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Highly modified Piper J-5 experimentals - how to decide gross weight?

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Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Nov 6, 2013
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Johannesburg, South Africa
I have an aircraft that started life as a J-5A in 1940. It has been much modified by various people over the years and now sports PA-12 wings, PA-18 tailplane and elevators, 160 hp O-320, PA-18 heavy duty undercarriage from Javron and a closed cowl. The fuselage has had some strengthening, but its still a J-5A fuselage. The J-5A gross of 1450 seems way too low and one has to wonder what differences there are between the J-5A and C fuselages (the C has a gross of 1550) and the PA-12 one which justifies the PA-12 gross weights (1500/1750). Does anyone really know? I have found that detailed knowledge of the J-5 structure is quite thin on the ground.

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