Skylane search success


Our 1974 Cessna 182P. What was once Tom Wortley’s is now the Crossover Classic.


Get a load of that nose bowl! The years have taken their toll on the 182’s lacquer-based paint job.

At last, we’ve found our Crossover Classic Skylane! It took a while, but after a two-month-long search we found our Cessna 182 at the Middletown, Ohio, airport. It’s a 1974 Cessna 182P, and it belonged to Tom Wortley—a local businessman who’s owned the airplane (N52832) since 1979. Sure, Don Sebastian, our pre-purchase inspector, found some squawks. But the main requirement—a sound airframe uncompromised by corrosion—was fulfilled. There was some light surface corrosion, but nothing that can’t be treated to restore the airframe to like-new condition.

You can read more about our prebuy, purchase, and first flights in the airplane in the November issue of AOPA Pilot.

And by the way, don’t feel too sorry for Wortley’s parting with his beloved Skylane. Together with a partner, he has fully restored a Piper J-3 Cub. This will be Wortley’s new ride, and it’s perfect for the purely recreational flying that he now pursues. The Cub’s data plate proclaims its date of manufacture as September 1946—a landmark birthday in the history of general aviation, in this project manager’s opinion.

In the October issue of AOPA Pilot, I wrote about our sometimes tedious search for the right Cessna 182. The reader response was nothing short of tremendous. It seemed as though everyone wanted to help us find a suitable 182. At last count, I received 132 e-mails, each one offering up a Skylane for consideration. A few members even phoned in with their recommendations. So, dear readers and potential 2011 sweepstakes winners, you can rest easy now that the die has been cast, and give your keyboards a well-earned break.

All this feedback is worth a comment or two. On the positive side, I think it proves that members are fully engaged in the Crossover Classic concept, and feel involved in the choice of airplane and its restoration process. On the other hand, the e-mails also prove that there are a LOT of older Skylanes out there. Based on the mail, many of them are sitting idle—and have been for months and months. What does this say about our used-airplane market? Knowing that the average age of a GA airplane is somewhere around 30 years old, this may mean that hundreds of owner-pilots have given up flying and now feel they must (reluctantly) shed their airplanes. Moreover, as I warn in the upcoming AOPA Pilot article, many of those older airplanes have serious defects that render them unairworthy. So, buyer beware! We certainly were spring-loaded in our search; that’s why we hired pre-purchase guru Don Sebastian ( to ferret out the squawks.


In many parts of the airplane, the lacquer finish has cracked to point of flaking off.


This is what happens when you lubricate elevator hinges with WD-40.


No, not rich Corinthian leather, but it will soon be replaced at Air Mod.


Advantage Avionics has the task of yanking out this vintage 1970’s, pre-GPS panel.

At this moment, the Crossover Classic is at the Wellington, Kansas, airport, where Air Plains Services will install a 300-horsepower factory remanufactured Teledyne Continental IO-550 engine. A new three-blade Hartzell propeller will also be installed, as well as Flint Aero’s 12-gallon tip tanks and JP Instruments’ EDM-930 engine monitoring gauge cluster. While Air Plains has its work cut out, it’s what the company regularly performs. Its engine-upgrade conversions are extremely popular, with more than 2,000 such jobs performed in its 33-year history. If you want a power boost for your Cessna 172, 180, or 182, check out Air Plains. They also offer gross-weight-increase and propeller STCs.

When I was last at Air Plains, the original engine had been removed and the new IO-550 was being readied for installation. The IO-550 is proving very popular as a retrofit for Bonanzas, Barons, and other airplanes, and it’s easy to see why. More power, fuel injection, and the ability to take advantage of GAMIjector fuel injection nozzles for lean-of-peak cruise operations are all big draws.

Other components that have arrived at Air Plains include an exhaust system from RAM Aircraft of Waco, Texas; new baffling from Airforms Inc. of Big Lake, Alaska; a lightweight alternator from Plane Power Ltd.; and tires from Goodyear Aviation.

As always, stay tuned for more developments!

  • Mike L Moline

    Well it looks like it needs alot of attention

    • thorne


  • Gerald R J Heuer

    Like what I read. Am looking forward to following its upgrade.

    A student pilot who is drooling.

    • thorne

      Just don’t drool on the avionics!


  • Beau Chapman

    You mentioned that the 1977 Cessna was nose heavy as originally built. Will the 300-horsepower Continental engine
    weight add to that issue?

    Will anything be done to diminish cabin noise, such as a thicker windshield and soundproofing cabin area?

    New headsets?

    I have read in past AOPA articles that the learning curve for the Garmin instruments…especially if changes must be made fast in traffic around larger airports…is challenging. Is that true? Secondly, does Garmin have competitive glass instruements that are easier to learn and use…especially for a pilot that does not have that much air time…or flies infrequently?


    • thorne

      Beau, it is nose-heavy. We’ll be installing soundproofing too. And a thicker windshield. Lightspeed headsets will come with the plane, and Garmin avionics are easy to use, like most others—just takes some practice!

  • Mike Walsh

    Do whatever it takes for me to win this one! I’ve given up looking after 5 months – I appreciate all the effort you are putting into my new ride!!!