There was a time when Piper Cub was the often used aircraft for student pilots to get certified for private pilot. After achieving this feat, many pilots will upgrade themselves to a high performance aircraft, which in the 1940s and 1950s was a Luscombe 8 series aircraft.
From cruising at a speed of 60 miles per hour, they can now zoom at a speed of 100 mph, being pulled by 85 angry horses.
The initial models of the Luscombe fit the category of Light Sport Aircraft, along with the Luscombe 8 to 8D.
This tailwheel aircraft had a seating capacity for 2 and in Luscombe 11, a total of 4 people could sit. Back in those days, the aircraft had earned an undeserved reputation as being “squirrely on the ground”. It was an effect created by pilots who had the habit of using heels for stopping the aircraft on the ground.
One of the owners explained that, the only time brakes are required in Luscombe is when you have to park it.
The Real World
After owning a Luscombe 8E for nearly 50 years, its owner, Lars Persson of Fort Pierce, Florida, sold it recently. The 85 horsepower engine of 8E was never put to its maximum cruise speed by its owner, though he had achieved 100 mph in cruise.
The aircraft only burns around 4.5 gallons in an hour. It doesn’t cost much to maintain the bird, an annual inspection would cost around $200. according to the owner, the 100 HP Continental O-200 engine will be a perfect fit for the aircraft.
Persson stated that he never faced any trouble from the 85 HP engine except one day he had to land due to carburetor ice, even though the carburetor heat was turned on.
Visibility is wonderful over the nose, but some pilots may think he is in straight and level attitude when the aircraft is in downward slope.
There are twin fuel tanks in the wings in Persson’s 8E while there was only one centrally located tank in some earlier Luscombes.
Many people may think that Luscombe is a only a two place aircraft.
Merrill Bumbaugh who is from Fort Pierce, Florida, owns a Luscombe 11A, which can fly with four souls on board at 130 mph burning nearly 10 gallons of fuel in an hour.
The Model 11 of Luscombe was designed as per the specifications given by the Flying Farmers of America. It was able to fly with six cans of milk. A total of 90 aircraft were built, and of these 28 are still in operation.
This aircraft was powered by 165 HP Continental O-540 engine which was later shifted to Navion aircraft. It was also upgraded to provide 225 HP.
According to aircraft market watchers, the retail value of a 1944 Luscombe A & B is estimated to be $18.000, and a 1958 Luscombe 8E will cost around $22,000, and the retail value of a 1961 8F is around $25,000.
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