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Thread: What's the best CERTIFIED 4-place rough country plane? Bushmaster? Maule? C185?

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    Default What's the best CERTIFIED 4-place rough country plane? Bushmaster? Maule? C185?

    All opinions welcome. I have a '56 stock Tri-Pacer and will start doing a few well considered and planned loops out into the outback next summer. The mission is flying across North America in rural areas- Northern parts of USA and Canada - maybe as far north as Newfoundland, and landing on non paved areas with fishing and camping in mind. I'm talking CERTIFIED stock and standard airplanes and modified Certified designs (Bushmaster) that can come close to the Bushmaster specs and performance. Those of you owning or considering a Bushmaster type option must studied this question. I myself periodically consider getting a Maule. My constraint is that I want to fly and don't want to build something. Would a well maintained/upgraded C180, C185 or C170B be a better value for investment? Or Maule? I know a Maule M7 235C will haul more and fly faster, but will it get out or in shorter? I like the Maule, but they seem to be a bit heavy. What about bang for the buck and effort/expense to maintain? Resale value? All thoughts appreciated. Thanks.

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    Default Re: What's the best CERTIFIED 4-place rough country plane? Bushmaster? Maule? C185?

    I've always thought "getting out" is a function of power, effective wing area, departure weight. Obviously flaps have a lot to do with wing effectiveness. "Getting in" (and stopped) function of landing speed, weight and braking capability. You might argue there are other factors, one for certain is pilots proficiency and capability. Power and weight seem to seem to be part of the airframes characteristics while braking capability can be modified pretty easily, ie different wheel, tire and brake options.
    My Pacer came out relatively light considering it has the 180 hp which is heavier than the previous 150. It will certainly come out of places I am not proficient enough to take into. I once saw a maule 235 break ground in about 150-200 feet but he had a good headwind and was alone. Lots of things to evaluate looking at airplanes for a given mission.
    "Progress is our most important problem"

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    Default Re: What's the best CERTIFIED 4-place rough country plane? Bushmaster? Maule? C185?

    Proficiency is probably more important than the airplane. You may have an airplane capable of getting in and out of tight places, but if you donít have the requisite skill, itís not going to happen.

    Everyone would love a 4 place airplane with 1500 lb useful load that can go 200mph, fly 700 miles, and get in and out of 150 ft. That airplane doesnít exist! Each person needs to evaluate the type flying they intend to do. Based on that, decide on the best compromise airplane for that mission. All airplanes are a compromise! Most of the compromises are due either to physics, or to money.

    I loved my Howard, fast, caries a good load, nice range. Down side, burned lots of gas, needed 900í of ground roll to take off. I loved my TriPacer, not so fast, not quite the load capability, less gas, but with the 53Ē pitch prop, could easily get in and out of 700í strips. Iíve flown Maules, they are good airplanes, but to really use the short field capability takes significant technique. 180s and 185s are great, but price is way up there.


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    Default Re: What's the best CERTIFIED 4-place rough country plane? Bushmaster? Maule? C185?

    Cessna 180 would be my choice. Fast, slow and will haul lots of stuff. Lots of my friends have 180s and love them. Bill Duncan who is the guy who got Bushwheels going and sold to Alaska Airframes has been a Maule guy forever until he bought a 180. The Cessna is better flying, faster and hauls more. All that being said money for a good one can be the determining factor.

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    Default Re: What's the best CERTIFIED 4-place rough country plane? Bushmaster? Maule? C185?

    I agree that Mauls are heavy. 185's are also heavy as well as expensive. I fly my Bushmaster in the Backcountry with friends who have 180's. 180's are faster and haul a little more. They are heavier and have spring gear. They won't get off as quick but, will climb out faster. They use more fuel. The constant speed prop provides better cruise but more expense. The Bushmaster flys more like a Cub than a Cessna. Both hold good resale value but, 180's are more expensive to purchase. Cessna's are more expensive to maintain and repair. Bushmasters are hard to find although, they are cheaper than a 180, and are a serious project to do yourself. Having one built makes it more expensive than a 180. Cessna's have a roomier cockpit. There are a couple of Backcountry strips I would rather take a Bushmaster into than a 180 but, not many. Bushmasters can land slower. A 180 on 35's can probably land on as rough of a surface as my Bushmaster on 29's. There are more 180's available and they are popular, an excellent plane. Most people have no idea what a Bushmaster is, those who have then generally love their performance and flying characteristics. Although, I would beware of some of the experimental versions, I personally know some builders skimped on the spar reinforcement.

    A stock or converted Pacer with a 160 hp engine, Sutton or Svenn wing tips, 29 Bushwheel's, VG's, trimmed weight and a long prop and skilled pilot is hard to beat in the Backcountry.

    I can't believe Bill traded his Maule for a 180????
    Last edited by Stephen; 08-10-2019 at 09:43 AM.
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    Default Re: What's the best CERTIFIED 4-place rough country plane? Bushmaster? Maule? C185?

    I have asked a lot of air taxi guys in Alaska that have flown everything from turbine otters to Cubs to 206's on floats; if you could own one airplane, what would it be. Same answer everytime was a 180.

    That being said I just flew my pacer (converted tri with 180 hp) from Alaska to Washington at near gross and from what I could figure as long as I had 800 ft and elevation was below 5,000 ft there was no thought about getting in and out.
    And fyi useful load is 800 lbs. Me full fuel and I still had weight to stuff the back completely full of stuff and an extra 10 gallons of gas.

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    alaskadrifter's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the best CERTIFIED 4-place rough country plane? Bushmaster? Maule? C185?

    If money was no object the four place Super Cubs that Airframes is building is what I’d get. But in the mean time my Pacer works pretty well.
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    Default Re: What's the best CERTIFIED 4-place rough country plane? Bushmaster? Maule? C185?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen View Post
    I agree that Mauls are heavy. 185's are also heavy as well as expensive. I fly my Bushmaster in the Backcountry with friends who have 180's. 180's are faster and haul a little more. They are heavier and have spring gear. They won't get off as quick but, will climb out faster. They use more fuel. The constant speed prop provides better cruise but more expense. The Bushmaster flys more like a Cub than a Cessna. Both hold good resale value but, 180's are more expensive to purchase. Cessna's are more expensive to maintain and repair. Bushmasters are hard to find although, they are cheaper than a 180, and are a serious project to do yourself. Having one built makes it more expensive than a 180. Cessna's have a roomier cockpit. There are a couple of Backcountry strips I would rather take a Bushmaster into than a 180 but, not many. Bushmasters can land slower. A 180 on 35's can probably land on as rough of a surface as my Bushmaster on 29's. There are more 180's available and they are popular, an excellent plane. Most people have no idea what a Bushmaster is, those who have then generally love their performance and flying characteristics. Although, I would beware of some of the experimental versions, I personally know some builders skimped on the spar reinforcement.

    A stock or converted Pacer with a 160 hp engine, Sutton or Svenn wing tips, 29 Bushwheel's, VG's, trimmed weight and a long prop and skilled pilot is hard to beat in the Backcountry.

    I can't believe Bill traded his Maule for a 180????
    S

    Stephen - you must be good with a hammer cause you hit the nail on the head about a converted PACER....! The 160 HP on a light stock Pacer is hard to beat....! I've got two tri-pacers at 160 HP and they will haul the mail....


    - Vern

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    Default Re: What's the best CERTIFIED 4-place rough country plane? Bushmaster? Maule? C185?

    Quote Originally Posted by alaskadrifter View Post
    If money was no object the four place Super Cubs that Airframes is building is what I’d get. But in the mean time my Pacer works pretty well.
    I'm curious how Airframes 4 place SC would compare to Bushmaster.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: What's the best CERTIFIED 4-place rough country plane? Bushmaster? Maule? C185?

    260 horse Bearhawk with VGís is a good back country hot rod.


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