Tuesday, September 6, 2011
The Best Of All Possible Worlds
Four if by land, two if by sea: making a great plane greater
Water operations are deceptively easy, though training in all aspects of water operations is not only legally required but important: Water operations are a whole new ball game. We set up to land on a small lake, lining up easily straight into the 10-knot wind, which paints gossamer foam lines on the dark blue-green water.
Sehnert visually checks the gear three times to make sure it’s retracted, double-checks the gear indicators, one on each float’s forward deck, then we do a normal pattern...at 60 mph indicated, of course. It’s a Cub!
Flare is smooth and easy, and it’s back with the stick, back more, and settles like a seabird. Haul the stick all the way back to avoid nosing over into the water. We decelerate, come off the step, and we’re water-taxiing.
The main rudder does a fine job for steering on water, too. The two water rudders are left up until closer to docking or beaching. Looking out the open side door, I notice the cable between the float noses. That keeps the floats from doing the splits, like we all did learning to water ski.
The two doors are an added boon on water, since you always dock on the side dictated by the wind. With only one door, if it ends up waterward of the dock, you’ve got an interesting challenge exiting the airplane.
A short stop yields a friendly chat with Jon Brown of Jack Brown’s Seaplane Base, where thousands of float pilots have won their...wings? Duck feet? Then we taxi out for some high-speed fun on the lake.
Boating along at higher, on-the-step speeds over roughish chop feels completely secure, though we’re only steering with the main rudder. “Be ready to give opposite roll,” Sehnert advises. “Tight turns can lift that outboard wing and dig your inboard tip into the water.” Hmm...dat not good.
He tells me of customers who fly the heavy iron, then rediscover the simple joys of flying in a Cub. The AmphibCub is the hot item right now at Legend, and no wonder. Of course, by now I’m thinking it’s time to get my sport pilot seaplane rating. Sehnert smiles. “It’s more fun,” he quips, “than anybody should be allowed to have.”
We laugh. Yeah, I get that. Way too much fun indeed.
The Coming Of The Super
Due for delivery next spring at Sebring’s LSA Expo, the first production model will go to Rich Giannotti—who also bought the very first Legend Cub! How’s that for a customer testimonial?
“All the orders on the book so far,” says Legend’s marketing whiz Dave Graham, “are from existing Legend Cub owners.”
Arriving at essentially the same airframe weight, the slightly heavier IO-233’s 115 hp, which comes with throttle body injector system, tuned intake manifold and dual electronic ignition, delivers greater short-field performance and cruise speed. And the flaps will augment short-field/steep-approach capability.
Another advantage of the Lyc is its certification to burn all grades of mogas (auto fuel)—even mogas with ethanol. That’s a real boon for everyone worried about changing fuel realities down the road.
“The Super’s not a redesigned aircraft,” says Dave. “Its wing profile and tail feathers are based on the original Cub and Super Cub.”
There also will be an Alaska Edition, with a bigger, longer baggage area to accommodate fishing poles and guns in the tail section; bigger tires; and a removable backseat for even better cargo hauling.
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