(Another) Photo Dossier – Some GA Oldies Spotted At Lučko

By Boran Pivčić
All photos author

Going through my photo database – a Herculean task I must say – I’ve noticed that there are quite a few old model Cessnas and Pipers in Croatia, pre-1970s vintage. Though somewhere else they might be considered normal and ordinary – Australia and New Zealand spring to mind – here they’re a bit of a rarity. So, in a an obvious lack of inspiration to write anything else, here’s a short run through a couple of these odd-balls :).

(unfortunately, I’ve not been able to find out the manufacture year for most of these aircraft. Their data plaques were most uninformative, while serial number searches on the net turned up little useful info. This list is then primarily based on their version letters)

1. 9A-DAH, Reims (Cessna) F150K

Serial No.: F150-0631
Operated by: Aeroklub Krila Kvarnera

Based at Grobnik airfield (LDRG) just outside of Rijeka on the coast, this early model 150 – French-built no less – is the oldest 150 model I’ve seen in Croatia. Most others are either L or M versions (both Wichita- and Reims-built) so catching this one on a surprise visit was of relatively high priority :).

Preparing to fire up for an afternoon departure back to Grobnik. The plane had seen better days, but I was told - through feedback from a different photo on Airliners.net - that it got a new coat of paint not soon after this was taken

Preparing to fire up for an afternoon departure back to Grobnik. The plane had seen better days, but I was told - through feedback from a different photo on Airliners.net - that it got a new coat of paint not soon after this was taken

Rear quarterview. From this angle, the K version can be distinguished from the much more numerous L and M models by the short dorsal fin connecting the vertical stab with the fuselage

Rear quarterview. From this angle, the K version can be distinguished from the much more numerous L and M models by the short dorsal fin connecting the vertical stab with the fuselage

From the front, recognition is even easier. The K model was the last to have the relatively flat nose and assymetrical cooling ducts (don't even know how to call those in English...)

From the front, recognition is even easier. The K model was the last to have the relatively flat nose and assymetrical cooling ducts (don't even know how to call those in English...)

2. 9A-DNG, Reims (Cessna) F172F Skyhawk

Serial No.: 0111
Operated by: Air Mravinac

Our second oldie is what I believe to be the oldest Skyhawk in Croatia. Based at Čepin airfield (LDOC) near Osijek in eastern Croatia, this gem still has the early – and nowadays very rare – 6 cylinder O-300 engine of 145 HP (with a fixed pitch prop), in more modern Skyhawks replaced by the 160 HP 4 cyl O-320 or 180 HP IO-360.  Was very excited to catch this one, didn’t know we even had one on the register…

Finally a real oldie :). The longish nose gives away the 6 cyl O-300 underneath. To my additional good fortune, it's not the stock Lycoming or Continental, but a Rolls-Royce licence built model. Despite the engines being identical, having the R-R on the engine is a thing of prestige :)

Finally a real oldie :). The longish nose gives away the 6 cyl O-300 underneath. To my additional good fortune, it's not the stock Lycoming or Continental, but a Rolls-Royce licence built model. Despite the engines being identical, having the R-R on the engine is a thing of prestige 🙂

She's in pretty good shape for her age :). In town for some light servicing. Note also the different nose profile, common on early model Skyhawks

She's in pretty good shape for her age :). In town for some light servicing. Note also the different nose profile, common on early model Skyhawks

And a very nice cockpit to round it up. The "place 'em where you can" instrument layout is also typical of early Cessna singles in general. An interesting addition is the German WW2-style manifold pressure gauge to the right of the tachometer. Like its counterparts on Messerschmitts and Focke-Wulfs of old - from whom it may even come - the gauge measures in atmospheres, rather than inches of mercury. Takes some getting used to, but it's very simple: 29.92 inHg = 1013.25 hPa = 1 atmosphere

And a very nice cockpit to round it up. The "place 'em where you can" instrument layout is also typical of early Cessna singles in general. An interesting addition is the German WW2-style manifold pressure gauge to the right of the tachometer. Like its counterparts on Messerschmitts and Focke-Wulfs of old - from whom it may even come - the gauge measures in atmospheres, rather than inches of mercury. Takes some getting used to, but it's very simple: 29.92 inHg = 1013.25 hPa = 1 atmosphere

3. 9A-DJZ, Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee Cruiser

Serial No.: 28-7425212
Operated by: private

Third on the list is the precursor to the very popular Piper Warrior – the small and simple Cherokee. Sharing the same family tree, the Cherokee was the smallest of the PA-28 line, powered by a 140 HP engine (in contrast to the 160 HP on later Cherokee models and the 180 HP on the Warrior). Based at Dubrovnik in the extreme south of the country, DJZ rarely ventures here to the north – who would with 140 HP and 3+ hours of flight time – so the only photos I have of it were taken back in 2005 with my old Fuji S5000 camera.

Though small and relatively underpowered, the early Cherokees are classics today. This is the only one in Croatia as far as I'm informed

Though small and relatively underpowered, the early Cherokees are classics today. This is the only one in Croatia as far as I'm informed

From any angle, the Cherokee Cruiser is a diminutive aircraft. At my height, I wonder how would I fit in it :)

From any angle, the Cherokee Cruiser is a diminutive aircraft. At my height, I wonder how would I fit in it 🙂

The typical Piper cockpit. Though not much of a looker from the outside, in here DJZ was equipped rather nicely. You had a transponder, VOR and ADF, pretty much everything you needed for any form of VFR flying

The typical Piper cockpit. Though not much of a looker from the outside, in here DJZ was equipped rather nicely. You had a transponder, VOR and ADF, pretty much everything you needed for any form of VFR flying

4. 9A-DTD, Cessna 182K Skylane

Serial No.: 182-57946
Operated by: private

The last on the list for this post is a relative newcomer, first spotted by me in October 2008. A mid-model Skylane, DTD was configured in a skydive configuration with an upward opening door modification I’ve frequently seen on dedicated-but-not-built-as-such skydive aircraft (including HA-SVH, the Cessna 185 featured a couple of posts back).  Bought for that purpose, DTD is one of the few Skylanes of any model in the country.

Parked away from the main apron on a beautiful autumn afternoon. Easily recognisable as an mid model by the oldie cowl, from the firewall back it generally looks like any other Skylane

Parked away from the main apron on a beautiful autumn afternoon. Easily recognisable as an mid model by the oldie cowl, from the firewall back it generally looks like any other Skylane

Showing off its right hand door mod. Like most Skylanes, DTD has a presence when viewed from the front, the large three-blade prop certainly helping matters. The aperture you see in the right cooling duct is the oil cooler

Showing off its right hand door mod. Like most Skylanes, DTD has a presence when viewed from the front, the large three-blade prop certainly helping matters. The aperture you see in the right cooling duct is the oil cooler

An artsy perspective of the panel. Though a bit vintage, it has everything you need - and skydive ops are hardly avionics-intensive :)

An artsy perspective of the panel. Though a bit vintage, it has everything you need - and skydive ops are hardly avionics-intensive 🙂

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