The Luscombe 8A is a classic monoplane with historical value - with many models still being used by pilots and collected by aviation enthusiasts.
The Luscombe 8A aircraft is a high-wing monoplane released in 1940 and it is part of Luscombe’s 8 series. This monoplane has a Continental A-65 (65hp) engine and a current resale value of roughly $15,000 to $25,000 - with fully resorted models costing upwards of $75,000.
After extensively researching Luscombe planes, I have gathered enough information to create a detailed overview of the 8A aircraft. My research has indicated that the Luscombe 8A is a world-class monoplane with a solid reputation, but given how long it has been around, potential buyers should inspect the condition of this aircraft thoroughly to ensure that it is safe to operate.
Luscombe 8A History
The 8A is part of Luscombe’s 8 series, which features various model aircraft that follow similar design characteristics. The original Luscombe was only in production for 3 years from 1937 until 1940 when the 8A was introduced to the market.
Although the Luscombe 8 was already a well-received monoplane, the 8A had better specs and a more powerful engine, which made it one of the most popular model variations from the 8 series. This 2-seater, high-wing aircraft was built and designed in the U.S. - with most aircraft being used for training and sport flying.
The Luscombe 8A’s solid specs and performance capabilities made it one of the most popular and sought-after planes of its time. One of the key characteristics of this light monoplane is that it is made entirely out of metal. This was a groundbreaking achievement in the 1940s, as virtually every aircraft ever produced up to this point had wood in its design.
By making their plane entirely out of metal, Luscombe was able to manufacture their 8A aircraft faster and at a cheaper price than similar planes in the early ‘40s. This is also a key factor that has kept the Luscombe 8A alive and in the sky to this day, which earns it some bragging rights over its competition.
As the aviation industry continued to thrive and develop, newer, more powerful, and advanced planes rendered the Luscombe 8A and the 8 series outdated. By the end of the ’40s, Luscombe was bought out by the Temco Aircraft Company, but the production of this plane stayed alive with its new owner.
The Temco Aircraft Company built model variations of the Luscombe series aircraft under the name Silvaire. The Silvair monoplanes that were made in the late 40s had virtually identical specs to the original 8 series - with some modernized improvements here and there. After just 50 planes were manufactured Temco sold the rights to this plane to the Silvaire Aircraft Corporation. Variations of the Luscombe aircraft were produced for decades - with one of the latest models of this plane introduced as late as 2007.
Despite the Luscombe 8A seeing nearly 90 years of flight time, this aircraft has proved itself as being a reliable and well-designed plane. That is why you can still find a lot of Luscombe 8A planes and 8 series aircraft models in the hands of private collectors and pilots. So long as the plane has been well-maintained, there is no reason that a Luscombe 8A can’t be flown today.
Luscombe 8A Specifications
When you get into the cockpit of a monoplane that was made in 1940, you should not expect top-of-the-line specs and performance capabilities, but this is actually one of the characteristics that make the Luscombe 8A such a great plane. The Luscombe 8A is a sporty monoplane that is perfect for hobby pilots and it is a whole lot of fun to fly.
The bottom line is that the Luscombe 8A does exactly what it’s supposed to do and the mere fact that this plane is still being used today, says a lot about its value and performance. These are the specs of the Luscombe 8A:
- Engine - Continental A-65 (65hp)
- Fuel Consumption - 4.2 gallons per hour
- Take-Off Distance - 1,950ft
- Landing Distance - 1,540ft
- Empty Weight - 750lbs
- Max Take-Off Weight - 1,260lbs
- Cruise Speed - 105mph or 91kts
- Max Speed - 140mph or 122kts
- Stall Speed - 43mph 37kts
Later models of the Luscombe 8 series had similar specs as the 8A, but more powerful engines were eventually installed - upgrading the Continental A-65hp to a 75hp.
Luscombe 8A Costs
Buying a plane is a major investment and if you look at the prices of aircraft on the market, the cost of buying one can quickly go into the hundreds of thousands. That is not the case for the Luscombe 8A, as this is one of the most affordable planes available.
On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $15,000 to $25,000 for a Luscombe 8A. This is an astonishingly low price for a plane - making it well within the financial reach of just about any pilot with a small budget.
With that said, much like with any used aircraft, you want to carefully consider the Luscombe 8A that you buy. This plane has been around for a long time and just because there are still quite a bit of Luscombe 8 series models in circulation that does not mean that every aircraft is going to be worthy of your money.
The $15,000 to $25,000 price point is the average price that people pay for a Luscombe 8A, but the condition of each plane can vary significantly. Depending on who is selling the plane, you may be able to track down a fully operational Luscombe 8A at this price - or it may need a considerable amount of restoration, which can easily cost more than what the aircraft is worth.
Restored Luscombe 8A Costs ($50,000 to $75,000)
If you are evaluating Luscombe 8A planes in the $15,000 range, it’s safe to say that you can expect the condition to be mediocre at best. More often than not, an 8A bought at this price will need some form of restoration - either soon or immediately after your purchase.
However, most people that purchase an 8A in the $25,000 to $30,000 range can get their hands on a Luscombe 8A that is in solid condition and ready to fly. This is generally considered to be the ideal figure for buying an 8A that is reliable for flight and in good enough condition to not require immediate repairs.
Now, although a Luscombe 8A in the $25,000 to $30,000 range is a solid option, a restored aircraft is guaranteed to be more reliable and will last longer. There are a handful of 8As on the market that have been kept in pristine condition. Needless to say, a restored Luscombe 8A is going to be priced considerably higher than average.
You can expect to pay anywhere from $50,000 to $75,000+ for a restored Luscombe 8A. Naturally, the better the condition, the higher the price. Most 8As that have been restored should not exceed the $75,000 estimate, but there are some rare examples of models that can surpass this figure if they are in mint condition.
Luscombe 8A Variable Costs ($50 Per Hour)
When new pilots and aircraft owners buy their first plane, they are often shocked by the variable costs that come with operating their aircraft. It is not uncommon for planes to cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars to operate.
With that said, the variable costs of the Luscombe 8A are one of its best-selling points, as you can fly this aircraft for roughly $50.00 per hour. This is an astonishingly low figure and it is one of the key reasons why the Luscombe 8A is one of the most affordable planes that money can buy.
The variable costs of operating a Luscombe 8A can vary depending on a number of different factors - mainly the cost of fuel, which is often up in the air. However, you can expect very reasonable variable costs that range from $45.00 to $55.00 per hour.
Luscombe 8A Maintenance Costs ($1,000 to $3,000+ Per Year)
The price of maintaining a Luscombe 8A is harder to predict than its operation costs. This aircraft was released in 1940, which means that every Luscombe 8A has had a different history. Ultimately, the maintenance costs of owning one of these planes needs to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
There is no set-in-stone figure for how much you will have to pay over the years during your ownership of a Luscombe 8A. Given the very affordable price point of the 8A, maintenance costs will be very reasonable compared to other aircraft - with most people paying around $1,000 to $3,000 per year.
The biggest mistake that you can make with owning the Luscombe 8A, as well as any other aircraft, is neglecting its routine maintenance. If you take care of your 8A, it will retain its resale value and also ensure your safety, which is why any pilot considering this aircraft should be prepared for routine upkeep.
Luscombe 8A Insurance Costs ($500 to $950 Per Year)
Insuring your Luscombe 8A is going to be an absolute must. Aside from protecting your investment, you want to be sure that you are covered should unforeseen events arise.
Luckily, the low cost of operating and owning a Luscombe 8A is reflected in the price of insuring this monoplane. There are a handful of insurance options to choose from, but ultimately, it should not cost more than $500 to $950 per year. These are your options for insuring a Luscombe 8A.
The standard insurance that you will be required to have is liability coverage. Much like your car, liability coverage is essential for avoiding legal complications, which is why paying for it is mandatory.
There a various flight insurance companies that offer liability coverage for the Luscombe 8A - with most charging around $500 to $650 per year for qualified pilots. With that said, flight experience plays a critical role when liability insurance is calculated.
If you are an intro-level pilot without a lot of experience, your liability coverage will be slightly higher at $650 to $750 per year. Regardless, of your flight experience, you will be given the same amount of liability protection of $1,000,000 in coverage.
Hull coverage is not mandatory insurance like liability protection. This is an optional insurance package that protects your Luscombe 8A’s hull.
Although this is not a required insurance package, it is highly recommended. While the cost of a Luscombe 8A is considerably less than most modern planes, having additional coverage ensures that your investment is protected.
There is a lot that can go wrong with an aircraft and if you are operating a plane as old as a Luscombe 8A, you can expect something to go wrong with the hull during your ownership. Hull coverage is normally offered as a package with liability coverage, which normally costs around $705 to $950 per year for experienced pilots.
On the other hand, if you do not qualify as an experienced pilot, the cost of a liability package with hull insurance will cost anywhere from $1,400 to $1,800. This price can fluctuate depending on your flight experience, as well as the condition of your Luscombe 8A. Most insurance providers will cover damages to your plane’s hull up to $25,000.
Is the Luscombe 8A Hard to Fly?
The Luscombe 8A is a fairly easy monoplane to fly. This aircraft has received some backlash regarding its landing, which many pilots describe as ‘squirely’ and unreliable.
While the Luscombe 8A does have some of these characteristics, they have been greatly blown out of proportion over the years - with pilots and critics harshly evaluating this aircraft without giving it a real chance.
The Luscombe 8A requires a little bit of getting used to, but once you become familiarized with the aircraft, flying it is incredibly easy. The simplistic controls, lack of complex avionics, and monoplane design make flying straightforward and fun.
Is the Luscombe 8A a Safe Aircraft?
A key characteristic that I look for in every aircraft is safety. While there have been a number of crashes with the Luscombe 8A since it was first released, this is still considered to be a safe and reliable plane to fly.
There have been a total of 402 accidents since the Luscombe 8A was released, which is not bad considering that it has had nearly 90 years of flight time. Of these 402 accidents, there were 211 fatalities.
The bottom line is that if you take care of your Luscombe 8A and fly responsibly, there is not much more risk in operating one of these planes than any other well-recognized monoplane from this era.
Are Luscombe 8A Parts Hard to Find
Whenever you consider buying an older plane, one of the key factors that should influence your decision is how difficult it is to find spare parts. Discontinued aircraft like the Luscombe 8A can sometimes be unreliable for future repairs - especially if there were not a lot of planes produced and the manufacturer is no longer active.
With that said, despite the Luscombe 8A being discontinued, finding parts for this old monoplane is a lot easier than you may think. Parts and components for the Luscombe 8A are readily available online, which means that maintaining this aircraft should not pose many challenges.
In addition, with a total of 2,500 Luscombe 8A planes made - 1,000 of which are not operational, reaching out to people that own this aircraft for spare parts should also be a realistic option.
Is the Luscombe 8A Worth Buying?
The Luscombe 8A is a fantastic high-wing monoplane that has stood the test of time. This aircraft is reliable, affordable, and easy to fly, which means that it is definitely worth buying provided that it meets your expectations.
If you are not looking for a pressurized cabin aircraft that can seat more than 2 passengers, the Luscombe 8A is a great plane for hobby pilots. The mere fact that the Luscombe 8A’s average resale value is between $15,000 and $25,000 makes it one of the most financially attainable planes on the market.
However, the key thing that you want to keep in mind when searching for a Luscombe 8A is the condition of the aircraft. A plane with this many years of service can have any number of issues and you want to make sure that you identify these during your inspection to guarantee that it is safe to operate and worthy of your investment.
About THE AUTHOR
After spending years watching every video I could find about flying, I finally scratched the itch and got my pilots license. Now I fly every chance I get, and share the information I learn, here.Read More About Joe Haygood