Saturday, May 7, 2011

Citabria Training

If I hadn't learned how to be humble before, there's a Citabria 7ECA with MicroVG's that's teaching me now.

There's a world of difference between aiming a PA-12 with tundra tires, upgraded engine, powerflo exhaust, flaps, Atlee Dodge extended landing gear, and a whole bunch of other mods around the sky, and finessing an underpowered sleek little aerobatic aircraft onto and off the runway.

No matter how good I can make a Cessna look, or how I'm able to manage in a supercub, this airplane - if you're trimmed out and you lean forward, she'll descend. If you are the slightest bit fast, she'll float forever, and with the faintest breath of crosswind, she'll unstick her upwind wing. But she doesn't have the power to climb quickly away from those trees at the end of the strip - you have to keep her down in ground effect and build up speed.

Four hours in her, and I haven't managed a landing yet that I'm happy with. She's so responsive she seems twitchier than a squirrel on crack, and doesn't believe in being forgiving. Toes and fingertips, or I'm overcontrolling and she's darting about like a small tropical fish caught in a feeding frenzy. It's not the plane, it's me. She's a beauty, a fine thing, and as difficult and demanding as many a beautiful thing is - but if you want to maneuver in the sky like a swallow in an updraft, if you're pilot enough, she'll fly her heart out.

If I learn to fly this girl, my newly restored Taylorcraft (Should be doing the test flights this weekend!) ought to be a fine, easy, forgiving lady by comparison. (Except on speed. You give a T-crate an extra knot, and she'll show you just how much extra flying she can do in ground effect.)

You don't want to see any video of me in the Citabria - well, maybe you would, right there on "Pilot Bloopers! Best of youtube!" - but for anyone who's tried to master keeping the ball centered and the rudders alive, here's a short video of a guy getting into a T-6 for a flight. Be warned, as it contains guys teasing each other, there's fun made of his music choices and a few coarse words traded on the ground - but the in-cockpit video of the rudders, trim, gear, and instrument panel as he lands are awesome.

Terrible Texan: Think Toes & Fingertips


  1. LOL- yep, he was 'chasing' it a bit there... But you are right, learn on the 7DCA, and the T-Craft will be an 'easy' one to fly!

  2. Video Want!

    "squirrel on crack" - awesome description. :)

    (wv - "foocat" Seriously. "foocat"
    Blogger rules)

  3. Sounds like I'm missing all the fun. "squirrel on crack" ... heh. Jenny, if you get the video - hang on to it. I wanta see!