Plane & Pilot
Monday, May 11, 2009

Ticket To Ride II

Part II: Practice, practice, practice, home study, and what? Time to solo already? Gulp.

ticket to rideIn our April 2009 issue, Jim Lawrence launched the first in his series of articles about LSA training in a Flight Design CTLS. This month, he takes us through solo.
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ticket to ride
ASA’s Paul Hamilton
Getting To Know You
Lampson had promised early on, after my initial discomfort flying the airplane, that I would grow to love the CT. He was right. I feel confident at the controls now. I’m thinking ahead and adapting to conditions as I should be.

And the cockpit? Fits like a glove. The loaded panel is yummy with those big Dynon dual EFIS-D100 and EMS-D120 screens. They display enough information to keep a reference librarian happy. Garmin’s 496 GPS and some backup steam gauges add to that “real airplane” feel.

With the 100 hp Rotax up front, launching the CT evokes the skyrocket pizazz of 1980s-era ultralights. It accelerates smartly to liftoff speed (around 50 knots; stall is 42 knots with zero flaps). Light aft stick lifts you off, then relax pitch to build speed to 60-plus. And then it’s reach for cloud base, which the CT does most agreeably.

The deck angle is downright fighter-like at Vx (max climb angle, around 64 knots with no flaps). With 15 degrees of barn door (electric actuated) and just over 60 knots, you feel your back as much as your tush. Yeehaw!

Letting speed rise to the mid-70s (no flaps) or low 60s (15 degrees) gives you best rate of climb (Vy), typically 1,000 fpm. That’s nice since we’re a mile from downtown with a broad river and freeway interchange adjacent to our Hartford-Brainard (HFD) home airport. So being able to reach pattern altitude in about a minute adds a feel of security.

Landing the CT is a matter of playing to the airplane’s strengths. With its good power-off glide, the trick is to develop a consistent landing approach. Lampson has drilled me to trim on the downwind for 80 knots. Midway through the leg, throttle back to 70, toggle in 15 degrees of flaps, pitch for a 500 fpm descent, and touchdowns will come at 55 to 60 knots.

The CT likes rudder control through the landing flare, something I’m still developing the right touch for. Too often, I’ll hold in left pedal, round out, and, as I’m flaring, Lampson will gently but insistently call, “Right rudder...right rudder, more right rudder!” to stop the last-second tendency to let the CT drift left. Yep, it’s a rudder bird all right.


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