Thorp T-18 Mutual Aid Society
Thorp T-18 Mutual Aid Society
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 Sport Flying & RV 3 Comparison
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0 Posts

Posted - 04/28/2011 :  18:27:19  Show Profile  Reply
Sport Flying & RV3 Vs T18 Comparison.
Hello Group. This is my first post.
I am seriously investigating the T18 for purchase. I now would be an owner of a midget mustang but the owner decided to keep airplane. I then started to look for an RV 3. Then a local RV3 owner suggest I investigate the Thorp T 18. It is an airplane I have seen often but for some reason until now not seriously considered. My first impression is how comparable the two are. Both airplanes are described as sport planes capable of gentleman aerobatics, loop, spin, and roll. But no snap maneuvers for the T18, which is fine by me. The new RV3C has 30 gal fuel capacity comparable to T18. With 0320
RV3 Specs
Empty wt 750, Gross wt 1100 Wing span 19'-11" wing area 90 sq ft roll rate 160/SEC? 1 SEAT
T18 Specs
Empty wt 850 Akro Gross 1250, max 1500, span 20'-10, area 86 sq ft
roll rate 180/ sec and 2 SEATS
Now a more realistic look at weight. Most basic 0320 RV3 weigh 830 Lb many heavier
This site says a basic light Thorp comes in at 850. For comparison lets use 930# for T18
RV3 @ 830 empty+ 170LB pilot(me) plus 16 gal x 6(96#)= 1096#. RV3 at max gross
T18 @ 930 empty+170 # Pilot plus 16 gal x 6(96) = 1196 # T18 below Akro max
Note The RV3 can not carry full fuel if built to Vans Max recommended .
The average RV3 seems to cruise 10 mph faster. And has a 5 to 7 mph lower stall speed than a solo T18 do to 12.22 Rv3 wing load vs 13.95 for T18( as in above ex.).
But look what the T18 can do. Take a passenger. Using the above airplane with 16 gal we add another 13 gal or 78 #ís we are now at 1274 #. So 1500 -1274= allows 226 pounds for passenger and baggage. Plenty. This seems to be a no brainer for me.
But it is only if the facts are accurate. The RV3 a good flier for sure and seems to be built by people with more intend on gentleman aerobatics, And for years earned a good rep, until wings came off and plane discovered to be only a 4.9 g airplane at 1100. The T18 is designed by an experienced aeronautical engineer who has certified itís +6, -3 rating at 1250 Lb. On the other hand I do not seem to here about a lot of builders building the T18 for basic loop, spin, roll. Several of you report you have spun the T18 and this is a important to me. Maybe because of the 2 seat utility it has attracted more builders for use for x country. But with the T18 it looks like can be flown solo and be less stressed doing loops than the RV 3 and at the same time have a 2 seat cross county airplane. Almost too good to be true , like having your cake and being able to eat it too. Like 2 airplanes is one.

So can a light 950 # or less T18 be used as a sport plane solo comparable to the RV3 as the designer description says, Can I have fun and really do some loop,spin and rolls
Just looking for some input, but if true I believe I am now very serious about owning a T18.
Your Comments are welcome.
Thanks in advance
Tom Currently flying a Kehler Lark ( single seat mid wing)



48 Posts

Posted - 04/28/2011 :  19:39:00  Show Profile  Reply
I'm sure you'll get plenty of responses to this, Tom. Yes, you can do those maneuvers - I would guess that most T-18 pilots have rolled their airplanes, and probably a lesser number do loops on a regular basis. Obviously you have to respect the limits, and be aware that the T-18 picks up speed very rapidly when the nose is pointed at the ground. There are differences between individual airplanes, and spins should be approached cautiously. It does wind up fast, and there have been reports of almost unrecoverable spins with certain configurations of the type.

And... you are right - the T-18 is almost too good to be true!

John Evens N71JE
Arvada, CO

Edited by - admin on 11/07/2011 11:00:00
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Fraser MacPhee

277 Posts

Posted - 04/28/2011 :  20:57:00  Show Profile  Reply
You and I could kill a tanker of adult beverages over a conversation about T-18s

Just get one

Fraser MacPhee
Draper, UT

Edited by - admin on 11/07/2011 11:00:00
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Bill Morse

2 Posts

Posted - 04/30/2011 :  11:12:05  Show Profile  Visit Bill Morse's Homepage  Reply
Tom, I agree. The RV-3 is fun and fast, but sits only one. Share the fun and go somewhere in a T-18.

William Morse

Edited by - admin on 11/07/2011 11:00:00
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21 Posts

Posted - 05/30/2011 :  20:47:21  Show Profile  Reply
I have owned both an RV-3 (O-290D2 FP) and a T-18 (IO320B1A CS laminar wing Wide body). Both are great airplanes and have their strengths. In my opinion they fly much different and require different techniques. The RV-3 was slower (smaller engine) but better at acro. The T-18 is a better cross country machine (especially with aux tanks) but not as good on short rough grass strips. The second seat fits my needs better as I have a passenger around 50% of the time. So for my needs only a 2 seat RV would work and at twice the money it just wasn't twice as good. I like my T-18 and plan on keeping it for many years because it is fun, fast, and unique.


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