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  #1  
Old 12-24-2011, 08:21 AM
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Kahuna Kahuna is offline
 
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Default Formation Flying. Why no vernier throttles

This thread on a Bonanza flight, raised the question on vernier throttles. Figured it was worth its own thread so as not to take that one off track.

First, can a formation pilot fly good formation with a vernier throttle? Yes of course.

However, verniers reduce the ability for smooth operation(ratchity even with the button in or disabled), increases pilot workload, puts tention in a pilot that needs to relax, and can, in a maxed out pilot, cause him angst and turn into a safety of flight problem.

The more maneuvering you do, the more it comes into play. In an RV formation evaluation, with 60deg of bank and 45deg of pitch required, the vernier becomes a hindrence to precision quickly. If your doing figure 8's over Osh in Bonanzas or RV's, well it can certainly be done, and done safely by experienced pilots.

In a clinic environment, where newbees come to play and learn, the vernier is a real hindrence to the learning curve and compromises safety. We found this on many occasions years ago and banned em in the RV clinincs many of us attend.

So, can it be done? of course. But when your trying to lower risk, improve safety, and allow the learning curve of a new pilot in an RV to take place, the vernier throttle has no place in RV formation training.
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Last edited by Kahuna : 12-24-2011 at 08:23 AM.
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  #2  
Old 12-24-2011, 08:24 AM
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This explanation is what has kept me from taking a formation clinic. I have a vernier throttle. Such is life.
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  #3  
Old 12-24-2011, 08:51 AM
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McFarlane makes a throttle that can function as both a vernier and a friction lock.

http://www.mcfarlaneaviation.com/Pro...4&ID=94211145&
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  #4  
Old 12-24-2011, 09:28 AM
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Did my transition training in a plane with a vernier throttle...just my opinion which is worthless but I have no idea why anyone would want such a thing to control their throttle. I saw no positives and many negatives in that setup.
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  #5  
Old 12-24-2011, 10:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brantel View Post
I saw no positives and many negatives in that setup.
Positive: Very fine throttle control.

Negative: None that I can see other than no RV formation clinics.
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  #6  
Old 12-24-2011, 11:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Lee View Post
Positive: Very fine throttle control.

Negative: None that I can see other than no RV formation clinics.
Ron,

Not crossing swords at all, as that was my first thought of a positive as well. I remember my first Bonanza ride (long ago), which is where I saw a vernier throttle, and thought it made for nice cruise adjustments. However, I spend so little time not at WOT when I'm climbing, cruising, and descending, that I'm wondering if it really is a benefit. I seem to do all my adjustments with prop and mixture, both of which are vernier in my -6. The times when I'm off "the wall" with the throttle (pattern and formation, etc), is when I want no hinderences to throttle movement. Would love to see ya at a clinic, but also wondering if you find the vernier a pain in the pattern. Just info collecting, not a stab at your vernier!

Cheers,
Bob
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  #7  
Old 12-24-2011, 11:44 AM
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Not bashing em. Those that like em, like em very much. That's the great thing about having a choice!
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  #8  
Old 12-24-2011, 12:17 PM
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Bob, the vernier throttle came with the 6A when I bought it. I believe that it was the first plane I ever flew with a vernier throttle. After ~1600 hours, it is easy to use. But I do fly with less than full throttle (fixed pitch prop...typical cruise RPM 2550 -2600).

I recently did Phase 1 on a 7A with a CS prop and "normal/non-vernier" throttle. No problem with it either. It did have a vernier mixture which I liked.

Coming into the pattern....no problems with either the vernier throttle or fixed pitch prop. But I am good.

Given all that I know now (particularly the RV formation clinic ban on vernier throttles), if I had my choice I would probably go non-vernier throttle and vernier mixture. Can't say if that would be a majority opinion.

Last edited by Ron Lee : 12-25-2011 at 09:21 AM.
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  #9  
Old 12-24-2011, 01:12 PM
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Bubblehead Bubblehead is offline
 
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I flew Bonanzas of various stripes for quite a while and the vernier throttle was pretty nice when landing. If I hit configurations and power settings right I would just keep rolling back (unscrewing?) the throttle as I came "over the fence" and I'd run out of throttle about the time I was fully flared over the runway, It worked very smoothly and prevented big throttle changes on final.

I am not a formation pilot so won't comment on that, but I am an engineer so I would say different mission, different design intent, different configuration/hardware.
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  #10  
Old 12-24-2011, 03:24 PM
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I had a vernier throttle (not Van's humongous beast) on mine for around 8 or 900 hours. It started to get sticky in the cable, so I replaced it. To replace with an identical one would have required a long wait, so I put in a friction lock one. I've got somewhere around 400 hours on this one now.

I've flown formation with both, and don't see any difference at all with respect to precision and/or safety. I kept the button on the vernier depressed by the cup of my hand, something trivial to do. I even made a button retainer for it, but it wasn't necessary. Of course, those teaching/certifying the formation stuff can apply any rules they see fit, I've got no problem with that.

What is very helpful to operating either type with precision is that I keep my forefinger on the panel. This removes the requirement that one's arm muscles be an important part of the equation. In other words, the precision comes from motor skills in the hand, not so much in the arm. I'm not sure this tight loop is available with a quadrant style, unless the geometry allows for "planting" a finger near the throttle knob.

Overall, I prefer the vernier, not for precision throttle control but because it eliminates all the putzing with turning the friction lock.
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