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Marvelous Maules! page 4

report by neil macdougall • photos by doyle buehler

Maule Air offers service kits to convert the M‑5‑235C to an M-6-235C or the M‑5‑180C to an MX-7-180. Among STCs available is one for vortex generator kits for all models. Micro Aerodynamics Inc., Anacortes, Washington, says its VG kits reduce stalling speed and improve aileron authority.

Most Maules in the existing fleet are tail-draggers, in contrast to only half of new model sales. Countless studies have shown that tail-draggers have more landing and takeoff accidents than planes with tricycle gear. Unfortunately, Maules were not numerous enough to be included in the two most comprehensive American accident studies, neither recent. A 1995 Transport Canada survey found that five of the 100 Maules then in the country had accidents in that year. That’s equal to an accident rate of 56.8 per 100,000 hours, compared to the Cessna 185’s 2.3 rate. Because of the few hours flown by Maules, this single year’s figure is unlikely to be typical.

For comparison, I went through about seven years of American accident reports, a job that requires the patience of a forensic accountant. Notable were an optimist who tried to land on a 700-foot strip and an 11,000-hour pilot whose Maule broke up in winds of 80 mph gusting to 99. Of 103 accidents, a remarkable 35 were ground loops. The accident rate could not be calculated without flying hour statistics.

Of the few Maules in Canada, just over half (70) are M-5s and 48 are M-4s. Few are on the market at any time. During a recent six-month period, only nine Maules were advertised for sale in two Canadian publications. Buyers should look at airport bulletin boards, talk to fixed base operators, fellow pilots and call owners (who can be found on Transport Canada’s Civil Aircraft Register (wwwapps2.tc.gc.ca/Saf-Sec-Sur/2/ccarcs/ aspscripts/en/menu.asp). M-4s and M-5s are the oldest Maules and also the least expensive. Advertised planes ranged from CAN$50,000 to $70,000, with the highest figures for seaplanes. Two Maule owners whom we contacted undervalued their planes $5,000 less than dealers would ask. Although neither plane was for sale, direct approaches to owners might turn up similar bargains.

A Maule pilots group (www.maulepilots.org) is available to share information about Maules, Maule flying and events.

Maules and their competitors

 

Maule M-4
Jetasen

Cessna 172*

Maule M-6-235C
Super Rocket

Cessna 180H
Skywagon

Engine

145-hp
Continental O-300

145-hp
Continental O-300C

235-hp
Lycoming O-540

235-hp
Continental O-470R

Cruise, 75%, mph

150

130

172

162

Rate of climb, fpm

700

645

1,350

1,090

Service ceiling, ft.

12,000

13,100

20,000

19,600

Takeoff over 50 ft.

900

1,525

600

1,205

Landing over 50 ft.

600

1,250

600

1,365

Gross weight, lbs.

2,100

2,300

2,500

2,800

Empty weight, lbs.

1,100

1,260

1,500

1,545

Useful load, lbs.

1,000

1,040

1,000

1,255

Fuel, standard/
optional U.S. gal.

42

39

40/69

60/79

Range, sm

700

595

500

695

*Compared to a basic Cessna 172, the 172G Skyhawk model has additional equipment which increases cruising speed by one mph and reduces the useful load to 970 pounds. Older aircraft appear to have greater useful loads than current models. That’s an illusion because today’s planes have nav/comms, more sound proofing, and even GPS and autopilots as standard equipment.

Sources: Cessna figures are from owner’s manuals, the most reliable information source. Maule figures are from sales literature, which does not indicate if service ceiling and range figures are at gross weight.

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