Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Flight Design MC: Full Metal Concept

A born trainer, this spacious, docile workhorse flies like Wichita tin

The MC’s spacious cabin comfortably seats pilot and copilot, and can be outfitted with optional Dynon EFIS avionics.
The MC pitches up, I let go of the stick, and it pitches below the horizon, speeds up, then pitches above the horizon to start the sequence all over again.

That oscillation is called a phugoid. Angle of attack stays near-constant, but pitch varies because the airspeed and altitude are constantly interchanging until balance is regained.

Dynamically stable airplanes—i.e., those that return to straight-and-level flight automatically—are ideal for training purposes.

The MC’s phugoids damp out after a couple gentle upsy-downsies—very nice indeed.

After the hurried air work (the murky conditions get grayer once old Sol lands on the horizon), I still wonder why the MC feels bigger and heavier. Its basic empty weight is just 795 pounds, which is in the same ballpark as other LSA.

For comparison, here are some other LSA empty weights:
• Cessna Skycatcher: 830 pounds
• Flight Design CTLS: 770 pounds
• PiperSport: 740 pounds
That leaves the MC 375 pounds or so of payload after full fuel, about 30 more than the Skycatcher.

I look over at my test-pilot passenger, and ask, “Anything you want to show me, Tim?”

“No, vhateffer you like,” Voss says, content to let me do my worst. At least he’s not scared—yet. But then, he’s a test pilot.

I crank some turns. Rudder is effective, but you don’t need much, unlike the CTLS, which is more of a rudder airplane in climbs, turns and landings. I catch myself overstomping the rudder a bit, and lighten up.

Darkness descending: time to land.

It has been a mere 25 minutes since takeoff, yet I feel so completely comfortable and—here’s the key word—competent in the MC that I don’t even ask Voss for landing pointers.

I toggle in partial flaps with the electric switch, idle the throttle, set up a 500 fpm descent and ride that pony down to a smooth landing as if I’ve flown the MC for many hours.

Labels: LSAs


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