Grumman GA7 question

Steve

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Anyone flown one? I've heard its very similar to the dutchess. What kind of performcane / fuel burn did you get? Any life limited parts like in the seminole? Look to buy one for short trips and to build time in.
 

bigD

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I have a couple hundred hours in one. Performance is very similar to a Duchess or Seminole - maybe a hair slower. The plane I flew trued at 150 knots. It's got smaller engines than the Duchess (160HP O-320's), so the fuel burn is a bit lower. I planned on 16gph total, although it's been awhile, so maybe someone with the POH in hand can chime in. Take whatever an older 172 drinks and multiply it by two. :)

A couple of things about it that I like:

Very, very easy to fly. It's reasonably heavy on all axis and is well balanced in this regard. The Duchess always seemed heavy in roll but light in pitch. It's nice and stable - even at really low airspeeds.

As an MEI, I liked the fact that it did *not* have counter-rotating props, although really, with only 160HP per side, I'm not sure anyone can tell anyway. Heh!

It's a LOT more comfortable inside that either a Seminole or Duchess. The cabin is cavernous compared to the other two, and combined with the way the panel kind of angles back a bit - you always feel like you're flying a bigger, cooler plane than you are. I've heard that the airframe was originally designed to be 6-seater (with bigger engines of course), and that sounds true to me. There's a rediculous amount of legroom for the back seat passengers. The only problem is that there's not a lot of height in the cockpit, and the seats don't adjust up or down. I'm 6'1", and the top of my DC's always rubbed the headliner.

It's got gobs of fuel capacity. 114 gallons of usable fuel. Of course with full tanks you have enough useful load for two people and no bags, but it's nice to have the option. Tabs in the tanks allow fueling to 100 gallons and 80 gallons, which is handy.

I can't talk too much about MX, since I've never owned one, but I know parts are a lot harder to find, making them more expensive. But it didn't seem to be a very troublesome airplane.
 

Steve

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Thanks for the info bigD. Do you know anything about the airframe? Ive readt that it is bonded (glued) together and has almost no rivets, is this correct. I though I read something about an AD on the glue a few years back.
 

pilotmiketx

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You might look at the BE-95 Travel Air. A mini-baron. Same price range as a Cougar, and super sweet flying plane. Probably be easier to sell when the time comes too. Call for insurance first, and be sitting down.
 

bigD

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Steve said:
Thanks for the info bigD. Do you know anything about the airframe? Ive readt that it is bonded (glued) together and has almost no rivets, is this correct. I though I read something about an AD on the glue a few years back.

Yes - it is bonded, and the airframe is smooth. I think this is how Grumman managed to get Seminole/Duchess like performance on less horsepower and a wider airframe. Unfortunately I can't say about an AD on the glue, although I have been told that there are no recurring AD's for the airframe. Don't know if that's true or not - I didn't verify for myself.

Another interesting tidbit about the Cougar is that it doesn't have a Janitrol heater in the nose - it uses the same exhaust shroud method that most singles use. I was told way back when learning to fly twins that the Janitrol was necessary because by the time you piped the heat from the nacelles and into the cabin, the air has already cooled off. Wrongo - you'll cook inside that cabin with the heat on. It's pretty impressive, and one less MX item to deal with as well (although of course beware of CO).

pilotmiketx makes an interesting point - if you're just buying this airplane for time building (meaning you won't be holding on to it for a long period of time), you may want to consider the fact that a GA-7 might be harder to sell down the line.
 

FutureTEDpilot

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My dad had a Grumman Cougar in 1979. Flew it from our farm in South Dakota to MSP for his trips (NWA Pilot)

Always loved that plane, may buy one in the future, heck maybe I will buy it from you when you are done? I had a BE-55 last year, little nicer but $$$$ to operate!

Good luck
 

Steve

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FutureTEDpilot said:
My dad had a Grumman Cougar in 1979. Flew it from our farm in South Dakota to MSP for his trips (NWA Pilot)

Always loved that plane, may buy one in the future, heck maybe I will buy it from you when you are done? I had a BE-55 last year, little nicer but $$$$ to operate!

Good luck

Do you remember the tail number? Maybe the same one i'm looking at in CA.
 

Steve

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bigD said:
Yes - it is bonded, and the airframe is smooth. I think this is how Grumman managed to get Seminole/Duchess like performance on less horsepower and a wider airframe. Unfortunately I can't say about an AD on the glue, although I have been told that there are no recurring AD's for the airframe. Don't know if that's true or not - I didn't verify for myself.

Another interesting tidbit about the Cougar is that it doesn't have a Janitrol heater in the nose - it uses the same exhaust shroud method that most singles use. I was told way back when learning to fly twins that the Janitrol was necessary because by the time you piped the heat from the nacelles and into the cabin, the air has already cooled off. Wrongo - you'll cook inside that cabin with the heat on. It's pretty impressive, and one less MX item to deal with as well (although of course beware of CO).

pilotmiketx makes an interesting point - if you're just buying this airplane for time building (meaning you won't be holding on to it for a long period of time), you may want to consider the fact that a GA-7 might be harder to sell down the line.

I am looking to hold onto it for at least a few years and use to travel for business. I also read that the inner spar is life limited to around 5,000 hours? Is that a life ending part like it is in the Seminole?
 

bigD

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Steve said:
I am looking to hold onto it for at least a few years and use to travel for business. I also read that the inner spar is life limited to around 5,000 hours? Is that a life ending part like it is in the Seminole?

Hmmm...that I don't know. I've never heard anything about a 5,000 hour limit on the spar.
 

pilotmiketx

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If you want to keep $50K in the bank, you could always spring for a nice Apache. You won't have any choice, but to build time. :D
 

Steve

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pilotmiketx said:
If you want to keep $50K in the bank, you could always spring for a nice Apache. You won't have any choice, but to build time. :D

I'ts possible that the 50k i save could end up being spent on MX, money that I wont get back when i sell it. At least with the GA7 if i can find a nice one i'll be able to cash out at what I put into it.

btw, from all that ive seen the words nice and apache don't really work well together
 

pilotmiketx

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I've seen a couple of "nice looking" ones, but really wouldn't wish that plane on my enemies. The one I used to fly tried killing me several times.

A Twin Comanche is probably the best buy in a light twin. Fast and super efficient, which is nice with fuel prices being what they are.
 

USMCmech

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Steve said:
Thanks for the info bigD. Do you know anything about the airframe? Ive read that it is bonded (glued) together and has almost no rivets, is this correct. I though I read something about an AD on the glue a few years back.

Grumman planes were "bonded" rather than rivited in many areas, the tiger and cheetta are as well. This type of construction offered several trade offs verses rivets. Fewer parts, lower construction costs, suposedly less corosion, and suposedly lower weight. In the end it came out fairly even in light planes with not a real advantage.

Quite a few airliners and jets use this nowadays, the 737 has a lot, the ATR has a ton.


Bonded construction wouldn't worry me by itself, just make sure you take it to a mechanic who has some experiance with Grumman light planes and their unique features.
 

Jim

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That's weird, I took my instrument check ride in California in a GA7 with a N-number of 7436A in 1987. I just went to the FAA website to see if this plane was still in California and that N-number belongs to a Cessna since 1991. I guess someone bought the plane and changed its N-number, or that Cougar is no more.

Anyway, it was a nice flying plane. I seem to remember we had to put ballast in the cargo compartment with 2 in the pilot seats and a full tank of gas to keep the forward CG within limits.
 

siucavflight

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I fly one as well, and got me ME in a Duchess BE-76

The GA7 flies better than the Duchess, much more docil during an engine failure, due to that huge rudder. Vmc is actually below Vso. The engines are counter rotating.

I flew it for 3.0 yesterday and put 44 gallons in it. This might be a little conservative though due to the fact that we were practicing engine outs.
 

bigD

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siucavflight said:
The engines are counter rotating

You sure about this? The one I flew had two O320-D1D's on it. I don't think Grumman built other GA-7's any differently.
 
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siucavflight

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bigD said:
You sure about this? The one I flew had two O320-D1D's on it. I don't think Grumman built other GA-7's any differently.
You are right, I was thinking about the Duchess, the Cougar is not counter rotating, damn it is too early in the morning, nice catch.
 

BoilerUP

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Do you fly that GA7 in the Chicago area owned by the flying club? I've seen that one down in LAF a time or two being flown by some Ninety Nines members.

Ron Levy on the AOPA boards has owned a GA7 for years, that might be a good place to look for info if you are an AOPA member.
 

ms6073

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bigD said:
I know parts are a lot harder to find, making them more expensive. But it didn't seem to be a very troublesome airplane.

Parts may be a problem for the Cougar as to my knowledge, Fletcher Aviation in Houston (http://www.fletchair.com/) is one of only a few companies left with PMA for parts (like engine and flight control linkages) for the Gruman aircraft like the Cougar.
 
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