Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Flight Design MC: Full Metal Concept
A born trainer, this spacious, docile workhorse flies like Wichita tin
The MC is Flight Design’s first metal airplane. It’s built in the Ukraine and assembled in Germany before delivery to the United States.
“Okay, Tim,” I say as we taxi. “Do you have any suggestions?”
“No, whateffer you vant to do,” he replies. His arms are crossed as though he has no intention of even touching the controls.
Roger that. Ground handling with the steerable nosewheel and brake hand lever on the console is a breeze, just like the CTLS.
But right off, I notice the MC feels...solid, like a bigger airplane.
Tower clears takeoff, I power up, and off we go.
Climbing out, I immediately feel like I’m piloting a much heavier airplane. Not unlike—dare I say it—a Cessna 150 or 172.
This isn’t to say that the aircraft’s control forces are “trucky.” In fact, they’re about average, well harmonized and plenty responsive.
No, what I’m sensing is the inherent aerodynamic stability and balance of the airplane. It feels, well, like an old, familiar friend.
You can’t beat the cabin, either. At almost 52 inches, you could call it downright cavernous. Believe me, four feet, four inches of shoulder room feels positively roomy.
The solid handling feel stays with me as we climb out over the lake to the west, eyeballs scanning for traffic, to do a little air work.
Stalls are nominal, straight ahead and come with plenty of warning burble. Break and pitch down are slight, well-forewarned and instantly recovered from by relaxing stick and/or feeding in a touch of power.
Hanging on the prop at mid-40s indicated is a no-brainer. And aileron effectiveness in slow flight is excellent. It’s designed that way to provide roll control even below stall speed—a great feature in a training airplane, which is the prime market Flight Design envisions for the MC.
Pulling back sharply on the stick in level flight, then letting go—testing for dynamic stability, a trick Rans Aircraft’s top dog, Randy Schlitter, taught me—yields reassuring results.
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