Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Allegro LSA: Fly, She Said

All dressed up or ready to work, Allegro makes you honest

Although using feminine pronouns to talk about objects has been politically incorrect for decades, the Allegro LSA can, and will, act every bit the classic scorned woman if you don't treat her—I mean it—right. Act the ham-handed, cement-footed doofus at the controls, and you're sleeping on the couch tonight, brother!

That singular personality, posits my 11,000-hour Allegro CFI Ross Kennedy, makes the Allegro an ideal trainer. "I teach students to treat this airplane like a lady," he says. "If you argue with her, she'll argue back. Pilots should treat her nice and gentle." So, if I acted a bit of the Blind Date From Hell during my initial turn at the Allegro's controls, I can be forgiven: The airplane, though wonderfully light, balanced and responsive, readily exhibits what Kennedy describes as "textbook adverse yaw."

That yaw was clearly evident when I racked the left wing down with my dancing feet firmly planted on the floor. The nose swung sharply right a good 15 degrees before yawing back into alignment with the turn. This "adversity" seemed even stronger than in the J3 Cub I fly. Welcome back to Studentville.

The lesson: We're always beginners in a new airplane. Each new model deserves our heightened attention and respect. Insurance stats suggest that high-time pilots who boorishly assume they can whirl a new LSA around the skies without transition time sometimes get their faces slapped—hard.

The Voyager model of the Allegro comes equipped with an MGL Voyager EFIS, Garmin radio and transponder; the Executive model features two Dynon SkyView synthetic vision panels plus a Garmin G500.
"This is a rudder-dominant airplane," said Kennedy. "It has a light feel to it, though. You just think the direction you want to go." Indeed, once I lightened up on the controls to treat the lady properly, I could only nod in agreement: Allegro smiled as we waltzed smoothly through clear Florida skies.

The aircraft has a comfortable cockpit, too: The seat supports well under one's thigh for a slightly reclined attitude. Visibility is excellent: Eye level rests three to four inches under the wing bottom for my 5'11" height. The side windows belly out a bit for a good downward-viewing angle. And the tinted windscreen rises back for a straight-up/high-bank angle view through the top. Cool.

But comfortable as it may be, don't yank this dancer around. After a few mild Dutch rolls, I hurried into another bank, and Kennedy instructed me to feed in more rudder. "Just relax...relax...let the Force flow through you," he joked. "You've just discovered my teaching technique. Gentle handling does it. I fly it a lot with my pinky finger." Because Allegro demands good rudder technique, Ross finds his students jump into other birds and fly them well, though they don't take longer to complete the sport pilot course.


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