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Marvelous Maules! page 5

report by neil macdougall • photos by doyle buehler

Bruce Musgrave of Apex Aircraft Sales Ltd., Toronto-Buttonville airport, gave us U.S. dollar prices in the Aircraft Bluebook Price Digest, which is used by most Canadian dealers. These prices ranged from $28,250 for a 1967 M-4-145, $34,000 for a 1967 M‑4-220C, $42,000 for a 1974 M-5-210C, $54,000 for a 1982 M-6-235 and $64,000 for a 1984 M-7-235, all with mid-time engines. Except for the Franklin-engined M‑4‑220C, prices of all models have increased up to 5% in the last year. “Franken­engined” models are about US$500 less expensive than other Maules because spares are supposedly hard to find.

Owners seldom dislike their planes, as the following comments suggest. Hugh S. Jorgan of St. Thomas, Ontario e-mailed me, “I’ve flown and instructed on M-4, -5 and -6 Maules. Good power-to-weight ratio gives great short field performance, but high drag makes for a slow cruise: 115 to 140 knots, depending upon power setting and engine. The main problem is that most pilots lack tail wheel experience, and often come to grief on paved runways when there’s a strong gusty crosswind. I prefer the small round-tailed M-4 to the later models with a huge tail, which will powerfully weathervane.

“They have a slightly home-made feel. Maules are easy to repair, and parts are cheap, cheap, cheap. [Inexpensive, he means. Ed.] A good little airplane, comparable to the Cessna 180.”

Steve J. Richards of New Westminster, British Columbia has flown his M-4-145 for 15 years. “It’s super rugged, cheap flying and easy to maintain. You can land on beaches, potholes and logging roads. It could use more power, wind and engine noise is high, and my aircraft is a bit roughly finished like some homebuilts. The Maule mushes in a stall and doesn’t drop a wing. Ailerons are connected with a servo tab on the rudder, but you still need rudder in turns.

“The plane is short-coupled and notorious for ground-looping, not terribly easy to fly, and hard to land. It nearly got away from me a couple of times. Brakes must be used [which are only on the pilot’s side] to get out of a ground loop. You have to be on top of them, so you certainly don’t get bored.”

Sheldon Peifer of Nipawin, Saskatchewan goes ice fishing in his ski-equipped M‑4‑145 once or twice a week in winter. “I really like it. Cruise is 110 mph. Mainte­nance is reasonable. It’s a good bushplane, although I’d like a little more power.”

A former Piper Tri-Pacer owner, James McMullen of Carnavon, Ontario, regards his M-5‑180 as a step up. He’s flown 1,500 hours on it since 1989. “It’s a wonderful plane. Parts are available. With a constant-speed prop, it climbs like a homesick angel. I’m told it will porpoise in cruise and ground loop, but mine hasn’t. The servo tab on the rudder was disconnected, and the Maule [factory] people told me not to reconnect it.” [However, Brent Maule says the servo tab should not be disconnected.] “It does take a little rudder in the turns, and the M-5 is not the easiest plane to get in and out of, but other than that I’d recommend it.”

David Harrison of Enderby, British Columbia flies his M-5-210C from an 1,800-foot grass strip, elevation 1,200 feet, with 75-foot trees on one end. “I wouldn’t operate a 195-hp Cessna 172XP out of here, but I get the Maule in and out with full fuel, two adults and children aged 12 and 15. It’s easy to fly when you get used to the power and the torque. Useful load is about 970 pounds and I cruise at 125 knots. It handles rough air better than a Cessna 172. However, you sit behind the leading edge, so in-flight visibility is somewhat restricted.

“Inside, it’s more cramped than a Cessna. It’s also hard to get into–there’s a knack to it. But on a dollar-for-dollar basis, it’s a better deal than the competition.”

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