Why a 66?

I’ve been asked a bunch why not another C170?  Why a 180?  Why?

Keep in mind that I am just a knucklehead and no expert. But here are my thoughts-

First why the Skywagon: My goal was to build a light, capable, modern backcountry airplane. I always wanted a Supercub, but in my opinion it’s not as practical as a Skywagon. Plus, Im not that good of a BC pilot yet, and If I can’t get down in the Wagon, I probably shouldn’t be trying to land there yet… I wanted a (relatively) fast, light IMC airplane that I could haul a shitload, fly coast to coast comfortably, and land in the bush.

Why a 180 and not a 185? Built right, it will do everything the 185 can do, and sometimes better. Most of the old timers and mentors will say that its not the fancy mods or the machines anyways, but the pilot.


As far as the year, in my research/opinion, (and as been said here before, many believe that the 66 is the best model around.) It has the elements of the light earlier models, but the big and important changes of the later models, IE modern panel, long range tanks, better TW steering, landing light in the wing, pilot adj seat, 3rd window, 6 passenger, baggage door etc.

I didn’t want an airplane that had already been adulterated, I wanted to find the cleanest, stock example of an “H” I could and make it mine. With perseverance and patience, I was lucky enough to find just that.

By the time its finished, we should have a +/- 130kt airplane with a 6hr range, a stall speed in the high 30’s (mph) that weights in the high 1700’s with a GW of 3190. That’s over-sized tires, 474lb in fuel, two 200 lb guys, and almost 600lbs of cargo/passengers. I think that’s pretty cool.

Now who know if this will be a reality or not. The internet is full of exaggeration and BS. I really don’t care one way or another, but regardless, it is already a hell of a lot of fun!

To learn more about Skywagons and the differences between model years, click HERE:

First Lap Around the Pattern…

After being down for a month addressing squawks, installing upgrades, and farting about, I finally got to take her out for a lap around the paddock.  Gonna take some learning to get it right, but this is going to be a fun airplane…

Perspective is Everything…


Finally got a decent look at what I had to deal with as a baseline spending some “quality” time under the panel just soaking it all in trying to make sense of 46 years of lazy, corner cutting wiring.  There has to be a good 40lbs+ or crap under there that can get tossed.



I also got a good look at the interior by pulling out the seats and carpet.  I had to laugh after it was out.  I had a “spec sheet” the old owner handed to me during the pre-buy.  Down near the bottom the had listed, “Interior Refurbished (8 rated.)”   I’m not sure what he was smoking, but the “refurbished” Home Depot carpet sure wasn’t going to cut it.  I didn’t care at all or make a stink as I knew it was going to all end up in the garbage.  All I cared about was a solid unadulterated platform to work with.  So far this is shaping up just fine!


One of the things that I really am interested in is keeping the weight down.  The W&B on this plane is paper only and the last time it was on scales was when it left Cessna.

When I left L.A. we were supposedly 1720lbs.  (my bet is a good 100lbs over that anyway)  I am going to try to get it on the scales for a good pre-op weight, but for now, I am keeping a detailed record of anything that gets removed.  The carpet above came in at 10.3lbs if you can believe it…

Next step will be to get on the squawk list so I can get her back in the air and get to do some flying…



New Shoes…


IMG_4780aOne of the reasons that I went ahead and jumped on the C180 was the fact that lots of the goodies that I had purchased for the C170 would transfer right over to the C180, and first on the list were the tires…


Fortunately Alaska Bushwheels allowed the transfer of the STC so it was quick and easy work to install the 8.5×10 wheels and tires.  Of course while the airplane was on the hoist, we took the time to upgrade the brakes with new Cleveland double pucks and HD Axles.

The upgraded brakes on the C170 sure made all the difference, and now with a much heavier airplane and larger tires, these are a must!




The Flight Home…



The flight home from L.A. to Boston was pretty damn cool, especially when you consider the longest flight I had ever done was just a couple of hours.  This trip was to span +3000 miles and have to cross the Rockies at +11,500′.

I flew commercial into LAX where Mike S. (previous owner) met me with the Skywagon at KHHR (Hawthorne.)


We headed north back to his home base of KSMX to close the deal, spend the night and then blasted off for home the next morning.

The plan was to make three legs.  KSMX to KFNL was first.   Mike would fly with me over the hump and into Denver.  We would spend the time together with me picking his brain and learning all the quirks of the new bird.  Once in CO, I would spend a couple of days training with tail wheel legend Dave Younkin (970.556.4581,) and then fly back over the plains in two.


As I expected, the most visually exhilarating part of the journey was the first day flying over the Grand Canyon, Moab, Bryce Canyon, Zion, the Colorado and Green Rivers, and then Loveland Pass.




Training with Dave was intense and well worth it, and by the end of the week, was ready to hit the road.



My friend and fellow tail wheel nut Dick C. met me in CO and we headed east for home.  The first day we made it from KFNL to KCAK (Ackron-Canton) where it was a hoot flying in behind some 737s.  There are of course a lot of differences between my C170 and the C180, but the biggest (and most enjoyable is the speed.)  It was no big deal keeping the speed up on final and I felt very comfortable being up there with the much larger jetliners.



Of course there were some bumps along the way uncovering a small squawk list, but in the end, we made it home safe and sound back to my home base of KPYM.

The 1966 Cessna 180H

Here are some photos of the new C180 shot during the initial test flight prior to closing.  The airplane was solid and flew nice and true.

The prior owner was very proud of the certain things like his sheep skin seats, his 80’s navigation, and his “8 rated” interior.  I didn’t have the heart to tell him that it would all soon be getting tossed.