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Thread: PA-12 Landing Speeds

  1. #1
    Mikey's Avatar
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    PA-12 Landing Speeds

    OK, I've been flying my flapless -12 for 30yrs using about 60-65MPH on final. Now that I've got flaps, I'm trying to get the technique down for shortest landing roll. What speeds are you guys using over the fence w/ full flaps? 3-point or stick in on w/ in 2-point?
    Thanks
    Mikey

  2. #2
    Speedo's Avatar
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    I use 55mph on downwind and base, 50 on final, and 45 over the fence. I prefer a tail-low wheel landing. I can land slower if I use full flaps and hang it on the prop, but that approach always produces a tailwheel first touchdown, followed shortly afterwards by an abrupt touchdown of the mains. I suspect that that sort of landing is generally much harder on the gear and fuselage, so I avoid it when possible. Of course, I could always convert to 6" extended PA-18 gear and add 31" tundra tires, which would probably reduce the shock loads of touching down tailwheel first.
    Speedo

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    as close to the stall speed you feel comfortable with. i like 3- 5mph over the stall speed. for the short stuff, but that can be tight in the wind or turbulence. to each his own. but before you land slow. you should have done a stall to determine the speed beforehand. and i mean in that exact configuration and loading of the plane. which means do one before you enter the pattern you are going to use.

  4. #4

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    Me, I absolutely hate to put my trust in an indicator. That stems from the THIRD flight in my very first airplane. The pitot tube thingie hadn't arrived yet, and with very little time in the airplane, the Mud Daubers plugged the pitot sometime after my second flight in the airplane. Since that day (and several thousand hours later) my faith in the airspeed clock in any airplane I've flown has been as a reference for comfortable verification of the seat of my pants ONLY. While shortly after the incident I realized it was "no biggie" that day, it sure seemed like I was in REAL TROUBLE for a while there. When (and in what manner) do you think an airspeed gauge would go South on you? Right. If you "feel right on final" and you glance at the airspeed and it says "15", chances are there MIGHT be something wrong there, eh? Especially since a -12 won't fly that slow. Put no faith in a gauge that may lie to you at any moment, no matter how rare. Sure, you should always "believe your gauges when IFR"- but VFR in our kind of airplanes, you're asking for trouble if you're "flying the numbers" instead of "flying the airplane". Mikey, you should have the feel of your -12 after 30 years. Just fly it in over the fence with almost no lift left in whatever configuration you got at the moment and plant it in whatever attitude trips your trigger. What if my airspeed reads 7 mph FASTER than yours?

  5. #5
    Marc Olson's Avatar
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    When I first started flying my -12 with flaps I used basically the same approach speeds that you started with on a no-flap -12.

    As I've become more proficient and comfortable with the handling characteristics of my plane at stall or near stall, for short landings I'm down to 40/45 on short final. At that speed I find I need more power if I'm not exactly over the approach end as there's an increased descent rate (though not stalled, clearly behind the power curve).

    In the cases where I'm over the fence and the speed is dropping below 40 I also see tailwheel hit first, but I tend to land tail low (even if I wheel it once the mains are down) all the time.

    Practice, practice, practice!

  6. #6
    Bill Rusk's Avatar
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    Thanks to MMR on this site I have had an opportunity to fly his PA-12 a little. If we cross the fence at 60/65 we float FOREVER. His has no flaps. We found that you have to be below 50 and really closer to 45 to get a normal flare and float to touchdown. Just my opinion.

    Bill

  7. #7
    RedBaron's Avatar
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    If you're lookin' at the airspeed indicator, you're not flying the airplane.

    RB

  8. #8
    Mikey's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback

    I agree airspeed indicators are notorious, especially at high angle of attack, and its what you see and feel that give you the best cues. Prior to the flaps, anything below 60MPH indicated on my plane was getting well behind the L/D curve and the bottom really started to drop out. I found there was seldom a need to slip, just pull the nose up and slow it down. With flaps & -18 tail feathers it sure is nice not having to trim the nose all the way up for landing anymore.
    Thanks for the replies, I'm going to go out and "explore" the full-flap envelope at altitude some more, then see if I can get landing distances more in line w/ takeoff distance.
    Mikey

  9. #9
    PA12driver's Avatar
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    The key to good approaches in any "cub" is to practice, practice, practice. and when I say practice I mean pick a spot, (not a landing area) and then work on "stabilizing" your approach speed. I personally couldn't care less what the airspeed indicator is saying as to 'real' speed, it is only a reference for consistancy in speed, I do however use the "groud speed" indication on the GPS for a reference as to what the wind is doing to my travel over the ground, because trust me that is what is important once the airplane quits being a plane and is now a farm impliment???. Also you should get real proficient at judging distance by "time" in seconds as to the length of your intended landing area.

    Notice I don't say "airport", airstrip" or runway??? You will never get proficient at landing your cub in the bush by practicing at the "local strip"

    Just my .02 worth

    Tim

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