Aircraft Review

May 2011 Issue

Great Lakes Revival: Docile and Glass Smooth

We’re not big on the nostalgia thing, but the Lakes’ handling rivals any modern airplane we’ve flown. And Waco Classic is taking orders.

There aren’t many airplanes that feel precise and balanced in flight without being twitchy and solid without being heavy. The Bonanza 33/35 series qualifies and some say the Cirrus line is close. We recently discovered one that has the middle of this lane nailed down. Improbably, it’s the Great Lakes classic biplane, which Waco Classic is now reintroducing as a sport aircraft. (Not light sport, but certified, mind you.) Just as improbably, it filled up its order book with at least a year’s backlog at the Sun ‘n Fun show in April and the year is barely a quarter old. What the heck is the appeal of a 80-year-old open cockpit throwback to the Depression era? If you have to ask, you can’t possibly understand, but we’ll try to explain it.

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