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Thread: Spot Landings

  1. #1
    dalec's Avatar
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    Spot Landings

    Since I purchased this cub and am no longer guilty of being a Maule driving floatplane pilot I figured I would throw this out here for some practical advice and additional ridicule. Over the last couple of weeks I have been working on spot landings and am wondering what those of you who feel particularly proficient at this particular skill set are using for procedures?

    I played with the math and then went out and played on the sand bars, as a result I think I am getting close to where I need to be in this endeavor and just need to refine my timing. But I figured why not ask for some additional expertise? So at the risk of being totally humbled I am wondering how you guys set up for spot landings?

    Because I work with numbers all day long it was easier for me to break this down into a math problem and then try to go apply it. The numbers below represent the math as I have attempted this. IAS = 50mph, FPS = speed accross the ground, Aim Point is literally the approx distance I am aiming at in order to begin the flair to hit my desired touch down point, FPM = descent rate per second if I figure 400 fpm descent or approximately a 5 degree glideslope. This gives me a theoretical flair height of about 25 feet agl for the transition. I don't have VG's and am flying as close to a stock 150 hp cub as you are likely to find in Alaska. I just want to see if I am approaching this correctly or should consider a different approach, no pun intended.


    IAS FPS Aim Point fpm fps T/H
    50 73 293 6.7 26.7

    Thanks for the help

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    T.J.'s Avatar
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    delete

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    Flying Miss Daisy's Avatar
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    Thanks......It has been awhile for a thread like this. One of my biggest questions position of trim. I have heard a mindset from the sandbar crews of Washington....Jump in any time Jason or DW....... that a full up trim should be applied. I know from Mark E that still leaves room on the elevator control for the flare.
    At my last biennial I was told to at cruise trim and the parralell of the threshold to cut my power and not provide any push/pull adjustments to the stick from there to the flare as it should be all done with power and slip. This I have been using for a year and works well. However is counter to the Northwest training of sandbar landings. I have not tried this method as of yet. It is my belief this is the 749er method and have been reluctant to do so without proper guidance on the technique.
    Any info is welcome
    John
    Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention to arrive safely in a well preserved body but rather to slide in sideways, well used up proclaiming "WOW What a Ride"

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    SteveE's Avatar
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    John,,, actually DW and the boys use full forward trim,, (unless I went brain dead and cant remember crap)),,, it puts the nose down and lets them see where they are landing,,, drag it in with power,, full flaps,,, then do a tail low wheel landing....... I think thats what you meant to say...

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    Flying Miss Daisy's Avatar
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    Then my understanding is wrong as I was under the assumption that the argument for the method was by adding power it would place the plane in a climb in an emergency. So now I really need to know what this method is all about.
    J
    Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention to arrive safely in a well preserved body but rather to slide in sideways, well used up proclaiming "WOW What a Ride"

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    SJ's Avatar
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    They are likely using full forward trim. This (in my humble opinion) does not help with "spot" landings. Spot landings are achieved by a stabilized power on approach (unless you are really good and can do it power off) and personally I think that for the average Joe, a stabilized trim setting is the way to do it - because if the excrement hits the air movement device, you do not have to overcome a lot of extra trim, or if you let go of the stick at the wrong moment to swat at a wasp, the plane does not go into a dive.

    They may be shortening ground roll, and they may get better visibility, and of course, the tail comes up a lot quicker on takeoff. I have played around with the technique - and still do - but I would say it only adds benefit to those who have really honed their skills with normal settings already - it then adds a little extra.

    I make EVERY landing a challenge to myself to see where I am going to land. If somebody else is in the plane I will tell them where I intend to touch down. If you always do that, it becomes subconscious that you can put it where you want it. Me? I need to practice...
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
    ------------------------------------------

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveE
    ,, (unless I went brain dead and cant remember crap)),,,
    So many comments brewing... so little time
    What are we building a box or a watch?

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    Before I comment, recall that this applies to my old Champ, which lacks both flaps and power. It also has long oleo-strut landing gear that doesn't bounce much.

    My approach (pardon the pun!) to accurate landings is to have a fairly steep descent angle; considerably steeper than 'normal'. The Champ has only 90 horsepower, so dragging it in under power always scared me.

    A steep, slow approach can be scary but it's hard to stall an airplane while descending rapidly, even at low speed with the nose up in the air. I control airspeed with the stick, and descent rate/angle with the throttle.

    Aim a bit short and add a heap of throttle at the end to cushion the crash. I recall Redeye's comment about me going to "pancake" when I landed at New Holstein in the short-field competition. Yeah, I would hit hard but the No-Bounce gear sucked up the impact and rolled out nicely without launching me back into the air.

    Drop a Cub in like that and you'll bounce into next week!

    Different airplane; different technique. Read Fred Potts' book if you can find it. "Guide to Bush Flying" or something like that. It's good!

    Jon B.

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    I am presently building a homebuilt Cub to use in a bush flying training program and am installing the Alpha system angle of attack indicator to allow for more precise attitude control when landing on short surfaces.


    http://www.alphasystemsaoa.com/

    http://www.mountainflying.com/Pages/...stems_aoa.html

    When I am finished I will post the results here.

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    I can tell you what works for me and my cub.

    #1 I alway try to turn into final with one notch of flaps at the same distance and speed (65mph) from the landing spot. If you roll out of base into final at the same speed and distance overtime you become pretty proficient at setting the plane down on that spot you picked before you turned final.

    #2 I now reduce my RPM to about 1250 RPM. I have a bore prop might not be a good choice with a cruise prop.

    #3 I set my trim to the point I have no back pressure on the stick and establish my glide. I don't think you want to have full trim forward if you are coming in light you may find your flare out to be sluggish. Least thats my experience.

    #4 At this point forget all those numbers you have running through your head and focus on pulling full flaps at the proper distance. Learning when to do this comes with practice. Following tips #1,2 and 3 will help your practice become more efficient.

    #5 When the tires touch the ground I pull the throttle to idle and dump my flaps. If you came in at the right speed when you dump those flaps the plane is done flying. Apply brakes if needed.

    Let me know how that works for you.

    Cub_Driver

  11. #11
    dalec's Avatar
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    Cub Driver

    You set up for a spot landing is very close to what I have been trying, a similar approach by the numbers that you are working with ( I also have a Bore prop). 1250 RPM light will put me at the flare point at about 50mph and that is where you are pulling the second notch of flaps?

    I will play with that set up and see if I can make it work bettter by changing my aimpoint and quit trying to drag it in.

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    aktango58's Avatar
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    Dale,

    Humbly, maybe if you painted it CAT yellow it would behave better


    Couple of ideas: send the bird down here for me to test< I will let you know what I find


    But, for learning yourself, first, think of this as your stress relief. Take some of the suction soap deals and COVER THE AIRSPEED! The airspeed is about as useful as a cessna performance chart- worthless where you want to operate.

    Next, Put some weight as far back in the baggage as you can (add a baby bushwheel for a few extra pounds). This will allow you some leeway on the brakes.

    Now, go up to 2,000 feet and fly to Shell Lake and back with full flaps, start at 50, then slow down a little every five minutes until you find where she just will not fly, add a couple miles an hour and fly back at this speed. You now have your short final attitude... use it!

    Trim: full forward trim makes you push the stick forward, which creates lift on the tail, which adds to the total lift of the plane. No, I do not use this much, but you can fly slower doing it this way. Frankly, you sound like you need to get a handle on the feel, so make it easy on yourself and trim for comfort; if you go around, you will thank me :P

    Again, forget the numbers, stabalize where she is comfortable about 1 mile out with full flaps, then on short final, (over the fence????) slow her down to the attitude I talked about. This may be different with a heavy load, so takes practice. A gentle touch to begin with, then slowing down, (less power) after refined may be your best method for keeping your maintenaince bill low also.

    Have fun, and it is not the short landing to enjoy, but the journey there!
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  13. #13
    dalec's Avatar
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    George

    I had a long talk with my cub and it doesn't want to come to Juneau, Skagway or Haines maybe

    Instead it has decided to stick around and burn a few more tanks of Av Gas teaching me how to fly

    Your comments and others were appreciated, I am acustomed to a much heavier airplane that slows down much faster (a heavy M5 on floats has the glide ratio of a rock) and hence the trouble with hitting the spot. So with all the valuable advice and a few chuckles along the way I will go out and work through a few hundred landings until I feel the airplane and quit trying to drive the airplane by the numbers.

    The weather is clearing and it will be time for my cub to go back to teaching me the finer points of flying a light airplane. It is a feel thing and I will get it worked out, just wanted to make sure I was taking the right approach.

    Thanks again for the helpful comments.

    Dale
    "What we obtain too cheap we esteem too little!

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    dalec's Avatar
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    Stewart

    Maybe I need to clarify the comment, it will fly slow and I have done a bunch of slow flight and stalls with it. It just doesn't want to quit flying when light. I have been flying it too much like I used to fly the Maule and it doesn't bleed off energy as quickly as I expect it to. I really think it is more my technique than anything else. I will spend a few hours on a sand bar this weekend changing the way I fly an approach by slowing it down much earlier.

    I will report back on the results.

    Thanks
    Dale
    "What we obtain too cheap we esteem too little!

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    Dale

    Be carefull coming in to hot and trying to spot land. If you try to force the plane down and your a little fast you run the risk of balloning up. This can be a little of a surprise so be ready to push the stick forward and bring in the throttle.

    If you really want to work the plane in slow flight I would recommend you contact Arctic and have him work you and your cub out for a while.

    Cub_Driver

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    jgerard's Avatar
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    I'm not comfortable trying to teach you my technique over the web but if we ever get a change to meet face to face I'll tell ya what works for me. I'll be at the trade show next month. My best advise for now is to cover up your airspeed-alt-VSI with post-it-notes and go practice power on, full flap, stabilized approach landings, and never dive at the runway. You will need to add power at the flare to smooth it out. Don't try to land at first. Instead just arrest the decent and fly down the runway for about 10 seconds just inches above the surface without touching down before you make your go-around. Learn how to make approaches before you learn how to land.

    It's hard to say the following without sounding like a jack-ass so please understand that I'm only stating what I have observed over the years and I'm sincerely not trying to hurt anyones feelings or even stir the pot. It's merely and attempt at trying to add constructive criticism. I'm only trying to share what I have observed. We all need to take a moment from time to time for self evaluation. Please consider my thoughts as a suggestions or alternatives rather than insults.

    There are many different pilot types and in my experience the majority of the ones that have the hardest time learning true "seat of the pants" precision type flying are the ones that tend to be strong "left brain" thinkers and feel that instruments and engineering data is what it takes to make an airplane fly. There is way more "information" available to you with your head outside the cockpit once you learn how to make the airplane an extension of yourself and think ahead of the plane. Sometimes you have to be like Luke Skywalker in Star-Wars, turn off your targeting computer and use the force! You can't learn how to do that over the internet, but you can pick up some basic training info. I recommend finding someone you trust and have them teach you. We should all strive to combine the Art of flying with the Science of flight.


    Jason

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    this would be a title NimpoCub's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jgerard
    We should all strive to combine the Art of flying with the Science of flight.
    I LOVE that sentence.
    Science = understanding what's happening,
    Art = getting the feel of it.
    Gawd, now I wanna go fly.
    Nimpo Lake Logan... boonie SuperCubber
    200mi (300km) from nearest stoplight... just right! - "Que hesitatus fornicatus est"

  18. #18
    Gordon Misch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NimpoCub
    Science = understanding what's happening,
    Art = getting the feel of it.
    Jeeze, Nimp, that might be the most profound statement on the topic I've ever heard. Can't wait to share it with my science students Monday. THANKS!!!
    Gordon

    N4328M
    My SPOT: tinyurl.com/N4328M (case sensitive)

  19. #19
    dalec's Avatar
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    The last two evenings I have gone out and practiced with a change in technique, after reviewing eveyones comments. The result is I am flying this more like a cub and having a lot better results. The key for me was to understand that with the light wing loadings and a bore prop you have to get it slowed down very early and then fly the throttle to landing. By pulling full flaps after turning base and greatly reducing the throttle setting I am having much better results. I am now flying final at approx. 1200 RPM and using the throttle to control the descent rate and this is working much better. This plane is new to me and the combination of being very light and a bore prop was contributing to my frustration.

    Thanks to everyone for the consructive comments.

  20. #20
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    Excellent post Jason!!
    "You are the Gray Rider who would not make peace with the Blue Coats, you may go in Peace." - Ten Bears

    Gunny

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    In no way do I want to insult anyone or hurt their feelings but I am having trouble understanding what exactly one has to look for when using " seat of the pants " information to replace instruments to determine the attitude and air speed the airplane is at in a given moment in time.

    I understand that covering up all the flight instruments and flying a visual attitude and visual/aural rate of descent profile is a good teaching tool....but I find it difficult to believe it is more accurate and thus safer than using the flight instruments to determine your present attitude/airspeed/ rate of descent.

    What am I missing here?

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    flying

    Old crop duster/coyote hunter told me years ago if you are still looking at the airspeed indicator your not ready for low level operations. It is about useless in the kind of low level close to the edge flying required to make max performance low level turns while trying to keep track of a moving object on the ground or line up for another pass. I will glance at the ball from time to time to keep myself honest with the rudders but almost never look at the airspeed while low level.

    You need to be to tell by feel when the wing or tail is approaching a stall at all times and be quick in correcting it. Sometimes at high angles of attack all it takes is a little turbulence to drop a wing or the nose or even the dreaded "down wind turn"

    dave

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    Old crop duster/coyote hunter told me years ago if you are still looking at the airspeed indicator your not ready for low level operations.
    Interesting opinion that guy had.

    I started crop dusting in 1960 and was in the business for seven years flying both fixed wing and helicopters.

    I flew as captain on heavy water bombers for fifteen years.

    I was an air display pilot for eight years in Europe and held an unrestricted air display license until I retired in October of 2005.

    True I do not rely solely on instrument information , but I do use it as a cross check when I want to confirm that I am seeing and doing.

    In training I teach the use of instruments as a cross check for arriving at and maintaining a stable attitude/ air speed and rate of descent or maintaining a given rate or lack thereof.

    Funny thing is I never banged up any flying machines during my career....I wonder if I would have had I not used instruments for cross checking when I felt I needed to?

    I would like to add that there were some real moments of total loss of control during practice sessions fine tuning flying on the edge in unlimited aerobatic practice.....but we made sure we were high enough to recover...obviously.

    Once again these comments are only my own experience and are based on my own methods of flying and teaching of same and I am aware others have their own opinions and experiences to guide them in how they fly.

  24. #24
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    Instruments tell you where you are or more likely where you've been due to lag, even at cub speeds. For precision low level and off airport type flying you need to be thinking ahead of the plane. I agree that a quick cross check of a few primary gauges is good practice. You should only need to look at a gauge and do so quickly to confirm what your seat of the pants is already telling you. With training and practice you will start to make the necessary corrections before the gauges would even be capable of indicating the deviation. A pilot needs to be proactive not reactive to stay ahead of the plane and avoid becoming a passenger in the pilots seat.

    I feel that by trimming nose down for slow flight & landing the stick now becomes an instrument. By having to hold a slight bit of back pressure to maintain a constant airspeed the control stick now becomes a device in which to measure airspeed changes. Stick pressure changes are more noticeable now with airspeed and power changes. Less stick pressure means you're speeding up, more means slowing down. Pumping the stick back while on approach gives you a sense of how much "extra" lift/drag or AOA you have to play with before stalling or creating a higher rate of decent. There is so much to cover with this subject I'll leave the rest to be shared at the next campfire BS session.

    I'm sorry for drifting off topic once again...

    Jason

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    Instruments tell you where you are or more likely where you've been due to lag, even at cub speeds. For precision low level and off airport type flying you need to be thinking ahead of the plane. I agree that a quick cross check of a few primary gauges is good practice. You should only need to look at a gauge and do so quickly to confirm what your seat of the pants is already telling you. With training and practice you will start to make the necessary corrections before the gauges would even be capable of indicating the deviation. A pilot needs to be proactive not reactive to stay ahead of the plane and avoid becoming a passenger in the pilots seat.
    Yes, I agree that at low level one should use outside references to determine where the airplane is going and its attitude....however you should as you say use quick glances at the airspeed to confirm you have a safe energy cushion to allow you energy to correct an unsafe attitude and airspeed or to arrest an unwanted loss of altitude.

    I feel that by trimming nose down for slow flight & landing the stick now becomes an instrument.
    The airplane will find the trimmed attitude if left on its own, therefore it will head for the ground unless you prevent it.

    When trimmed to the desired attitude the stick is also an instrument that helps you to keep the airplane flying at the desired attitude.

  26. #26
    aktango58's Avatar
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    Jason,

    Great explaination. Thanks.

    chuck,
    I think you missed the point about getting away from Maule tecnique on this.

    Also, we are not talking about landing a plane. We are discussing how to train ourselves to reduce every inch of landing distance from our landing, and being able to do it on the spot every time.

    Dusting, show, aerobatics all require great command of the plane. But in relation to spot/short landings with a light bird, other activities allow the pilot to use way more instrument input- speeds are greater.

    One must get away from the guages and learn the feel. If one can not tell by your feet, hands and seat of the pants what that bird is doing, much of the information is beyond the abilities of that pilot.

    The trim tecnique is not one I have used, but I am going to try it this spring. It all is for correct reasons, but I may not have the correct feel to do it properly.

    Dale,

    Glad you have 'lightened up', isn't it great!
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  27. #27
    JP's Avatar
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    Back when I was a wee lad in the highlands of this lovely state of Maine, my instructor covered the panel of the 152 II taildragger with newspaper and had me fly manuevers and the pattern a few times to convince me that the airplane would, indeed, fly quite well without any instruments. He told me to concentrate on the feel of the airplane via the controls and the sound it made.

    In my Cub I have no VSI and the airspeed seems a bit optomistic when flying slow, so I rely a lot on how things sound and the feel through the stick and rudders to tell me what's going on.

    As far as "spot" landings, I just pick the spot that I want to hit and and adjust my approach so the "spot" is static (i.e. not moving towards me--too high take out power; not moving away from me --too low add a bit of power), airspeed constant (pitch to control).

    Coming through about tree top height I slowly start pulling back on the stick so she's done flying over the spot for a nice three point. With the VGs she quits flying gently and settles right on. It's a satisfying feeling when you're having a good day and hit it just right...
    JP Russell--The Cub Therapist
    1947 PA-11 Cub Special
    www.bft-int.com/aviation.html

  28. #28

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    I want to apologize for making comments about how to fly an airplane using the short landing area method as obviously I am not explaining myself properly.

    In another thread I did mention that I spent a big part of my career flying on and off unprepared areas, in fact I even flew a Super Cub on big wheels in the high arctic for a summer in the late sixties. However most of my off airport flying was in DC3's on wheel / skis and Twin Otters which incidentally are more demanding than a Cub. In the eight years I flew the DC3 in the far north we would have been lucky to have used a paved runway 25% of the time, the rest of our operations were off airport.

    Obviously from the responses I am getting some of you have the impression I have no understanding of how to operate airplanes off airports or at the edge of their performance envelope.

    Once again I apologize for giving my opinion on how to fly and shall try and refrain from doing so here in the future.

    I came to this forum for advice on how to build my Cub and rather than irritate others with my thoughts on how to fly them I will stick to asking questions on issues I don't know the answers to.

  29. #29
    this would be a title NimpoCub's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck E.
    In no way do I want to insult anyone or hurt their feelings
    Chas, thanks for that consideration... no one here wanted to hurt your feelings either.

    I am having trouble understanding what exactly one has to look for when using " seat of the pants " information to replace instruments to determine the attitude and air speed the airplane is at in a given moment in time.

    You've heard the phrase "wearing your airplane". Well, that's it.
    Flying @ 3000'AGL is like driving a truck. Close to the ground you're really paying attentiion.

    EG: If it's sinking/mushing it's close to stalling, so add a few RPMs.
    EG: If you're in a slow turn & your "pants" feel much more than 1G, speed up or level out a bit.


    I find it difficult to believe it is more accurate and thus safer than using the flight instruments to determine your present attitude/airspeed/ rate of descent.

    Like someone said above, by the time your instruments tell you you're stalling, you should have already corrected for it. When in slow/low flight, your instruments are "behind the curve".

    (from your later post)
    Once again I apologize for giving my opinion on how to fly and shall try and refrain from doing so here in the future.

    Please don't take others' opinions/comments to heart (especially if you've been off your meds)
    We value experienced folks, it's what makes this place tick. You asked a pretty basic question, so it got responded to in kind.
    Now, if I've committed a fox paw, I'll have my flame suit on in the morn when I get back.
    Nimpo Lake Logan... boonie SuperCubber
    200mi (300km) from nearest stoplight... just right! - "Que hesitatus fornicatus est"

  30. #30

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    Chuck

    I thought you gave good and prudent input. It's hard not to write a book for every question asked, as we all know there are many variables to most every flying situation. Most everyone gives opinions on personal experiance and are here to help not to harp.

    I enjoyed your professional perspective thanks for taking the time to post it. Please don't stop posting the lifetime full of flying experiance you have to offer.

    Cub_Driver

  31. #31
    aktango58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck E.
    However most of my off airport flying was in DC3's on wheel / skis and Twin Otters which incidentally are more demanding than a Cub. In the eight years I flew the DC3 in the far north we would have been lucky to have used a paved runway 25% of the time, the rest of our operations were off airport.

    Obviously from the responses I am getting some of you have the impression I have no understanding of how to operate airplanes off airports or at the edge of their performance envelope.

    Once again I apologize for giving my opinion on how to fly and shall try and refrain from doing so here in the future.
    Please do not take offence at the way things get written, it is not to insult, but to express a difference of opinion.

    As far as twin otter/DC-3 being more demanding- in some ways yes, in others maybe no.

    Lots going on in a twin, and you are restricted to specific airspeeds. No cheating and going below blue line on thoes, so you have a certian amount of energy to burn off once on the ground That takes Ba.... er GUTS! (I watched a twin otter work loads into 400' for a week once, WOW!)

    A cub, on final and touchdown/stop can be just as demanding, if the pilot asks the cub to do something that it probably should not...

    Flying a cub to book performance is fairly common. Flying it continually to strips shorter than performance tends to get all but the very best in trouble.

    Again, Please do not be insulted because our opinions differ. Trust me, I have no clue how to get a twin otter in and out of 400', the cub is enough for me to do that.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  32. #32
    Bill Rusk's Avatar
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    I would like to offer another opinion. Your body will lie to you. Yes it is very important to learn to feel what is happening with the wing but it is also important to use all the tools available. Vertigo is your body lying to you. The downwind turn is your body and eyes lying to you. Glassy water is your eyes lying to you. Yes it is important to "feel" but do not be deceived, crosscheck, use all the tools you have. So, I agree with Chuck, crosscheck. You can fly by the seat of your pants, but remember your seat can, and will, lie to you. Think you can always tell how many G's you are pulling? I believe that you can't tell day to day with any accuracy at all.

    Don't ever forget......Your body will lie to you

    Crosscheck, back yourself up, get a second opinion, use all the tools you have. It is not a show of immaturity or lack of skill; au contraire, the smart, seasoned pilot knows his body can and will deceive.


    Bill

  33. #33

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    Good morning again, another day another chance to re-evaluate what we thought yesterday.

    I must be getting old and crotchety because yesterday I took offense where none was warranted......

    .....so we will forget my saying I would not comment on how to fly any more here.....

    The problem with the internet is the lack of one on one interaction with all the clues that we use to determine the real message someone is delivering.

    Now back to flying Cubs and all their little brethren.

    The reason I am building a Cub is that is what I started my flying career on and now that I have retired after over fifty years as a commercial pilot I want to go back in time while I still have some time left.

    Bill Rusk said what I was trying to say and did not take the time to clearly explain myself.

    I have some parts for the interior of my Cub to bond this morning as I prefer bonding to flush riveting as it gives me a nicer finished look.

    For some years I have been playing around with writing a book of short stories about my flying career and I will link the one about my first job here so you people can see where I started.

    I have not really finished these stories and they are not edited so ignore any bad grammar and such.

    It may not be the most interesting reading you will do but it is about Cubs.



    The Tobacco Fields - By Chuck Ellsworth


    For generations the farmers of southern Ontario have planted cared for harvested and cured tobacco in a small area on the northern shores of lake Erie. Our part in this very lucrative cash crop was aerial application of fertilizers and pesticides better known as crop dusting.

    At the end of the twentieth century this form of farming is slowly dying due to the ever-increasing movement of the anti-smoking segment of society. Although few would argue the health risks of smoking it is interesting that our government actively supports both sides of this social problem. Several times in the past ten or so years I have rented a car and driven back to the tobacco farming area of Southern Ontario, where over forty years ago I was part of that unique group of pilots who earned their living flying the crop dusting planes.

    The narrow old highways are still there, but like the tobacco farms they are slowly fading into history as newer and more modern freeways are built. The easiest way of finding tobacco country is to drive highway 3, during the nineteen forties and early fifties this winding narrow road was the main route from Windsor through the heart of tobacco country and on to the Niagara district. Soon after leaving the modern multi lane 401 to highway 3 you will begin to realize that although it was only a short drive you have drifted back a long way in time. Driving through the small villages and towns very little has changed and life seems to be as it was in the boom days of tobacco farming, when transients came from all over the continent for the harvest. They came by the hundreds to towns like Aylmer, Tillsonberg, Deli and Simcoe, these towns that were synonymous with tobacco have changed so little it is like going back in time.

    Several of the airfields we flew our Cubs, Super Cubs and Stearmans out of in the fifties and early sixties are still there. Just outside of Simcoe highway 3 runs right past the airport and even before turning into the driveway to the field I can see that after all these years nothing seems to have changed. I could be in a time warp and can imagine a Stearman or Cub landing and one of my old flying friends getting out of his airplane after another morning killing tobacco horn worms, and saying come on Chuck lets walk down to the restaurant and have breakfast. The tobacco hornworm was a perennial pest and our most important and profitable source of income. Most of my old companion's names have faded from memory as the years have passed and we went our different ways but some of them are easy to recall.

    Like Lorne Beacroft a really great cropduster and Stearman pilot. Lorne and I shared many exciting adventures in our airplanes working together from the row crop farms in Southern Ontario to conifer release spraying all over Northern Ontario for the big pulp and paper companies. Little did we know then that many years later I would pick up a newspaper thousands of miles away and read about Lorne being Canadas first successful heart transplant. I wonder where he is today and what he is doing?

    There are others, Tom Martindale whom I talked to just last year after over forty years, now retired having flown a long career with Trans Canada Airlines, now named Air Canada. Then there was Howard Zimmerman who went on to run his own helicopter company and still in the aerial applicating business last I heard of him. And who could forget Bud Boughner another character that just disappeared probably still out there somewhere flying for someone.

    I have been back to St. Thomas, another tobacco farming town on highway 3 twice in the last several years to pick up airplanes to move for people in my ferry business. The airport has changed very little over the years. The hanger where I first learned to fly cropdusters is still there with the same smell of chemicals that no Ag. Pilot can ever forget. It is now the home of Hicks and Lawrence who were in the business in the fifties and still at it, only the airplanes have changed.

    My first flying job started in that hangar, right from a brand new commercial license to the greatest flying job that any pilot could ever want. There were twenty-three of us who started the crop dusting course early that spring, in the end only three were hired and I was fortunate to have been one of them.

    With the grand total of 252 hours in my log book I started my training with an old duster pilot named George Walker. Right from the start he let me know that I was either going to fly this damned thing right on its limits and be absolutely perfect in flying crop spraying patterns or the training wouldn't last long. It was fantastic not only to learn how to really fly unusual attitudes but do it right at ground level.

    To become a good crop duster pilot required that you accurately fly the airplane to evenly apply the chemicals over the field being treated. We really had to be careful with our flying when applying fertilizers in early spring as any error was there for all to see as the crop started growing. This was achieved by starting on one side of the field maintaining a constant height, airspeed and track over the crop. Just prior to reaching the end of your run full power was applied, and at the last moment the spray booms were shut off and at the same time a forty-five degree climb was initiated. As soon as you were clear of obstructions a turn right or left was made using forty five to sixty degrees of bank. After approximately three seconds a very quick turn in the opposite direction was entered until a complete one hundred and eighty degree change of direction had been completed. If done properly you were now lined up exactly forty-five feet right or left of the track you had just flown down the field.

    From that point a forty-five degree dive was entered and with the use of power recovery to level flight was made at the exact height above the crop and the exact airspeed required for the next run down the field in the opposite direction to your last pass. Speed was maintained from that point by reducing power.

    To finish the course and be one of the three finally hired was really hard to believe. To be paid to do this was beyond belief. When the season began we were each assigned an airplane, a crash helmet, a tent and sleeping bag and sent off to set up what was to be our summer home on some farmers field. Mine was near Langdon just a few miles from lake Erie.

    Last year I tried without success to find the field where my Cub and I spent a lot of that first summer. Time and change linked with my memory of its location being from flying into it rather than driving to it worked against me and I was unable to find it. Remembering it however is easy, how could one forget crawling out of my tent just before sunrise to mix the chemicals? Then pump it into the spray tank and hand start the cub. Then to be in the air just as it was getting light enough to see safely and get in as many acres as possible before the wind came up and shut down our flying until evening. Then with luck the wind would go down enough to allow us to resume work before darkness would shut us down for the day. The company had a very good method for assuring we would spray the correct field.

    Each new job was given to us by the salesman who after selling the farmer drew a map for the pilots with the location of the farm and each building and its color plus all the different crops were written on the map drawn to scale. As well as the buildings all trees, fences and power lines were drawn to scale. It was very easy for us to find and positively identify our field to be sprayed and I can not remember us making any errors in that regard.

    Sadly there were to many flying errors made and during the first three years that I crop-dusted eight pilots died in this very demanding type of flying in our area. Most of the accidents were due to stalling in turns or hitting power lines, fences or trees.

    One new pilot who had only been with us for two weeks died while doing a low level stall turn and spinning in, he was just to low to recover from the loss of control. He had been on his way back from a spraying mission when he decided to put on an airshow at the farm of his girlfriend of the moment. This particular accident was to be the last for a long time as those of us who were flying for the different companies in that area had by that time figured out what the limits were that we could not go beyond.

    Even though there were a lot of accidents in the early years they at least gave the industry the motivation to keep improving on flying safety, which made a great difference in the frequency of pilot error accidents. Agricultural flying has improved in other areas as well especially in the use of toxic chemicals.

    In 1961 Rachel Carson wrote a book called "The silent spring. " This book was the beginning of public awareness to the danger of the wide area spraying of chemicals especially the use of D.D.T. to control Mosquitoes and black flies.

    For years all over the world we had been using this chemical not really aware that it had a very long-term residual life. When Rachels book pointed out that D.D.T. had began to build up in the food chain in nature, she also showed that as a result many of the birds and other species were in danger of being wiped out due to D.D.T. Her book became a best seller and we in the aerial application business were worried that it would drastically affect our business, and it did.

    The government agency in Ontario that regulated pesticides and their use called a series of meetings with the industry. From these meetings new laws were passed requiring us to attend Guelph agricultural college and receive a diploma in toxicology and entomology. I attended these classes and in the spring of 1962 passed the exams and received Pest Control License Class 3 - Aerial Applicator.

    My license number was 001. Now if nothing else I can say that I may not have been the best but I was the first. Without doubt the knowledge and understanding of the relationship of these chemicals to the environment more than made up for all the work that went into getting the license. From that point on the industry went to great length to find and use chemicals less toxic to our animal life and also to humans.

    It would be easy to just keep right on writing about aerial application and all the exciting and sometimes boring experiences we had, however I will sum it all up with the observation that crop dusting was not only my first flying job it was without doubt the best. I flew seven seasons' crop dusting and I often think of someday giving it another go, at least for a short time.

  34. #34
    bearsnack
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    Your a good man, Chuck. We appreciate your input.

    My 2 cents... The first hours in an airplane model you need to be looking at the airspeed indicator and other instruments to see what your feeling in different flight parameters.
    Occasionally doing this later on doesn't hurt either, keeps one "honed in his skills".

  35. #35

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    My only concern when discussing the art of airplane handling is to err on the side of caution and to do that one must reinforce the basics that have been learned and proven since the Wright brothers got us into this form mobility.

    Of course I am well aware that as one gains more and more experience one develops what could be described as an instinct for the feel of flight and occasionally we can get bitten real hard by trusting instinct and ignoring proven clues to warn us that we are about to go outside the envelope.

    When giving advice to those who ask for advice and I detect that the person asking the questions may not be at the experience level to clearly understand or be able to judge what " feelings " he/she is experiencing I try and point out that one should double check by using known means of determining where in the flight envelope you really are.

    Just as an after thought, even though I am retired I am still willing to do one more contract if the opportunity arises.....I see they are making another series for TV called " The Pacific " which is much like " Band of Brothers " I was the stand by pilot for the Band of Brothers but unfortunately I was not needed as the regular pilots were avaliable during the shooting of the films.

    Here is a picture of Fifi Kate one of the airplanes used in " Band of Brothers " still in her movie paint scheme, the picture was taken in Holland where I had just ferried it for an inspection.

    http://s43.photobucket.com/albums/e3...1.jpg&newest=1

    I am going to quit now as this thread hijack is getting out of hand.

  36. #36
    aktango58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck E.
    My only concern when discussing the art of airplane handling is to err on the side of caution and to do that one must reinforce the basics that have been learned and proven since the Wright brothers got us into this form mobility.



    Of course I am well aware that as one gains more and more experience one develops what could be described as an instinct for the feel of flight and occasionally we can get bitten real hard by trusting instinct and ignoring proven clues to warn us that we are about to go outside the envelope.

    When giving advice to those who ask for advice and I detect that the person asking the questions may not be at the experience level to clearly understand or be able to judge what " feelings " he/she is experiencing I try and point out that one should double check by using known means of determining where in the flight envelope you really are.

    Just as an after thought, even though I am retired I am still willing to do one more contract if the opportunity arises.....I see they are making another series for TV called " The Pacific " which is much like " Band of Brothers " I was the stand by pilot for the Band of Brothers but unfortunately I was not needed as the regular pilots were avaliable during the shooting of the films.

    Here is a picture of Fifi Kate one of the airplanes used in " Band of Brothers " still in her movie paint scheme, the picture was taken in Holland where I had just ferried it for an inspection.

    http://s43.photobucket.com/albums/e3...1.jpg&newest=1

    I am going to quit now as this thread hijack is getting out of hand.



    yes, yes, cool, great pic, and don't stop the carnival! Hijacks are cool
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  37. #37
    myskyjeep's Avatar
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    Great posts all very interesting.

    Landing with full forward trim in my cub results in shorter landing distances. I was sceptical but, I am now convinced. I don't like the stick pressure at full forward trim but, it isn't bad when the plane is slowed down. As a reference, if I just leave the trim set for the 2250 cruise setting, it (stick pressure) feels great for takeoff and landings as well. I'm mystified how landing with full forward trim results in maybe 15% less landing distances for my plane. Could it be possible due to the higher angle of attack on the horizontal stabilizer, it is sharing some of the total flight load resulting in a lighter wing loading? It seems to be more than getting the plane fully slowed down with better feel. Could it be actually flying slower?

  38. #38

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    I have seen some techniques not mentioned yet. I saw an extended wing cub land between 2 trees 30' apart. roll out short. when on skies, line up on protruding rocks and kick full rudder as you get to them. speed bleeds off fast as gear folds under. when landing perpendicular to a dike at the end it can throw pa 12 up and come down on nose quite short. my point is to practice lots before actual short strip attack. as an aside i have seen an 0-320 crank can take alot. props are soft though. ive also learned that ag-pilot and sd2 no longer loan out planes.
    i will drink no wine before its time. its time.

  39. #39
    cubflier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by myskyjeep View Post
    Great posts all very interesting.

    Landing with full forward trim in my cub results in shorter landing distances. I was sceptical but, I am now convinced. I don't like the stick pressure at full forward trim but, it isn't bad when the plane is slowed down. As a reference, if I just leave the trim set for the 2250 cruise setting, it (stick pressure) feels great for takeoff and landings as well. I'm mystified how landing with full forward trim results in maybe 15% less landing distances for my plane. Could it be possible due to the higher angle of attack on the horizontal stabilizer, it is sharing some of the total flight load resulting in a lighter wing loading? It seems to be more than getting the plane fully slowed down with better feel. Could it be actually flying slower?
    Not saying it doesn't work for you but it's close to the opposite what the top place holders at Valdez do. They hang more toward the full nose up side of the trim range. Keep in mind this is just white line technique.

    Jerry
    Last edited by cubflier; 04-09-2011 at 01:25 PM.
    If it looks smooth...it might be

    If it looks rough...it is!!

  40. #40
    kase's Avatar
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    Ive never landed with full nose down trim. I like a little back pressure but it would be to much for me in my cub. If im loaded heavy aft I will trim nose down 2 turns.

    DSC_0353.JPG

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