Monday, September 8, 2008
Ever met someone you instantly liked? The MD3 Rider is one friendly yet
A No-Drama Queen
The Rider is a natural as a trainer, as stalls both dirty and clean demonstrate. The airplane just doesn’t want to break in the stall, preferring to mush along in a nose-high attitude.
Powering back below 70 knots and selecting flap 1 (15 degrees), I again notice the minimal pitch change—a welcome characteristic for takeoffs and landings. Down and dirty at flap 3 (38 degrees) at 4,300 rpm on the 100 horse Rotax, airspeed slows to around 50 knots. Stick pressure remains firm, but not bicep-curl oppressive. A little electric trim (quick-acting and smooth, a nice feature) helps out. Rudder and ailerons remain responsive as the nose rises to around 18 degrees.
Okay, you can stall now, I think. I wait...and wait. Zippo. The stick is hauled back against the seat, between my legs, and power’s at idle, but it never breaks. Centering up with rudder, the Rider happily drones along, nose well above the horizon, at 38 knots. Descent rate is about 500 fpm.
“You could contact the ground in this attitude,” Gutman opines. “It would be a hard impact, but you’d certainly survive it.” He then forces the break by chopping power and pulling the stick back more quickly. Even then, the airplane wants to hang by its schnozzola. With a last tug aft on the stick, the Rider demonstrates that it’s indeed a conventional airplane. A slight burble, then a gentle drop of the nose is about all the histrionics we get.
|The semi-monocoque airframe and aluminum skin are enhanced by the aircraft’s shark-fin tail (above). The semi-reclined seating (left) provides for a comfy ride. |
Clean stalls are a similar nonevent. With no flaps and a little power, “you can fly at 40 knots all day long,” says Gutman, and we verify those numbers. Cruise with the 100 horse Rotax at 5,500 rpm brings 105 knots, around 120 mph. The specs call for 113 knots, so we fell a bit short of that. (The 115 hp 914 UL reportedly powers the Rider to the sport pilot–legal max of 120 knots, although I didn’t fly that version.) At 75% cruise and 4,800 rpm, the 100 hp mill delivers 90 to 100 knots (depending on payload weight) at a 4+ gph fuel burn, typical for the Rotax in the LSA class. The $20 hamburger is back.
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