Some good advice here that has been shared by Swift experts in past GTS Internet Update Newsletters.
BECOMING A SWIFT “CARETAKER”… (11499)
To become the caretaker of a living, breathing, flying Swift is the dream and goal of every person needing to fill that deep aeronautical craving in their soul that only this classic airplane can satisfy. Some of those in search of a Swift eventually discover that, while the desire is strong, the financial resources are lacking. To these individuals the relative low cost of “adopting” a project Swift might be the only way to initially afford one. We also must realize that for some, it may not be the cost that inspires them toward the resurrection of a needy Swift. To many the restoration process itself is considered the best of quality time well spent and more than sufficient motivation to take on a project. These passionate souls with a mechanical aptitude the rest of us can only dream about sincerely feel that the pleasure and reward of working on a Swift, when compared to flying a Swift, is simply a lateral transfer. I know many Swifters who fit this description and admire them greatly for accomplishing that which I am poorly equipped to emulate.
What those of us in the World of the Swift truly hope for when we discover a project has found a new owner is that the airplane emerges renewed rather than continuing to suffer from further neglect. Those who see their involvement with a Swift as merely a way to turn a fast buck will never get the same kind of help and respect from the group that those with the true Swift spirit receive. These soulless speculators are quickly identified by the faithful and only get enough help and advice as is required to insure that the Swift in question will be preserved with the hope that someday it will go to a good home.
Then there are the truly neglected Swifts. The ones that despite all efforts by concerned Swifters are imprisoned by their jailers who only care to brag at cocktail parties that, “Why yes, I own an airplane”. The fact that they refer to their possession as merely an “airplane” further indicts them as being guilty of ignorance to the true spirit of the Swift. In those unfortunate situations our only hope is that eventually these misguided individuals will surrender the mortal remains of their slowly corroding, grounded Swifts to a deserving and dedicated caretaker who will then lovingly restore them to flight. (In extreme cases it is only the inevitability of the “estate sale” that becomes the Swift’s best last hope…)
It is indeed proper for Dale to point out that those individuals with the time, patience, dedication, and skill to take a grounded Swift and get it back in the air be recognized. The “Swift hospital” may not exist on the scale that Dale suggests but wherever an individual owner or small shop cares for the Swift, we who love this classic craft are the better for it…
GTS Homepage Webmaster
GTS Internet Update Editor
A number of you who get this are shopping for a Swift and recent events concerning prospective Swift purchasers prompted us to pass along some advice. In the “word-to-the-wise” category, any would-be Swift purchaser should take the time and expense to make sure of the mechanical condition and legality of the Swift he/she plans to purchase. Remember, these are not new airplanes and a LOT can happen in 50+ years. Recently around the country, Swifts have been purchased that had many not-so-obvious problems which weren’t discovered until AFTER money exchanged hands and papers were signed. Also, other Swift shoppers have had a knowledgeable Swift mechanic look over the logbooks of their prospective purchases and have found in some cases numerous modifications that did not have proper documentation.
Needless to say, these mechanical and documentation problems can take substantial time and money to rectify. Truth be known, some purchasers are really not all that concerned about “paperwork”. Well, if they want to take that road that is their decision, and responsibility… And it has to be said in the defense of the sellers that in the vast majority of cases the sellers are sometimes just as surprised as the purchaser to learn that certain items are in need of repair or not documented properly. (Or at least act like they are…) We are at the mercy of those we hire to inspect our airplanes and sometimes the mechanics might end up missing a thing or two here and there. It is so important, and has been proven time and again, that someone familiar with Swifts should be employed to look after their “care and feeding”.
Those that have been there are quick to say that it was worth it to have someone knowledgeable look things over before any deal was done. It is wise to avoid paying “top-dollar” for a Swift that will need more dollars on top of that. Knowledge of work needing to be done might help the purchaser bargain for a more realistic price. It stands to reason that paper work and/or mechanical challenges should require adjusting the purchase price accordingly. That would help allow one to take care of the problems with the moony saved by not paying top dollar in the first place. It has been suggested that top dollar should only be paid for a Swift with a “clean record” and no outstanding mechanical defects.
Nowadays it is almost impossible to find a Swift without at least one or two “skeletons” in it’s closet at best. You pays your money and takes your chances. It is up to you how much of a “chance” you are willing to take. Only when, (and, I guess, if…), AVIAT starts building new Swifts will it be possible to know that the “closet” is truly empty. — Denis Arbeau
SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT PURCHASING EXPERIMENTAL CATEGORY AIRCRAFT FROM SWIFT EXPERT DON BARTHOLOMEW…
The Experimental category has about six classifications under it. Depending on which class it is in determines how the plane may be operated. Experimental/Exhibition typically limits the plane to be flown ONLY to/from an exhibition, in that exhibition, or practice for that exhibition. Passenger carrying MAY be limited. One has to look VERY closely at the operating limitations that go with the particular aircraft. If you move the aircraft to a new FAA region, the operating limitations may be changed (for better or worse, usually worse). All AD’s that were issued to the original aircraft, engine, prop, and accessories still apply in the experimental category. A minimum of an A&P will still have to sign off the work and the relicense inspections.
The plane may be harder to sell because there is a smaller market out there that wants an experimental Swift.
The possibility of getting a Swift back in standard category from it’s current configuration at this time is slim. The modifications that put it in experimental in the first place may be difficult to inspect or document. To get the plane back in standard category, the plane would have to be modified back to the original type certificate and/or approved modifications. Some things would be impossible to return to standard, for example, putting flush rivets back to protruding head. The mods may be able to be approved but it would take a DER to sign them off.
Look closely at ANY modified Swift you might consider buying. There are a lot of planes out there with many mods and no paperwork to back them up.
SOMETIMES, FINDING A SWIFT AIN’T ALL THAT EASY… (4499)
Subject: I’m Back !
From: Edward A Lloyd <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I managed to look up four Swifts in my travels. One I found in Hagerstown, MD. but was not for sale. A lady helicopter pilot owned it and only flew the bird infrequently, but not for sale. The second bird was in Chestertown MD. and was for sale but was disassembled. Guy wanted 25K. I wished him well. The third machine was in Miami FL. The airframe was in excellent condition, little or no corrosion evident except on the engine. Had one jug off ,so not possible to do a good compression check. The valve covers, pushrod tubes, cylinder barrels, etc., were all rusted not corroded just plain old rust. The cockpit was gutted. Nothing there but the 150 seats. No evidence of wires anywhere so the bird would have required a complete rewiring from the engine on back. The engine , in my opinion, would have to gone through completely. I would not have trusted it otherwise. Sooo, I have turned my back on that one at least for now, until I can confer with Joe Sills. The guy was asking 18K and wanted me to make him an offer, but I decided to not do that. Figure I had in mind was about 12K but I kept it to myself. The other bird was in MS. But was in deplorable condition. So, I’m back with no leads except the one I flew in Ft. Worth a month ago. Haven’t written it off yet. The quest continues. Cheers Ed Lloyd
TEXAS SWIFTER ED LLOYD GETS FAN MAIL… (11399)
Internet Swifter George Montgomery is looking for a Swift and decided to get the advice of Ed Lloyd who recently went through the Swift purchase routine. Great advice from Ed follows.
Saw the bit on you and your Swift on the Swift homepage, thought I would drop a note with some questions. Like you, I am a retired Air Force pilot (C-123, B-57, C-118 and C-130). I retired in ’82. The B-57 flew a bit like a giant T-37 with very heavy controls. Anyway, I first ran across the Swift bug in the early 70’s when I switched from the B-57 to the C-118, looked at several $3,000 to $5,000 was the going price back then. I never got the nerve to buy one. Alaska just did not seem like Swift country, more of a Super Cub kinda place. I found the Swift page a couple of months ago and the bug is back. Could you give me an idea of how you found the actual sale prices to be in relation to the advertised prices. I would be interested in similar in powerplant, Mods,Nav/comm equip,as the jewel you found. I could accept a lot rougher cosmetic appearance than yours. I think your conclusion of a flyer over a project is a very sound one, Thanks for any assistance/advice you might give. George M. Montgomery <email@example.com>
Sounds like you’re going down the same route I traveled on my Swift quest. Believe it or not the first Swift I flew was in Alaska at Fairbanks in 1957. One of the ROs in the interceptor outfit I was in had one he had purchased up there for 2500 bucks. Obviously, the prices have skyrocketed since those days. The one I stumbled into, quite by chance, was the best and most reasonable Swift I found.
The first thing I must tell you is this, if you are not thoroughly familiar with the airplane, don’t put any money on one until you have a VERY knowledgeable Swift person look it over. You can really get bit in short order. Example: guy bought a Swift in the southwest and had the airplane flown to a Swift mechanic for some sheet metal work and painting plus annual. When all the work was done, he came to fly the airplane back east with an experienced Swift pilot. The owner had not flown the airplane and bought it. After takeoff on the initial flight with the Swift instructor, the prop would not come out of low pitch. Found there was an internal engine problem with oil pressure that kept the prop from operating properly. The owner is facing an engine overhaul or change out. More bucks and he still doesn’t have a flying Swift.
When I bought mine, I made an offer with the understanding that I had the right to refuse the offer to purchase if something showed up on the pre-buy inspection/ annual that I did not like. I had already flown the airplane and done some acro in it so I was satisfied with the fact the engine and airframe were reasonably sound. I had a SWIFT EXPERIENCED mechanic look at the airplane to include pulling the wing tips so I could personally look inside the wings for corrosion. The annual was completed at the same time as the pre-buy inspection and I was present when the IA did his look at the airplane. Everything was ok so I bought it. Personally, the way Swifts are selling now days, price that is , I think I made one hell of a deal. A Swift that is flying in half way decent shape is going to be in the high twenties. I know of one that has been for sale in Mass. for quite awhile, and the guy is asking 29.5K. It’s painted and the guy I bought mine from told me he had seen the airplane and felt that was too much for what was there. Swifts are probably one of the most highly modified production airplanes ever built. That is another reason for having a very knowledgeable mechanic look one over before it’s bought. An awful lot of these mods have been done and not documented or STC approval not obtained from the person or company that owns the STC. I even have a few on my bird that were not properly documented. Now, the FAA requires written approval from the owner of the STC. That is for monetary reasons to protect the owner of the STC.
One of the biggest things in buying a Swift to look out for is corrosion. The airplane has been around for over 50 years and they have not always been cared for properly. The other thing, it is a retractable and if you find one that hasn’t been on it’s belly, you have an anomalie. Mine was bellied but there was very little skin damage and no spar damage. The engine was changed out from a 125 to a 145 after that incident so I have no crank worries, at least from sudden stoppage like during ground contact. I see a Swift advertised on the web page that should be a good machine. I did not pursue it after I found mine. The airplane has been owned by the same individual for over 30 years he says. He’s asking 31.5. Only problem, It’s a 125. That’s not necessarily bad but I consider the price to be a bit high for a 125. I guess it all comes down to this, in my opinion, If you find a flying Swift in decent condition you’re going to pay right at 30K.
Will the owners haggle, sure they will, depending on how bad they need to move the airplane. I have talked to the guy in MA. He is wide open for offers. I have also seen him advertise for a short while at 23.5. That may have been an error because the next time I saw it in trade-a-plane, it was back to 29.5. Don’t buy a non flying project unless you can do the bulk of the labor and have it signed off by an A&P. I just coached a young guy through a Swift hunt and I did my damndest to get him into a flying bird. He bought one of the projects that I had looked at. God only knows the last time the airplane was anywhere close to the end of a runway under it’s own power. He will put out 25 to 30 K to get this airplane into flying condition. The airplane is totally disassembled. One wing is totally apart George, I hope that sheds some light on what you were interested in. If you’re serious, don’t throw this message away, refer to it often during your hunt! Cheers……and check six………….Ed Lloyd
HOW TO HELP THE SWIFT BUG BITE… (11699)
The following is an email by Swifter Ed Lloyd which he sent to new Swifter Steve Whittemberger concerning what’s involved with becoming a Swift “caretaker”. Good stuff follows…
From: Ed Lloyd <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Swift Info
I would say go fly one before you get all your hopes built up only to find out it’s not what you expected. Keep in mind, this is an airframe that is over fifty years old and if you’ve got ideas of going out and doing acro each time you fly, you might want to reconsider that notion. I do occasional acro in mine but I treat the ole bird with kid gloves. There have been god only knows how many owners in the past that probably haven’t done that and I’m thinking about self preservation along with the airplane.
You are probably right when you say there are no two Swifts alike other than those that have been restored to original by current “caretakers” as Denis Arbeau likes to say. Are there any Swift “beartraps” out there? You betcha, and you’ve got to be wise enough to avoid them. The way to do that is to get to know all you can about the airplane. Join the Swift Foundation and get the book package that they offer on the airplane. A world of information there. Know what’s original and what’s not. When something appears that is not original, that should flag you to the aircraft records to see if it was done legally and is properly documented. If not, beware. That could cost you lots of money and heartache the first time you try to run the airplane through an annual inspection. If it’s not done properly you may have a situation on your hands that requires “unmodifying” what was done to get back to the original Type Certificate configuration. I think you get the jest of what I’m saying. The way to avoid this situation is have a SWIFT KNOWLEDGEABLE mechanic, not just any A&P, do a pre-buy inspection for you. You must have an understanding with the seller before the inspection, what will be done if there are problems that arise. DON’ USE AN A&P THAT DOESN’T KNOW SWIFTS. The going rate for most A&Ps is $40 an hour. You don’t need to be a math wizard to figure out you can run up one hell of a bill when the airplane goes in a shop for work.
That brings me to the next thought. I don’t know what your mechanical abilities are, but the more you can do under the watchful eye of an A&P, the less costly your venture will be. There is an FAA pamphlet you should get and read, FAA-P-8740-29, titled, “Meet Your Aircraft”. It’s part of the FAA aviation safety program. It tells you what you can do in maintaining your aircraft, legally, as the owner. You can plan on an annual inspection costing $ 1000 to $1400. You can lower that by “opening” up the airplane yourself. In other words, pull the cowling, fairings, etc to facilitate the inspection and then put them back on. Every little bit will help. Herein lies the relationship with your A&P. Ask him to let you do what you can to expedite his work and save you money.
Now for cost in operating your Swift. These statements are going to be very nebulous because of widely varying costs across the country. What will your hanger cost per month? Do you own a hanger? If not, you can go anywhere from $80 to $600 a month. Believe it or not, the management at the new Bergstrom-Austin airport were asking $600 a month for an enclosed hanger! What they were saying was, we don’t want GA aircraft around. Insurance is going to depend on your ratings, total time, hangered or not, and taildragger experience. The company I used was AUA, Aviation Unlimited Agency in Greensboro, NC. They specialize in insuring antique aircraft and were highly recommended by a longtime Swifter. My qualifications put me in the $1100 a year range for what I consider good coverage, on the ground and in the air.
I have a 145 Cont. Normal operating fuel consumption around the airport, touch and gos, etc., you can expect about 10-11 GPH. Cruising at 4 to 5K, leaned, look for about 8.3 GPH. No wind ground, about 115-118Kts or roughly 135 MPH. The guys that drive 180s talk about a cruise in the 175 range. Most anything from a 150 engine on up will have a constant speed prop. Along with that comes the additional problems of ADs and oil leaks and just more maintenance possibilities. Your call here. Oil will run you about $2.00 Qt. You should plan on oil changes at least each 25 Hrs. Do it yourself and save the labor. I’ll let you do the math per hr cost. I’m afraid if I do it, it will scare me. I agree with Denis, I wanted the Swift, I knew it wouldn’t be cheap, no aircraft is, so I bought it and I’m not sorry I did.
Where to start looking? Call Joe Ranson at Swift Parts and milk his brain. Look at Denis’ web site and what is offered there, look in trade-a-plane, visit the web addresses that Denis has on his web page. Go to a Swift fly-in within driving range. That’s how I found mine. It was a stroke of luck. I looked for six months, including driving from Austin to Swift Nationals in Athens, TN. I looked at every airplane there to get a feel for what the Swift was all about. Talked with a bunch of Swift owners and learned through their mistakes. CAUTION: If you fly a 210 Swift you may get hooked, The price goes up drastically along with operating costs! Steve I’m just about out of ideas to pass on to you. If I can answer any specifics, don’t hesitate to drop me an email anytime. You need to e-mail Jim Montague (email@example.com) and see what he can offer to help you that I have not covered. He’s always glad to help, as we all are in the Swift World. Parting shot, you buy a Swift and you buy into a very large and caring family of folks that work together to help each other keep their Swifts honed and flying. Attachment to an airplane like the Swift can only be described as affection. Cheers and check six……………..Ed Lloyd N3856K
THE “DOLLAR RIDE”… (12399)
From: Ed Lloyd <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Swift Dollar Ride
Well… Swifter Larry LaForce and I got together Saturday ,12/4/99, and he pored over 3856K with camera and questions. Let me tell you up front, Larry is what we here in Texas call a “Tall Drink Of Water”. I was planning on taking him on a flight in 56K but was concerned somewhat about Larry’s sitting height. Well, as luck would have it, 56K has 150 seats that are adjustable in height. I lowered the pax seat all the way to the floor and back on the rails as far as it would go, that did the trick. Loaded Larry on board and we were off for a few firsts. One was Larry’ first flight in a Swift, second was the first time he had flown with sticks, and third, first time he had ever done rolls in an airplane. He had his video camera along so he documented these firsts in his flying career. It was fun. Did a low pass, pulled into a closed pattern and landing and then did an overhead and a few more landings for him. He was so hooked I couldn’t see the hook anymore! He had a blast. Then I introduced him to Duane Golding and Dorothy. He had the opportunity to see Duane’s 210 in rebuild and also Dorothy’s 180 Swift as well as Jim Crain’s 210 sans engine, plus a “project” Duane has in storage. Took lots of pictures, asked lots of questions and got straight forward answers from Duane, Dorothy, and myself. I’m sure Larry will be a “good caretaker” of 80844. Cheers………….Ed Lloyd
LARRY’S SIDE OF THE STORY WHERE WE FIND OUT THAT JUST HOW MUCH FUN YOU STILL CAN HAVE FOR JUST “ONE DOLLAR” THESE DAYS… (12399)
It’s been almost a week now and are my cheeks tired. The reason that they are is that Ed Lloyd was gracious enough to invite me down for my first Swift ride. Every time that I think about it…I start to grin from ear to ear again. I have to admit… I bought a Swift without ever having rode in one. I had to have one because I just loved the way they looked. Now…thanks to Ed…I can say that I definitely made a good selection. Ed put his bird through an impressive routine. I must say that this is an experience that I will never forget. I also have to say that 56K looks great in the pictures…but pictures do not do it justice. It is BEAUTIFUL in person!!! While at the airport…Ed introduced me to Swift expert Duane Golding. I had the opportunity to view some of Duane’s creations. I was speechless…surrounded by gorgeous Swifts everywhere!!! All of this exposure to Swifts has wet my appetite for more!!! Thanks Ed … for an enjoyable and memorable experience. Sincerely…Larry LaForce (N80844)
SWIFT QUESTIONS… (010200)
From: Jason Beall <email@example.com>
I am working a deal to trade my present plane for my first Swift. I have been in love with the plane since I first read about them 10 years ago. I have a few questions I was hoping some of you could answer who own/fly them. As a note, please reply to me privately at “firstname.lastname@example.org”.
1)Are parts expensive and hard to find?
2)What about maintenance? I currently own a Bonanza, so it can’t be any worse than it? I do most of my own tinkering under supervision of my IA.
3)Anything I should look out for on the prebuy specific to the airframe beyond the standard items like corrosion, etc.?
4)I am concerned about poor useful load. Any increases available and what do they call for?
5)I heard, from unreliable sources, that Swift used to break up? Why? Design or pilot error?
Thanks for your time. Any other comments/feelings about maintaining or flying Swifts would be appreciated. — Jason Beall, Lafayette, LA
(1) Sure parts are expensive, but they’re a hell of a lot cheaper than Bonanza parts!
(2) Depends on how well it’s been maintained in the past. Once you get it up to snuff, it’s comparable to any retractable. They’re old! Get one in good shape and not a big problem.
(3) Corrosion is probably the biggest item. If you are looking at a modified airplane make sure it’s been properly done, good paperwork, 337’s etc.
(4) a GW increase to 1970 lb is available. About $700 from Merlyn Products, Spokane, WA. Main item is two 6″ straps riveted on the lower wing attach.
(5) I don’t think very many Swifts have broken up in flight except the D’Arcy’s of FL – the tore up 3 — with 250 hp doing hard aerobatics up to 300 mph and 9G — Crazy.
TESTIMONIAL FOR THE GTS HOMEPAGE…
From: Jack Mangan <MBSEINC@aol.com>
Subject: Thanks for the quick reply
I have become obsessed with the Swift in only three days! Just started looking for an airplane after being away from flying for 7 years (no money/no time) and now ready to get back in. Can’t get enough of the Swift and love the Web site and links. What a great fraternity, would love to join as a Swift owner. Spoke with a couple of owners today, one of which has a Swift for sale. Who could you refer me to for some information regarding taking a near stock GC-1B with 0-300 and 28-gallon tanks and making it IFR capable with increased fuel? Is there one particular shop recommended for these mods located in the Southeast (I’m in NC)? Interested in cost of mods and advisability. Thanks again for the lightning fast response to my Newsletter Sign-up and the inclusion in the Swifter Email addresses. (By the way, great personal homepage with great shots!) Finding the right Association is as important as finding the right Airplane (well, almost). Looks like I may have lucked out with the Swift fraternity! Regards, Jack Mangan
First of all, thanks for your kind words about my web site. I sincerely appreciate it and getting responses like yours make my efforts truly satisfying. Regarding making a Swift IFR… My first advice would be to save a few extra pennies and get a Swift that is already set up for IFR. If you took a VFR Swift and set it up for IFR you may end up spending MORE money than if you bought a “turn-key” IFR Swift. If the “stock” GC-1B your are referring to has any model O-300 other than the “D” model, you may already know that only the “D” model has provisions for a vacuum pump. Other than a “D” model O-300 then you’d need an old fashioned venturi or just use all electric gyros. (And hope your electrical system doesn’t crap-out !) Fuel wise, there are a few approved choices for aux tanks. Under the seats, behind the seats (I’ve got that), in the outer wing panels (the current favorite style and a good one), or wet wings (a LOT of work…). The best place to go for advice and counsel regarding these matters considering your location would be the “Swiftworks” shop at McMinn County Airport, Athens, TN. Vaughn Armstrong is the owner / chief wrench. It is right next door to the Swift Association HQ. Here is the contact info from the “Swift Instructors / Mechanics / Shops” section of the web site…
SWIFT WORKS / Vaughn Armstrong, McMinn Airport, Athens, TN (adjacent to Swift Association) 423-745-7578
Swift experts. All levels of Swift maintenance, rebuilding, and restoration.
There are other Swift shops on the east coast. Check the web site location mentioned above.
I own a near stock Swift with an O-300-B engine that I have flown IFR on various occasions. I do not have a vac pump or venturi so all my gyros are electric. Because I don’t have a back-up source of power for the gyros if I do ANY IFR at all it is just to climb or approach through a relatively shallow cloud layer. Here on the west coast we frequently get a “marine layer” that usually is only about 1000 feet thick so it is not much to punch through. I do not do any prolonged or “hard core” IFR because as I mentioned before all my gyro “eggs” are in one basket. Flying a Swift IFR is not difficult but it’s not Cessna 172 / Bonanza / King Air stable either. It’s a good workout for your cross-check and multi-task abilities. If I was setting-up a Swift for more than very casual IFR I would at least install a “wing-leveler” of some sort if not a full blown autopilot. Let me know if I can be of any more help! — Denis
GOOD ADVICE FOR A WANNA BE… (020100)
Subject: Re: IO-540
My aim is to assess the Swift as a potential buy. Any info you could direct me to, would be greatly appreciated. I saw the home web page and reviewed the internet featured Swifts. One stands out at this moment, “Ozzie’s Ride”. Mike Paperthien
Mike: Most Swifts are hobby projects by the owner/pilots. “Ozzie’s Ride — Miguel Nelson’s Swift — was formerly owned by Frank Borman and has been extensively modified by professionals, both formerly and with the present owner. I know it has a Continental IO-360 engine, smooth skin wings, and a wet winged centersection, and I think, stick controls. Lately, since Miguel has owned it, the work has been done by Don Bartholomew of Minden, NV — Email: email@example.com Don has own private strip and specializes in Swift rebuilding and modifications.
<< Where would I go to study the mods done on a ride like his, costs involved, etc.?>>
You could write or call Don 775-782-2992 The Swift association has several books available you could get. Read the Swift Home Page thoroughly. I’m sure you realize if you have all that type of work done professionally it can cost some serious money.
<< Also, where would you recommend I search for accurate values of existing Swifts, with vs w/o such mods? Last, where is the best source of Swift performance stats before vs after such mods?>>
Nearly every magazine article I have read has some glaring errors. There is a department on the Home Page listing every magazine article on the Swift since 1946. Big engine, modified Swifts go for $50K to $100K commonly. You will have to talk to an owner to get numbers. A good big engine Swift will run red line airspeed. (185 mph, 161 knots) Performance varies a lot. A stock airframe with a 210 hp engine will cruise in the 150 – 165 mph range. As you may note, I’m cc’ing this note to Don Bartholomew and Denis Arbeau, the Home Page webmaster, perhaps they can add something. — Jim
WHAT PRICE SWIFT GLORY??? (070300)
Subj: Buying a Swift
From: Robert Carver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Monty, I’m considering buying a Swift. The owner has sent me a list of all the equipment on board (IFR) which is nice. But I am wondering about several things: It has “buckaroo” wing tips. What effect does this have on performance, value, or resale value? Aside from having a mechanic look at it and determine airworthiness, general condition, logbook history, A/D’s , engine compression and last annual inspection date what should I be particularly aware of? How do I determine the real value of the plane vs the asking price? One last one, where can I get a checkout in So. Cal.? Thanks, Bob Carver
Look on the Swift site for flight instructors. I know (the airplane), which was formerly owned by a friend of mine. The “Buckaroo” wing tips are perhaps a close second to the stock wing tips for takeoff and climb. They have a reputation for being a mile an hour or so slower and of course the roll rate is a little slower. Overall, I think they are pretty good. The stock tips are pretty pricey right now, if you can find a set. If stock tips do become available, it only takes an hour or so to change them. As I recall, (the Swift in question) was very clean and corrosion free. I must confess I’m way behind on prices! I see some prices that I can hardly believe on Swifts these days, but I was reading an article on British Tiger Moths and they get $70,000 for an overhauled one, and a Swift, I feel is worth a lot more! — Jim
(Editor’s note: This question for Monty came with the actual “N” number of the Swift involved but not wanting to risk the sale I deleted it. [It probably didn’t matter but whatever…] Additionally, when talking about how much Swifts are worth these days I would focus more on what they actually end-up selling for rather than asking price. I know that can be a touchy subject sometimes but if any of you out there can send me email <arbeau@napanet net> on what you paid for your Swift compared to the asking price I’d like to share that information with the rest of the gang. Thanks in advance… Oh, one more thing as a reminder to anyone in search of a Swift. And we’ve mentioned this from time to time. It is worth the effort and money to get a mechanic familiar with Swifts to do a pre-buy inspection. To go without that would be a rather significant gamble for an aircraft that is over 50 years old. Swift mechanics and flight instructors are listed on the GTS Homepage.)
YOU NEED TO CHECK MORE THAN JUST THE USUAL THINGS…(110300)
Subj: inspection of aircraft
From: Don Cumpston <email@example.com>
Jim : Do you feel there are other items that should be checked on our Swifts at annual time that are not in the standard items required to be inspected by the IA? I have a good mechanic that I’m happy with, but he does not have a lot of Swift experience, and I don’t want him to miss anything. Thanks Don
Several things I check closely are:
1. The airplanes are old, 50 years or more. Check for corrosion, especially the vertical fin and the outer wing panels. If corrosion is found, check everything closely.
2. Check the cables for rust, especially in the wing trailing edge area.
3. Check the horizontal stabilizer front spar for cracks. With the wing/fuselage fairings removed look at the first rivet outboard in the front spar.
4. Check the upper wing attach fittings if you are not familiar with the airplane. I still find GC-1A wings installed.
5. Check the landing gear with the airplane on jacks per the reoccurring AD notes.
6. On a stock 125/145 engine mount, inspect per the AD note.
7. Check the rudder cables for the specified 70 lbs. tension.
8. Check under the instrument panel, make sure some installed instrument or radio is not the elevator up limit.
9. If the battery is relocated, be sure the master relay is adjacent to the battery box, not on the firewall.
10. If an alternator is installed make sure a 60 amp breaker is properly installed.
11. Check the early type ailerons for cracks at the balance weight screws.
12. If the airplane is a converted GC-1A, make sure the flap travel is 30 degrees.
I’m sure there are other things which could be mentioned but these are notable items from off the top of my head. Of course, normal items in FAR 43 apply. — Jim
From: Gary Sigvaldsen <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Monty: I currently fly a 737/300 for US Airways, and retire in less than four years. My wife and I are thinking seriously about getting a Swift, 125hp or more. Current thoughts are “to buy what we want”, not a “fixer upper”. Your thoughts and recommendations would be appreciated. Gary S. Sigvaldsen <email@example.com> Raleigh, NC
Hmm…what’s a guy with a Minnesota name like that doing living in NC? Seriously, the words most experienced Swift expert flys for US Air also. Mark Holliday, do you know him? Mark has several Swifts and sometimes sells off one of his collection. I don’t think he has anything for sale right now but it never hurts to ask. His email is <MarkH85@aol.com> and phone number is (651)770-3881. I don’t think he’s home today but I expect him back toward the end of the week. I don’t know if you would be happy with a 125hp engine. A 145hp engine is OK for a more-or-less original Swift, but the 210hp TCM 10-360 makes a real hot rod. There are various 150 thru 200hp Lycomings in Swifts also. Of course, the ante goes up with the power. A good 125/145 Swift goes for 30K to 40K, most 210hp Swifts go for more that 50K, and up to 100K for a showpiece. I welcome further comment or discussion. — Jim Montague
PAPERWORK: DO THE RIGHT THING…(120200)
by Don Bartholomew <firstname.lastname@example.org> of The Aeroplane Factory in Minden, NV
Thoughts about paperwork: When an IA does an annual on a plane, they are responsible for the plane from the day it was manufactured until the day they sign off the annual. To comply with this responsibility, they must check all the paperwork that applies to the plane. It is typical to get a plane in for an annual and handed either just the most current log book (too little information) or a box of paperwork that is 12″ deep (too much). If the IA has to sort through a box of paperwork to determine what is currently applicable, they will spend a lot of time which you will ultimately have to pay for. It is common to find sales brochures, 337’s, STC’s, etc for things that aren’t even on the plane.
Here is a suggestion to make life easier on your IA, and save you some money. Make one book or folder that contains all of the current information about the plane: 337’s for equipment that is still installed on the plane, only the current weight and balance papers, only the current equipment list, STC’s for current changes to the aircraft, most recent AD compliance list. This needs to be complete. If the IA can’t find the approvals for a particular installation in this folder, they will assume no approval exists. Compare your paperwork to the airplane to see if there is paper on everything that is installed or modified on your plane.
Have another folder, if you want, for historical data for the plane which contains information that is no longer current: old weight and balance and equipment lists, STC’s and 337’s for things that have been taken off the plane. Keep a third file for general Swift information and data. Happy paper sorting, Don
Subj: Swifts …
From: Mark & Rhonda Oltjenbruns <email@example.com>
Hey Monty ,
It looks like you the Man … I’m thinking pretty seriously about a Swift. I have located a few. Is there anything that I need to look for as far as maintenance problems …landing gear or … Are you in Athens as in Tennessee ? I’m based at Cherokee Co just north of Atlanta . I will be selling a 68 Cardinal 180 hp/conv . My plan was to keep it , but I fly mostly by myself and want something fun to fly. What is the average range in the swifts and cruise? Any info appreciated , Mark
It depends. On any 50 year old machine it depends on how it has been maintained. If allowed to get out of whack, the gear can give a lot of trouble. Once it is properly rigged and set up a few adjustments at every annual will take care of it. I have had Swifts for 35 years and the gear actuators seem to need “O” rings every 5 or 10 years and the gear system needs attention perhaps every 500 hours or so. I am located in MN. You have the “Swift Experts” of the world not too far from you, in Athens, TN. As far as performance goes, again, it depends. Just about any engine from 85 to 220 hp can be found in Swifts. A 145 hp Swift will cruise about 140 mph and with standard fuel, be good for 2 1/2 to 3 hour legs. Some “big engine” Swifts will run red line airspeed (185 mph) and hold 55 gallons with aux tanks. — Jim
WHAT PRICE SWIFT???(060402)
Subject: Re: Swift
(Editor says… Folling is Steve Wilson’s reply to a request for information about how much a Swift is worth…)
Bob… Nice to hear from you. I kinda look at what I might pay for an airplane needing work as what it would be worth completely restored or brought to the condition I might like, and then work backward. Right now, a very nice stock 125/145 Swift in original condition will bring upward of $40K (or more), while one in very average condition maybe $25-30K. I know that most folks look at some of the work required as a “Labor of Love” and I understand that; however, I think my time is worth something. If you start by estimating the cost in parts to bring the airplane up to the condition you would like, and then subtract that figure from what you think you might sell it for when completed, you will likely come up with an acceptable figure for the current value. Good luck… Steve W
WHAT PRICE WRECKED SWIFT…(080202)
Subj: Price of wrecked Swift
From: Paul Chandler <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Okay, Loaded question of the day! I’m wanting to know how you determine the price of a Swift that has been set-up after an accident with some parts removed and sold. What is there is a fuselage in good shape and the center section bad on left side. Also good R/H wing but bad L/H wing. (This is not too unusual —Ground Loop, Maybe.) Anyway no engine . no tail feathers. no landing gear. I know it’s not much left to it but I hate to see one setting out left to the elements when I know it could be fixed. I’ll mention that I’m an aircraft mech. with the tools and sheet metal supplies to fix most any thing. Also have swift time from working with Nagle. I tell this mainly so you understand the work would not be hired out. Also this will be a weekend project over a long time, mainly trying to keep the old bird from a sad death. One more note and then I’ll shut up. I ‘ve been in planes before but only in a Swift did we go up-side down and round and round! Anyway, a reply will be great. Regards, Paul Chandler
Like you said — that’s a loaded question. It really depends on a lot of factors that cannot be shared by mail! Also, it depends on your ingenuity for scrounging parts etc. It sounds like the most important, and expensive, parts are there. The Swift that Mick Supina and I just rebuilt was damaged worse and had more parts missing than the one you describe. You day no engine — how about the rest of the firewall forward? Prop, engine mount, cowling, baffling, exhaust, etc.? You say no landing gear — how about the actuators and linkage? No tail feathers? — no horizontal, elevators, vertical or rudder? Resurrecting that bird may depend more on your parts scrounging ability, (and luck)! than your mechanical ability! — Jim
FUTURE CITABRIA OWNER? (DEC 02)
I am looking into becoming a Swift owner and have a question. I have been asking questions of current and past Swift owners. Everyone seems to really enjoy or enjoyed having a Swift. There is just one thing that has come up… A fellow who I spoke with said he sold his Swift a few years back due to fear of gear problems. Having never had a Swift I am confused by what he said. Apparently, there was problems with his in the strut or gear and leaking of fluid from that region. His fix was to pull it apart and fix the culprit of the leaking, but said that eventually he would have had to replace it and since there are no more Swifts, it would possibly have became a much of a pain and expense to maintain as his warbirds he had in the hanger. I guess my question is, can anyone tell me more about his concerns and maybe end my confusion as to what part of the gear he was talking about? Hopefully I haven’t confused you as much as I am confused. Thanks, Future Swift owner…..
The Swift is an old airplane and certain parts are hard to get. But you can always get them if you use a little ingenuity and are willing to pay the price. Also, it is important to have a qualifiedmechanic perform certain maintenance, like gear rebuilding and rigging. No one starts out knowing all the answers but using myself as an example, I learned by doing. If you are not willing to do the same perhaps a simpler airplane, like a Citabria which has no moving parts in its spring gear may be for you. — Monty
COLLECTOR CLASSIC OR EVERYDAY UTILITY AIRPLANE… (AUG 03)
Subj: Swift Useful Load #’s
From: Eric Shepardson <email@example.com>
I have enjoyed all the information you have put together on the website run by Denis. I have finally decided to quit renting and purchase my own plane. I have been a fan of the Swift ever since I saw one at the local airport as a kid about 35 years ago. In evaluating my needs in a plane, I plan to fly about 150 hours/year both business and pleasure with the wife. I need a plane that has reasonable speed, (130 knts) and can carry passenger loads of 350 pounds including baggage for vacation. In examining data, it appears that Swifts with the gross weight increase are at 1970 pounds, and most modified Swifts empty weights are around 1450 pounds. With additional fuel tanks up to 50 gallons, I can barely put myself in the plane at full fuel let alone my wife and myself. how do most Swift owners operate their planes? On only 20 gallons of fuel with frequent stops on cross country’s? Also, do you know of anyone who has put a Lycoming 0-360-A4K in a Swift? This is the engine from the Tiger, which operates a fixed pitch prop. I really love the Swifts, and hope I won’t have to convince my wife that it is needed for a “second” plane. Look forward to your reply. Regards, Eric Shepardson
Most big engine Swifts with the gross weight increase to 1970 lb. can still be overloaded. I guess you would have to take each airplane separately and run the numbers. I just did a W&B on a 210 Swift, and with an empty weight of 1343 lb. you could carry full main fuel (28 gal.) two 170 lb. people and 100 lb. baggage. With less baggage and a smaller passenger you could carry some aux. fuel. If the empty weight were more (like 1450 lb that you mention) you of course have 107 lb less to work with. With a full fuel load of 50+ gallons you are indeed looking at a single place airplane or one that might carry a 100 lb passenger and no baggage. The way I look at a Swift it is more of a collectors classic and showplane than a utility airplane for everyday usage. I will admit to having flown Swifts with over 2000 lb. takeoff weight and I cannot say I am comfortable with that. I don’t know of anyone who has used a fixed pitch prop on a big engine Swift. You would gain about 30 lb. in useful load but overall performance would suffer. — Jim
SWIFTS FOR THE TALL GUYS… (OCT 03)
From: Roger Harris <firstname.lastname@example.org>
For some time now, I’ve been thinking of purchasing a Swift. Last Saturday, I finally got to go for a flight in one. While the airplane handled well, I did find the cockpit to be rather cramped. Unfortunately, I’m 6’2″ tall and quite long in the trunk. What, if anything, can be done about this? Switching to thinner seat cushions would be a step in the right direction (this has often worked for me in sailplanes), but is there any other way to obtain more height in the cockpit (I understand that the seats are fitted over a fuel tank, so I guess there’s no easy answer in that direction)? I hope that you might have a suggestion, since flying with my head always bent over to one side is not a very comfortable proposition! Many thanks for your kind assistance.
Taller guys than you have operated Swifts. It might take quite a bit of adjusting to the seats. There is no fuel tank ordinarily below the seats, but there are STCed belly aux ranks that fit below the seats in some Swifts. Take the lower cushion out completely and see what you think. The seat back can be made quite thin also. — Jim
(Editor says… I pointed Roger in the direction of Tom “Tall Guy” Numelin out here in California for some ideas. If any of you have some advice for Roger please send him an email.)
TALL GUYS IN SWIFTS… (OCT 03)
(Editor says… Our thanks to Bob McLean for taking the time to write Roger on the tall Swift pilot deal.)
Subject: Tall Guys in Swifts
Was reading your questions about “vertically challenged” swift pilots. I am 6’5″ tall and have over 500 hours in Swifts. Unfortunately I have not flown one in the last five years.
When I first sat in a Swift with stock seats, I thought that “this is not going to work out” The original seats were overstuffed affairs, and I really couldn’t have flown the airplane like that (knees in the panel, no clearance for the head, etc.) My omniscience airplane partner immediately removed the seats and replaced them with some unknown style seats which amounted to a board and foam which was upholstered and fit down into the seat bay behind the spar and the back of the seat.
I think the secret is to get the seat bottom as thin and low as you can stand, get the seat backs as thin as you can stand, avoid installing a radio stack in the center of the panel, under the panel. My airplane was always “a work in progress” and I mostly flew it without insulation, or upholstery on the cockpit walls. This gave my left knee a little more room as well. Again the lesson here is to keep everything thin for more space.
I flew for years a second Swift which was upholstered, and was able to manage, but had to remove a “catch-all” pocket along the left side “knee zone” which fortunately was installed by snaps. It also had low seats which fit into this area that I talked about, and the “center” radio stack (mounted below the panel, was actually “off center” by an inch or two which helped a great deal (as long as I was in the left seat.)
I have ridden is “plush” Swifts where I couldn’t even sit up straight (my shoulder was nearly against the hatch).
I know tall guys can fly Swifts. It can be done, without a lot of effort. You may feel like your driving a kiddie car with your knees on either side of the wheel, but it ended up being a comfortable mode for me, and I flew many cross country hours under those circumstances, with the lower, thinner seats. — Bob McLean
LOW TIME SWIFTS… (FEB 04)
Subj: Seeking Advice in my search…..
From: Jim Salmonsen <Topgunn62@aol.com>
In my search for a Swift I have been surprised to find a good number of them with low airframe hours. Realizing that each one is its own individual case, does your experience show you that these machines have stood up well to the inactivity and time with less wear&tear on airframe/landing gear parts, or are they prone to be high maintenance once they start getting some use again. I was wondering if you’ve seen a trend of any kind, and if so, in what areas usually? Thanks in advance for your reply, Jim Salmonsen
If a Swift has been out of service for several years you can count on the hydraulics will need overhaul. Also, in coastal areas or if stored outside anywhere corrosion is a real possibility. Not that a Swift is different in that regard from any other airplane. The Cessnas made in the 60’s and 70’s typically have corrosion starting in the wings. If you should buy a Swift that has been inactive you should get it at a price whereby you can afford to overhaul all the hydraulic components. Avoid any extensive corrosion unless you buy it at a “fixer upper” price. — Jim
LOW TIME SWIFTS…(MAR 04)
From: “Harry Fenton” <email@example.com>
Subject: Low time Swifts
(Editor says… This is in reply to a recent email about low time Swifts…)
Your question on low time Swifts sounds like questions that I was asking during the year or more of searching preceding my purchase. Let me give you my two cents worth based upon my experiences.
First, I approach every airplane based upon the condition that I observe, not the condition that the logbooks states the condition to be. In short, I find most logbooks to be sorely lacking in detail or sometimes just flat out fiction. Out of the 30 or so airplanes that I have owned, maybe three or four had “accurate” logbooks. Logbook information is important, and a necessary starting point, but it is only a partial factor in buying the right plane.
Research beyond the logbooks is critical. Luckily, you’ve found the Swift group, and most all (but not all!) of the important information on the Swift can be found in the “Monty the Answer Man” archive or in the various publications printed by the Swift Foundation. Much of the Swift service information still remains undocumented and I have had experienced the “Oh yeah, by the way..” statement several times post facto to acquiring my Swift. While the information available at the website is very good, the oral history is just as important. Case in point: a conversation that I fell into regarding wrinkled spars is one of my favorite “Oh yeah, by the way…” conversations. Several Swifts have this condition, which can typically be viewed by simply looking into the wheel well or looking along the top of the wing. Nowhere is this little point highlighted directly in website or by Swift Service Bulletins, although references to this condition can be found in the Maintenance and Operation manual printed by the Swift Foundation. Sometimes the only way to find out about a particular idiosyncrasy is via incidental conversations. I would have not noticed it right away had it not been pointed out to me.
This leads to the single most important resource that I have found to date- the caretakers and enthusiasts for the Swift! I cannot stress enough that you should not buy a Swift until you have looked at a minimum of three aircraft in person and spoken with at least half a dozen owners who have had their Swift for 10 years or more. I’m not sure what the average term of a caretaker is, but I’m willing to bet than more than half of the Swifts out there have had the same owner for more than a decade. The one I acquired had the same owner for nearly 47 years, but more on that later.
If you can’t travel to where the experts are, you can learn about Swifts by attending Sun ‘n Fun, Oshkosh, or the Swift Convention. Depending upon where you are located, there are several active Swift wings, also. My indoctrination to Swifts occurred during a trip to Lake Elmo, MN, home to numerous Swifts and three very long time Swift devotees- Pat Moore, Jim Montague, and Mark Holliday. These guys are great resources not only from the technical side, but the historical aspect, as well. I think that Jim and Mark have owned half of the Swift fleet at one time and they can rattle off the lineage and damage history of many, if not most, of the Swifts in existence. Oral history like this has proven to me to be the single most important guide to successful Swift caretaking.
I purchased an airplane that has accumulated about 900 hours since new, the engine had about 670 hours since overhaul (in 1953) and it had one owner for 47 years. The airplane had been based in Arizona for more than two decades. On paper this sounds like a great deal, doesn’t it?
It has been a great plane and I’m very happy with it, but the reality is that it sat for nearly 20 years and this really took a toll on the engine, hydraulics and other parts. Mark Holliday rebuilt the actuators and got it into flying shape just before I bought it. The killer to the engine was that the previous owner ran it on the ground for 20 minutes a couple of times a week with no flying for many years. This resulted in glazed cylinders and a lot of internal rust in the engine. Jim Montague and Mark and I all agreed that I might be able to fly it for a while and the engine might prove to be ok. I wasn’t surprised when the engine went sour, though. Since June 2003 I’ve put about 60 hours on it and here is the work I’ve accomplished to date:
Engine top overhaul
Overhaul prop to generate logbook for prop
New mags, wires, plugs
New engine baffling
New accessory case, component gaskets
New tach cable
Overhaul airspeed, altimeter
Rebuild, rebush tailwheel
Remove old wiring, cables, radio gear
Various wiring and microswitch repair
–Work to be accomplished
Continued repairs to tailwheel mounting brackets
Teardown engine to replace leaking gaskets
Replace all hydraulic hoses due to age
Replace all cockpit glass
Repair firewall cracks at lower cowling mounts
Cosmetic restoration, paint, polish
To be honest, I looked at a couple of other Swifts that were in better mechanical and cosmetic shape, but had many higher hours- and were also higher priced. Technically, the higher hour ships may have been in better shape simply because they were being flown and were continually active. I’m an A&P/IA, so the work aspect was not a problem, although I didn’t really want yet another project plane. Ultimately, I decided that the lower price of the Swift I bought to be worth the work that I would have to put into it. But, I have to be honest; I knew this plane was the right one before I even opened the logbooks. Despite the problems from lack of use, the overall condition was an indicator of a diamond in the rough. In retrospect, the mechanical problems have not been all that major and I have really learned the airplane by crawling around it to work on various things.
The moral of my story is that you should expect to work on a plane that has not been flown- simple as that. Just like the human body, if a plane is not exercised, it will get creaky from lack of use. Any airplane that is flown a solid 100 hours/year and has a mid-time engine that was overhauled within the past decade is probably the best bet for low to moderate maintenance levels. There is no such thing as a maintenance free plane, regardless of age, hours, or anything else!
I’m not sure where you are located, but I’m in Northern Illinois and I’d be happy to give you a tour of my ship.
Harry Fenton GC-1B C125 N78267
“ORAL HISTORY”… (MAR 04)
From: Harry Fenton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: RE: spar web wrinkles
Even though I’m pretty familiar with airplanes in general, I’ve learned about Swift idiosyncrasies that I may not have noticed had they not been pointed out to me. This “oral history” provided by owners is as important, or more, than what is written. I continually find that little bits of information are tucked away in somebody’s memory or in a folder somewhere. Any 60 year old airplane is bound to have some kind of flaw, and most of these flaws aren’t too big of concern. It could be wrinkles, bad fitting cowlings, poor repairs, unapproved modifications, you name it. But, it always helps to know what you’re getting into sooner, rather than later. I can’t imagine what it was like to own and maintain a Swift before the internet! I really lucked out by meeting you and the other guys at Lake Elmo. The guidance that I got from you guys really changed my decision process when I was buying my Swift. In turn, I try to share my experiences with other potential Swift buyers so that their experience is as good as mine. I’m already thinking ahead to my second Swift, maybe a GC-1A the next time around…Harry
SWIFT QUESTIONS FROM THE UK…(APRIL 04)
Subj: Temco Swifts
From: Louis Bell <email@example.com>
Jim, it seems that you are the focal point of contact concerning these lovely aircraft ! I have recently obtained my PPL and am considering what type of aircraft to purchase. I have read pretty much all of the “Swift” web-site and have concluded a number of pertinent things.
1. Tail dragger experience and a Swift CFI instruction very much required.
2. The plane HAS to be in a first rate condition with ALL modifications documented and detailed corrosion inspection.
3. Larger engined options (180- 210 hp) are preferable to avoid the lower end of the envelope problems.
Thus, and so as not to become too enthusiastic and make a mistake, I would appreciate your guidance. Firstly, I noticed that there are two Swifts currently in the UK and if you can, would it be possible for you to let me have contact details of the owners so I can discuss with them the problems of Swift ownership in the UK. If not appropriate, please could you pass on this e-mail to them so they can contact me directly. (if you have the details) Secondly, in the “For sale” page of the Swift Site there is one which would be within my price range but gives me a little cause for concern. That plane S/N 3755 – N2455B being offered for sale by Arthur Douse has come down in price to $60,000 odd, but compared with the upper end price range which seems to be about $130,000 looks on the surface to be quite good value for what it is. My question is: Is this aircraft well known and is there a qualified Swift engineer near where it is based who can do a full inspection ? Other than not to be used during aerobatics (I assume) is there any problems with the wing-tip tanks that are fitted to this aircraft? Haven’t seem them fitted ao any other plane. If a good idea for long range performance, who makes them or where can they be obtained from? Sorry, there is one other question which is who are the best companies who provide airframe / service parts as it isn’t quite clear from the Site? Sorry to ramble on a bit, but hope you can assist a bit. Many thanks… Louis Bell
I would not advise a Swift to someone with less that 100 hrs TT. Not that it is impossible or even that difficult to fly but the Swift is not a trainer. I believe one Swift owner in the UK has his email address on his website. Swift N2455B has been based in South Florida and would require a good
inspection to look for possible corrosion. I have seen the airplane some time ago and it looked fine from a casual walk around. There were several sets of those canted tip tanks made but they were never STC’ed, I don’t know if the ones on 55B are approved on a one-time basis or not. There are several mechanics in Florida or South Carolina familiar with the Swift. I have cc’ed this to them. There is also a fellow in California with a Swift for sale named Mike Bell, any relation? It is a beauty, the ad is on the Swift site. The Swift Museum Foundation owns the type certificate for the Swift and has many parts available. The contact information is on the web site. — Jim
NEW CARETAKER FOR SWIFT N80613…(APRIL 04)
From: Janet & Keith Brandt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Swift Newsletter
After a year of looking for a Swift, as of yesterday I am the proud owner of a Swift and today took possession of it!! I have yet to take-off and land it, but hope to have the opportunity to do that on Sunday (tomorrow the weather is predicted to be horrible). I will write more about my purchase at a later date. I will just add that I bought it with the help of Mark Holliday and Jim Montague, and I can’t convey how much their help and expertise has made me comfortable in feeling I have the right airplane for me. Please add my email address to your newsletter. Thanks.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE. SPECIAL THANKS TO JIM MONTAGUE AND MARK HOLLIDAY…
For the last 24 hours I have been “sky high” about this aircraft I have in the hangar at Algona. I haven’t had the time to even check email until just a few minutes ago because I have either been telling people of my experiences over the last several days or talking Swift in general. I mention the email reference, because I signed up for the Arbeau emails yesterday morning and received one back from him today welcoming me to the organization. He said word travels fast in the Swift family and you had already sent him information on me. That is amazing and I am in awe.
I wanted to send an email thanking you for all the help, guidance, and wealth of knowledge I received from you and Mark Holliday on Thursday. I have expressed to the many people who have been at the airport to look at the airplane, how I couldn’t have purchased an airplane from a better environment. I feel so lucky I made that telephone call to you several weeks back that started me on the this chain of events. The knowledge and genuine affection you and Mark display toward the care and maintenance of a Swift I feel honored and lucky to have “bought into”. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today in terms of knowledge of this airplane, realizing I have only begun to scratch the surface, had I purchased a Swift from someone else. But I promise you I will keep working to know it better. It feels really great to know I have learned from the best!!
The arrival of N80613 in Algona has created quite a stir. I am not alone here, as I have a friend whose father owned a Swift in the early 50’s. He is now 86 and was at the hangar this morning telling stories of all the great times he had in the Swift. He would tell of how it did this or that and how smooth it flies and I could only support his stories with comments of very limited experience. He will be one of the first people who gets a ride when I get checked out (right behind Janet!!). I hope that will be tomorrow but the weather doesn’t look very promising. I will be gone next week to Florida to visit our nephew, so it’s either tomorrow or wait a week until I return. From the looks of Ron’s smile when he climbed out of the Swift (Ron is the instructor Mark checked out yesterday), I think he hopes it doesn’t work out tomorrow. That way next week he will have to fly it a couple times while I’m gone so he stays proficient. Basically I am the envy of the neighborhood and there is a line forming for rides.
This is getting a little long. I just wanted to express my appreciation for all you have done for me and N80613. You can bet that Janet, I and N80613 will be up to visit you in the very near future.