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Thread: Super cub Flight instruction ideas

  1. #1

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    Super cub Flight instruction ideas

    Had a deep discussion about the below idea with a co-worker earlier this week and wanted everyone else’s opinion on the topic.

    Theoretical idea for discussion:

    Opportunity arises to establish a basic, advanced “bush”, and mountain flying tailwheel flight school using a single super cub.

    What consideration/ modifications would you look for when purchasing a super cub with the intent of using it for above outlined instruction?

    My list includes:
    35” bush wheels
    baby bush wheel
    borer prop
    good intercom
    2000 mgw increase
    low time engine/fabric

    I have read through the forum threads on instructing and haven’t seen one exclusively about setting up an aircraft used for instructing.

    Thought it might be a good brainstorming session, thanks
    The engine may be the heart, but the pilot is the soul
    George

  2. #2
    Crash, Jr.'s Avatar
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    The equipment on the plane is going to have to fit your curriculum. Are you actually teaching landings in places where 35's are necessary? If you're teaching basic off-airport landings on the east coast I would imagine 31's and a normal tailwheel would work just fine and lower your operating cost significantly.

    Honestly I would just get a nice basic cub with intercom, 31's and Borer prop and focus on what you're teaching, not what you're teaching it in.
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    I would agree with Crash, JR. if you are going to be taking students places that require a 35 inch bush wheel to land, you had better get yourself a few extra planes as backups. You only need the baby bushwheel if you are doing tundra or soft sand/beach work. A cub is a very forgiving trainer and tough as they come so it can take a beating. A 150 hp will be slower which will allow the students time to think/learn. 2,000 mgw increase is nice if you want to fly legal with big students and fuel. Fabric and paint would be one of the last considerations, it you are truly doing bush training it will have some holes in it pretty fast. Mountain flying can be done in any plane, some would say lower power the better. Tailwheel training, well can't do that in a nose wheel so a cub is fine. Flying/landing/taking off in the "bush" has more to do with the pilot understanding of all the factors involved than what plane they are flying. DENNY
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    DJ's Avatar
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    Maybe I'm a whimp but I'd be terrified going into rough places with a student up front. There is literally no visibility from the back with even an average sized guy up front when on 35s and 3 inch gear. With the instructor in the back the tail won't come up as quick, nor should it with a novice on the power and brakes so you are totally blind for critical parts of the ground roll and partially blind the rest of the time. Peripheral vision of the edge of the runway for rough, narrow, crooked wouldn't work for me. Teaching from the back of a J-3 on a real runway is orders of magnitude easier and safer. No comparison.

    My first thought would be a side by side for off airport training. What about a PA-14, 4 place PA-18, Pacer, Producer, Maule etc?

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    mvivion's Avatar
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    First, a question: Who is the CFI, and what is their experience level? As DJ says, the back seat of a Cub in true off airport ops can be an “interesting” place. Not impossible, with the right experience base, but....

    No way I’d equip such a plane with 35 inch Bushwheels. Maybe not even 31s. Are you seriously considering taking folks new to this kind of flying into that rough a spot?

    And, yes, maybe buy a spare plane for backup.

    MTV
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    akavidflyer's Avatar
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    Ditch the 35s as others have mainly for the reasons stated above. I would venture to say that better than 90% of the cubs that are on 35s fit into the same category as guys with lifted 2 wheel drive trucks on big tires that never get off pavement and guys that have to buy massive diamonds for the fiance.....the bigger the diamond the smaller the love hammer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crash, Jr. View Post
    The equipment on the plane is going to have to fit your curriculum. Are you actually teaching landings in places where 35's are necessary? If you're teaching basic off-airport landings on the east coast I would imagine 31's and a normal tailwheel would work just fine and lower your operating cost significantly.

    Honestly I would just get a nice basic cub with intercom, 31's and Borer prop and focus on what you're teaching, not what you're teaching it in.
    While sitting in the office on weather hold for a couple hours that was a big part of our discussion. Depending on where the flying is there are long gravel bars and beaches that make some good entry to off airport ops. Not necessarily 35 territory, but having that extra floatation might be nice.
    The engine may be the heart, but the pilot is the soul
    George

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    Quote Originally Posted by DJ View Post
    Maybe I'm a whimp but I'd be terrified going into rough places with a student up front. There is literally no visibility from the back with even an average sized guy up front when on 35s and 3 inch gear. With the instructor in the back the tail won't come up as quick, nor should it with a novice on the power and brakes so you are totally blind for critical parts of the ground roll and partially blind the rest of the time. Peripheral vision of the edge of the runway for rough, narrow, crooked wouldn't work for me. Teaching from the back of a J-3 on a real runway is orders of magnitude easier and safer. No comparison.

    My first thought would be a side by side for off airport training. What about a PA-14, 4 place PA-18, Pacer, Producer, Maule etc?

    Sent from my SM-G965U1 using SuperCub.Org mobile app
    I get the visibility concerns for sure. Riding in the back seat of a lot of tailwheels makes you blind when you have that tall guy up front.

    Maybe tandem seating isn’t the best for learning those sort of operations.

    I wanted to see what everyone’s opinion was that wasn't on the ramp in Kodiak waiting for the cloud to lift.
    The engine may be the heart, but the pilot is the soul
    George

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    Quote Originally Posted by akavidflyer View Post
    Ditch the 35s as others have mainly for the reasons stated above. I would venture to say that better than 90% of the cubs that are on 35s fit into the same category as guys with lifted 2 wheel drive trucks on big tires that never get off pavement and guys that have to buy massive diamonds for the fiance.....the bigger the diamond the smaller the love hammer.
    That is so true, seen a lot of cubs with 35s that only go places where you could get by with 8.50’s
    The engine may be the heart, but the pilot is the soul
    George
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  10. #10
    Farmboy's Avatar
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    I’ve spent a lot of time in the northeast with way better pilots than I. And none of them required 35’s, which would be detrimental. If it needed 35’s to go there no one else would, and you probably shouldn’t .

    From a teaching viewpoint, 850’s all the way. Maybe 26’s.


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    Advanced Bush flying needs to be learned alone in your own airplane after an instructor has taught the student to fly the plane. Toughest part is identifying suitable landing sites from the air.
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    gbflyer's Avatar
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    First modification I’d suggest is frontal lobotomy. Hahahaha.

  13. #13
    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    You can teach 80% of what they need to learn on the grass next to any runway. First they need to learn slow controlled flight to a spot they can hit within 25' and be in control on the ground. After that you can add some 12" high flexible rock/orange soccer cones and branch/log pool noodles for obstacles, you can drive over all of the above without damage. Not as exciting as the real thing but the student will get multiple tries at learning and avoiding hazards and you get a plane to wax when you get home. You could set up different obstacles on left and right sides of the runway. Once the basic skills are mastered move out to the real world teaching the other 20%

    Glenn
    Last edited by cubdriver2; 04-11-2021 at 10:57 AM.
    "Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you!"
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    mvivion's Avatar
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    I've said for decades that you can teach a very large percentage of the skills necessary for off airport flying at an airport. In fact, I'd argue that nobody should even think about heading off airport, even with an instructor, until they've really mastered the airplane, and that can be done pretty much anywhere.

    So, teach them the basics: Airspeed control, maneuvering safely, safe operations at relatively low level, smooth and precise flying, etc, etc. Do that wherever.

    Then, really, the off airport stuff becomes mostly site evaluation. As to the flying, you're really not doing much different at an airport if you're operating to the maximum performance of your airplane than if you were working a gravel bar, ridge top, etc.

    So, once the "student" is really up to speed on the flying, as in really up to speed, you take them out and start teaching them how to evaluate potential landing sites.

    Then, and ONLY then, would I take a student onto a true off airport site the first time.

    When I was doing a fair bit of instructing in Alaska, I had a number of "practice sites" that I took students to, once I was comfortable with their flying, meaning I was confident they wouldn't kill me trying to do something stupid. Those "practice sites" were of varying difficulty. So, we started pretty easy, and worked up.

    You'll find that most folks who have not done off airport stuff or restricted area ops will be VERY nervous initially about working even an "easy" spot. But, they can get brave pretty fast, so be careful.

    Oh, and NO solo, like never.

    MTV
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    If you are setting up a school of some sort, consider a stock 85 hp J3 or a PA-18-90.
    My experience is that a good J3 pilot can climb into a Super Cub and fly it solo, but the other way around requires some dual instruction.

    Also note: wannabe bush pilots are driving insurance costs through the roof. I cannot imagine the hull insurance for a school that goes places requiring 35" tires.

    I line up with MTV and Akavid.
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    If you’re going to teach people, dispatch reliability is a big deal. Starting a one-airplane school, I’d make sure it had a multi-point engine analyzer so I could reduce the time spent diagnosing engine problems.

    Also, shoulder harnesses. And maybe a well-written waiver.
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    I'm with Bob and MTV on this one. Find a 90hp supet cub or PA-11 and teach them how to fly the wing on a low-powered, flapless cub. It's too eady to develop bad habits if you always rely on horsepower to bail yourself out of a dicey situation....

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    Quote Originally Posted by redheadcubpilot View Post
    While sitting in the office on weather hold for a couple hours that was a big part of our discussion. Depending on where the flying is there are long gravel bars and beaches that make some good entry to off airport ops. Not necessarily 35 territory, but having that extra floatation might be nice.
    The extra flotation would be nice, but it comes with a price many do not consider. Trying to get that mass of tire moving on touchdown is something that needs attention. If you have been flying tailwheels for a while with different size tire the sudden drag of bigger tires is usually handled by reflex, a new student may not have that reflex built yet. I know pilots that take 35's places I would not routinely take a 31 in bushwheel, so they do have their place. I got a smoking deal on a new set and will try them on new cub when it is done but for now 31's are fine.
    DENNY
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  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by cubdriver2 View Post
    You can teach 80% of what they need to learn on the grass next to any runway. First they need to learn slow controlled flight to a spot they can hit within 25' and be in control on the ground. After that you can add some 12" high flexible rock/orange soccer cones and branch/log pool noodles for obstacles, you can drive over all of the above without damage. Not as exciting as the real thing but the student will get multiple tries at learning and avoiding hazards and you get a plane to wax when you get home. You could set up different obstacles on left and right sides of the runway. Once the basic skills are mastered move out to the real world teaching the other 20%

    Glenn
    Pool noodles and soccer cones is a great idea I hadn’t thought of at. I first learned tailwheel in a J-3 on the grass next to the runway.
    The engine may be the heart, but the pilot is the soul
    George

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    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    I've said for decades that you can teach a very large percentage of the skills necessary for off airport flying at an airport. In fact, I'd argue that nobody should even think about heading off airport, even with an instructor, until they've really mastered the airplane, and that can be done pretty much anywhere.

    So, teach them the basics: Airspeed control, maneuvering safely, safe operations at relatively low level, smooth and precise flying, etc, etc. Do that wherever.

    Then, really, the off airport stuff becomes mostly site evaluation. As to the flying, you're really not doing much different at an airport if you're operating to the maximum performance of your airplane than if you were working a gravel bar, ridge top, etc.

    So, once the "student" is really up to speed on the flying, as in really up to speed, you take them out and start teaching them how to evaluate potential landing sites.

    Then, and ONLY then, would I take a student onto a true off airport site the first time.

    When I was doing a fair bit of instructing in Alaska, I had a number of "practice sites" that I took students to, once I was comfortable with their flying, meaning I was confident they wouldn't kill me trying to do something stupid. Those "practice sites" were of varying difficulty. So, we started pretty easy, and worked up.

    You'll find that most folks who have not done off airport stuff or restricted area ops will be VERY nervous initially about working even an "easy" spot. But, they can get brave pretty fast, so be careful.

    Oh, and NO solo, like never.

    MTV
    When I came to Alaska that’s basically the same methodology they used to train 135 line pilots. Start at the real airport and work your way up to the atv “trail”. All using the same techniques that were taught at an airport.

    Letting someone solo a tailwheel sounds like a good way to go broke.
    The engine may be the heart, but the pilot is the soul
    George
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob turner View Post
    If you are setting up a school of some sort, consider a stock 85 hp J3 or a PA-18-90.
    My experience is that a good J3 pilot can climb into a Super Cub and fly it solo, but the other way around requires some dual instruction.

    Also note: wannabe bush pilots are driving insurance costs through the roof. I cannot imagine the hull insurance for a school that goes places requiring 35" tires.

    I line up with MTV and Akavid.
    Completely understand teaching in the lesser HP, The gentleman I learned floats always said, “master the j-3 with only 85 ponies and one water rudder, then we can talk about flying the super cub”
    The engine may be the heart, but the pilot is the soul
    George

  22. #22
    SJ's Avatar
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    One thing to consider: Cool looking bush planes attract people more than a Citabria on 8:50s. 20 years ago, I put my humble flapless tango cub on 31" tires and it rented non-stop for tailwheel endorsements and other fun stuff. Flash forward, we have a 180HP PA-18 on 31" tires for the work we do here. It kills two birds with one stone - people get to check the backcountry training box and the "cool bushplane" box.

    Before everybody jumps on me, I agree that the skills needed can largely be taught in a 172 - but what fun would that be?

    Regarding the back seat of the super cub? I'm guessing I have about 2000 or more hours back there in all kinds of situations... feels pretty comfy to me!

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJ View Post
    One thing to consider: Cool looking bush planes attract people more than a Citabria on 8:50s. 20 years ago, I put my humble flapless tango cub on 31" tires and it rented non-stop for tailwheel endorsements and other fun stuff. Flash forward, we have a 180HP PA-18 on 31" tires for the work we do here. It kills two birds with one stone - people get to check the backcountry training box and the "cool bushplane" box.

    Before everybody jumps on me, I agree that the skills needed can largely be taught in a 172 - but what fun would that be?

    Regarding the back seat of the super cub? I'm guessing I have about 2000 or more hours back there in all kinds of situations... feels pretty comfy to me!

    sj
    The market ability of an airplane would be for sure a big part to start instructing and attract potential customers. I learned in a ragged out j-3 and citabria. There was definitely no “cool” factor other than learning the new skill of tailwheel.
    The engine may be the heart, but the pilot is the soul
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    Quote Originally Posted by DENNY View Post
    The extra flotation would be nice, but it comes with a price many do not consider. Trying to get that mass of tire moving on touchdown is something that needs attention. If you have been flying tailwheels for a while with different size tire the sudden drag of bigger tires is usually handled by reflex, a new student may not have that reflex built yet. I know pilots that take 35's places I would not routinely take a 31 in bushwheel, so they do have their place. I got a smoking deal on a new set and will try them on new cub when it is done but for now 31's are fine.
    DENNY
    The big drag for sure is something to consider. I was talking with some working cub drivers that fill in at the air taxi about improving my personal skill and the general idea was put some 35s on the cub and spend avgas. Definitely skews my opinion about the concept of teaching others.
    The engine may be the heart, but the pilot is the soul
    George

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    Roger on the tire spinup. We are now instructing on 26" Goodyears - arguably the smallest tires that go with off-airport operations. You can really feel the drag at spin-up, compared to the 8:00x4s.

    Also the big tires affect the trim - no longer have total nose up authority. I personally prefer the smaller tires for instruction, by a wide margin.

    I am not sure about curb appeal - but I am trying to hold it down to one flight a week. I have four this week. I am turning folks down, and have raised the price.

  26. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by bob turner View Post
    Roger on the tire spinup. We are now instructing on 26" Goodyears - arguably the smallest tires that go with off-airport operations. You can really feel the drag at spin-up, compared to the 8:00x4s.

    Also the big tires affect the trim - no longer have total nose up authority. I personally prefer the smaller tires for instruction, by a wide margin.

    I am not sure about curb appeal - but I am trying to hold it down to one flight a week. I have four this week. I am turning folks down, and have raised the price.
    How many hours of instruction are you getting out of a set of 26” Goodyears?
    The engine may be the heart, but the pilot is the soul
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    I am guessing about a hundred. We jacked the price up ten bucks just to cover the rubber loss. I get 300 out of a set of 8:00x4s, and I mostly do touch & goes.

  28. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by bob turner View Post
    I am guessing about a hundred. We jacked the price up ten bucks just to cover the rubber loss. I get 300 out of a set of 8:00x4s, and I mostly do touch & goes.
    100 hours really sucks. Are you landing a lot on pavement?
    The engine may be the heart, but the pilot is the soul
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  29. #29
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    How long have you had those 26" GY's on the airplane, Bob?
    Seems like you were talking aout installing them not all that liong ago.
    100 hours doesn't seem like much for those on a lightweight plane like a Cub--
    even in a round-and-round-the-patch training scenario.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

  30. #30
    Crash, Jr.'s Avatar
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    I think that's just number of hours so far not total number of hours in use.

    My J3 had a set put on sometime in the mid-late 90's and I just sold them with at least half or more of the tread remaining and zero weather checking. 26 Goodyears will last for a LONG time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by redheadcubpilot View Post
    Had a deep discussion about the below idea with a co-worker earlier this week and wanted everyone else’s opinion on the topic.

    Theoretical idea for discussion:

    Opportunity arises to establish a basic, advanced “bush”, and mountain flying tailwheel flight school using a single super cub.

    What consideration/ modifications would you look for when purchasing a super cub with the intent of using it for above outlined instruction?

    My list includes:
    35” bush wheels
    baby bush wheel
    borer prop
    good intercom
    2000 mgw increase
    low time engine/fabric

    I have read through the forum threads on instructing and haven’t seen one exclusively about setting up an aircraft used for instructing.

    Thought it might be a good brainstorming session, thanks
    What percentage of pilots will show up to your school that can land within +-50 feet of a touchdown point when they get there?

    Lots of pilots buying every whizzbang gadget but not willing to put in the time to hone their skills.

    Tim
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  32. #32
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJ View Post
    One thing to consider: Cool looking bush planes attract people more than a Citabria on 8:50s. 20 years ago, I put my humble flapless tango cub on 31" tires and it rented non-stop for tailwheel endorsements and other fun stuff. Flash forward, we have a 180HP PA-18 on 31" tires for the work we do here. It kills two birds with one stone - people get to check the backcountry training box and the "cool bushplane" box.

    Before everybody jumps on me, I agree that the skills needed can largely be taught in a 172 - but what fun would that be?

    Regarding the back seat of the super cub? I'm guessing I have about 2000 or more hours back there in all kinds of situations... feels pretty comfy to me!

    sj

    Steve,
    I don't disagree on all the above. I would point out, however, that not all of us are quite as tall as you are. I've done enough from the back seat of Cubs and in bat blind ahead airplanes that they don't scare me much any more, but believe me, get in the back with a 6 foot 5, 260 pounder with a long torso up front, and you'll generally have no idea what's right out front.

    MTV
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  33. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by behindpropellers View Post
    What percentage of pilots will show up to your school that can land within +-50 feet of a touchdown point when they get there?

    Lots of pilots buying every whizzbang gadget but not willing to put in the time to hone their skills.

    Tim
    I think 25% would be generous of a number that could show up and preform with that accuracy. Spend a couple of hours or more getting there skills honed to be able to land in that 50’ is where most training time will be spent.
    The engine may be the heart, but the pilot is the soul
    George

  34. #34
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    Mike you've flown some of the coolest slow and wet flying machines there are. You should get some back seat Stearman time. You'd be amazed at how quickly you'll adapt to not having any forward visibility. Best view there is is a full slip right down till the wing almost drags in the dirt then peripheral vision is what keeps it straight. Not saying this will help you not run over a log in the bush but you might enjoy a new flying challenge. Back seat expands your tool bag

    Glenm
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  35. #35
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cubdriver2 View Post
    Mike you've flown some of the coolest slow and wet flying machines there are. You should get some back seat Stearman time. You'd be amazed at how quickly you'll adapt to not having any forward visibility. Best view there is is a full slip right down till the wing almost drags in the dirt then peripheral vision is what keeps it straight. Not saying this will help you not run over a log in the bush but you might enjoy a new flying challenge. Back seat expands your tool bag

    Glenm
    Glenn,

    No Stearman time, but a fair bit of back seat time in Pitts S-2s. Probably pretty close, as I noted: Bat blind.

    On the other hand, introducing a Cessna 185 to a newb, equipped with retractable wheel skis, with the hydraulic pump mounted right in the right seater’s leg/foot space, can be a deeply moving religious experience......

    MTV
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    Wanna try blind? Try the front seat of a UPF-7 with a cowled engine (really a ZPF-7).

    I swore that I would never instruct anybody else ever from the front of one of those - yet here I am. Stearman is easy, like a J3. Either seat. Using extreme care with this Waco. Only thing worse has to be the Spirit of St. Louis.

  37. #37
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob turner View Post
    Wanna try blind? Try the front seat of a UPF-7 with a cowled engine (really a ZPF-7).

    I swore that I would never instruct anybody else ever from the front of one of those - yet here I am. Stearman is easy, like a J3. Either seat. Using extreme care with this Waco. Only thing worse has to be the Spirit of St. Louis.
    Did a flight review in front seat of a Waco Taperwing. Not much view from there either. Beautiful machine, though. Fortunately, the owner knew what he was doing.

    MTV

  38. #38
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    Mike if you have S2 time a Stearman wouldn't be problem. Would be fun though

    Glenn
    "Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    Did a flight review in front seat of a Waco Taperwing. Not much view from there either. Beautiful machine, though. Fortunately, the owner knew what he was doing.

    MTV
    Got to sit in the cockpit of a Waco a few years ago and there wasn’t much to see.
    The engine may be the heart, but the pilot is the soul
    George

  40. #40

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    I agree with Glenn and others who have said you can teach the majority of off airport landings from the grass or over a cup of coffee. You can no more “teach” STOL than you can teach someone to play a harmonica. It is something that has to be learned by doing, not taught by doing it over and over and over. I might add it is very expensive to learn. Don Lee in Talkeetna has a training program where he uses Pacers. Of course they won’t do what a super cub will do they are a hell of a lot cheaper. The basics can be taught over coffee and the experience and the perfecting of skills come from experience. Lots and lots of it.

    Fred Potts used to say STOL performance can’t be bought. It has to be earned. I once thought about buying a Helio Courier. Larry Storlie, the insurance rep for Alaska and other west coast locations, who was confident in my off airport experience, told me that Avemco wouldn’t insure Helio Couriers. When I asked why he said everyone who gets in one thinks he’s a bush pilot and expect mericiles without the experience, sort of like a kid in a Corvette who thinks the car makes him a race car driver.

    There is no short cut. There are frequent incidents, and a steep learning curve. And it is expensive.
    Likes Pete Schoeninger, flyboyrv3 liked this post

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