Used Aircraft Guide

October 2009 Issue

Used Aircraft Guide: The LSA Capable Taylorcraft

This classic taildragger remains popular, with old models in demand for LSAs. There are a few new ones, too, offering modern systems and engines.

The years just after World War II must have been an exciting time to be involved in aviation. As the war wound down, manufacturers like Aeronca, Cessna, Piper and Taylorcraft were putting the finishing touches on new designs they were convinced would be market leaders. War-time training had turned out scores of thousands of pilots, most of whom it was thought would want something to fly when they got home. At the time, the state of the art for a personal airplane was a basic, two-seat traildragger of modest horsepower and tube-and-rag construction. Wood, as often as not, was a major airframe constituent and IFR was something not even all the airlines practiced. But, as it turned out, most returning pilots just wanted to settle down and raise a family; they’d had enough flying for one lifetime. While the hoped-for boom in demand for personal airplanes went bust, anticipated competition resulted in some classic designs: The Cessna 120/140, the Piper PA-11/12 and the Taylorcraft series come to mind, all of which remain popular today. And many—though by no means all—have seen a renewed interest, thanks to the FAA’s light sport aircraft rules, which were five years old this summer. Of them, the Taylorcraft is among the types with the longest production history, new, non-LSA-compliant models having been produced as recently as the 1990s. Though it’s unlikely any new Taylorcraft will be manufactured, parts are readily available, as is some level of factory support. More on that, below.

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