Although a simple aircraft, pulleys, cables and bellcranks need to be lubricated, the airframe itself needs to be periodically inspected, especially if one is performing aerobatics. Read about the maintenance of fabric aircraft and what goes into them, lastly we have some wood in the structure, very labor intensive depending on the environment where the aircraft is being operated. Are you getting the picture? I haven't even gotten into the engine! Engine oil - 25 to 50 hour changes. Inspections - 50 to 100 hour. I believe a few of our members have actually turned wrenches on the Moth so I know they'll chime in.
No - even the simplest of aircraft cannot go for "hundreds of hours" without some kind of maintenance!
Agree about your cost message.For fighters in the field give me a FW190 all day long. Cost 1/3 of a P-47 Thunderbolt and could quickly be modified to pure fighter, fighter bomber and long range fighter bomber.
Built for quick maintenance in primitive, rough field conditions and power eggs were basically plug and play - as were weapon systems with quick change wiring harnesses.
I sometimes wondered about maintenence on the British radials that had the exhaust collector as part of the cowling. Did it get in the way of maintenence or spark plug changing?