7ECA Citabria Vs. PA-12 Super Cruiser

Bartman

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#1
OK gang, what's a forums site without a good "Vs." thread? I met with Joe this morning to discuss our flying club plans. All was going well, we put some rough numbers together, talked about some basic ground rules, and even agreed that if it looked like we were overspending on a Champ we'd consider good 7ECA's.

Then I got to the airport to ask about hangars. More good news, both open t-hangars and enclosed newer hangars were available. So I asked if there were any good Champs on the field that were for sale and the airport owner said no Champs but there's a PA-12. O-235 with about 760 hrs since new, 3300 total time, fabric from the mid 90's and mostly hangared since, updated struts, Cleveland brakes, radio/transponder/intercom.

7ECA vs. PA-12 looks something like this
O-235 vs. O-235
39 to 51 yrs old vs 72 yrs old
seats 2 vs. seats 3 (not a big three but it could be you and two kids or two small adults)
both are day/night VFR
certified acro vs. not at all acro
both have starters w/electrical systems
wood spars vs. aluminum spars
7ECA is chromemoly tubes, PA-12 is mild steel (I think)
PA-12 tanks can be taken out without doing fabric work
26 gallons total vs. 38 in the "Cub"
It's not a Cub vs. it's kinda-sorta a "Cub"

My 7ECA seems more substantial than the PA-12 but maybe that would be better for a club plane to dissuade people from wanting to try acro without training or chutes?

What am I missing? I hadn't even thought of a Piper product for our first club plane but the PA-12 seems reasonably suited for the job and it's under 30 grand!

Your thoughts? Have I besmirched the reputation of our beloved website and the airplanes we love by even suggesting it? :)

This is a good thread for Mr. @Bob Turner
 
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Bob Turner

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#3
Hmmm

First, you do know that prices on old PA-12s have gone through the roof!? I am guessing that an average ECA is 30 grand, and an equivalent PA-12 is 50. (I think I am assuming an ECA is a Citabria?)

If you need to carry mama and a small child, or two kids, the Cruiser will do - but it won't perform as well as the equivalent ECA.

If you are instructing, the ECA has way better outside visibility from the back seat.

The ECA is by definition a newer airframe. Cleveland wheels and brakes are a giant plus.
 

Bartman

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#5
I think the charts are off as well. PA-12's seem to be in the high twenties to low thirties with the original O-235 and less than fresh restorations. We're using $30k as the target price for an airplane to start the group so the PA-12 is in our price range but I'm still inclined to lean towards the 7ECA. It kinda makes me want to finish my plane that much more.
 
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Bob Turner

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#7
Well, from what I have seen, if you can get that one for $30K, you should snap it up.

Usually, one like that with mid time engine is $50 K. I have seen a derelict PA-12 in flying condition (barely) go for $19K. I wouldn't have touched it at half that price.

I think the ECA is a better airplane.
 

Bartman

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#8
I agree Bob but the PA-12 is at the airport where the club will be based and the price is right. It's probably a wash between the two airplanes for how we'll use it. The wings are in really nice shape with smooth straight leading edges.

@Bob Turner Does the PA-12 have mild steel tubing like the J-3 did?
 
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JimParker256

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#9
Just a comment... Not all 7ECA's come with 26 gallon fuel tanks. Mine holds 39 usable. With an O-200. That's almost 7 hours of flight time (or 500 miles with reserve in still air). WAAAAY longer than I go without a relief tube!
 

Bob Turner

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#10
If I read you right, this 12 is in really good shape and 30 or under, and no travel expenses. You better buy it before another forum member figures out where you are and snaps it up for resale elsewhere.

These are good airplanes - just overpriced in comparison to the later 7ECA, which, like the Mooney, is one of aviation's true bargains.
 

Bartman

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#12
I don't think that the price is all bad but I think, even at the price it's at, it's still a bit too high. Here's another that is listed on Barnstormers, in really nice condition for a little under $10k more......about a third of the hours on the engine, much newer fabric (new fabric would be $30k, no?), not too far away with the same upgrades

https://www.barnstormers.com/classified_1479417_Piper+Super+Cruiser+PA-12.html

And here's a 7ECA that is over 20 yrs newer with 1000 fewer total hours but a higher time engine (and a LORAN! woohoo!)
https://www.barnstormers.com/classified_1475131_1968+Champion+Citabria.html

funny how it gets complicated so quickly.

but i kinda like the idea of a Piper and then maybe also having my 7ECA when it's done, for variety. :)
 
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Bob Turner

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#14
Fabric is a consideration. Neither of those says how old the fabric is - unless the last coat of dope was six days ago.

The Citabria looks about right if the fabric/paint is ok. A really good PA-12 for $27K is a spectacular deal. Old fabric/engine? Not so much.
 

aftCG

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#15
I don't think that the price is all bad but I think, even at the price it's at, it's still a bit too high. Here's another that is listed on Barnstormers, in really nice condition for a little under $10k more......about a third of the hours on the engine, much newer fabric (new fabric would be $30k, no?), not too far away with the same upgrades

https://www.barnstormers.com/classified_1479417_Piper+Super+Cruiser+PA-12.html

And here's a 7ECA that is over 20 yrs newer with 1000 fewer total hours but a higher time engine (and a LORAN! woohoo!)
https://www.barnstormers.com/classified_1475131_1968+Champion+Citabria.html

funny how it gets complicated so quickly.

but i kinda like the idea of a Piper and then maybe also having my 7ECA when it's done, for variety. :)
You had me at Loran! Where's my checkbook?!
 

Bob Turner

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#16
One of my students is going through all this now. He is looking at J3s, Cessna 140s, etc., and I encouraged him to look at the 7ECA and maybe the Decathlon. If he shows up, give him some opinions. (I have zero time in 140s and Luscombes, so my opinions may not have much heft).
 

Bartman

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#17
I set up a C-120 partnership a while back and stayed in it for about a year and a half. Fun little airplane, wasn't as bad as people say on landing. Handled nicely and performed well, I still like them a lot as a matter of fact.

Stock from the factory a 7ECA has all of the things that would be considered "upgrades" on a J-3, is 40 mph faster, 20 yrs newer (at least) and probably $10,000 less PLUS you can do acro AND fly with the door off!! You need to work on that student of yours!
 

Bob Turner

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#18
I gave him a link. I didn't quite put it that elegantly.

But beware - I still think a J3 with Stroker is the most fun airplane ever! And I flew 96 Stearman hours last year!
 

Bartman

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#19
A Cub is the best second airplane you can buy! That's the best thing I can say about it!

You leave a lot on the table trying to make a Cub your only airplane.