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
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
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.
FINDING A SWIFT AIN'T ALL THAT EASY... (4499)
Subject: I'm Back !
From: Edward A Lloyd <email@example.com>
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
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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