Airplane of the Month • January  2003

 N5928J 1971 Model: A150L Serial#: A1500228
2 of 50, 1971 A150L's manufactured
228 of 734, 150 Aerobat's manufactured in the U.S.A.

The Story of N5928J:
This is truly a unique airplane. To the best of our knowledge this 1971Aerobat is the only Aerobat in the world that has been upgraded with a 160 HP Lycoming engine while retaining full aerobatic certification. Normally engine upgrade packages prohibit spins, limiting maneuvers to the standard category. When this airplane was modified however, the owner took the time and trouble to obtain unrestricted flight certification from the FAA.

History: From 1971 to 1973, N5928J was used as a trainer in Texas, accumulating 1,300 hours of flight time. It was then bought by a broker, who eventually sold it to a fellow in Seattle who had plans to make it into a Super Aerobat. In addition to the 160 HP engine,  inverted fuel and oil  systems were installed,  and even a smoke system. (We speculate that the owner intended to take it on the air show circuit.) All of the conversion work took place in the Seattle area in 1974. Most amazing of all, these upgrades were signed off by the FAA without any additional restrictions beyond what was originally included in the POH. Unfortunately, the owner's big plans for the Super Aerobat never materialized and the plane was sold to the Summa corporation in 1977. At that time she had 1,578TT and 191SMOH. After a couple more owners, current owner Bruce Spencer's father bought her in October of 1988. By then she was up to 2,313TT and 926SMOH.

While N5928J was a bit of a derelict when he bought her, Spencer had researched her well and was well aware of her potential. A little TLC was all she needed. He was so pleased with the airplane's performance that he sold his 182 shortly after buying the Aerobat. Nine years later, In July of 1997, Spencer Sr. reluctantly decided he needed a larger airplane. In his 80's with bad knees, he was finding it difficult to get in and out of the 150. He bought a 172, and sold 28J to his son Bruce. Bruce named the airplane "Checkers" and undertook a series of cross country adventures in the airplane.

Performance: The Lycoming dramatically improves the airplane's climb rate and vertical penetration. The airplane came equipped with long range tanks  originally (extremely rare for an Aerobat) which more than compensate for the engines additional thirst. Inverted oil and fuel systems from a Citabria keep the engine happily purring when looking at the horizon from the flip side. In short, the only down side to the modifications is useful load. Like most engine conversions, the airplane is limited to a legal 1,600 lbs gross weight.

Bruce Spencer has now flown the airplane all over the country, and continues to be amazed at the airplane's functional utility.  Bruce and his wife often load up their mountain bikes and fly in to remote airstrips for weekends under the stars that are the essence of "getting away from it all". 

Read about one of Bruce Spencer's aerial adventures here.

[Posted January 12, 2003]

The Cessna 150-152 Club and Cessna 150-152 Fly-In Foundation are 501(c)3 non-profit organizations. Chicago, Illinois

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