Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Raising the bar on a history of quality, performance, handling and comfort
"The steering system and nosewheel," Tarola continued, "are completely redesigned. It's less 'nervous.'" Yet even though steering is less touchy, the turning radius is smaller than more recent SportStar editions. Sensitivity also is ground adjustable. I particularly liked the new rudder/toe brake-pedal assembly. The toe plates are GA-familiar, and bring immediate confidence during taxiing and braking: It's as pleasurable and effective as any tricycle LSA I've driven around.
Pedals adjust to three positions, but can also be hard mounted in one of three locations for quite a range of fit. The pilot and copilot pedals also have more room between.
In music, harmony is most fully appreciated in full-audio fidelity. Likewise, the Harmony aircraft is best enjoyed in its home environment, the sky, so let's go!
Taxiing is a breeze. Takeoff tracking down the runway and liftoff are effortless. Handling of the airplane in flight is smooth and response immediate, thanks to pushrod controls for pitch and roll. And the redesigned, tapered wing (wider span, same wing area) and increased aileron length contribute to a noticeably faster turn rate. In less than three seconds, we saw 45 degrees to 45 degrees.
I found roll pressures somewhat firmer than, say, a Remos GX, but hardly objectionable—Cessna and Piper pilots will feel right at home. Control feel is solid and proportional, and the airplane carves turns with little rudder required. Pitch forces balance nicely with roll feel, which makes cruising around the sky very...harmonious!
The elevator and rudder also are upsized, extending better control authority into the stall regime. "That also increases crosswind capability," said Tarola. "I've landed in well over 20 knots direct crosswind with no trouble." For any LSA, that's no mean feat.
My host talked me through slow-flight and stall demonstrations. Right at stall, we essentially hung the plane on its prop, and could still drive around with plenty of control authority. The Harmony earns its name, never dropping a wing or giving nasty surprises. Both departure (power on) and approach (power off) stalls were truly nominal.
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