Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Husky Dawn Patrol

Aviat’s new Husky and the Northern Idaho backcountry make a perfect pair

Shock absorbers act independently to dampen the spring-back on each landing-gear leg, resulting in less bounce and better crosswind handling.
The gross-weight increase really began with Aviat's redesign of the Husky's wing in 2007. Along with giving the Husky a respectable roll rate and spade-less ailerons, Aviat's engineers also began structural testing on every component on the airplane—a process that took the team well into 2009. To maintain the Husky's "overbuilt" structural integrity with the gross-weight increase, Aviat added about six pounds of structural modification, yielding a net 44 pounds of useful load. Rather than just tack on more pounds to the gross weight numbers, Aviat reengineered the structure to increase the weight capability safely. The A-1C model is also certified for a tow hook.

Those of us who have landed a Husky poorly know the model's propensity to hop, especially with tundra tires and on asphalt because of poor technique. It's certainly not a difficult airplane to land, but we noobs can easily plop it on and induce some cringe-worthy bouncing. Horn and his engineering team decided to breed that out of the airplane, making it friendly to even the greenest sticks.

Husky takes the lead in paint schemes with new colors, matching interiors and various graphics options.
"During a firm landing, the gear splays out and stretches the bungees," explains Horn. "Like a rubber band, the bungees and gear spring back and create the potential for a hop or bounce." In a move that's simply genius, the team fitted each side of the gear with a special shock absorber to dampen the spring-back. The shock absorbs the spring of the gear much like it does road bumps on a car. "They act like wishbone suspension," adds Horn, "and in a crosswind, they absorb much of the sideload if you land a bit sideways, keeping you on the runway."

I got to feel the shocks in action on a particularly lousy turn on Sandpoint's paved runway. Flaring too high, the Husky obeyed my stick and came down firmly on its marshmallow-y tundra tires. I was expecting the usual big bounce and accompanying red face, but the new Husky just stayed on the runway, making me look like I knew exactly what I was doing. Kudos, Stu.

The new A-1C will handle up to 35-inch tundra tires, up from 31 inches on older models. This year adds some exciting interior options, too. In keeping with Aviat's vision of a more cosmopolitan aircraft, the Husky now comes with an array of interior options that include leather and cloth seat materials with different stitching options and matching sticks, as well as LED map lights and an oversized map case.

Labels: Piston Singles


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