Monday, October 1, 2007
Flying Patty Wagstaff’s “girly” Extra 300S
|There I sat as the consequence of a misunderstanding, watching the ground drop away at a satisfyingly rapid rate. I anticipated a high nose attitude, but still underestimated and had to keep pulling back on the stick—even while setting the throttle and prop to “25 squared” out of concern for the noise-sensitive airport neighbors. I tried to hold 90 knots and reached the end of the 5,000-foot-long runway passing through 1,100 AGL. And the plane wasn’t even trying!|
Flight Two: Subjective Handling Review
The second flight was less formal; its purpose was to get a subjective feel for the control, handling and authority of this bad girl. But first a baseline comparison was necessary, so it was off to fly the Pitts. I chose a simple sequence that was also familiar—the 2006 IAC Sportsman Knowns:
• Shark’s tooth
• One-turn upright spin
• Reverse shark’s tooth
• Slow roll
• Half-Cuban eight
• Two-point slow roll
• Aerobatic turn, 270
This sequence normally required around 1,000 feet to fly in the S2A, the big loser being the spin—no way to make up the altitude once the little biplane was through that. On the other hand, it didn’t cost more altitude after the spin, either.
Again flying at less than full throttle (25-squared, I believe), the Extra showed her “overpowered” side by gaining back the altitude lost in the spin and then gaining a bit more. The maneuvers felt easier and less rushed, even though the increased speed gobbled up the box faster than the S2A. Years ago, Patty told me about her first Extra 230. She said flying monoplanes after biplanes seemed like “moving through a fluid,” making things effortless and maintaining energy throughout figures. I certainly found that to be true of the 300S.
The time in the vertical was sublime. Not only did the airplane have much better vertical penetration than the Pitts, but it possessed a much superior “hang time” as well. The pitch control across the tops, even in the tight shark’s tooth, was more than adequate. The roll rate off the Immelmann was quick and crisp. The loop was large, the hammerhead delightful and the roll rates rapier-swift. All-in-all, there was excellent control that made the sequence seem much easier to fly.
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