Used Aircraft Guide

November 2009 Issue

Used Aircraft Guide: Aviat Husky

A practical, well-regarded utility aircraft with good performance and payload. It does what the Super Cub does (almost), but for a lot less money.

Utility airplanes occupy an interesting market niche. Like any other airplane, they take off and land, cruise at altitude, carry a payload and offer some creature comforts. Naturally, just about any spam-can does that and probably can do it faster, more economically and with more pampering of the pilot and passengers. But unlike most other airplanes, utility airplanes are optimized to use short, unimproved fields without drama or damage, carry lots, require little maintenance and be field-repairable, just a few of the features with which the typical tricycle-gear, all-metal single has trouble. Over the years, types like Piperís Super Cub, the Maule series and the American Champion Scout have come to exemplify a utility airplane. All three were originally designed decades ago and have changed little since, fully depreciating their design and engineering costs. Too, thereís little "wrong" with these models: They ainít broke, so they donít need fixiní. Put another way, the basic piston-powered utility airplane is mature technology. Into this niche came the Aviat (formerly Christen) Husky, unapologetically designed with the Super Cub firmly in mind. The result is a Part 23-certificated, well-built and good-performing airplane successfully competing against its forebears. In fact, its success is all the more remarkable since it was designed and certificated in the 1980s, something of a dark age for new general aviation designs. Utility airplanes, of course, are put to many different uses, including romantic bush flying, plus more mundane pursuits like pipeline patrol, ranching and even training. By all accounts, the Aviat Husky tackles all these challenges with equal aplomb, making it worth consideration by anyone looking into buying a utility airplane.

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