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Trip to the Lake!

By: Dave "SKIPPY" Taylor

18th February 2001, We finally did it, we managed to go SPLASHING ABOUT with a floatplane.

I was the first to fly (brave or stupid!). After a few short taxi trials, creating some ripples on the other wise still water. The model was lined up in to what little breeze there was and take off was called. After gradually opening the throttle the cub lifted gracefully on to the step, at this point it was a case of just easing back on the elevator and the model lifted off smoothly into a shallow right hand climbing turn and into circuit.

It was found during these first few circuits that down elevator trim was required (3 - 4 clicks), no other trims were needing adjustment. The controls responded rather differently to a normal wheeled set up, the elevator seemed to be rather sensitive around neutral, ailerons were fairly sluggish and it was found that to produce a smooth turn the aircraft required good coordination between ailerons and rudder. At times in a crosswind position the only way to turn was to lead the turn with a reasonable amount of rudder input.

The general flying with the floats attached was not that different to a usual wheeled set up although the aircraft do appear to fly as though they are slightly tail heavy, and are reluctant to hold trim over all throttle settings and speeds.

The stall, which we had expected to become less predictable and to occur at a higher speed did not cause any problems, in fact the model seemed more stable at the stall (possibly due to the pendulum action of the floats). However in a spin the extra inertia offered by the floats needs an extra 0.5 - 1 turn to recover to normal flight.

After an uneventful flight it was time for the DREADED LANDING (WET SUIT AT THE READY). More planning was required than normal, to maintain a smooth approach minding the trees and the high banks and the spectators (why do people always want to see your first attempts). A curved approach was executed to miss the obstructions, leveling the wings about 10 ft above the water and gradually easing the elevator and closing the throttle, keeping everything on heading with rudder and the wings level with ailerons. What do you know, it stayed up the right way and was taxied back to the bank, (not the smoothest of landings but it all worked out ok).

On this occasion I was flying with Nigel "Nemo" Potter (so called for his cubs underwater adventure!!!) Nigel has only been flying for the last 2 years and was also a water novice and was understandably nervous at this new escapade. However apart from one dunking all went well and a good time was had.

By: Dave "SKIPPY" Taylor