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 <email@example.com>
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
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
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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
From: Ed Lloyd <email@example.com>
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
OF THE STORY WHERE WE FIND OUT THAT JUST HOW MUCH FUN YOU
STILL CAN HAVE FOR JUST "ONE DOLLAR" THESE DAYS...
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
From: Jason Beall <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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 "email@example.com".
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,
(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.
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
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)
Swift experts. All levels of Swift maintenance, rebuilding,
There are other Swift
shops on the east coast. Check the web site location mentioned
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
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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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,
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