Darin Hart, sponsor, trip leader and cofounder of Legend Aircraft, leads the pilgrimage every year from the factory in Sulphur Springs, Texas, to the Sun ’n Fun Fly-In at Lakeland, Fla. His Legend Cub (www.legend.aero) has been a solid success since he first made this flight in 2005 with the prototype—and promptly sold 16 at the show.
Tale Of The Tail
I had flown an earlier leg with Oran Boyett in Tweetie, a company ship. Boyett, who teaches Legend Cub customers to fly, had some valuable taildragger tips. “One fundamental thing to remember,” he said as we left Texas, “is to not let the tail go first.” Taildraggers can get into trouble quickly for one simple reason: The center of gravity is behind the main wheels. When a taildragger starts rolling, the mass of the tail wants to swap ends with the nose. Imagine throwing a dart, feathers first. The pointy end flips 180 degrees. In a taildragger, that flip is called a groundloop.
How to avoid such embarrassments? Here’s Hart’s simple mantra: “The number-one thing to do in a taildragger is fly the airplane from the minute you get in it until you tie it down.” Or, as Hart tells airline pilots who are first learning to fly taildraggers, “Those things on the floor are rudder pedals, and you’ll have to move them!”
|This red, white and blue Cub belongs to Floyd and Trisha Ridgely.|
Dick Parsons, a retired airline captain himself, had a heart-valve operation and decided to go the LSA route instead of hassling to renew his medical. He owns a lovely new gold and blue Legend, and knows firsthand that “the Cub does a great job in crosswinds; it’s not really a problem. You just have to keep your feet dancing on those rudder pedals!”
Flying the airplane on the ground is also as much head game as adroit stick jockeying. “One big thing I see pilots forgetting,” says Doug Stewart, 2004 National CFI of the Year, “is to use the correct control position when taxiing. Some student pilots forget to put in any correction at all for the wind. Others often do the correct ‘dive away from wind’ in a quartering tailwind, but then they taxi faster than the tailwind is blowing—which defeats the purpose! I tell my students, ‘If you have a quartering tailwind during taxi, you’ll have a quartering headwind on takeoff—and on the opposite side of the airplane. So, always pay attention.’”
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