Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Beautiful, Nimble, Stout And Fast…

The Extra 330LT hits a homerun

Aerobatics are what Extras are all about. Whether you fly at an advanced level or you're working on the primary maneuvers, the responsive controls will put a smile on your face.
Rolls in the LT definitely require more stick movement to achieve rapid rates; however, with full deflection, the 330LT's maximum roll rate of 270 degrees per second is plenty fast. If that's not enough, a snap will get you around considerably faster. The biggest difference from the 300L is in how crisp the ailerons feel. Roll precision is slightly "softer" in the 330LT compared to the 300L. That characteristic actually makes four-point rolls seem slightly easier in the LT because it's a bit harder to "wobble" a stop. With the right technique and a little practice, point rolls can be made to look crisp and perfect. Doug demonstrated a knife-edge, and the 330LT definitely holds a higher angle than the 300L. He went on to explain that the LT has the capability to do very well up through at least the intermediate level of aerobatic competition. For most weekend warriors, that's plenty of performance! The 330LT is certainly an excellent choice for any pilot interested in aerobatics, flying with friends, or traveling.

Extra Landings
Years ago when I first checked out in an Extra, my insurance guy asked how much tailwheel time I had and I replied, "Zero." He rolled his eyes, and said, "Great…it's not like you're starting with, say, a Luscombe!" Next, I called a local Extra instructor, and when he heard how much tailwheel time I had, he said, "The Extra is such an easy tailwheel airplane that I hate to use it for the sign-off. It's not like it's, say, a Luscombe!" Go figure. I've still never flown a Luscombe, but after about 1,000 Extra landings, I have to agree with my first instructor. The Extra is a very easy tailwheel airplane to master. Just remember that all landings are done with no flaps, so speeds tend to be bit higher than for many other tailwheel airplanes. Fortunately, it has tremendous control authority, so it's easy to control on the ground—even in squirrely winds. Nail the speed, and you can do a three-point landing and stop within 450 feet. Wheel landings are only a bit trickier, but require considerably more runway. You just have to get used to an approach speed of about 100 knots to make good wheel landings. Like other taildraggers, forward visibility is somewhat limited, so S-turns are often required both in the sky and on the ground. With a little practice, you'll get the sight picture, and it's an easy plane to grease onto the runway.
The LT has a published top speed of 205 KTAS, so there's no comparison when it comes to speed.
Right now, the Extra 330LT is being sold with an experimental-type certificate, but that's about to change. The paperwork is submitted and full certification is expected "real(ly) soon now." With 25 already in customer hands, the Extra 330LT is selling well and proving to be a very popular model. This just could be the coolest plane to hit your hangar in a long time, and it's almost guaranteed to leave a grin on your face a mile wide. Just be ready for a crowd wherever you go!

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