The Sherpa is a relatively rare airplane and many people have not heard of it. To get an idea of the Sherpa, take a Super Cub, super size it, put a Lycoming 0-720, 400 horsepower engine in it, have seating for eight and viola, you have the Sherpa
The Sherpa has been called, almost from day one, a Super Cub on steroids and that seems more than appropriate for this aircraft. Some of these are being built with turboprop engines.
Under some conditions, this giant Super Cub can stall as slow as 38 mph and Sherpa claims a cruise speed of 170 mph. The base price for the Sherpa Kit is $622,000.00, for the turbine powered model.
When the first Sherpa prototype, 1415B, landed at the EAA Fly-In at Oshkosh, Wisconsin the reception that followed turned out to be a truly emotional experience. Dozens of aviation enthusiasts surrounded the new Sherpa the minute it pulled onto the taxiway. It was as though the aircraft became the Pied Piper as it led the followers all the way to the location where it was to be displayed. When the show was over the foot traffic from the thousands of viewers turned the original lush grassy surface to dust. The year was 1994.
The 5-place Sherpas created so much interest that the company decided to undertake the FAA Part 23 certification process. That process was later cancelled when the company decided to upgrade the model to an 8-place 450hp, turbo charged Lycoming powered version with two seats up front. In an effort to ensure the maximum Sherpa performance in a bush flying environment, Byron Root and Glen Gordon, Company principals, once again decided to upgrade the aircraft by changing the power plant to a turbine engine. The company then froze the design and began the production of twelve K-650T turbine powered Sherpas which are in production today.
Brian from the Philippines who has been a pilot for 11 years wrote in to let us know his dream plane was the Turbine Sherpa and his best bush plane was either the same or the Helio Courier.
Stoje, a 30 year bush pilot from the Former Republic of Macedonia, voted the Sherpa K-300 as his dream plane, though he claims the best bush plane is the Antonov AN-2.
On the other hand, Budd Davisson (aka "Airbum"), who has been flying for 55 years and has flown most of the planes on this site, claims his dream plane is the Bearhawk, though he casts his vote for best bush plane on the Sherpa. (Naturally, this comes with a colorful disclaimer about redheads versus brunettes that we are sworn not to tell his wife about.) Budd wrote an article about the Sherpa entitled "Big Foot Lives". Though a bit dated, its a pure joy to read. You can find it here.
Ric, a US Pilot had this to say about his dream plane, "Turbine Sherpa or Pilatus Porter PC-6 in my DREAMS, but Bearhawk or Cessna 180/185 a bit closer to reality." He thought the best bush plane was the Pilatus Porter.
Paul, also from the US, who has been flying sine he was 5 years old, says the Sherpa k650t is his dream plane.
Chris, a Canadian pilot for 44 years says the Sherpa is his dream plane but he thinks the best bush plane is the Maule.
Rick from the United States who took his last flying lesson in 1969 and now flys only remote control models wrote in to tell us he believes the Sherpa is the best bush plane and also his dream plane, along with the Super Cub.
Rick from the US who has 1100 flight hours mostly cow-trailing in the Arizona desert says that if the Sherpa didn't exist then the Pilatus PC-6 Porter would be his dream plane.
Joshua Thompson, also from the US says the Sherpa is his dream plane but the best bush plane is the Beaver.
Ola, from Norway, had this to say, "The Sherpa K650t is the bees knees."
Todd, a 38 year, US pilot, voted the Sherpa both his dream plane and the best bush plane.
Piotr, a 5 year pilot from Poland voted the Sherpa as his dream plane but commented he thought the price and fuel efficiency, or lack thereof, made the Sherpa out of his range.
We also heard from Andy, who is not a pilot but says this site has "lit that fire". He say the Sherpa is his dream plane but, "Based on worthiness, and multi-purpose roles the Super-cub; hands down."
We got a good chuckle out of Andy's description of himself and had to share it. He says, "I am a cubicle zombie. Face illuminated by my PC screen, flickering florescent bulbs taunting me, bland coffee, stale recycled air. Coming to this site has really ignited something in me. I want to throw away the suits, feed my silk ties to the shredder, and become a bush pilot. I've got to get out there, see it, feel it, live it. Great website, thanks for everything."
Thanks everyone for your input. Don't give up Piotr, someone has to win the lottery! And Andy, Andy, Andy .... Baby steps, ok?
You can vote for your favorite bush planes here. Or, if you prefer, watch this Sherpa do a short take off roll.
Here is an interesting video about the Sherpa pictured first on this page.
Do you have a great story, an opinion, a tip or a review about this plane? Share it!