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Old 04-28-2012, 12:23 PM
chepburn's Avatar
chepburn chepburn is offline
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Ottawa , Canada
Posts: 235
Default Conquering the Demon

A weird subject line I know.... but it's not about going above Mach 1 in my RV-8, it's about my trials and tribulations as a low time pilot doing his phase I. (This a long post, I might ramble a bit)

First, I took transition training with Mike Seager last June... I tried to time it close to my completion of the RV-8, but, as many of you more experienced builders know, that's pretty much impossible. First flight: Oct 30 under the able control of Kevin Horton.

Decision 1: Although transition trained, I felt I had insufficient skill to handle an emergency situation on the first flight. I based that decision on if I thought I would be 'learning how to fly' vs 'flying the airplane', it would be wise to get someone else to do the honors. (Also, the CARS in Canada require the PC of the aircraft have 100 hours on type to do the first 5 hours. -- my time on Oct 30th as P1 power: 83.)

OK, everything went well for Kevin, we had a few glitches that I've already posted about earlier.

Now, my turn... Nov 15 2011. I was taught by Mike to 3-point on landing. I was told that with 50 lbs in the baggage compartment, the 8 will fly much like the 7. So, 50 lbs it is. I took off, went out local and did a few stalls, slow flight, and turning slow flight flaps up and down. Back to the airport... with all the talk on here about how hard it was to 3point an 8, I was thinking about Mikes advice on final. 75 knots over the fence.....holding offffffffffff, boink (small one) stick in the gut rolling out. Easy Peasy. (and pretty much a 3point like Mike said it would be) BIG SMILE.

Decision 2: Listen to your transition instructor. Do what he said. It worked.

Flight 2 was a non event again... but now flight 3.

I took off, went to do some speed test runs..slow flight, turns, etc. Came back to the field and there was a bit of a crosswind from the north. (about 5-7 knots of component) 75 over the fence...holding offf....boink..WTF! Thats the edge of the runway looking at me..rudder, other rudder, OTHER RUDDER. ****!!!! SETTLE DOWN!!! Take control...the RV8 flies much better than I do... I was pretty much PIOing from side to side...didn't ground loop, but that was a bit too exciting.

What happened? I got the TW down, but I got kicked by the crosswind, over-controlled, and kept over-controlling until I told myself to relax.

Decision 3: No more flying with a crosswind component > 5 knots for a while. This was a tough one to make...some might say that I should have jumped on the horse and went right back to the crosswind. This is where I was coming from: Folks here say that Phase I is not the place to do circuit training. I tend to agree...especially with a newly overhauled engine. So what's a guy to do? I have to test fly the plane, and I STILL have to land it. Well be patient. And, its winter now ... -10 to -20C outside. Not fun to fix any snags. ...

Well, I kept flying over the winter...the weather cooperated with my cross wind limit about once every few weeks on the weekends. I tried to go every time..

Now it's the end of March and I have managed to accumulate 17 hours on the airplane. I feel jealous of a bunch of other more experienced pilots down south flying off Phase 1 wayyyyy faster than me. Oh well.

It's time to conquer my demon. You can guess what it is....a low time pilot (and very low time TW pilot) not wanting to bend an airplane he spent so much time on. It's time for circuits...I need a good component 7 - 10kts but not too gusty. I got what I wanted on March 31. Off I go, and it's circuits. Up and down...this time less flap, forward slip.... and not a 3 point but tail low wheelie. Not bad, I played with not feeding rudder and letting the airplane do its thing...hmm not so good. Next time around take control more...a little better. I did an hour of those and called it a day.

Next more xwind and gusts. It was about 65 deg off runway at 10 gusting 17. Off I go. This time, a little more of a wheelie and try to land on one wheel and slowly let the other drop....hey its NOT That bad! I have good directional control. I'm feeling better...I can hear the demon screamin outa here.

Decision 4: Practise patience. There's no rush to finish phase I, it will be done when its done. I've got a lot of years ahead to enjoy my airplane.

Thanks Mike for the great transition training. Thanks everyone here for the information I needed to conquer my demons.

P.S .Just got back from the airport ...another hour in....more tomorrow.
Chris Hepburn
Ottawa, ON
Renew 12/21
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Old 04-28-2012, 01:02 PM
WAM120RV WAM120RV is offline
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Coventry. England
Posts: 616
Default Confidence and over controlling!

Hi Chris

I am pleased you are becoming more and more confident with your cross wind landings it seems your patience is paying off.

I have 200 plus hours on a Tailwind ( fitted with RV4 gear). My transition training from nose gear Cessna and a strange motor glider called an Ogar, was to do about 5 touch and goes with a friend. Then he got out and said land it on your own. The first one was squirrelly, the second better...... and so on.

After I built the 9A, I rarely flew the Tailwind but took her up a couple of times last year just to keep my tail wheel skills........ like you I was over controlling a bit and a little uneasy despite having 200 hours on type. Again like you I made myself relax on the controls and sorted things out.

The worst crosswind I ever did in it was 25 gusting 35.......... not something I would recommend!! But I got her down in one bit!

Unfortunately one of the of the other other owners wrecked it so I cant practice in her any more, so when my 4 is complete I will probably just have to bite the bullet with it.

Anyway congrats and keep building your confidence, patience in these things is a virtue.

Steve Arnold

In completion stage of Loehle P5151
Built and now Flying G.BVLR Vans RV4
Rebuilt G.BDBD Tailwind
Rebuilt G BVTN Kitfox
Built G CDCD RV9A with WAM120
Riveted wings on Glastar G.LEZZ Now (G. SKUA)
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Old 04-28-2012, 08:28 PM
MJarreau MJarreau is offline
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: LA (Lower Alabama)
Posts: 301
Default Excellent Decision Making

I am also a low time pilot though not quite as low as you. I am just starting my build (this week, actually) and have decided that I'll have a test pilot monitor my build and fly the initial flights. Others will disagree but like you, that's my decision.

Best of luck and thanks for the inspiration!

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Old 04-30-2012, 08:14 AM
Alan Carroll's Avatar
Alan Carroll Alan Carroll is offline
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Posts: 778


Congratulations on your progress; as you say there's no rush to finish Phase I.

Whenever the subject of crosswind capability comes up on the forums I've noticed a common tendency toward progressively escalating claims, until pretty soon you're reading something like "there I was, thunderstorms approaching from all directions, with with a direct crosswind of 45 gusting to 55, but I landed smoothly right on centerline and didn't even have to put down my coffee" (I may exaggerating slightly). Either these folks are much better pilots than anyone at my home field, or else slightly less truthful. The point is don't get caught up in the hyperbole about how easy it should be to land an RV in a crosswind.

Personally I find that any crosswind demands respect, and 10-15 knots direct component can be a handful (especially if gusty). I've landed in a bit more than but it tends not to be very pretty. I remind myself on every landing to be ready to go around and its impressive how quickly you can straighten things out with power once that decision has been made.
Alan Carroll
RV-8 N12AC
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:11 AM
aarvig's Avatar
aarvig aarvig is offline
Join Date: May 2008
Location: KANE, Hugo, Minnesota
Posts: 765

If you are not 100% sure...get a CFI with time in type to ride along as a safety pilot.
Aaron Arvig
Empennage Done
Wings-In Progress
N568AK Reserved
SOLD?but I'll be back
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Old 04-30-2012, 11:27 AM
chepburn's Avatar
chepburn chepburn is offline
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Ottawa , Canada
Posts: 235

Originally Posted by aarvig View Post
If you are not 100% sure...get a CFI with time in type to ride along as a safety pilot.
Thanks Aaron,
The point I was attempting to make in my overly long diatribe is that a low time pilot has different challenges in Phase 1 than a high time pilot.
A check pilot might help...but, then again, in an RV8, the addition of a passenger changes the feel of the airplane. I am increasing the load in my backseat in 50 lb increments, and I don't think any CFI is going to appreciate being parted out!!
All kidding aside, some things the PIC has to do on his/her own, and there are risky ways to do it, and less risky ways. I'm trying to stay on the less risky side, and it has had some interesting challenges.
Chris Hepburn
Ottawa, ON
Renew 12/21

Last edited by chepburn : 04-30-2012 at 11:31 AM.
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Old 04-30-2012, 02:22 PM
Birkelbach Birkelbach is offline
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Waller, Texas
Posts: 161

Originally Posted by chepburn View Post
Thanks Aaron,
A check pilot might help...but, then again, in an RV8, the addition of a passenger changes the feel of the airplane. I am increasing the load in my backseat in 50 lb increments, and I don't think any CFI is going to appreciate being parted out!!
Not to mention it's ILLEGAL to do this during phase I. You are doing it right. Don't get in a hurry, be chicken, only fly when you are comfortable and you'll be fine. I was a very low time TW pilot when I started flying my RV-7. It took a hundred landings or so to really get comfortable. I've landed in some really nasty crosswinds on some really narrow runways since then and I have a lot more confidence. I didn't get that confidence by running out and "getting back on the horse." That's bad advise with horses and it's worse advise with airplanes. Just keep doing what you are doing and you'll get there before you know it.
Phil Birkelbach
RV-7 727WB - Flying
Pitts S1C - Restoration
Christavia Mk1 - Fuselage
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Old 04-30-2012, 04:22 PM
Kevin Horton's Avatar
Kevin Horton Kevin Horton is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Posts: 2,365

Thanks for the update Chris. I was wondering how you were making out.

The aircraft certainly has more than enough lateral and directional control for very large crosswinds. The real limit is the pilot. The hardest part in my experience is getting the aircraft to settle smoothly on the runway in the gusty winds.

You are taking the right approach by slowly increasing your personal crosswind experience. One thing to keep in mind if you get sucked into going flying in a day with more challenging winds than you had expected - you don't absolutely need to land back at Carp. Go to Ottawa if you need to to get a more into wind runway. It will be an inconvenience to land at another airport, but it is better than bending the airplane. And don't be afraid to go around if the landing isn't going well. I did that more than once when I was opening up the crosswind envelope.
Kevin Horton
RV-8 (Sold)
Moses Lake, WA, USA

Last edited by Kevin Horton : 04-30-2012 at 04:23 PM. Reason: Removed spurious *
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