Maule M-7-260C Orion

mauleThe Maule M-7-260C Orion is a product of a family business that has been building light aircraft for more than forty years. Maules are known for their ruggedness and simplicity. These traits, along with their STOL (short takeoff or landing) capability, make them a popular aircraft among bush pilots and people who want to fly into remote areas. Their roominess, power, and load-carrying ability add up to a lot of airplane at a comparatively affordable price.

The 260C is a taildragger with spring-aluminum landing gear and a wide stance, suitable for taking off from and landing on rough, unprepared surfaces. Its 260-horsepower Lycoming engine provides power to transport up to five people at a relatively fast cruise speed. Ease of handling (with the usual caveats about landing taildraggers in a crosswind) and economical operation round out this plane’s sturdy virtues. Float and ski options add to the 260C’s versatility, and its ability to land just about anywhere.


U.S. Metric
Cruise Speed 164 mph 264 km/h
Engine Lycoming IS-540-V4A5 six-cylinder liquid-cooled, 260 hp
Propeller Two-blade McCauley constant speed
Maximum Range 600 nm 1,092 km
Service Ceiling 20,000 feet 6,096 meters
Fuel Capacity 73 gallons 277 liters
Empty Weight 1,671 pounds 760 kilograms
Maximum Gross Weight 2,500 pounds 1,136 kilograms
Length 23 feet, 6 inches 7.2 meters
Wingspan 32 feet, 11 inches 10 meters
Height 6 feet, 4 inches 1.9 meters
Seating 5
Useful Load 829 pounds 377 kilograms

Flight Notes

Many factors affect flight planning and aircraft operation, including aircraft weight, weather, and runway surface. The recommended flight parameters listed below are intended to give approximations for flights at maximum takeoff or landing weight on a day with International Standard Atmosphere (ISA) conditions.

Important: These instructions are intended for use with Flight Simulator only and are no substitute for using the actual aircraft manual for real-world flight.

Note: As with all of the Flight Simulator aircraft, the V-speeds and checklists are located on the Kneeboard. To access the Kneeboard while flying, press SHIFT+F10, or on theAircraft menu, click Kneeboard.

Note: All speeds provided in the Flight Notes are indicated airspeeds. If you’re using these speeds as reference, be sure that you select Display Indicated Airspeed in theRealism Settings dialog box. Speeds listed in the specifications table are shown as true airspeeds.

By default, this aircraft has full fuel and payload. Depending on atmospheric conditions, altitude, and other factors, you will not get the same performance at gross weight that you would with a lighter load.

Required Runway Length

Takeoff: 500 feet (152 meters), flaps 24 degrees, ISA conditions
Landing: 700 feet (213 meters), approach flaps

The length required for both takeoff and landing is a result of a number of factors, such as aircraft weight, altitude, headwind, use of flaps, and ambient temperature. The figures here are conservative and assume:

Weight: 2,500 pounds (1,134 kilograms)
Altitude: Sea level
Wind: No headwind
Temperature: 15° C
Runway: Hard surface

Lower weights and temperatures will result in better performance, as will having a headwind component. Higher altitudes and temperatures will degrade performance.

Engine Startup

The engine will be running automatically when you begin a flight. If you shut the engine down, you can initiate an auto-startup sequence by pressing CTRL+E. If you want to do the startup procedures manually, use the checklist on the Kneeboard.


Because the Maule is a taildragger, you may need to raise the seat (press SHIFT+ENTER). While taxiing, the power should be set at approximately 800 to 1,000 rpm. (Mixture should be full forward.) As you move down the taxiway, use the rudder to turn the nose right and left for directional control. (Twist the joystick; use the rudder pedals; or press 0 or ENTER on the numeric keyboard to turn left or right respectively.)

If taxiing and taking off on snow, be sure to lower the skis. If taxiing and taking off on pavement or any hard surface, be sure to raise the skis (press G).


For a normal takeoff, Maule recommends 0 to 24 degrees of flaps (at the pilot’s discretion). The range of flap settings is from -7 (cruise flaps) to 48 degrees.


Run through the Before Takeoff checklist found in the Kneeboard (F10). Set flaps (press F7, or click the flaps lever) between 0 and 24 degrees, depending on the runway, temperature, and wind.

The Maule has very impressive takeoff performance. Align the aircraft with the runway centerline, and advance the throttle control to full power (use the joystick throttle, or press F4). The tail will come up at around 30 mph (26 knots). At 55 mph (48 knots), gently pull back on the controls.


Climb at approximately 80-90 mph (70-78 knots) until reaching cruising altitude. Above 3,000 feet, lean the mixture for smooth operation and for maximum rpm.


Cruise altitude would normally be determined by winds, weather, and other factors. You might want to use these factors in your flight planning if you have created weather systems along your route. Optimum altitude is the altitude that gives the best fuel economy for a given configuration and gross weight. A complete discussion about choosing altitudes is beyond the scope of this section. However, a good rule to bear in mind is that an airplane with a normally aspirated engine is most efficient between 6,000-8,000 feet. That altitude range gives the best tradeoff between available power, fuel economy, and true airspeed.

Typical cruise settings for the Maule are 22″ Hg and 2,200 RPM. At a cruise speed of 140 mph (122 knots) the Maule will burn about 14 gallons of fuel per hour. When above 3,000 feet, lean the mixture for optimum performance.

Descent and Approach

A good descent profile includes knowing where to start down from cruise altitude and planning ahead for the approach. A good rule for determining when to start your descent is the 3-to-1 rule (three miles distance per thousand feet in altitude). Take your altitude in feet, drop the last three zeros, and multiply by 3.

For example, to descend from a cruise altitude of 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) to sea level:
10,000 minus the last three zeros is 10.
10 x 3=30

This means you should begin your descent 30 nautical miles from your destination, maintaining a speed of 135 mph (103 knots; it may not indicate this high until you descend into denser air) and a descent rate of 500 feet per minute. Add two extra miles for every 10 knots of tailwind.

In the Maule, adjust power during descent to maintain 135 mph (use the joystick throttle or press F2 to decrease thrust or F3 to increase thrust). The propeller lever should remain at 2,000 rpm.

On approach, reduce power and set the airplane up for a descent rate of approximately 450 feet per minute. Plan to fly at 75-80 mph on downwind.

If landing on snow, be sure to lower the skis. If landing on pavement or any hard surface, be sure to raise the skis (press G).


On final approach, plan for a landing speed of 65 mph with full flaps. Plan to land slightly tail-low.

Upon touchdown, bring the power back to idle, gently lower the nosewheel, and lightly apply the brakes by pressing the PERIOD key.

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