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New Redback 503 or used trike?

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I'm about to start my training and am looking to get my own trike. I'd love to get into a new one which would probably be a redback 503. A really good starting option from what I've heard. I was wondering if I could hear from any owners about their experiences with the redback whether positive or negative. Also, would it be a better option to get a used low hours trike which would probably be at least a few years old in good condition with full log books and service history.


Can't wait to read the replys.


Regards and good flying to all:





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Hi Giorgio,


It's all fine and well to learn to fly trikes with a 503 and a Wizard wing, but if you have any aspirations to do some X-Country when you get up a few more hours then you will find the Wizard wing rather limiting. As soon as any wind appears in opposition to your desired direction of travel your groundspeed and fuel range plummets. You may find yourself wanting to upgrade to a Streak wing and then find you need the extra power of a 582 motor to fly the Streak wing.


Some instructors may push you towards learning on a slower wing like a Wizard and that learning on a faster (50kts hands off trim) wing is like learning to drive in a Ferrari. This is Bollocks in my opinion. You will learn whatever you fly, and safely with the instructor in the back seat until he is happy you have learned to fly it sufficiently to start your solo circuits.


On the other side of things, the slower wings are better for just boating about and for shorter airstrips/paddocks and are usually simpler to rig due to having fewer battons.


If you live in a warm climate then there's no real need for you to have a pod, I recommend a good 2nd hand Outback 582 which can take either the Wizard or Streak wings. If you fly in a cold place like me then you need a pod to keep most of the wind off you, then a good 2nd hand Classic (also 582) would be the go. If you go for the 582 motor then you at least have the choice of whether to use a Wizard or Streak wing, depending on what you want. Another point is the Wizard wing will be more affected by turbulence and cannot lose height as quickly when you want to, ie, sudden thermal on approach at the end of the runway.


In the end it depends on what you intend to do with the trike and if serious XCountry is not in your future plans and you just want to float up and down the coast then you could save yourself a lot of money getting something like a Redback.







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I own a Redback 503 - that I bought with 30hours TT including a trailer and full covers for $18K. It is a great learning a/c - and about as basic as you get in factory built trike.


I love its 'bare' look and feel - a bit like my Ducati Monster Dark. For me anything more sophisticated in a trike is a waste of money; I would rather invest the extra $$$s in an enclosed 3-axis plane - which will be my next step. But even then I will keep the Redback - as it is the true motorcycle of the sky...;)


Happy shopping.







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Hiya Giorgio,


Firstly, spend some time training...get to enjoy the experience...and get some experience at the same time.


I, as with many other trikers, purchased my first trike too early and had the task of having to sell it prior to purchasing my dream trike. All of the students up North nowadays go through their license and then some hours of local flight prior to settling into their own purchase - it is well recommended. New and secondhand trikes will always be there waiting to take your cash. There will always be many options, however these will become limited once you have shelled out a fortune.


I agree with Glen on the training aspect. I was severly stunted in my original training because I had it on a slow unit (that I purchased prior to even enrolling in a school) - it took a wee while to adjust to a quicker machine. My advice to would-be trikers is to learn on whatever is available at the school but if possible learn on as quick a machine as possible - they are no more fearsome than a slower trike and it is a case of getting to know the vehicle. Our trike is one that cruises up to 65knts but it still is required to be properly flared and landed at 35knts.


I have seen many a triker walk away from it shortly after their training as they have not got the "fire-in-the-belly" and a fire sale ensues for all the kit they purchased. Really, get through the plateaux of your pre-solo training and become comfortable with bouncy conditions before committing to, what to many is, a fortune for the kit.


When you are ready, as with the purchase of a motor car, make full use of the opportunity to test drive as many as possible - a $200 cross state airfare to visit the seller and test drive is well worth the expense. So far I have not come across anyone reluctant to take you up to drive the piece of kit you are about to purchase. Take your time purchasing.


Happy training.







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Hi Guys;


Thanks heaps for all the great advice. I am doing my training at Camden in a Xt912 machine with streak 3 wing. The plan is the get through the training over the next 5 or 6 months then spend a similar amount of time doing regular flights in the 912 before deciding on a purchase. At this stage a wizard wing is what I'm thinking about probably out of caution. Who knows how I'll feel in 6 months time? Either way, I'm limited to under 30K for a first up purchase. So that means either a new Red back or well kept used machine. Another question: How does the 503 handle two people on board. Say 160kg total weight?


Regards: Giorgio.



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Nice comments Perry..very informative and absolutely correct... buying a machine is a major decision. As a newby to the trike world.. you must make an informed decision and explore all the alternatives prior to handing over your hard earned cash.


Check both imported and Australian products to get the machine ideal for you.





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Guest MundooTriker

Hello Bluey,


I have a Airborne Redback. (Listed in the Forsale Section).


Passenger / Pilot weight upto approx 160 kg is fine, but start getting up to 170kg it struggles.


If you want to actually get anywhere of significance, make sure you have time on your side, and avoid turbulence.


It is great for circuits, and a quick spin early morning, late afternoon.


As far as a very reliable, cost effective safe method of getting in the air it is an excellent choice. I purchased mine at 30 hours and found it was great for building my confidence. It also gave me time to confirm to myself that I was dedicated to flying. (Because if it is a fad, it will be VERY expensive, sky's the limit).


I have been able to take quite a number of passengers, some regularly, most hinting/begging to get back on the bottom of my "fly with me" list.


If the speed factor is ignored I think it is a great flying machine.


I think you should finish your training first. The advice from this webite re: the Redback is all very true. It is a great machine for limited purposes, but I suspect in a few years you will want to upgrade. You will however be sure when the time that you want to fly a trike and started out with a relatively smaller financial outlay. I think from my research you would certainly lose a lot less per flying hour from a Redback.


The major hassle is trying to sell it when you really want to upgrade.





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The Wizard wing is a superb training wing. It doesn't bite a student if they are ham-fisted, and when they aquire skill it will reward them with some marvellously precise manoeuvring in smooth air. It will also make you work very hard to land it well under tricky conditions, and you need to be able to land well under tricky conditions when you fly trikes, irrespective of what wing you fly.


I suggest finish your training on whatever you are flying, then get some time with an instructor on the Wizard and see what it can do. Trikes are not for hard-core cross-country work, they are a short-range recreational machine for sightseeing and genrally getting airborne for little capital outlay and low operating costs. The debate between Streak, Cruze and Wizard wings is a bit academic. If you really want to do 80 knots for hours on end then buy something other than a trike.


Whatever you buy, if you buy second-hand make sure it is airworthy. Second-hand aircraft are like second-hand cars. There are bargains and there are lemons and you need someone who knows what they are looking at to assist you make your decision. Seatbelts are rated for ten years only, then they are junked. The Airborne Edge-X model needs a new mast every 500 hours - mandatory replacement according to the factory. A trike wing over ten years old or with more than 1000 hours on it is also worn out. Older Edge wings are now failing the Bettsometer fabric-test - new wing required as Wingtech won't make skins for old technology wings, and rightly so too.


Buyer beware...but there are genuine bargains out there, provided you know what you are looking for and are prepared to be patient and not rush out and buy the first trike you see.


As for engines, the Rotax 503 is possibly the most reliable, bomb-proof and economical engine ever to come out of the factory. However, load it up with a lot of weight and it too will display an appetite for fuel that is eye-watering! I have seen 22L per hour on a 503 with two people and extra fuel in panniers. If you are going to carry pax or additional weight in the form of camping gear or fuel in drums in panniers, the 582 is a better option.


The 912-engined trikes are a different dimension in triking - and cost.



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My view


Training on a wizard is something that was done years ago. There is no excuse for it now.


To describe a streak as a a Ferrari is plain and simple BS. If your instructor wants to limit you to learning in a wizard, go and get a real one, or, ask your instructor to be brutally honest as to your ability to ever be sent solo! To my thinking, an instructor that would send you solo in a wizard but has grave misgivings about doing the same in a streak (or equiv double surface wing) is probably not being honest with you or himself. If its his belief that a streak is beyond you then consider taking up basket weaving.


Given that the streak and the wizard both stall at the same speed I'm yet to see a compelling reason for most flyers, other than cost (and hanglider towing, which takes advantage of the lighter handling at slower speeds) to choose a wizzie over the more capable wing.


P.S "ham fisted", in the context of unskilled? in the same sentence as "hard to land under tricky conditions" does anyone else see the conflict?





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Any instructor worthy of the term will train you on whatever wing you have - if you already own your own trike. I have trained students on Streaks from their first flight, on Edge Executive wings, on the Pegasus Quantum wing and on the Wizard in all its incarnations. They did their first solo without any problems at all, and the issue was never in any doubt. All became competent pilots on whatever wing they ended up buying, even though most (but not all) did their initial training on the Wizard.


Training a student on the Wizard wing implies nothing about the student's capabilities. Students are sent solo when they are ready and have fulfilled all the pre-requisites for first solo flight, irrespective of the wing they trained on or the organisation (HGFA or RA-Aus) under which they were trained.


Now, in those cases where the student doesn't own his own machine, it is my preference to start them on the Wizard because it's very pleasant handling characteristics will give them the fundamentals and build their confidence from an early stage - a most necessary aspect of learning to fly.


Should they acquire their own machine during their training, then I have no problem converting them to a faster wing (if that is what they bought) on the simple premise that a student will feel more comfortable flying their own machine. After all, that is what they will fly for their solo flying until they sell it and move on to another trike, so why not use it for their training? There is no reason at all not to do so.


I don't consider the Streak any more, or less, difficult to fly than the Wizard, or the Quantum, or the Edge Executive wing, if it comes to that. They are all good. The basics don't change; all that really changes are the control forces (especially in roll) and the fuel-burn per hour. Nor do I consider the Streak - in any form - to be a particularly fast wing. The British-made Quick is the fastest trike wing I know of but if you have to go that fast then I really think you would be better served by a different aircraft in the first place. (BTW I would not advise the Quick for ab initio training - and Pegasus-Mainair would probably agree with me. How fast do you really need to go on a trike anyway?)


The fact the Wizard has been in continuous production for the best part of a decade now is an indication how well-regarded it is by the trike community in general, not that it is outdated and anachronistic in any way. Many of the Mark 1 Wizards are now reaching 1000 hours and being retired due to age and accumulated flying-hours rather than failing the Bettsometer test. The same can't be said of the earlier Edge Executive wings, most of which are now failing the test with well below 1000 hours on them. Sneering at the Wizard because it is old and slow is doing the wing a great dis-service and shows little appreciation of the great contribution it has made to further the cause of trikes in Australia (and elsewhere) during that time. It continues to do so.


Whatever wing and base you buy, provided you have been properly trained and undertake any conversion training your instructor feels may be appropriate, you will be able to handle it competently and safely, which is what really matters.


Buy whatever base and wing suits your pocket and ambitions - but learn to fly it well and get as much out of your training as you can because that is the foundation upon which you will build the rest of your time flying.



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My issues with learning in a wizzard is that for a lesson to be of value (ie furthers the education process) the weather conditions need to be right.


The range of acceptable weather conditions for a wizzard vs a double surface wing is such that it may take 2-3 times as long in elapsed time just waiting to find the right weather to train in, for a wizzard wing. It almost certainly (at least in SA) means no flying in the warmer months after midday for trainees (or between say 10am and 6pm 2be more accurate). If you were, the lesson becomes more of a show ride than an educational experience.


Now Im not saying that experienced wizzard owners cant cope with turbulance, they clearly can, and some may even enjoy it.


Thats a fact and once trainees become aware of it I cant see why most, if anyone, would choose the much more restrictive wing.


I understand your comment "Training a student on the Wizard wing implies nothing about the student's capabilities." and from a legal perspective fully agree, that is, if you trained in a wizzard, the moment your cut free from the instructore legally you can go and fly a double surface wing... In reality I wouldnt recomend anyone doing that, sort of like learning to drive an automatic and the subsequent restrictions on manuals. The same is true of the reverse, but I think there is less chance of any issues when a low hrs pilot whose trained on a double surface wing was to fly a wizzard than the reverse scenario. (Note I said less chance, not No chance, and in any event either change without conversion training is risky)


Now. like I said before thats my personal view and Im not an instructor so your words probably should carry more weight to those that read these comments than mine do.


Personally if you train people on both then they get the best of both worlds. If you restrict them to wizzards then you limit their view of the triking world to the few hrs in a day that you can comfortably/effectively train in. If instruction for you is a secondary source of income then the ability to wait for the right weather probably isnt an issue. If its your only source of income waiting = no income and = no progress for the student.


"Sneering at the Wizard because it is old and slow is doing the wing a great dis-service and shows little appreciation of the great contribution it has made to further the cause of trikes in Australia (and elsewhere) during that time. It continues to do so." The wizzard was an important evolutionary step and as there were so many of them sold as you say they will continue to have an impact. All that said, and put aside, given the choice of buying a modern single or modern double surface wing where the cost premium for the double on a modern package is probably less than 10% of the total trike and wing cost, what do you suggest to your students to buy now? If you suggest a wizzard, and that recommendation is made for other than cost reasons, what are those reasons?





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I would suggest to any student - or qualified trike pilot - they should buy the combination of base and wing they can afford to purchase, operate and maintain, based on their realistic evaluation of how many hours they are likely to fly per year and what sort of flying they wish to do.


I would endeavour to ascertain these basics before recommending any wing and base, and I would point out the advantages and disadvantages of each combination. I would also strongly advise the prospective purchaser to consider carefully the "cycle of ownership", because the very act of purchasing anything automatically also brings the problem of what to do with it when it is no longer suitable or needed.


Once I had a better idea of the pilot's expectations and his approximate budget, and having considered his level of experience and currency, only then would I venture to suggest one particular wing may suit him better than another. However, I would also make him aware he is perfectly at liberty to buy whichever wing he feels will reward him most in his flying, and if it was a wing on which he had little or no experience then I would earnestly suggest some dual conversion training before he attempted to fly it solo. This applies equally to someone who trained on a "fast" wing who then buys a "slow" wing and vice versa. A significant part of an instructor's job is to produce competent, safe and confident pilots who will go on to be good ambassadors for our sport and it is therefore my pleasure to invest my time in doing so.


All other things being equal, I would point out that the future of trikes in the long-term lies in the four-stroke engined models (with wing options as available from the manufacturers), and that the additional cost premium is well-recompensed by the reduced maintenance, lower fuel-burn and superior performance of such machines compared to their 2-stroke kin. However, I would fully understand a first-time buyer being on a necessarily limited budget and would give them the best and most impartial advice I could.


I would also brief them on what to look for in second-hand machines that might reveal a hard and stressful life and hope this would at least forewarn them against a machine which might be mis-represented, whether by intent or ignorance.


So, the decision very much depends on each individual's budget, experience and expectation. My task would be to mentor the student to see him safely through any conversion training required and able to fly his chosen wing safely and competently.



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I think the discussion is starting to get a bit beyond the question.


I also think that by now we're all starting to wonder what Giorgio's feelings are on the matter and what type of flying Giorgio has in mind.


Giorgio ???



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At this stage a wizard wing is what I'm thinking about probably out of caution. Who knows how I'll feel in 6 months time? Either way, I'm limited to under 30K for a first up purchase. So that means either a new Red back or well kept used machine. Another question: How does the 503 handle two people on board. Say 160kg total weight?Regards: Giorgio.

A 503 under a wizzie will cope with 2 up providing your GP would describe neither of you as having a BMI above the normal range (ie not overweight or obese)


A 503 under a streak (where its a streak 1 and can use the rear most hangpoint hole) will cope one up and will have a trim cruise around 45-48kts


A 582 under a wizzie or a streak is fine 2 up, except when a streak is hung on the most forward hangpoint hole (streak 1) and is two up. It'll fly, but you'll be working the engine hard and fuel consumption will show that.


Its all irrelevant with the 912, except to say that with a wizzie, and one up the 912 is never going to work in what rotax would describe as the expected loading range, it'll barely be called on to ever work hard at all.


If, as you say, you need to work with a budget of $30k or less then I'd suggest that for now an XT model is out of the question. However a good 582 based machine with a double surface wing will give change out of $30k, in fact careful buying should see a price around the $20-25k price.


This style of machine will be similar in handling characteristics to what your training in now. If you havent flown under a wizzard wing yet, please dont buy one until you have, and make sure its in other than perfect weather conditions, because perfect is the exception not the rule.


Rotax says that a 582 has a useful life of 400hrs before requiring a rebuild (which includes a crank replacement, and I think pistons as well?? anyone??) The cost of that rebuild is, in my experience, around the 80-90% of the cost of a new engine if your paying a professional to do the work.


Im guessing that the curent cost will be around the $5k mark. Twas $4.3k in 2005 for me. Knowing that, you'll understand how many years of useful flying a 2nd hand machine can provide before you need to spend big on the motor. Again from my personal experience a zero timed motor (One that has had the full overhaul done) and which may have say 450hrs on the Aircraft hobbs may be a better buy than one with 300hrs, but only if the full documentation and professional invoicing is available to prove that a full overhaul occured on that serial number motor. Some will argue that the motor benefit may be offset by the wing life, however a wing, in theory should last 2 or more overhauls. In otherwords, unless the A/C has flow lots of hours the next major chunk of change, accidents excepted will be the motor overhaul.


582's are available in 2 styles grey and blue heads and with oil injection or premix. There has been and will always continue to be great debate around premix vs oil injection... My experience and belief is that you definately should try for a blue head with oil injection, others will say that the simplicity of premix is superior to oil injection, for me Id be worried that through a series of screwups I ended up with raw fuel instead of premix in the tank.... I believe my ability to screw up is a greater risk than the oil injection screw up that is much spoken of, but rarely, if at all, with any supporting incidences identified.


Dieselton, I love a good argument... perhaps youve noticed....Nothing personal, and if I had to fly under a wizzie it'd only take microseconds to accept, if the choice was there for a streak or some other double surface it'd take nanoseconds to choose that over the wizzie. If sneer was read into my post then the intent was missunderstood, in the same way that I would never choose a model T ford over a modern car for day to day travel. A wizzy and the model T were fine for their time (IMHO) With the advent of the cruze wing, perhaps we'll see the wizzard dropped from the line up shortly, or, as you suggest, budgetry constraint may mean that it'll be there for some time yet.


Sorry if I come across too strong... I'll blame that on genetics, its an easier point to blame and requires no "action plan " to fix . I'll try and tone it down.





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Thanks for all the advice so far


Hi guys;


Great advice from all of you. It's clear that many of you have been doing this for some time and so have formed many strong opinions which is great. What I have learnt so far is that the wizard wing is not really liked too much by the more experienced pilots. Probably due to its slowness and poorer handling in turbulent air. Just wondering how much harder is the thing to land in thermals?


At the moment I am favouring the wizard because of my lack of experience and the fact that my budget is somewhat limited to under 25K. I would be looking at a new or near new machine because I don't want the hassles of dealing with major engine work not long after getting my own trike.


The kind of flying I am likely to do for the next 3 or 4 years at least is probably going to be limited to flying up and down the coast and a little inland. Due to having a young family I can't see myself going too far as I would not fly anywhere that I could not confortably get back home from the same day. I assume that with a trike, that means staying within about 100km of my launching strip if this is with a wizard winged craft. If anyone has done this sort of flying in a wizard, I would very much like to hear about your experiences.


Now, my training will be on an xt912 with a streak 3 wing (a lovely machine that I aspire to one day own). So I will not get any experience with a wizard. Given that I am due to start training on Friday weather permitting, my thoughts on what type of aircraft to but may change with some real hands on experience with a faster wing. But for the moment, the slower wing may well fit my requirements just as well as a faster wing.


Please keep up the excellent posts, I'm really enjoying reading them all.


Regards and blue skies to all.





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Interesting discussion chaps !


IMO the differences between most wings are relatively trivial from the point of view of flying them safely(certainly compared to the differences between 3 axis types). I've flown around 20 different types of wing and I think most reasonably competent pilots would be able to swap types pretty easily. That was certainly my experience when I let most of the trikers at YCAB have a go after I first got my XT.


Getting the best out of a wing certainly takes more time and there are a few wings which might be exceptions to the assertion above. Eg Hornet (at least dual because the trike is side by side) and the Quik. Some overseas schools do train on the QUik but the GT450 seems to be preferred now presumably due to the better speed range.


The Wizard wing is great from a teaching point of view because its easy to demonstrate all the principles and effects. TBH I would fly a Wizard in pretty much any conditions I could legally fly the XT (POH states max mind of 20 kts). The Wizard may be more affected by turbulance but the lighter loading makes it less physical to handle it. But I agree that its probably easier for somebody trained on a fast wing to adapt to a slow wing than vice versa.


Anyhow - Back to your questions Giorgio !


We have a range of different trikes / wings at YCAB including a couple of Wizards who do regularly accompany us on the sort of flights you describe (2 to 3 hours). They take off first, the fast trikes pass them in the air but they are usually overhead by the time we have landed so it works out well. They have done a couple of weekend trips of >120 nm with us also but I should point out that one of them has eventually upgraded to a Streak wing and the other is considering buying a Drifter.


As Andy observed, your budget should get you a decent Streak 582 - there are a lot for sale at the moment and the price seems to be dropping a little. So my advice would be to enjoy your training and worry about getting a plane in due course.







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  • 4 weeks later...

hi giorgio,i started learning in a xt912 ,and just bought a edge x582 with wizard wing,i have flown a few hours in my own now and are not far off solo,the 582 is great but the biggest thing i had to consider was weight,being 6ft tall and 94 kgs i have to ensure that with a passenger it has the power to get off the ground easily,some thing the 503 may struggle a little with 2 heavy people on board ,good luck in your search....campslive



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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest rodneyh

Hi Giorgio, I have done all of my flying in a Wizard 3 and love it! It comes down to what you want to do with the aircraft. I think you will have just as big a smile on your face flying a Wizard as you would in a Streak (and a few spare $$$ in your pocket).


I currently have a low houred Outback with all the extras that I am thinking about changing over. Happy to have a chat 0438 365056.


Cheers Rod



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