Are there any STOL planes that are cargo carrying bush planes? (or can be modified to be bush planes for carrying cargo out of remote areas?).

I have clarified my question, based on feedback from the community, and am now no longer considering homebuilt aircraft, since they cannot be licensed to carry cargo (for now, I'm only interested in non-human cargo).

Needless to say, because of my budget, I suspect that I'm looking at previously-owned (i.e. secondhand) aircraft.

Criteria being:

  • manufacturer still in business, long track record of safety
  • relative inexpensive to buy (roughly around $100k or less if possible)
  • Easy to fly and maintain
  • Relatively low fuel consumption
  • STOL
  • Easily available, inexpensive parts (does NOT rely on unique, custom hard to find parts)

Performance requirements are:

  1. max payload: 500 Kg
  2. acceptable min, max range: 250 Km, 500 km
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Your question is too broad – you need to specify what kind of performance (e.g. payload, range, amongst other things) you want. Remember also that most countries ban any commercial operation with aircraft from the experimental category. $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    Commented Nov 16, 2022 at 19:42
  • $\begingroup$ @Chris Thanks for your input. I have narrowed the scope as you suggested and also removed the requirement that it be homebuilt, as those can't be used for transporting cargo. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 16, 2022 at 21:38

2 Answers 2


The obvious choice is an older Cessna 185 with a STOL conversion kit that includes vortex generators, although a decent Skywagon is going to cost a lot more than 100k (200-300k). If you want to haul 1200lbs with full fuel, or close to full fuel, an older 185 is about as cheap as you're going to find that meets your requirements. Plus the manufacturer is still in business and there is a huge salvage parts market. It's a no brainer.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks this is what I needed. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 17, 2022 at 14:35
  • $\begingroup$ If you want to go a next step up to a ton+ of payload, the DeHavilland Canada Beaver is the go-to machine. A 75 year old design that is still the preferred machine for a lot of bush operators, and great STOL performance. 2/3rds of Beaver production was for the US Army, starting a long relationship. $\endgroup$
    – John K
    Commented Nov 18, 2022 at 3:19

Not in the United States, by regulation experimental aircraft may not be used to carry passengers or property for hire.

14 CFR 91.319

If by cargo you just mean personal belongings, then many high wing aircraft can be modified to carry cargo up to the MTOW and CG limits of the aircraft.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks Ron, your answer made me realise that homebuilt aircraft do not fit the bill. I have therefore, modified my question in light of this information, as well as the comment made by @Chris. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 16, 2022 at 20:46

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