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Old 11-13-2008, 12:38 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: 32459
Posts: 8,930

So, there I was, at the house, and a truck full of planes.

I grabbed a bite to eat, and found myself feeling restless. I decided to drive on over to the local field and give it a try. I was a little anxious because it is a much smaller tighter field. I figured the fact it was grass instead of smooth blacktop would help cut down the roll out on the Mustang. I get out the planes, and prep the 'stang. I fired it right up, and taxied it into position. Right away I noticed it taxied better in the grass. It still pulled left on take off, but I was ready for it. I got the wheels off the ground and pulled up. It does not have unlimited vertical, but it will climb a good ways up before you feel it getting sluggish. It felt good, still fast, but very responsive. I pulled some rolls, and an awkward loop. The Ultra Stick loves to loop, this plane makes you stay on the sticks and throttle. I brought it around for a pass, and it looked good flying by. I decided it was do or die time, and tried a few landings.

The first one was NOT a landing. I touched down within the mowed area, but I was not far out enough. I most certainly did not repeat that one greaser. I managed to bounce almost the length of the field, and powered up and made a go around. Second was better, but still too much speed, I rolled past the end of the runway, unable to get it to turn before plowing into the tall grass. This motor has plenty of power, the grass did not kill the engine. It wouldn't pull it out of the grass, but it did cut what it touched. The ground on the other hand, WILL stop the prop. I went over, picked it up, and started it up again for another try or two.

A couple more attempts and I was able to crab my way in, (which looks SOOOO cool) and grab the very end of the runway. I could then bleed off enough speed to get the tail on the ground, and taxi back up to the other end of the field. I have heard (flightjournal.com podcast, the Mustang episode) that 3 pointing it helps kill speed, and thus reduce the amount of field needed to land. I haven't done it yet, I have been happy to just land it on the wheels without ripping them off.

I was satisfied that I could land the Mustang at this field, and so I moved on to getting some time in with the Ultra Stick. I am getting braver with this one. I played with seeing how small an area I could fly it within. It got pretty small. Then I toyed with running "race" circuits. I practiced crabbing some landings, which this plane does not need. I can all but drop it on a dime and turn out of my roll out within 20 feet as it is. I have been told to put flaps on it, I think I could STOL this thing with those.

I put up the glow, and toyed around with my electrics some. I haven't given up on them. My Mini Funtana X, a plane that I have mentioned, used to scare me, is a blast to fly now. I removed the side force generators, and don't miss them a bit. This plane is nothing but fun to fly. I put the little Edge I have into the air, and had some fun with it as well.

When I decided to really call it a day, and pack it all in, a truck rolled into the parking area. A guy got out, and came over to talk. It turned out to be one of the club members, who I had met, but didn't really recall. I don't see many of this club's members flying too often, partly because of my schedule, partly when I was flying, most people thought it was too hot to be outside. Well, this guy, Bill was interested in what I was flying. I told him about my adventures in GA, and broke out the laptop. I decided I would be nice, and share with his wife as well. She remained in the truck, so I had her hold the laptop, while Bill and I watched from outside the truck. They both got a kick out of the antics the boys in GA provided. I insisted he needed to take a trip up there with me sometime, and he said he was looking for somewhere to take his 5th wheel. I know a place or two, I told him.

Well, with my planes all but packed away, I had plenty of time to watch him fly his. He had a couple he brought with him, a SuperCub, and some balsa thing. The supercub refused to get in the air. I thought it was his piloting skills, the plane was pretty beat up, and had some ugly repair scars. I tried to fly it for him, and it just didn't like being off the ground. It refused to take off, and it would constantly drop a wing in flight and drop to the earth. I lost a prop or two in the effort.

Well, then he puts that up, and pulls out the balsa thing. It was HEAVY!!! He said it was 3 pounds. It had a 650 brushed motor, and a 7 cell nicad pack. I didn't see this thing lifting off, nevermind being something worth flying. He swore that it would, that it had before, so who was I to argue?

I had given him some advice on flying (stop laughing, I know ALL the ways to crash, so who better to tell how to avoid that?), basic stuff. I felt guilty telling anyone how to do anything with flying, but he seemed appreciative.

Well, I told him, it was a heavy plane, give it plenty of runway to pick up speed. I warned him not to pick up the nose too soon, or too hard. He rolled out, and started getting light. I told him to go ahead and give it some up elevator. He gave it just a tad too much and it started to wallow. I had him point the nose back down, and he leveled out, and picked up some more speed. With this, I let him try climbing again. We got him at a safer altitude, which took some work. This is his second flight with the plane, and he's nervous about getting it "too high". I guess this is a common mistake for new people, with the false impression that the plane is safer closer to the ground. I explained why that was not true, while we worked on his turns.

Another common problem for new pilots I have found, is that they expect the plane's rudder to steer the plane level. When the plane rolls, and doesn't turn, they just keep applying rudder, and the plane, now nearly 90 degrees to the ground does turn, towards the ground. I explained before he took off, and again now, while he was flying, that once you had your plane banking, to give it up elevator. While the plane "thinks" it's going up, it's actually turning in the direction you want. And just before you complete your desired direction change, apply opposite rudder to level it back out.

Once he grasped the concept of this, he was doing great. I asked him how he felt, if the plane was more comfortable for him now than it had been. He said he felt good, and that it was hard to gauge, since he had only flown it twice before, and that was with the club instructor.

Now he continued to perform circuits. I asked him how he felt about practicing some landings. He said he had to learn them at some point, now was a good time. So, I got him to take the plane around. Getting him to put the plane far enough out for a good gentle approach was difficult. He was still uncomfortable letting the plane get "too far away" I explained he would likely lose sight of it, before it was too far for radio range (I did consider his sight might be the problem, but he wasn't wearing glasses, and didn't mention any vision problems.) and that he could go ahead and take it out by the dead tree well beyond the end of the runway. A couple circuits later he was putting the plane about where it needed to be. We practiced playing with throttle. Where to place the nose of the plane on approach. Where he should put the plane on the ground, for it to end up closer to where he was standing, when it expended it's forward motion.

He did awesome. Initial hesitations aside, he was doing excellent. We had a couple landings where the plane rolled well past us, but he soon got over the need to try making it land just in front of him. I asked him if he wanted to go up and work on some other drills, he again was game, so up we went. This time I decided to work on his fear of heights. I got him to take the plane up, working on throttle management, and angle of attack. The motor had plenty of power, and decent speed, but it was never going to hover. I got him high enough, and I had him stall the plane. I then showed him how to fly the plane without power. Showing him to not try to keep the nose up, that just the opposite was needed. I went on to explain about the need for air movement over the control surfaces, in order for them to have any effect, and that the slower he went, the less control he would have.

We then worked on low power landings. We didn't quite get to dead stick landings, but I am confident he could handle them with some practice. We worked on "go arounds" and I think we might have got a touch and go in or two. All in all, it was a great way to end the day.

I told him about Wattflyer, and he gave me his contact info. When I was able to get to the computer, I emailed him some threads to check out, and expected to see him online shortly.

Where are you Bill? Did them GA guys scare you off already? They have that effect on people. A case in point of the bark being worse than the bite. Come on, get in and get talking.
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