What would I Buy….Globe Swift

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Globe Swift

What would I buy….Globe Swift
This is the third installment in a series of articles based on a hypothetical set of airplane ownership criteria. Note: This information is strictly the opinion of the author. Your mileage may vary. Our previous installments where on LSA category aircraft: #1 here and #2 here for $10,000 and $20,000 respectively.

The goal this time will be to spend $30,000 for a nice certified aircraft (not LSA).

So if I was limited to the criteria above what would I buy?



Like the Kolb I mentioned in the first installment, this again is not an airplane I have ever flown – although I would love to some day! Maybe that is why I chose it?

The Globe Swift oozes cool! It looks like a mini-fighter setting on the ramp, although it’s performance doesn’t exactly match its good looks.

I will warn you right off the bat – this isn’t the most practical airplane you can buy with $30,000.00 especially if you are low time. But remember, this article is intended to showcase what I would buy, so you’ll have to humor me.

I image the insurance companies would have a field day underwriting a retractable gear taildragger for someone without some pretty good flight time under their belt. Also, it has a little bit of a reputation as a pilot-eater if not flown properly. Is that not true of any airplane? Besides I love a challenge!  See 1969 article by respected author Budd Davisson on the Swift.


The Globe Swift was designed in 1940 and manufactured from 1946 to 1951 and 1521 units were produced.

They are all metal and most of them have been modified over years. Some of the mods are pretty simple; different seats, instrument panel changes, etc. Other modifications are much more extensive; different powerplants, going from control wheels to a sticks and different cowlings, canopies and fairings.


Based on that, if you endeavor to be unique, you’ll want to do your homework. The good news is there is a lot of support out there among the cult-like followers of the Swift.  The other good news is the price. The Swift is pretty cheap. Most examples can be had for around $30,000.00 – see example below that was on Barnstormers.com near the time of this article. All the photos in this article are from that ad!

Stock Specifications (GC-1B)

General characteristics

  • Crew: one
  • Capacity: one passenger
  • Length: 20 ft 10 in
  • Wingspan: 29 ft 4 in
  • Height: 6 ft 2 in
  • Wing area: 132 sq ft
  • Airfoil: Root NACA 23015, Tip NACA 23009
  • Empty weight: 1,370 lb
  • Gross weight: 1,710 lb
  • Powerplant: 1 × Continental C-125 six cylinder, four-stroke aircraft engine, 125 hp


  • Cruise speed: 122 kts (140 mph)
  • Never exceed speed: 161 kts (185 mph)
  • Range: 1,000 nm
  • Service ceiling: 18,000 ft
  • Rate of climb: 700 ft/min

Example of a used Swift
Admitted its high time on the engine, but those motors will often go past TBO and most everyone does overhauls on-condition based on our modern inspection techniques (boroscope, oil analysis, compression check, & oil consumption rates).

Screen shot 2013-01-04 at 8.15.05 PM

SInce this airplane isn’t for everyone so I offer some good airplanes in this price range for the less daring among us. These are all good birds, that I would be proud to own. Plus all of the airplanes below you get 2 more seats – not that you can use them all the time.

In order of “my” preference, your missions and desires may vary:

  • Bonanza 35 series (this was my very close 2nd choice and will probably show up next month in the $40K category) – some of these are insanely cheap, but you have to watch maintenance costs closely. You can be buying a serious money-pit. They are all nice fliers though.
  • Mooney M20 – older models can sometime be had for around $30K (avoid the wood wing 1960 and earlier models)
  • Stinson 108 – I was surprised to see examples in the low $20s. I like these airplanes. Would be another strong contender for my money, depending on the mission.
  • Cessna 170 – sturdy old taildragger predecessor of the good old C-172 (sort of).
  • Piper Cherokee 140 or 160 – can’t beat these for a great recreational flying machine.
  • 1956-1968 Cessna 172 – tried and true. Can’t go wrong here either.

Experimentals, if you are so inclined:

  • Sonex
  • Thorp T-18
  • Wittman Tailwind
  • Long-eze
  • Pitts S-1 models
  • Pulsar
  • Mustang II


by Brent

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