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Ed Cesnalis

in the air, before its ready to fly

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Many (most?) of us do normal takeoffs with an elevated nosewheel. The result is we begin to fly without any additional rotation at the exact moment that the airplane can fly.  Of course this is the point where lift becomes greater than weight.  We mostly get in the air at the slowest possible speed, no more no less.  

How can my CT normally be ready to fly at absolute minimum speed and yet at other times, at a higher speed its not safe, its not ready to fly?  What is or what are the differences.

My CT is 'ready to fly' below 50kts only if the pitch attitude remains low and is controlled and the wings are level with stick into the wind if necessary.

Higher rotation speeds are needed to maintain directional control when you add enough crosswind.

In my humble opinion, in a CT climb is best initiated only after I a couple of seconds of acceleration in the air level and accelerating.

In conclusion I contend, absent strongish crosswind my CT can't fly before its ready but it sure can climb before its ready.  

I hope my thinking is clarifying for others.

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3 hours ago, Ed Cesnalis said:

couple of seconds of acceleration in the air level and accelerating.

No one taught me that precise instruction, but that is exactly what I do.  The acceleration to mid 60’s knots after leveling out is quick and in my opinion provides a good envelope of safety during the critical leave the airport, gain more speed ASAP transition  Good post Ed.

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Ed - that is spot on commentary on every point.  Being on turf an elevated nosewheel is the norm for me, and balance the acceleration / rate of climb with ever increasing speed, with the crosswind factor being a major element of the safety margin adder.

For all here who have primarily flown CT's, or have not been in an older GA ride in while, this "sporty high performing CT" has us sort of spoiled as well as perhaps forgetting how sluggish the older aircraft are.  Those who don't have as many hours in type may find themselves surprised by the snappy performance?  My old 150 required much longer ground effect / airspeed building phase once the wheels broke free.  But it's very important to keep in mind CT's are light weight and venerable to wind and such in these first moments of flight.

I've watched enough videos on twins and jets to understand rotation technique for these type, and believe I understand why as well (performance).  I have opinion that flying a single with neutral controls on take off, watching the airspeed to a number, then rotating to take off is a bad technique - but may be biased having more soft field operations.

 

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1 hour ago, AGLyme said:

No one taught me that precise instruction, but that is exactly what I do.  The acceleration to mid 60’s knots after leveling out is quick and in my opinion provides a good envelope of safety during the critical leave the airport, gain more speed ASAP transition  Good post Ed.

Most airports are comfortable for aircraft that need more room than we need.  As long as this is the case I accelerate to a higher speed than that.  Here at the beach I like 80kts.  I like  initiating climb and cleaning up at the same time.  At Mammoth with 7,000' runway and not obstacles I like to initiable climb at 90kts or above.  I like your numbers of mid 60's for shorter fields with obstacles.

I think climbing away already with reflex flaps is the most elegant way to depart.

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Ed, youre right.  I do the same thing too.  These planes have such a strong throttle response it spoils us on takeoff and landings.

One thing I noticed when I was at Stick and Rudder in July was how much coordinated controls made a difference in takeoff and landing speeds.  Even with controls a little bit out it was a few knots.

I saw a great video by About 2 stall on YouTube that goes over how they tested VG's on a kitfox and how it changed the stall break.  Basically the angle of attack goes higher than before and the stall break is more abrupt.  You can tell it scared the 💩 out of the guy. 

If you do a Vx takeoff and stall the stick has to go forward farther to recover which can be hard to do well.

Backcountry182 did a video on a takeoff engine out/return to airstrip demo and showed the same thing.  He has a STOL kit with VG's.

Really made me think.  I had talked to FDUSA about getting them approved and decided against that after watching those videos.  I decided these planes are sporty enough for me.

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1 hour ago, GrassStripFlyBoy said:

Ed - that is spot on commentary on every point.  Being on turf an elevated nosewheel is the norm for me, and balance the acceleration / rate of climb with ever increasing speed, with the crosswind factor being a major element of the safety margin adder.

For all here who have primarily flown CT's, or have not been in an older GA ride in while, this "sporty high performing CT" has us sort of spoiled as well as perhaps forgetting how sluggish the older aircraft are.  Those who don't have as many hours in type may find themselves surprised by the snappy performance?  My old 150 required much longer ground effect / airspeed building phase once the wheels broke free.  But it's very important to keep in mind CT's are light weight and venerable to wind and such in these first moments of flight.

I've watched enough videos on twins and jets to understand rotation technique for these type, and believe I understand why as well (performance).  I have opinion that flying a single with neutral controls on take off, watching the airspeed to a number, then rotating to take off is a bad technique - but may be biased having more soft field operations.

 

Yes, on turf this technique is a no-brainer.  We don't need our nose wheels bouncing along on take off roll.  We sure don't need them going into the slightest hole with weight on them.

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7 minutes ago, okent said:

Ed, youre right.  I do the same thing too.  These planes have such a strong throttle response it spoils us on takeoff and landings.

One thing I noticed when I was at Stick and Rudder in July was how much coordinated controls made a difference in takeoff and landing speeds.  Even with controls a little bit out it was a few knots.

I saw a great video by About 2 stall on YouTube that goes over how they tested VG's on a kitfox and how it changed the stall break.  Basically the angle of attack goes higher than before and the stall break is more abrupt.  You can tell it scared the 💩 out of the guy. 

If you do a Vx takeoff and stall the stick has to go forward farther to recover which can be hard to do well.

Backcountry182 did a video on a takeoff engine out/return to airstrip demo and showed the same thing.  He has a STOL kit with VG's.

Really made me think.  I had talked to FDUSA about getting them approved and decided against that after watching those videos.  I decided these planes are sporty enough for me.

You have a really great point and I'm in agreement.  Here at the beach I had to relearn how to get these things to come down.  That led to flying final in a partially stalled condition to get a steep angle.  Boy does that work well and its easy to speed up a little as you get close.  The down side is that at 40kts it takes a long time to fly final.

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My opinion is the CTSW has a noticeable response to ground effect.  If one rotates such that one "pulls it off" in ground effect when one is a dozen or more feet in the air and out of ground effect the airplane will seem draggy and sluggish and make one want to put the nose down.  

I'm used to flying off grass in the summer.  I, too, keep the nosewheel light and I also relax the back pressure as soon as the mains come off so I gain airspeed in ground effect before climbing.  I usually want to be off the ground as soon as the airplane has lift because then I can crab into the wind and the gear is not subject to ruts or side loading with it's attendant propensity to drift off the centerline.

As a glider pilot who must demonstrate the ability to return to the airfield from a rope-break at 200', altitude is a consideration to me.  I like to get high quickly so if I have an engine failure I have the option to return to the runway.  Neither my grass strip or the town strip has really good "land straight ahead" options so having the altitude to return safely is important to me.  I have a tendency to stay at +15 and 0 flaps longer than others do because angle of climb is more important than rate of climb.  One must balance this with the Rotax injunction to keep RPM at 5200 or more, which suggests keeping the nose down.  These two goals of altitude and RPM conflict so one has to try for a very small sweet spot to attain both.

 

 

 

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Ed, 40 kias on final must mean you are strongly on the back side of the power curve.  I come into my uphill grass strip in the high 40's and want to be seeing 46-47 just before touchdown (when I have better things to look at than the ASI :) ).  I'm usually at 40° on my grass strip landing.  My usual flap setting for landing otherwise is 30° or sometimes 15°.  I carry either no or just barely above idle power.  What flap and power settings are you using on your steep approaches?

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13 minutes ago, Jim Meade said:

Ed, 40 kias on final must mean you are strongly on the back side of the power curve.  I come into my uphill grass strip in the high 40's and want to be seeing 46-47 just before touchdown (when I have better things to look at than the ASI :) ).  I'm usually at 40° on my grass strip landing.  My usual flap setting for landing otherwise is 30° or sometimes 15°.  I carry either no or just barely above idle power.  What flap and power settings are you using on your steep approaches?

Jim, I use 30 or 40 and prefer 30 throttle closed.  Starting final high and more than a mile out gives a lot of time to get the feel.  I am holding a lot of backpressure as my trim runs out before this slow speed.  Releasing a little back pressure gets me back to the front side of the power curve in an instant.  When the lights tell me I'm above glide slope I can use this mush/stall till I see I'm back on.

At this point I don't mind doing pattern turns with full rudder slip but If I mush stall in I'm only doing it on final.  adding 90 degree left turns might not be a hot idea.

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The C-182 at the one minute mark in this video is sort of a good visual for what we've been kicking around, this is some very extreme flying - cranks flaps and yanks yoke, but still shows how you can make a plane take off but far from being in a good situation for continued flight / climbing.

Wasilla STOL Flyin (What is STOL Candy?) - YouTube

 

 

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Density altitude and weight in the airplane have strong effects on takeoff speed.  Think about your weight and atmospheric conditions before you start any takeoff roll.  It can be a 10kt difference and really affects when you should apply control inputs to rotate.  " Hot & heavy" with the stick back at "cool & light" speeds will leave you rolling down the runway a long distance with the nose up and poor directional control.  This might be okay on grass in light winds, but not on a long paved runway with gusty winds.

 

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9 minutes ago, FlyingMonkey said:

Density altitude and weight in the airplane have strong effects on takeoff speed.  Think about your weight and atmospheric conditions before you start any takeoff roll.  It can be a 10kt difference and really affects when you should apply control inputs to rotate.  " Hot & heavy" with the stick back at "cool & light" speeds will leave you rolling down the runway a long distance with the nose up and poor directional control.  This might be okay on grass in light winds, but not on a long paved runway with gusty winds.

 

Rolling with an elevated nose wheel removes all calculations RE take-off speed. Weight and conditions are automatically adjusted for.  As I said in the opening post this method allows you to depart the ground at the lowest speed possible.  There is no stick back at the wrong speed here, get it to mild back pressure  sufficient to raise the nose wheel slightly by 30kts.  I only subject my CT to paved runways and find this quite useful even with gusty winds.  The exception being a crosswind that will skid you sideways if you rollout with nosewheel elevated.

On a long paved runway with gusty winds this technique solves the problem.  Take off rolls are 5 seconds, begin in a calm window and in 5 seconds you can now get gusted from any direction and be good.  Even tail gusts because you are busy accelerating in ground effect getting quickly past the vulnerable speed.  An instant Vx climb instead gets you quickly exposed without margin.

This morning I accelerated to numbers on the departure end and only then initiated climb at well above 100kts.  :) 

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25 minutes ago, Ed Cesnalis said:

The exception being a crosswind that will skid you sideways if you rollout with nosewheel elevated.

 

That's what I meant,  you can get in a situation with inadequate rudder for directional control.

I do 75% of my operations from grass, so I'm applying your method most of the time.  :)  Just pointing out that there is no "one size fits all" technique for all conditions.

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6 hours ago, Jim Meade said:

Ed, 40 kias on final must mean you are strongly on the back side of the power curve.  I come into my uphill grass strip in the high 40's and want to be seeing 46-47 just before touchdown (when I have better things to look at than the ASI :) ).  I'm usually at 40° on my grass strip landing.  My usual flap setting for landing otherwise is 30° or sometimes 15°.  I carry either no or just barely above idle power.  What flap and power settings are you using on your steep approaches?

Jim, one thing to remember is that Ed flies his airplane pretty light.  I have a spreadsheet that calculates V speeds based on weight of the airplane and if he is coming at his typical low fuel and just himself then 40 knots indicated is right on the edge of stall speed at 30 degrees of flaps.(I don't have numbers for 40 degrees on my CTLSi)

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1 hour ago, Ed Cesnalis said:

This morning I accelerated to numbers on the departure end and only then initiated climb at well above 100kts

I did the same this evening... took off with zero flaps, went flat... hit 85k... then a steep climb.  Felt like SpaceX for a brief moment.  CT is an amazing plane.  

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17 minutes ago, AGLyme said:

I did the same this evening... took off with zero flaps, went flat... hit 85k... then a steep climb.  Felt like SpaceX for a brief moment.  CT is an amazing plane.  

At altitude I have done zoom climbs by accelerating to about 110-120kt, then pitching up into a 30°+ climb, and hit 2750fpm climb rate.  Try it sometime, it's a blast.  Just pull the stick back smoothly, no need to honk it back; shouldn't need to really pull g and in fact that will cause drag to skyrocket and hurt the climb performance.

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And for bonus fun, work on chandelle type sharp 180 degree turns at the top, was doing some of them a couple months back and really enjoyed cranking it around and back down returning opposite direction.  This is where having the EFIS with G meter & alarms is a nice thing too.

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16 minutes ago, GrassStripFlyBoy said:

And for bonus fun, work on chandelle type sharp 180 degree turns at the top

Geez, I just started landing on grass and learning short field... and you guys are climbing @2,750'/min and performing chandelles.. wow.  I need to get a go pro or iphone holder to aim at the panel, I forgot to look at the climb rate. 

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3 hours ago, GrassStripFlyBoy said:

And for bonus fun, work on chandelle type sharp 180 degree turns at the top, was doing some of them a couple months back and really enjoyed cranking it around and back down returning opposite direction.  This is where having the EFIS with G meter & alarms is a nice thing too.

That's my safety escape maneuver.   I might pitch up 60degrees and completely run out of energy.  At that weightless moment coordinated full rudder and same side aileron input and my CT switches ends in no space at all.  The recover is a bit inverted.  The CT is well behaved, the nose just falls thru and seeks the ground.  If canyon flying just do it at 95 kts and you always have this escape in your pocket.

 

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I was taught a similar maneuver at Stick and Rudder this summer.  No pitch up (simulated low ceiling situation in a box canyon). 

Just slow down and do a 1 G wing drop with a 180 back down the canyon.  Surprisingly easy and you can turn on a dime with very little loss of altitude.

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An excellent example of pulling a CT off the runway before it's ready to fly can be seen in the video of the crash at Monument Valley airport during the last  Fly-in.  A trailing Xwind, moderately high altitude, elevated temperature.  If one is a "Flatlander" flier, this video provides a great lesson for "not flying before it's time".  Due to the altitude and trailing Xwind, and maybe due to the pilot not used to flying in these conditions, he was fooled by the rapid movement of the runway going by as he accelerated.  Although the runway was telling him his CT was ready to fly, the plane didn't have enough airspeed to generate enough lift to do so.  He pulled the CT off the runway before it was ready to fly.  Here, Ed's comment applies: "In conclusion I contend.......my CT can't fly before its ready but it sure can climb before its ready."   IMO, the general consensus of those posting here, and mine too, is to accelerate with just enough back pressure on the stick to allow the nose to lift.  Continue to allow the CT to build speed in this attitude until the plane lifts from the runway on it's own.  Release back pressure and allow the speed to build while in ground effect until achieving 60+ kts or until application of back pressure shows the plane is ready to climb.  Note: I do not fault the pilot who crashed.  "But for the grace of God go I", on numerous occasions during my relatively short history of being a pilot.

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