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Canadian classic – Fleet 80 Canuck page 5

report by neil macdougall • photography by doyle buehler

Of the Fleet Fawn, an RCAF wing commander once said, “It’s impossible to pull apart.” Although the Fawn had only 125 hp, pilots did outside loops (the kind with the pilot on the outside of the loop, then uncommon). The Canuck is not quite that durable, but it was built to British airworthiness standards of +7 to –7 Gs. Still, any used aircraft needs to be scrutinized by a mechanic before purchase, especially a 53-year-old aircraft. The Canadian Owners and Pilots Association has a useful 23-page Guide to Buying Used Aircraft in Canada.

Any inspection should ensure that all airworthiness directives have been complied with. For instance, on Canuck CF-DDR, only five ADs are listed on the airframe and one to eight on the engine, depending on the model. A good sign.

Buyers interested in float flying should note that of the ten approved propeller models, the McCauley 90-7146, -7148 and -CM7142, the Flottorp 74A-48, the S & S P1005A and the Sensenich 72GK48 are not eligible for seaplanes.

A three-month check of aviation magazines turned up only two Canucks for sale, both at $30,000 to $35,000. Jack Thorpe of Stittsville, Ontario, Canada’s expert on Canucks (“That’s only 90% correct,” he jokes.) says average Canucks sell for $22,000 to $23,000, plus $8,000 to $9,000 more if on floats. However, one enthusiast spent $18,000 restoring his. An aircraft dealer described the Canuck as “a cult aircraft.” Does that mean owners have to be rescued and deprogrammed?

If you can find a good one, you’ll enjoy a unique Canadian artifact, roomy, with good handling and economy, and as viceless as the best tail-dragger. You may even be like the Skycraft Cessna instructor who was promoted to Douglas DC-3s because his boss noticed the Canuck time on his résumé. |

The Canuck and its contemporaries compared

 

Fleet 80
Canuck

Aeronca 7AC Champion

Cessna 140

Luscombe 8E Silvaire

Engine (Continental)

85 hp

65 hp

85 hp

85 hp

Cruise, mph

100

90

101

95

Initial climb, fpm

550

370

620

640

Service ceiling, ft.

12,000

12,500

15,100

15,500

Takeoff over 50 ft.

800

632

1,950

1,850

Landing over 50 ft.

600

885

1,530

1,540

Gross weight, lbs.

1,480

1,220

1,500

1,400

Empty weight, lbs.

858

740

818

791

Fuel, U.S. gal.

19

14

21

30

Wingspan

34 ft.

35 ft.

33 ft., 3 in.

34 ft., 7 in.

Source: Aircraft Blue Book Price Digest, except for the Fleet Canuck figures, which are from Canadian Aircraft Since 1909 by K.M. Molson and H.A. Taylor. Landing and takeoff distances for the Canuck are from an old copy of Canadian Aviation.

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