Results 1 to 25 of 25

Thread: step turns... tecnique

  1. #1
    aktango58's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    18AA
    Posts
    9,057
    Post Thanks / Like

    step turns... tecnique

    Carrying over from the general welcome thread, Dave Calkins, who should be considered very knowledgable with aircraft, mods and clear thoughts, believes that step turns should be performed with no flaps for stability.

    I, who should be ignored on many accounts because I am a smart aleck, do use flaps from the beginning of a takeoff run through liftoff on floats...

    To Continue:

    Dave, Your statement that you keep flaps up to 'stabalize' in the turn makes sense, however, I was taught to pull some power back and keep the flaps in. If your worried about the bird lifting off in the turn, (or one float), using less power achieves the reduced lift, and keeps the bird at a constant speed further helping the stable goal.

    If you lift flaps up as the method of stablizing the turn, you will continue to increase speed which will in effect make the step turn harder and larger in arc. This 'habit' could come back and bite one in the water rudder if they get used to the flap monkey motion and then hop in a bird with no flaps...

    Or they move to the big metal round motor birds where you have to pump the flaps up and down, and be sure that the selection handle is in the correct spot

    It appears that we are both trying for the same effect: a smooth stable plane on the water through the turn; Is one way better than the other to get there?

    (SJ, you wanted a big discussion, you got it!)
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  2. #2
    cubdriver2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    upstate NY
    Posts
    9,793
    Post Thanks / Like
    I don't have a dog in this hunt but I noticed that all the players waited till the water got hard before the fun begain I started on floats in a no flaped Pa12/2000 and doing step turns was alot of fun, as was it in my first float plane a C90 Champ on EDO 1400s. But my J4 on 1320s is a squirrely SOB when doing step turns. Maybe each aircraft has a different "feel good " technique when going around the corner.

    Glenn

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Meanwhile,...
    Posts
    5,002
    Post Thanks / Like
    So is this turn up or downwind?
    Remember, These are the Good old Days!

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Mt.
    Posts
    1,302
    Post Thanks / Like
    How much flap are you talking about George? Not a High time float guy but have some in a -12 quite a bit more in a -14 and -18 and a bit in a U206 and In the cubs I used 1 or 2 notches at most with the first notch being between 0 and the factory 1st notch. I like getting the flpa handle up a bit so it is easier to grab when you want to fly,,,wheels skis or floats.

    Dave

  5. #5
    aktango58's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    18AA
    Posts
    9,057
    Post Thanks / Like
    Kirby,

    for this discussion, we are talking no wind, just the simple rudiments of a step turn.

    ag-dave, I am talking using what ever setting we need for our takeoff, with no flap adjustment until after lift-off.

    Cubdriver2, tell me that there is no water after I just fell TWICE on the flats as I was rescuing my goose decoys after they went flying past in the gust... it was cold out there... Rain and snow, blowing 35... just right for goose exercising...
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Meanwhile,...
    Posts
    5,002
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by aktango58 View Post
    Kirby,

    for this discussion, we are talking no wind, just the simple rudiments of a step turn.
    hook line and sinker
    Remember, These are the Good old Days!

  7. #7
    aktango58's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    18AA
    Posts
    9,057
    Post Thanks / Like
    three forces make the plane want to go left, slipstream, torque and p-factor. There is a bit of P-factor, but lots of slipstream and torque, so if you keep your feet off the rudders on a float plane, you will be turning left...

    In my experience, one can maximize a turn to the right in a cub by overpowering with rudder, but it takes much more touch to be successful and actually will cost you energy because of the opposing forces.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  8. #8
    skywagon8a's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    SE Mass
    Posts
    9,284
    Post Thanks / Like
    I have found, that when making step turns, using flaps assists the outboard aileron in lifting that wing and float thereby reducing the extra drag caused by the centrifugal force which is driving the float downward.
    N1PA

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Mt.
    Posts
    1,302
    Post Thanks / Like
    George,,, Might have always done it wrong buy my short takeoff procedure in a cub type with flaps when heavy is to add the first notch just to get the handle off the floor and easy to reach, Get on stop lift the right float while quickly adding flaps and back pressure to break the surface then bleed the flaps off slowly while accelerating in ground effect... Same coming out of a step turn as a straight ahead takeoff.... What works better? Always willing to learn from the float masters.

    dave

  10. #10
    aktango58's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    18AA
    Posts
    9,057
    Post Thanks / Like
    Dave,

    Your tecnique is about what I use, but D. Calkins felt that flaps on for a step turn was not as stable, hence this discussion.

    One thing to add: all floats are NOT created equal. Edo's on the whole do not impress me in the step turn compared to Aquas, but Aquas need to step turn well because they take forever to break out of the water. I have modified my Edos to step turn better, but need to have a special lift off tecnique or they will stick also.

    Mr. C, what are you thinking... and saying: out flying is only rubbing it in.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  11. #11
    Dave Calkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Posts
    5,362
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by ag-pilot View Post
    George,,, Might have always done it wrong buy my short takeoff procedure in a cub type with flaps when heavy is to add the first notch just to get the handle off the floor and easy to reach, Get on stop lift the right float while quickly adding flaps and back pressure to break the surface then bleed the flaps off slowly while accelerating in ground effect... Same coming out of a step turn as a straight ahead takeoff.... What works better? Always willing to learn from the float masters.

    dave
    ...just came over here from the 'other' thread.

    AgDave's technique is what I most-often use except, I do not add the flaps "quickly" (I smoothly apply them....."one-onethousand-two"..about that long to get all of em in a Cub) and I do not add back pressure. In other words, I beleive the shortest takeoff run comes from being on the sweetspot and getting to flying speed soon, then using the aileron to lift a float so I KNOW the a/c will fly, (the lifted wing is proof it will fly) then partly-centering the ailerons and apply flap and she flies. The issue with adding back pressure (pitching nose "up") is that you're coming off the sweetspot to do that and also will drag the heels....sometimes you can get away with it, I see guys do it at Hood quite often.....funny when it doesn't work though. We see all kinds at Lake Hood.

    The good guys are obvious....they are smooth and the a/c flies away from the water. Virtually NONE of the 135 operators are ever seen to "pitch" the a/c....

    Mr. C..........we were talking neophyte float guys, right?....cause they're the ones who may or may not have the answer to the question of step-turning from running downwind or not??? They should step turn without flaps! You'll have to work all winter to convince me otherwise.

    Also, a "round engine, metal, gotta make sure the selector lever is correct".....yeah, in that one, after stepping and lining up with the takeoff run, there's plenty of time to feel for the selector position and pump-in takeoff flap, before it's ready to fly. And with that one you'll have more aileron authority to keep the a/c "righted", if the flaps are up during the step-turn.

    I have more to say, but I'll save it. None of this is written in stone unless you're a newbie, and then you should be careful. I've seen floatplanes upside down for various reasons and also performed recovery of several wrecks, getting them back to town by righting, drying them out readying them for ferry flight. You gotta be careful when you don't own a set of gills. ......and you gotta be careful what you say on the internet.

  12. #12

    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Mt.
    Posts
    1,302
    Post Thanks / Like
    Dave,,, I agree on the smooth application of flaps and sometimes you don't even get them all in and your away... Conditions seem to make a hugh difference and DA is WAY more noticable on floats... When I was talking about pulling her off while adding flaps it was in a somewhat overloaded 160hp -14 here on the Yellowstone river. It was 4th of July and my Alaskan -12 buddy was giving me over the phone instruction,,,He said if I load her all up then push her off the shore where she was floating if no more than 2-4' of the tails were under with me standing by the door on the float it would fly...Good advice to a point. It was 85 out and the river is at 2500' compared to Sand Lake at what 30' Well long story short he was right it did fly but I used over a mile of river and had it off 3 times but couldn't hold it... must have burned enough gas during all this to get her to hold on the 3rd try but it was not pretty.... What I had to do was get the right float out then haul it off the water with flaps but like you said if you over did it even just a little the tails would touch and you had to start over.. With the load I had the sweet spot would not allow me quite enough speed to raise the right float all the way but if I did a 3 way deal where I used aileron to raise the float as I was coming down with the flaps and adding back pressure it would lift off then settle back... If I remember this on had a 44 pitch Borer and could have used less pitch... Anyway it is a bunch of fun playing on floats,,,,got to get back to it one of these days

    Dave

  13. #13
    Rob Murray's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Unionville, PA & Pointe au Baril, ON
    Posts
    340
    Post Thanks / Like
    Maybe I missed this but the reason for traveling on the step might make a difference for using flaps or not. If it is taxi travel from a landing to the dock then flaps probably don't contribute much and probably aren't needed. But if it is the
    beginning of a curved or circular take-off then I like to have one notch of flaps already set. A step turn to the left offers some of the advantages already mentioned but conditions might require that you go to the right and that might take a bit more room. As for 'pulling on more flap', I've found it useful for getting out of rough water, but if it's done before getting close to lift-off speed they can be more drag than good. I like to hold the flap handle at whatever position I can feel the flaps are adding lift and then let them off slowly (to one notch) when you are free from the water. But just as no two floatplanes handle the same, or the same plane on different floats, the conditions for flying off the water are seldom the same. And in my opinion, that's what makes water flying interesting and a lot of fun. Well, most of the time.

  14. #14
    mvivion's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Bozeman,MT
    Posts
    10,436
    Post Thanks / Like
    I've read the comments in this thread, and one thing I haven't seen noted yet is the advice I was given many years ago by a really high time float pilot:

    Don't EVER step turn or step taxi unless you really NEED to.

    Step taxiing can be dangerous. For the most part, it's rarely really needed, though. Consider the landing: If you're having to step taxi after landing, was there a different landing lane you could have used that would have obviated the necessity to step turn or even step taxi? Often times there is a "better" way to land a seaplane that both minimizes the length of the taxi and eliminates or at least minimizes the length of the taxi, thus eliminating the need to step turn or step taxi. Sometimes, pilots opt to land into the wind when a mild crosswind landing could easily reduced the length of the taxi.

    On takeoff: When positioning to takeoff, you need to warm that engine up well anyway, right? Step taxi to get to a takeoff position? Why? So, that leaves confined area operations, which can be relatively small, round lakes or curving takeoffs in narrow rivers. I've done more than my share of both, and they do work and greatly increase the number of places you can safely operate a seaplane. To me, these are really the only places I feel are worth the additional risk that step turns and step taxi impart.

    Remember, taxiing at speed reduces your visibility and increases the potential damage that'll be done if you hit a submerged log/reef/rock, etc.

    Obviously, one needs to practice these procedures under controlled conditions to attain proficiency PRIOR to actually needing these procedures. They can in fact be perfectly safe and they do work well. In fact, you can use a small round lake twice in a takeoff run: Once to get up on the step, then a step turn, and use the length of the lake again to takeoff from the step.

    As previously noted by several, every airplane and every model of float has a different tolerance for step turning. For the beginner, if you DON'T want the plane to fly during the turn, keep the flaps up. The airplane is less likely to fly then or get light on the floats.

    I too believe that a 15 knot tailwind is getting marginal for turning out of the wind into the wind, though as noted, those big Wip floats are real tanks and stay on the water really well in a turn. Obviously that instructor knows what his plane will do, but he should also be FIRMLY admonishing his student not to try this in just any seaplane. Try that in many lighter airplanes and your next lesson will be a swimming lesson.

    MTV

  15. #15
    Dave Calkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Posts
    5,362
    Post Thanks / Like
    ........safety.......always wear your seat belts when step taxiing.

  16. #16

    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    1,789
    Post Thanks / Like
    Step taxiing is a great tool for repositioning an aircraft in less time and/or with less draft than slow taxiing requires. Landing in a stretch of a river is dictated by wind. If at the end of the landing you're 3/4 mile from the dock you're going to why not step taxi? It makes perfect sense.

    Flaps or not? Depends on the situation. A conditional yes to both. As conditions warrant. I used to park in the middle bend of a double S curve section of a creek. Stepping to parking and stepping to take-off were standard practice. Winds, currents, boats... a pilot needs to be flexible. The use of flaps answer is different for me when I'm stepping to take-off or stepping to parking. In one case I'm a boat transitioning to flight. In the other I'm an airplane transitioning to a boat. Big difference.

    Aren't step turns part of the seaplane PTS? My check rider required 2G step turns in both directions. I still remember.
    Last edited by sierra bravo; 02-01-2012 at 07:12 PM.

  17. #17

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Nova Scotia
    Posts
    890
    Post Thanks / Like
    With instructor who was shot down in WW1 who also taught my father to fly before WW2, I started on a J3/1320s in 1952. I wasn't taught step turns. I've never made step turns. I never felt the need for step turns, even in confined spaces where the brookies are. Comments here are interesting.
    Thanks STaylor2 thanked for this post

  18. #18
    skywagon8a's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    SE Mass
    Posts
    9,284
    Post Thanks / Like
    I taught myself to fly on the water in a Colonial C-1. I know, it is a single float and is not a Cub, but it does have a 150 Lycoming. Under some circumstances it is a ground (water) hog. It is extremely maneuverable on the water and can turn inside of a dime. By utilizing step taxing it will fly out of ponds (good fishing holes) which would otherwise be too short. It can turn tighter to the left than to the right while on the step. Also, it will fly comfortably in and out of narrow winding rivers where there is not a straight stretch long enough without step taxing. The C-1 was a great learning tool for me. The techniques which I learned were very useful when I transitioned to twin floats.
    N1PA

  19. #19
    aktango58's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    18AA
    Posts
    9,057
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by King Brown View Post
    I wasn't taught step turns. I've never made step turns. I never felt the need for step turns, even in confined spaces where the brookies are. Comments here are interesting.
    kinda like not learning x-wind landings
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  20. #20
    CubDriver218's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    626
    Post Thanks / Like
    Did some refresher training yesterday to get ready for float season, and I'll never like the feeling of step turns it feels like the plane is going to tip to the outside, but it hasn't and we've done some what I'd think are aggressive maneuvers. At this point I've never been into anywhere were I've needed to step turn, however when the day comes at least I'll have been taught and have those experiences with me.
    As far as flaps go, we did everything with 10 degrees. We have the Robertson STOL on our 180 and with that STOL kit it makes me wonder if no flaps would be better so I can retain more of the lost aileron authority the Robertson takes away when flaps are used.
    Interesting topic. I know it's an old thread, but perhaps we can revisit this. I know I'm always learning and I'll never know it all so any input, advice, experiences or anything else you guys want to share to help us all become better float plane pilots is appreciated.
    Fast or slow, always low, freedom of flight soothes the soul.
    Thanks cubdriver2 thanked for this post
    Likes Eddy Lewis liked this post

  21. #21
    Alex Clark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Life Long Alaskan
    Posts
    3,123
    Post Thanks / Like
    Holy old thread resurrection Batman..!!

    I have to do step turns almost every day that I fly in the summer since I am instructing or doing BFRs. It is easy to become complacent with them.

    I really notice a big difference in brands of floats. For example a C-185 on 2960s compared to the same plane on PK-3500-Cs or even PK-3000s. Or a C-172 on EDO 2000s vs a 172 on PK-2300s. The wider stance floats with a sharp angle CHINE help you not feel like you are going to flip or slide sideways. The PK-3500s PK-3000s and Aerocet 3500s are 6 inches wider in stance from keel to keel than the EDO 2960s. That makes a huge difference.

    Wing mods (Horton, Sportman, Robertson) really make a difference in how much flaps the plane likes for step turns / step taxiing and take-offs. You can really tell with the omni flap setting ability of electric flapped C172s, float-moded 182 and 206s. With manual flaps your options are limited as far as odd-ball flap angles.

    When I do BFRs I am amazed how some folks will simply not do a step turn or even step taxi. They are scared to death of them. And considering that some folks were incorrectly taught to step-taxi at close to take-off speed, maybe being scared is a good thing...

  22. #22
    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Fairbanks, AK.
    Posts
    1,581
    Post Thanks / Like
    I'd be a mummy in a spider filled cockpit somewhere if I hadn't learned and used step turns on twisty rivers and small lakes. Rode with Mickey VanHatten once in a three-soul plus lots of gear Frontier Cessna into and off of Rainbow Lake near Delta Jct. Convinced me I needed that technique as a tool in my kit.

    Gary
    Thanks jrussl thanked for this post

  23. #23

    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    4,551
    Post Thanks / Like
    I remember my SES check rider telling me “you passed, now let me show you how to fly this thing,” and we did step taxi to one float in the water step turns to take off to the right around a peninsula. Anybody can do it to the left, so why not do it to the right? That was a truly cool checkride. A standout fav, for sure.
    Thanks Eddy Lewis, Bommer thanked for this post
    Likes CharlieN liked this post

  24. #24
    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Fairbanks, AK.
    Posts
    1,581
    Post Thanks / Like
    Practice step turn takeoffs followed by a climbing turn staying over the lake. Then do the same in a circling descent and landing in a turn. One float used when leaving and back again on arrival before settling down. Sometimes terrain and weather box us in so at least know how it can be done under the right conditions if required.

    Gary
    Likes CharlieN liked this post

  25. #25
    180Marty's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Paullina, Ia
    Posts
    2,025
    Post Thanks / Like
    I sure had fun with Charlie Hammonds at Houma LA two different times in his 185 on Wip 3730 amphibs. Out in a lake with fish trap stakes for obstacles. I would think go on the outside and he'd say tighten the turn up I won't let you sink these boats. Was wringing wet after an hour. S turned up a curvy channel also. Good memories. I think we turned with 20 degrees of flaps.

Similar Threads

  1. Downwind Turns
    By Wannabe Cubdriver in forum Cafe Supercub
    Replies: 164
    Last Post: 02-17-2014, 09:09 PM
  2. How to post a picture, step by step please?
    By supercub in forum Cafe Supercub
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 03-13-2010, 06:59 PM

Bookmarks

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •