb

    johwiltb

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    Thanks, I know, right?!?!

    And I am in Maricopa, AZ! I used to come out here when I was in high school with my dad to work construction (he was a general contractor when I was growing up) and I also thought this one-horse town was creepy and in the middle of nowhere. Then I grew up, got a job in Maryland, decided I hated spending so much money for a home, my job let me work as a teleworker, and I found myself back out here, looking at a COMPLETELY different city that sells square footage by ton it seems like.

    Also, about 15 minutes down the road towards Casa Grande is a small airport, Ak-Chin Regional (A39), where my Cherokee 180 is currently parked. It has cheap gas and friendly people, so I'm a fan of it! Now I just have to turn that Cherokee 180 into *insert homebuilt here*
     
  19. Mar 14, 2019 #19

    Victor Bravo

    Victor Bravo

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    I remember Ak-Chin being on the charts. I remember Casa Grande real well too, driving into town at the wrong time when the livestock was being fed, and it was almost zero visibility on the road with a very memorable smell. Got stories about being stuck in Casa Grande with a strange old British antique airplane.

    Does Lufthansa still have that nice training facility and private airport up there halfway between Estralla and Buckeye? It wasn't there when we were racing gliders in the 1980's, but then it was there when I flew through there in a powered airplane years later.

    Sorry for the thread drift everyone else, memory lane drags me in sometimes :)

    The Cherokee is a decent airplane, so my main question is what is the Cherokee NOT doing that you want to swap it for an E-AB?
     
  20. Mar 14, 2019 #20

    johwiltb

    johwiltb

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    I'll help keep somewhat on topic with the E-AB question, but first I'm not sure about Lufthansa's private strip. There's not a whole lot between Estrella and Buckeye (I fly the backside of the Estrella's a lot to avoid the crazy amount of training aircraft coming out of Chandler and Mesa), but I know Lufthansa has a big training school at Goodyear, which is just east of Buckeye. But the smell is definitely a thing here lol (there's a nickname for my city; Maripoopa). You should come back and rehash some of those memories! :grin:

    For the E-AB, there's a couple things. Besides the weird looks I've gotten for landing a Cherokee on the dirt strip at A39 (doesn't bother me, the guy who keeps it manicured does an EXCELLENT job), the plane has a couple things we'd like to change. Some of it may seem like it's tied to the idea of building a Bearhawk, but this discussion has put that on my mind temporarily...

    First is probably the cabin size. I fit just fine in it, and so does my wife and my 2 yr old, but to get anyone else in the back seat is a bit of a joke. I'm not tall by any means, but no one can really sit behind me. Plus, it's a 1962, kind of old cabin, and any sort of avionics upgrade for TSO'd items are CRAZY expensive. The panel works well, but it just leaves a bit to be desired. I'd also love to have more than just the one door and a storm window.

    Apart from the cosmetic-y things mentioned above, I love to work on things and fix stuff. I have been building things most of my life, and a kit has a lot of appeal to it. From the "Earn the Repairman's Certificate" thing to being able to make modifications I see fit, to the cheaper avionics packages (I've been looking at MGL after talking to the guy who owns Gairplanes, and I can get everything my little heart could desire for around $10k), I just really enjoy it. I'm even currently wiring a Bearhawk instrument panel up at home for a guy, and it just is so awesome to be able to do that.

    I will say, the Cherokee is a fantastic plane. I got my certificate in it, she's flies beautifully, pretty cheap operating costs, and has that O-360 that is so dependable and cheap (to run), so I'm definitely not complaining. But I had a strut that kept failing on her that I couldn't really do the work on so I had to wait for the shop, as well as a couple other things that meant someone else had to work on it and keep me up to date. I just don't intimately know the plane like I did with the cars I'd build or the motors I'd work on, and I think an E-AB gives me that sense of intimacy with the aircraft and freedom I'm looking for.

    Maybe I'm wrong?
     

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