Another F/O and I are looking into buying a C-152 to fly around for fun while also building up our total time so we can upgrade faster. Anyway, I found a Beech Skipper that is in great condition and is IFR rated also for the same amount of $$$ as a C-152. I just don't know anything about Skippers or Thomahawks...can someone who has flown one please give me some advice on which is a better aircraft (performance, maintenance and so forth). Thanks...
The Tomahawk gets its nicknames for valid reasons. Piper decided to change the aircraft design after the FAA certified it, and never bothered to have it retested and recertified. I really don't know how they got away with this.
"Originally, the wing was designed using the NASA GAW-1 airfoil and 11 full ribs from wingtip to wing root on each side...The reconfigured airplane retained the same airfoil but had its wing rib numbers reduced to four full sized ribs..."
"The design engineer said that removing wing ribs and changing the spar design would make the wing less rigid, i.e., "soften" the wing...the softened wing structure could change the airfoil shape, making the wing a new and unknown commodity in stalls and spins. He said he had inspected a PA-38 wing and found it to be very soft, and able to be torsionally twisted without substantial effort. "
"The aerodynamic performance of a GAW-1 wing is very sensitive to airfoil shape. If the shape became distorted, the performance would rapidly deteriorate...the use of a flexible surface representation of the profile sensitive GAW-1 design opens a Pandora's box regarding its performance. The effects of...[a] soft GAW-1 wing in stalls and spins would be impossible to resolve in a conventional flight test program."'
If I were to pick one airplane as a dangerous trainer, that would be it. Definitely not a C152. Some of you may want to lose some weight.
Incidentally, I don't know what dougal means by the use of a 172 cutting training time by 15 hours. It is common for the FBO I learned to fly at, which uses 152s, to finish a student with flight time in the 40s. I soloed in a 152 at 12.5 hours and took my checkride at 45. So if I used a 172 I would have been ready at 30? And I could have soloed at (negative) -2.5 hours? Hrmmm, something is wrong with this picture.
Speedmode - Skippers are awesome! They're about 5 knots slower in cruise than a 152, if you can believe that, but MUCH wider, and far more comfortable inside. Climb rate is about the same. It's VERY light on the controls - I want to say even more so than the 152, but it's been awhile since I've flown one.
It looks like a Tomahawk - but I've flown both, and the Skipper is built like a Beech - it's a far more solid airplane, both in feel and quality of the interior. And you don't have to worry about the wing flex issues with the Tomahawk as mentioned above. I rented, so I can't say much about maintainance, but I'd imagine that with Beech prices and the rarity of the bird, it'll be a bit more than a 152.
I liked flying the Skipper - was sad to see it taken off leaseback.
I think I'll agree with Avbug on the theory of the instructor's distrust of the machine being the reason for the students learning slower in the 152. I've taught in both airplanes and didn't have students advance faster in the 152. Two of my quickest private pilots did their training in a 150 and a 182. Avbug hit the nail on the head (pun intended) with the carpenter reference.
We are not trying to berate you, we are trying to open your eyes to help you for the future.
Good luck and never stop learning.
The 150/150 is a fine time building machine. I happen to like the straight tail models the best, because they are usually lighter. There are a few others, however that haven't been mentioned here. The Piper Colt isn't a bad plane either. Not much gliding range if you bag the engine, but it is cheap, simple, and pretty well built. I am trying to find a Vagabond project to turn into a timebuilder. Good luck.
with regard to the tomahawk and skipper..I have had the pleasure of flying in both. Interestingly enough the tomahawk and skipper were designed by the same person, but both have very different flying qualities. The tomahawk below 70 Kts is an unpredictable and dangerous airplane. The skipper has a thicker, high lift wing that is more rigid and has NO bad habits. It is also a 90 kt airplane while the 'hawk does 105. The difference is in the price too as skippers command in the upper 20s low 30s and a beater tomahawk can be had for as little as 15 grand.
the 172 and 182 (also the stiff leg cardinal) use a firewall bracket for the nosewheel strut which is VERY tender, check out the logs and MOST 182s and a lot of 172s have firewall damage from hard landings on the nosewheel. The firewall brakce rivent to the lower 10" or so of the firewall and it WILL buckle the firewall very easily. The firewall bracket the 152 is more robust in that aspect as the nose strut ties into the engine mount truss. It odenst directly tie into the firewall. Push come to shove it will bend the engine mount truss pretty badly and not damage the firewall. I personally saw a 152 that was stalled from 20 feet and hit the ground with a 30 degree nose down angle. It wiped out the prop, broke the nosegear fork, destroyed the engine mount truss, and bent the outer 3 feet of the right wing up about 20 degrees. They could have had it repaired in 2 days except for the wing damage. The student was uninjured.
To understand my dilemma...I have 1000 hrs in Cessnas and love the 152, however, I found a really nice Skipper for $20,000 (3500TT/1100SMOH...BTW what is TBO on a Lycoming O-235...2400 hrs???) which is IFR cert. I was really looking for a 150/152 but am wondering if the Skipper is too good a deal to pass up. I'm really just looking to build time, sell it, upgrade ($$$)and then buy something bigger like a 172/177/182. Thanks for all your help guys, I really appreciate it...Speedmode!