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Blackie

CTLS Transition Training for New LSA Pilots

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My flying club just purchased a 2010 Flight Design CTLS. I'm the chief pilot and head flight instructor for the club thus its my job to give transition training to the club pilots.  The club owns a Piper Archer PA28-181 and a Rockwell Commander (AC11) 114 and most of the pilots want to transition into the CTLS.  Most of them are relatively low time pilots however some have thousands of hours.  We even have a 17,000 hour airline pilot. I've created a quiz on the operations of the CTLS so they will have an understanding of the performance and weight and balance characteristics of the CTLS. And I plan on a short ground school to go over all the quiz material and questions.  I'm looking for some guidance on what would be an average amount of flight time needed for competency.  I know some pilots will need less time and some will need more time.  I was thinking 3 to 5 hours initially.  What do you all think?

Blackie

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Greetings Blackie, I'm a member of the EAA chapter 13 at Ray where club is basing this plane - was pleased to see this addition to the fleet, should generate lots of interest.  I'm an owner of a CT and have thoughts to help guide you, perhaps a call would be easier to talk things over instead of a lengthy exchange here.  I can be reached 586 876-7071, Regards - Darrell

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I was a new pilot, unless you want to count the 120 hours from 37 years ago.  The unofficial "suggested" transition in my experience is 10 hours.  I requested more because I wasn't quite there with the landings.  I did 17 transition hours.  I have about 140 hours on the CTLS now and still learn things every day.

If I had to do my training all over again, I would focus on the following:

1) landing,

2) Pattern tightness,

3) landing

4) Flaps management (precision "up" while climbing out for ex, and, short field takeoffs)

5) landing

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And on this topic, simple things such as ground handling is very important aspect of these aircraft, you would not want to have a tow bar on the front and a bunch of guys thinking they can just yank them around like the GA planes.  The nose wheel / strut assembly is not made for the same "normal to a pilot" routines in these Flight Designs.  There are several items such as this proper ground handling the members need to come up to speed around.  Same sorts of topics on the Rotax 912, nothing difficult just some basic items that will need to be communicated around differences between the traditional GA mindset.

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3 hours ago, GrassStripFlyBoy said:

tow bar on the front

Very good advice D.  I haven't used my tow bar in ages.  I push using the door jams or the tail.  If I had a club however (different users, different habits), I would probably want the tow bar used as a standard.

Preflight considerations:

1) look for coolant spots under the Rotax on cold mornings (search the strings there is ample info on here to review)

2) Fortunately, one can see most of the rod ends on the plane, except way up in the flaps mixer (seen from the baggage compartment with a flash light), and in the tunnel.  With that said, the 2 rod ends that attach to the steering brace on the front wheel are important check points too and I knew a guy who never thought to check those.

3) if you have main wheel spats, check the machined screws on the inboard side holding spats on, and, the 2 screws (one on each side of the plane) on the outboard side of the wheel... mine came loose once.    Again, solid info on this site dealing with that.

 

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3 hours ago, Blackie said:

Thanks for the replies guys, keep em coming if you think of anything else. 

Blackie, 

Good talking earlier today.  There are so many little things to note on these airplanes, and this forum is a treasure of knowledge.  Here's another nugget - the LS's have the fuel tank cap rings epoxied in place, so when fueling if the nozzle is allowed to stress this interface bad things can happen from developing leaks to full blown popping out.   And the carbon fiber skins w/ foam core can be dented easily in this surrounding area, so fuel with high care.  These airplanes are surprising in how stout some aspects of the design are, and yet delicate in other ways.

Maybe some of the guys around here who operate them as rentals would have some lessons learned on these notes.

Beyond check out, I'd be thinking about how does a pilot interface with the airplane and such, and educating for the long term care of what you all own.

Also - looking at the picture in the chapter newsletter it appears the plane has the smaller tires.  There are lots of threads on tires & tubes, be ahead of that and use these: 

13x5.00-6 (4.00-6) Aero Classic Heavy Duty Aircraft Tube Tr-87 (desser.com)

Anything less than these tubes on the mains will let you down, if these are not noted in log book swap them out soon.  All the pattern work this plane will be seeing will expose weaker tubes.  Probably not a major risk, but you won't find these on the shelf locally and will stink to have the bird down on trinket stuff.  Watch the air pressure, you don't want low PSI on these smaller tires, and some extra pressure is prudent.

image.png.15cae23667c2e51f1ca018cf62c9dc55.png

I hear club has A&P / IA.  If they need to come up to speed on 912 the Rotax this is good stuff.  Rotax-Owner.com - Home (rotax-owner.com) 

Maintenance items are frequently found here:  Leading Edge Air Foils - ROTAX Engines Parts & Services - Maintenance, Overhaul, Repair  Chicago land so ships to us quick, don't buy the Tempest filters so prevalent on GA engines, stick with Rotax, same price.

As you're flying this winter if you don't know about the aluminum tape on radiator for "winter operation" to bring up oil temp quicker, and fly well into the green, lets talk further on that note.  Prolonged idle to warm up oil in these 20F degree days is not healthy on engine.

As these airplanes don't have differential breaking pilots can push hard on one peddle trying to force ever bit in a taxi turn.  I'm not familiar with this leading to any issues, but puts more force back into the seat structure as well as makes stress in your legs - certainly an ergonomic pilot comfort matter.  I've learned to dip a foot under the peddle coming aft and use a push/pull with just the feet to achieve a full turn, more comfortable too.  Little tips like setting the parking brake to 'ON' before pulling the brake lever (it's a one way valve), so you don't have to hold the brake lever with one hand set the valve with other.

The forum needs to extract all the tribal knowledge we've developed here into the "Complete Works of Owning, Maintaining & Flying a Flight Design", it's probably a volume collection.  I hear Morgan Freeman flies, maybe he'd do the audio podcast... 

 

 

 

 

 

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Blackie something to consider is an initial limitation based on wind conditions.  When I transitioned to my CT I had an initial crosswind limitation of 5 knots and gust limitation of 8 knots.  Most of the problems with the CT are runway excursions so limiting the wind exposure would be my suggestion.

Something like 3-5 hours to checkout and then wind limitations for the remainder up to 10.  I do think the first 10 hours are critical.

Control inputs are so light it just takes some time to get used to it coming from other airplanes.(similar to flying a helicopter)

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Also drop in landings during a crosswind with damage to the landing gear were common early on. They are great flying airplanes, but they are likely different from most any airplane that you have flown before. Not in a bad way, just different. It will be kind of like the jump from the Archer to the Commander, but different. You will have to think ahead like with a complex airplane, but you can't fly it like the heavier airplanes.

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Tom raises a good point. Light planes have low inertia and this catches many GA pilots out, you need to flare lower and fly all the way to the ground. 

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The Avweb video and article about the LSA accident rate is a pretty good primer for people who are going to transition. I think a lot of the accidents are attributed to pilots coming from larger aircraft.

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22 hours ago, Chris S. said:

LSA accident rate is a pretty good primer for people who are going to transition.

I follow the gyro market, which has experienced a ton of crashes.  Root cause?  You guessed it... conversion training.  Gyro, Light Sport, Tailwheel, Sea Plane, ski Plane... all "different" and all take conversion training which doesn't just magically switch on and all is well... like anything, it takes time to be legitimately proficient, doesn't matter the number of hours flown in a Bonanza or 747... 

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You're welcome to take a look at what I used for a transition syllabus when I was training folks in and renting out my CTSW.  It's built assuming the pilot has no CTSW time and further presses a bit into "rusty pilot" territory; as always the instructor can use his judgement to pick and choose what he wants to use in it.  While the time it takes is about 8 hours, many folks can run through it in less time but I had a 5 hour minimum because that matched up with what I trained with and met the insurance requirements at the time.  You might find it helpful to see if it hints at some area you haven't already thought of.  The transition syllabus is on page 71.  : http://www.theandyzone.com/flight/cfisp/AF_LSA_Syllabus.pdf.

While I understand the crosswind limitation approach, I think that has to be left up to the instructor and don't agree with it as a matter of policy except at the demonstrated crosswind limit for the aircraft. A school at another airport used that with a Skycatcher with a 5 knot crosswind limit, and one of their  newly certficated LSA pilots came to me to check out in a Remos on a moderate crosswind day.  He didn't handle it well and so I logged what we had done and told him I felt his crosswind technique needed work before I would give sign him off as "checked out".  He had never flown in anything higher than 5 knots.  The school hadn't done the guy any favors by releasing him that way nor will it help anyone involved on the day he hauls the airplane out on a cross-country with blue sky in front of him and a 10 knot crosswind on takeoff.

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Yes, my thoughts on crosswind should have included that the instructor is the final authority as to limitations.

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On 2/2/2021 at 7:04 PM, GrassStripFlyBoy said:

don't buy the Tempest filters so prevalent on GA engines, stick with Rotax, same price.

I had not heard about Tempest filters before.  What is the issue?

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Tempest are fine for Lycoming and Continental.  For Rotax my view is stick with the OEM brand, given the 270 rotation installation technique and no safety wire, as well as the construction of filter media and bypass relief pressure.  No cost penalty staying with OEM, there is no gain and all risk is using aftermarket filter. 

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Is it wise to change it urgently?  I have about 20 hours on the Tempest. That’s what it had when I purchased the airplane so the engine has at least 70 hours with Tempest. Also, it does safety wire. Expense was not my objective, just keeping the same parts they used in the past.

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