The Husky is still very much a handcrafted airplane. Chromoly steel tubing is assembled using tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding — a process that helps produce a strong, light fuselage framework. The unique and proprietary application of DuPont Ceconite fabric and strength-enhancing cotton strips is meticulous, and the finishing process, which includes paint mixed on location, produces a covering that Horn claims will last as long as 50 years in a hangar and 40 years if the airplane is exposed to the elements. Fabric covers the wings, empennage and aft portion of the fuselage, but forward of the luggage compartment the sidewalls are made of aluminum.
Customers can go online to create their own virtual Husky using 14 colors and 10 paint schemes. The combinations seem endless, and I couldn’t resist designing my own. I just wish I could put it in my shopping cart.
Paint schemes aside, it’s easy to see the relationship between the Piper Cub and the Husky. The tandem seating arrangement, doors, high fabric wings, conventional landing gear and the approximate location of the throttle, mixture, flaps and center stick are all common features.
But with nearly four decades of engineering development and stricter certification rules, the Husky is generally more robust compared with the Super Cubs coming out of the Piper factory decades ago. The cabin is larger and, notwithstanding several STC improvements offered in later years for the Super Cub, Christensen’s design provided a few hundred pounds of increased gross weight. Another significant improvement is the switch from heel brakes to toe brakes, which makes the Husky much easier to maneuver on the ground.
One of the biggest improvements for the Husky is that it is certified for night and IFR operations. But a dual-screen Garmin G600/GNS 430W option with a Garmin GTX 327 transponder and electronic monitoring gauges adds $82,345 to the $211,650 base price. Several other panel configurations are available for pilots looking for simple VFR flying, including a very basic, non-GPS VFR package for $11,117. The airplane I flew was equipped with a Garmin GPSMap 696 MFD, Becker comm and transponder, electric attitude indicator, PS Engineering PM1000 intercom and Electric International’s EGT/OAT/CHT gauge. While limited to VFR, this is the most popular option, for $17,284.
The Husky also provides options for multiple power plants. In addition to the 180 hp Lycoming O-360-A1P, with which two-thirds of the Huskies leave the factory, a 200 hp Lycoming provides the Husky with even greater performance. A 160 hp option is also available for the budget conscious, though Horn admits the cost savings are not significant enough to make this option popular.
Aviat offers a long list of additional options, including several propellers, tires, tailwheels and lights. You can even get an EVS-100 enhanced vision system. The most common configuration, with a three-blade MT propeller, 29-inch bush tires and a Garmin 696-equipped panel, can be yours for about $270,000.
Many modifications have been made to the Husky through the years, but probably the most significant one came in 2005 when Aviat fitted the Husky with a new high-performance wing and eliminated the aileron spades. The redesign increased the span of the semifowler flaps and decreased the span of the ailerons while increasing their chord.