Tall Pilots

Joined
May 16, 2019
Messages
5
#1
Question for my Citabria comrades.
I’m considering buying a Citab or Decathlon.
I used to instruct in them when I’m was young and tipping the height bar at 6’-3”.
Since then I’ve grown to 6’-6” 😱
Any tall pilots out there with input?
Thanks!!!
bart-
 

Clifford Daly

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 12, 2018
Messages
149
#2
I’ll put my answer from the other thread here too so others can see it!

I stopped measuring at 6’5” but I’m around 6’6”. I fit perfectly with little room the spare. I made sure to recover the old foam seat cushions as I was afraid the new foam would be too thick! Mine also has heel brakes which is a plus for not having to bend my ankles so much haha
 

Bob Turner

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 4, 2018
Messages
402
#3
One of my Cub students is 6'6", 250 lbs, and was able to fly from the front seat, more or less comfortably. The Champ has way, way more room.
 

donv

Active member
Joined
Jul 15, 2018
Messages
36
Location
Portland, OR
#5
I'm basically 6'5" (76.5 according to my AME), and I fit just fine in my 7GCAA. I'm comfortable in either seat, although getting in and out of the back requires a little bit of folding-- but very comfortable when I'm in there.

As a big guy myself, my main comment would be around CG position. There is no way the airplane can be within the aerobatic limits with me in the back seat, almost no matter who is in the front (and if the front seat pilot is too large, we're over gross). With a normal, 150-200 pound person in the front seat, I'm right at the aft limit of the normal CG range.

So I would make sure to run a few CG calculations until you're comfortable with where it ends up.
 

Bob Turner

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 4, 2018
Messages
402
#6
Maybe these little airplanes should not be flown aero when over gross? I do pretty good solo, but the Super D does not behave as well when I take a buddy for a few slow rolls. My paperwork says that me -190 lbs - the Greek at 120, and 3/4 fuel, is at gross. The airplane flies fine with a 300 pounder in the back, but I would confine that operation to normal maneuvering - no acro. Two 190 lb pilots and it will do fine, but don't push it.
 

JimParker256

1965 Champion 7ECA (O-200)
Joined
Apr 3, 2018
Messages
117
Location
McKinney, TX
#7
I was trying to find a two-place tandem high-wing airplane that would allow me to earn my tailwheel endorsement and then continue to fly for fun and proficiency while I complete the Bearhawk Patrol homebuilt in my garage. I'm not particularly tall (5'11"), but when I'm sitting down my head is actually higher than my 6'3" son's... And being somewhat (ahem) rotund, there was simply no way I could get into the back seat of a J3 Cub (I tried) and even the front seat of a Super Cub was almost impossible to get into, and extremely uncomfortable once I managed to squeeze in. I would not willingly submit myself to that on an ongoing basis, even if it meant being able to fly... So, I kept looking. A friend suggested the Citabria, but I quickly learned most of them were heavy enough that there just wasn't enough useful load for my purposes. The Champ seemed like a possibility, but nope - same issue with useful load.

Then I came across an article about the 7ECA – specifically the older ones with the Continental O-200 (probably only 150 or so made with that engine before they switched to the Lycoming O-235). The article said the O-200 planes were about 50-60 lbs lighter than the O-235 planes – otherwise identically equipped. So I started looking, and found that only a few of the original O-200 equipped planes still had that engine. Most were upgraded to the O-235 at TBO. I got lucky and found an O-200 equipped 7ECA only 100 miles from my home that also happened to be the lightest one I'd found in search. The plane still has the original factory ceconite covering (always hangared) that was getting a bit ugly, but still airworthy. Without the wheel pants, it weighed in at 1027 lbs empty (against a gross of 1650 lbs), leaving a 623-lb useful load. With 39 gallons of usable fuel, the full-fuel payload is 389 lbs. That's plenty for me, some baggage, and adequate camping equipment if/when I go to OSH or SNF. Reduce to half fuel (19 gallons), and I could fly with my 200-lb CFI in the back seat, with enough fuel for 3 hours of training and an hour's reserve (my personal minimums). And should I chose to learn aerobatics, the CFI and I should be able to fly with chutes on, for more than two hours with my hour in reserve.

There's a bit of "technique" involved in getting into the front seat and settling in, but once I'm there, it's reasonably comfortable. I wish the seat would move aft one more inch (I'm all the way back now), but it's OK. Heel brakes mean I don't have to arch my foot up to keep off the brakes during takeoff and landing. With my CFI on board, I'll admit that the O-200 struggles a bit in climb rate – especially in our 105ºF summer temps – but it's still a fun plane to fly, and tough to beat in terms of operating cost per hour... During the 10 hours of dual required by my insurance company (no previous tailwheel time), we averaged 4.6 GPH for fuel. But even at max cruise speed (roughly 90-95 mph with my current very tired propeller) it's only burning 5.6 to 6 GPH.
 
Last edited:

Sully

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 5, 2019
Messages
48
Location
H75 Hernando, Ms
#8
Boy, you had me going there for a while. I see the error now.
Mine had a useful load of 670# when it left the factory. It has gained a little weight since then.
 

JimParker256

1965 Champion 7ECA (O-200)
Joined
Apr 3, 2018
Messages
117
Location
McKinney, TX
#9
Sully, that's pretty impressive. When I was looking, I found a few with empty weights around 1150-1160, but nothing even close to an empty weight of 980 lbs. I cannot imagine how my plane could be lightened by almost 50 lbs - unless I weighed it without the fabric!

And I FINALLY noticed the error in my post... I meant to say the EW was 1027, for a UL of 623 lbs. Fixed now...