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Ben2k9

CTLS vs CTSW

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Hey everyone, I’ve yet to fly a CT of any type yet but from everything I’ve read it seems like a great plane and as a result I’m looking to buy. So the question is CTSW vs CTLS. I’ve spent some time reading many pages of this forum and from that I’ve gained the following key impressions / facts about the differences between these 2 types. 

1. The CTSW is more “squirrelly” and the CTLS is more stable thanks to longer wings and fuselage. 

2. The CTLS has stronger landing gear. 

The use of the plane would be both cross country flight as well as just getting out for fun and flying around.  

Anyone disagree with item 1?  Are there any other key differences worth pointing out I should be aware of while shopping?

 

thanks

 

 

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12 minutes ago, Ben2k9 said:

Hey everyone, I’ve yet to fly a CT of any type yet but from everything I’ve read it seems like a great plane and as a result I’m looking to buy. So the question is CTSW vs CTLS. I’ve spent some time reading many pages of this forum and from that I’ve gained the following key impressions / facts about the differences between these 2 types. 

1. The CTSW is more “squirrelly” and the CTLS is more stable thanks to longer wings and fuselage. 

2. The CTLS has stronger landing gear. 

The use of the plane would be both cross country flight as well as just getting out for fun and flying around.  

Anyone disagree with item 1?  Are there any other key differences worth pointing out I should be aware of while shopping?

 

thanks

 

 

Seems your impression is that the LS has features you can list that the SW lacks.

1. SW is more fun to fly, I can make it do what I want it to do, it reacts to my inputs.

2. SW (mine) has a 601lb useful load, it weighs 719 empty.

 

I have over 1,000 landings at the #1 field for 'hard to land light planes' at.  My SW gear is like new.  Its a bit hard for me to imagine what it would take to bend them I certainly have been gusted to a rapid drop a number of times.  Its not that you can't realize a wing drop in wind shear that could bend this gear its just too easy to soften said contact with opposite rudder.

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All the CT models are challenging airplanes to learn.  Once you do, they are all great.

The biggest advantage of the CTSW is lighter weight directly translating to higher carrying capacity.  In an LSA useful load is king, IMO.

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First the CTLS does not have longer wings, but it does have different wing tips. The wing tip design was to provided better aileron control near stall speed.

The landing gear between the two are different. With the CTSW the gear is an aluminum rod. The gear is more prone to bouncing if you drop a landing in. The gear will bend if abused. The CTLS gear is composite. The gear position was moved back slightly to make the airplane more stable on the ground. The composite design was programmed to absorb the landing shock while giving 50% less rebound than the aluminum gear. This provides a much more solid feel when you touch the ground. The CTLS may have a stronger gear, but when abused it will break instead of bending. Both gear are fairly easily replaced. I think the CTLS is more susceptible to damage beyond needing the gear leg replaced in an incident.

Like Andy said weight is an important factor. The CTLS with similar equipment to a CTSW will weigh around 40-50 pounds more. I have owned and flown both models. I am willing to give up that 40-50 pounds for the CTLS over the CTSW.

Also worthy of note is that the first 35-40 CTLS have a different aileron control system than the later airplanes. I personally don't care for the early control system.

If you want to check out a CTLS I am located in Southeastern Illinois. Depending on where you are in Nashville it is about a 4 hour drive.

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1 hour ago, Ed Cesnalis said:

Seems your impression is that the LS has features you can list that the SW lacks.

1. SW is more fun to fly, I can make it do what I want it to do, it reacts to my inputs.

Ed, how much experience do you have in a CTLS to make the comparison? I have owned and flown both the CTSW and CTLS. I would not say the CTSW is more fun to fly. It is slight different from the CTLS in a way that requires more work to be precise while flying. Both are equally fun to fly. I can make either do what I want, and both react to inputs equally well.

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Several other differences, which might be of importance depending on your preference:

1) Cost.  For me this ruled out the CTLS, since I could only afford the older, cheaper CTSW.

2) The CTLS has a "hat shelf" behind each seat.  For cross country flight, these would be nice.  I'm always trying to find more accessible space in mine when flying with a passenger.

3) The larger-screen Dynon Skyview was available on the CTLS (not sure when it was available).

4) I believe there are threads about this topic, but I believe its easier to retrofit a brighter landing light on the CTLS, if you will be flying at night.  The stock halogen CTSW light is not terrible, but burns out frequently.  The available LED options are not as bright.  My night vision is still decent, so this is acceptable, but not ideal.

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55 minutes ago, Tom Baker said:

Ed, how much experience do you have in a CTLS to make the comparison? I have owned and flown both the CTSW and CTLS. I would not say the CTSW is more fun to fly. It is slight different from the CTLS in a way that requires more work to be precise while flying. Both are equally fun to fly. I can make either do what I want, and both react to inputs equally well.

Tom, not a lot.  The first post seemed one sided so I was making the point that the SW has its benefits, I really do prefer it.

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2 hours ago, Tom Baker said:

First the CTLS does not have longer wings, but it does have different wing tips. The wing tip design was to provided better aileron control near stall speed.

The landing gear between the two are different. With the CTSW the gear is an aluminum rod. The gear is more prone to bouncing if you drop a landing in. The gear will bend if abused. The CTLS gear is composite. The gear position was moved back slightly to make the airplane more stable on the ground. The composite design was programmed to absorb the landing shock while giving 50% less rebound than the aluminum gear. This provides a much more solid feel when you touch the ground. The CTLS may have a stronger gear, but when abused it will break instead of bending. Both gear are fairly easily replaced. I think the CTLS is more susceptible to damage beyond needing the gear leg replaced in an incident.

Like Andy said weight is an important factor. The CTLS with similar equipment to a CTSW will weigh around 40-50 pounds more. I have owned and flown both models. I am willing to give up that 40-50 pounds for the CTLS over the CTSW.

Also worthy of note is that the first 35-40 CTLS have a different aileron control system than the later airplanes. I personally don't care for the early control system.

If you want to check out a CTLS I am located in Southeastern Illinois. Depending on where you are in Nashville it is about a 4 hour drive.

That would be great - thanks for the offer...may have to take you up on that soon..

can you elaborate a little on the different aileron control?  What is it you didn’t like, and how might I identify which one an aircraft has?

 

 

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2 hours ago, JLang said:

2) The CTLS has a "hat shelf" behind each seat.  For cross country flight, these would be nice.  I'm always trying to find more accessible space in mine when flying with a passenger.

 

More important than the convenient shelf., to me, are the quarter windows over the shelf.  The CTSW really has pretty poor "over the shoulder" visibility to the rear (the only area any CT has visibility issues), and I'd really like to have those quarter windows!

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In general, how do these aircraft handle in turbulent conditions versus say a Cessna 172?  (This is my benchmark because this is what I’m training in). Also how about crosswind ability?  Does being so light mean the plane gets tossed around easily?  

What do you love most about flying a CT and what is one thing you you wish was different?

 

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1 minute ago, FlyingMonkey said:

More important than the convenient shelf., to me, are the quarter windows over the shelf.  The CTSW really has pretty poor "over the shoulder" visibility to the rear (the only area any CT has visibility issues), and I'd really like to have those quarter windows!

Good info!

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1 hour ago, Ben2k9 said:

That would be great - thanks for the offer...may have to take you up on that soon..

can you elaborate a little on the different aileron control?  What is it you didn’t like, and how might I identify which one an aircraft has?

The goal of the CTLS when introduced was to transform it from a twitchy feeling light airplane to something more like a 172. They went overboard on the ailerons. It has been said the comparison between a CTSW and a CTLS is like a sports car compared to a sedan. With the early CTLS the comparison is more like a sports car to a dump truck in my opinion. I only flew 2 different early CTLS's, so my sample size is pretty small.

The later CTLS aileron control system is more like the CTSW. Pitch is a little more subdued in the CTLS, but it still requires a light touch. The yaw characteristics of the CTLS is one of the things I like about it over the CTSW. With the CTSW when you need some rudder it is really easy to add to much causing excess yaw. With the CTLS it is easier to add rudder without over doing it. The yaw thing is both personal experience and observation while flight instructing.

 

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5 hours ago, Tom Baker said:

I would not say the CTSW is more fun to fly.

 

1 hour ago, Tom Baker said:

the comparison between a CTSW and a CTLS is like a sports car compared to a sedan.

 

ah,   when its time for 4-wheel performance you bring out the sedan!  no wonder I was confused thanks for setting me strait :)  I go for the sports car for fun.

 

post-6-0-01511900-1409077703_thumb.jpg

 

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48 minutes ago, Ed Cesnalis said:

 

 

ah,   when its time for 4-wheel performance you bring out the sedan!  no wonder I was confused thanks for setting me strait :)  I go for the sports car for fun.

 

post-6-0-01511900-1409077703_thumb.jpg

 

That is how it was being described. To me it is not like grandpa's Caddy, but more like the new KIA Stinger GT.:D

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It's in the eyes and mind of the owner. What one likes the other may not. They all have good points and some people want to change.

Lot's of people would rather have a sedan over a sports car. ;)

 

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I own a SW which I've flown 1700+ hours.  I've flown a few hundred hours in a LS.  Although my SW is the first and last airplane I will own, I would prefer to own the LS for it's package tray, quarter side windows and better engine isolation (due to improved engine mounts) and little improvements throughout which add up to the LS being more refined.  Weight of passengers can be a factor when doing fully loaded, maximum fuel missions in a LS since the LS weighs more than the SW.  On all long trips taken with the LS, this has never been a factor for me and the friend who takes me along because we are not big people.  However, although the LS is legally limited to 1320 lbs., it is tested and certified to be flown at 1430 lb. with floats and is certified for heavier weight (1500 lb.?) when used for "Utility" class.

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17 hours ago, Ben2k9 said:

In general, how do these aircraft handle in turbulent conditions versus say a Cessna 172?  (This is my benchmark because this is what I’m training in). Also how about crosswind ability?  Does being so light mean the plane gets tossed around easily?  

What do you love most about flying a CT and what is one thing you you wish was different?

 

They do get kicked around quit a bit in turbulent and gusty conditions.  You simply can't fight physics, and there is no way a 1320lb airplane is going to handle those conditions the way a 2300lb airplane does.  Crosswind capability is excellent in the CTs.  The CTSW POH shows the maximum demonstrated crosswind as 16kt; I have landed with crosswind components approaching that number and it will certainly do that and probably quite a bit more. 

I have flown and landed in winds gusting to 32knots, with the wind well aligned with the runway.  It was a non-issue.  It comes down to what you get used to and comfortable with.  You will certainly get rocked in moderate or higher turbulence, but it's just fatiguing and not dangerous or anything.  You can mitigate some of the harshness of the bumps by slowing down, and a good autopilot can sometimes fly better than a human in turbulence. 

Most loved:  Performance and efficiency.  I flew a 558 mile leg coming back from Oshkosh at 120kt+ in a little over 4 hours, and still had about 7 gallons of fuel left. 

Wish was different:  I wish it was made of metal for ease and cost of repair.  But then it would be a totally different airplane, and a lot heavier, so maybe not...

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57 minutes ago, FlyingMonkey said:

They do get kicked around quit a bit in turbulent and gusty conditions.  You simply can't fight physics, and there is no way a 1320lb airplane is going to handle those conditions the way a 2300lb airplane does.  Crosswind capability is excellent in the CTs.  The CTSW POH shows the maximum demonstrated crosswind as 16kt; I have landed with crosswind components approaching that number and it will certainly do that and probably quite a bit more. 

I have flown and landed in winds gusting to 32knots, with the wind well aligned with the runway.  It was a non-issue.  It comes down to what you get used to and comfortable with.  You will certainly get rocked in moderate or higher turbulence, but it's just fatiguing and not dangerous or anything.  You can mitigate some of the harshness of the bumps by slowing down, and a good autopilot can sometimes fly better than a human in turbulence. 

Most loved:  Performance and efficiency.  I flew a 558 mile leg coming back from Oshkosh at 120kt+ in a little over 4 hours, and still had about 7 gallons of fuel left. 

Wish was different:  I wish it was made of metal for ease and cost of repair.  But then it would be a totally different airplane, and a lot heavier, so maybe not...

Andy, a couple things.

It is mass and wing loading that will determine how an airplane handles turbulence, not just weight.

Metal does not necessarily make an airplane heavier. There is a ICP Savannah SLSA, (which is a mostly metal airplane), based near here that has an almost 700 pound useful load.

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1 hour ago, Runtoeat said:

I own a SW which I've flown 1700+ hours.  I've flown a few hundred hours in a LS.  Although my SW is the first and last airplane I will own, I would prefer to own the LS for it's package tray, quarter side windows and better engine isolation (due to improved engine mounts) and little improvements throughout which add up to the LS being more refined.  Weight of passengers can be a factor when doing fully loaded, maximum fuel missions in a LS since the LS weighs more than the SW.  On all long trips taken with the LS, this has never been a factor for me and the friend who takes me along because we are not big people.  However, although the LS is legally limited to 1320 lbs., it is tested and certified to be flown at 1430 lb. with floats and is certified for heavier weight (1500 lb.?) when used for "Utility" class.

Dick, I would not recommend using the gross weight of an airplane with floats as justification that the same airplane without floats can be flown at the same weight. The reason for the increased weight of an airplane with floats is because in flight the floats are producing lift. It is the fact that the floats are helping support their own weight in flight that the gross weigh can be increased. The aircraft's wing structure is not put under any more stress than if flown at gross weight with wheels.

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Tom's right, its wing loading not weight.  With the same useful load the CT could be better than the Skyhawk.  The CTs shortwings help it miss out on some bumps as well.

 

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19 hours ago, Ben2k9 said:

In general, how do these aircraft handle in turbulent conditions versus say a Cessna 172?  (This is my benchmark because this is what I’m training in). Also how about crosswind ability?  Does being so light mean the plane gets tossed around easily?  

What do you love most about flying a CT and what is one thing you you wish was different?

 

I fly a CTLSi and a C-172 all the time. I compare them as a sports car vs grandma's station wagon.  Both handle turbulence well but the Cessna may not feel as "rough" as the CT.

The CT is clearly more fun to fly, goes faster, uses far less fuel, has better visibility, has longer legs, easier to hangar, way better panel, and the cute factor is way up there.  The CT does not carry 4 people.

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Re: Crosswind. In my two SWs, I've landed a few times with direct crosswinds 19G25, 25G34, 15G20, 17G28.  Also 28G38 down the runway.   I would not seek out these conditions for fun, but it's good to know the CT can handle it.  I don't think there should be much difference between the CTSW and the CTLS,

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1 hour ago, Tom Baker said:

Andy, a couple things.

It is mass and wing loading that will determine how an airplane handles turbulence, not just weight.

Metal does not necessarily make an airplane heavier. There is a ICP Savannah SLSA, (which is a mostly metal airplane), based near here that has an almost 700 pound useful load.

I get that.  But a 172 and a CTSW are similar enough in wing loading that I think my comments apply.  What do you mean by "mass" instead of weight?  I know the scientific difference, but in this context they are roughly the same.  We are not talking a U2 vs an F-104 here.  And mass/weight determine wing loading, right?  Airplanes with similar wing loadings where one has almost double the weight of the other have predictable relative responses to turbulence, so...

GENERALLY, the weight hierarchy is fiberglass > metal > carbon fiber > fabric.  There are exceptions of course, but that's *usually* a true statement.  I'm sure there's some super fancy fabric airplane somewhere that is much heavier than its metal equivalents, but that will be the exception and not the rule. 

We're not going to be able to have much in the way of a productive discussion of CTs vs other airplanes if we have to take into account every model and design, and every pedantic performance nuance, lest we get pounced on by the perfectionists among us...  ;)

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13 minutes ago, FlyingMonkey said:

I get that.  But a 172 and a CTSW are similar enough in wing loading that I think my comments apply.  What do you mean by "mass" instead of weight?  I know the scientific difference, but in this context they are roughly the same.  We are not talking a U2 vs an F-104 here.  And mass/weight determine wing loading, right?  Airplanes with similar wing loadings where one has almost double the weight of the other have predictable relative responses to turbulence, so...

GENERALLY, the weight hierarchy is fiberglass > metal > carbon fiber > fabric.  There are exceptions of course, but that's *usually* a true statement.  I'm sure there's some super fancy fabric airplane somewhere that is much heavier than its metal equivalents, but that will be the exception and not the rule. 

We're not going to be able to have much in the way of a productive discussion of CTs vs other airplanes if we have to take into account every model and design, and every pedantic performance nuance, lest we get pounced on by the perfectionists among us...  ;)

Andy, there is almost 2 pounds per square foot difference between a Cessna 172 and a CTSW on wing loading. The Cessna has about a 12% higher wing loading than the CT. While that may not seem like much it is pretty significant. This is based on wing area compared to gross weight. ( I used the numbers for the 172 that popped up on Wikipedia). Mass has to do with the overall size of the airplane compared to weight, not just wing loading. For example a Cassutt racer has a wing loading similar to a CT, but the overall package of the airplane is smaller. The smaller size compared to weight gives it more mass.

I'm not trying to compare the CT to every model of aircraft. I was simply disagreeing with your assertion that metal airplanes are heavier, and provided an example to make my point. Personally based on my experience I don't necessarily find metal airplanes to be heavier as group. I don't give as much credence to the aircraft construction material of choice being the determining factor in aircraft weight as you. The airplane I mentioned earlier is not a one off exception, there are other metal airplanes that are as light or lighter than a CT. There are also several fabric airplanes that are heavier, not just an occasional exception to the rule. Carbon Cub, Legend Cub, and American Champion Champ to name a few. Even if you factor in the weight difference of the engines they are still heavier.

 

 

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If the wing loading at gross is similar it stands to reason that the SW will more often be more heavily loaded due to more empty seats in the Skyhawk.

In the other direction I always flew the Skyhawk with full tanks but seldom do that with the CT, giving some of the advantage back to the Skyhawk.

I have owned both and give the edge to the Skyhawk but much prefer flying the CT even in turbulence.

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