Sunday, April 1, 2007
The Huskier Husky
An old friend with a bigger engine
|The first flight in a new airplane is exciting, even when it’s an old friend with a bigger engine. I had flown Huskies many times, but never the new 200 hp Aviat Husky A-1B-200, and as I started to throttle up, I was watching the edge of the runway for any indication that the airplane was trying to turn; it wasn’t. Also, I had a plan: I was going to do a standard Husky three-point, short-field takeoff rather than lifting the tail in the normal manner. What’s the fun in flying an airplane with a big motor if you’re not going to go for the gusto?|
As we turned final for our first landing, I again found one of the items on the Husky that has always bothered me, the bungee trim—and I’m certain I’m not alone. Rather than the trim running an actual trim tab, the wheel simply biases pressure on a set of bungees that push or pull on the elevator-actuating tube. No one at Aviat likes the system any better than the customers do, but, when certifying the Husky, the FAA demanded a dual-trim system and this is what they came up with.
The net result of the trim design is that you’re always fighting the bungees. If you trim it up on downwind and chop the power for landing, the trim is “about” right for the 60 mph you want over the fence, but only “about” right, and when landing the airplane the first few times, that causes a minor irritation.
You want 60 mph over the fence and not two mph more than that or the airplane will float like crazy. I don’t fly Huskies often enough to master the trim requirements right into the flare so I’m always a few mph too fast and, therefore, have enough float that I can’t hit the point I want. The very last part of final and flare is best done with a hand down by your left thigh constantly cranking the trim back, but if you’re fast to begin with, it isn’t easy. Indeed, it was painfully obvious that I needed more practice.
Ground control after touchdown is, again, hardly worth discussing. It’s moving so slowly that, as long as you don’t have dead feet, you’d have to switch your brain to the “off” position to have problems. If there’s a big gust spread, the gusts make the airplane want to balloon, but that’s just part of flying a lightly wing-loaded airplane. Super short rollouts are also part of flying a light airplane. The POH lists a 398-foot ground roll at gross, and we can verify that.
I truly love the Husky, but I’d give anything to see how much easier the airplane would be to fly on final if it had about 15 degrees more flap (it has 30 degrees), so that they could generate more drag, and if it had a different trim system (or an electric top-hat trim switch on the stick).
A point worth mentioning is that the Husky is probably one of the better-detailed airplanes being built today, but don’t let all that finesse fool you. This is a working bird. Put some 8.50 x 6’s on it and bring it home with mud streaks on the bottom of the wings. That’s what it’s made for.
To learn more about the Aviat Husky A-1B-200, visit Aviat Aircraft’s Website, www.aviataircraft.com, or call (307) 885-3151.
SPECS: 2006 Aviat Husky A-1B-200