SEP 14th 2013

PLANES THAT ROCK REVIVAL (2013)

Paul Burton reckons he has bought the bargain aircraft of the year. Eight weeks ago he paid just £7500 for this 1962 Stits SA3A. We reckon it’s worth that for the paint job and the name alone. The SA3A is known as the Playboy.

Paul’s Playboy is a home-built job from the States, built in 1962 by a man in South Carolina. “I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it,” says Paul, who normally flies one of Goodwood Aeroclub’s Cessna 172s. “But despite owning it for two months I am yet to fly it – I need to do a few more circuits with tail-wheel planes before I take her up.”

The Playboy was designed in 1955, a basic single-seater sports plane that mostly came in kit form for home assembly. It was cheap and aimed at introducing new people to recreational flying. Owners got a welded-up steel fuselage and a kit of parts and set of plans for the rest. The fuselage is covered by fabric and the wings are fabric over plywood spars. There are no flaps, just ailerons. There are no electrics and the engine is a simple 65bhp Continental A65. It was a plane people really could build it in their garages.

“The colour appealed to me first, then the price,” says Paul. “I didn’t want to spend too much but I reckon £7500 is a total bargain. Aeroplanes like this sell basically for the price of their engines, and this engine has plenty of time left on it.

“I love the idea of flying in an open cockpit aircraft. I have done it in Florida, and of course it was nice and warm there – I just hope flying my Playboy in southern England will as dry and as much fun.”

Paul, a member of Goodwood Aeroclub, intends to keep his Playboy here. It is thought it is the only flying Stits Playboy outside North America.

STITS

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