Transition Training

I did 3 hours of transition training at Sonex in Oshkosh.  This was the amount required by my insurance company and seemed like about the right amount of time for me to feel comfortable with the airplane.

Joe Norris, the instructor, started out explaining how the sight picture differs from other airplanes I have flown and gave some pointers on reference points on the windshield to help maintain level flight during turns.

The takeoff procedure was to basically unload the tailwheel and let the plane fly off the ground.  Interestingly, the plane sort of “pops” off the ground and wants to climb, so it takes some forward pressure to build up to 80mph, the climbout speed we were using.  I’m curious if a different trim setting would give less of a “pop”.

On my first takeoffs, I tried to lift the tail off the ground to almost a level flight attitude before liftoff.  This caused an uncomfortable amount of “porpoising” and Joe emphasized just unloading the tailwheel and flying off in more of a 3-point attitude.  I’m not sure if the “porpoising” was pilot-induced or a function of the titanium gear legs, but the 3-point takeoff works great.

The landings were performed by bringing the airplane into the three point attitude right off the ground and letting it settle onto the runway.  It didn’t require full elevator deflection like I’m used to, and I had a tendency to pull back too much for the first few landings (after landing, we still used full up elevator to pin the tail on the ground).  I zig-zagged across the runway on a couple landings–perhaps due to not flying tailwheel for a year or so, or perhaps due to the different forces with the direct-link tailwheel.

Taxiing wasn’t difficult and the hand brake came pretty natural except I kept having to dodge the flap handle to get to the brake one (on one landing approach I even pulled the brake handle a couple of times before I noticed my mistake).  The handles were bent a little more than the plans call for, so I might not have the problem at all in my airplane.

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