The local flying club here in Rangiora has two microlight’s for club members to hire and have lessons in. The more modern one is a “Tecnam P92 Echo”, apparently very easy to fly. The other one is a “Rans S6-ES Coyote II”, a plane where you really need to use all controls continuously to fly it properly.
It’s the last one I am having my lessons is, as my instructor Dave thinks that flies more like the Bleriot.
Never really thought about different aircraft, but yes they all behave different, so will be interesting and I can’t wait to find out what my own Bleriot feels like to fly.
Anyway today my first lesson was all about the “Effect of Controls”, in other words, what happens when you change the individual four basic controls:
- engine power
And to make things a bit easier to explain, a nice picture here:
The ailerons (yellow flaps in the wings) make you the Roll or Bank over the Longitudinal Axis (also in yellow)
The rudder (purple flap in the tail) make you Yaw over the Normal or Vertical Axis.
And the elevator (red flap in the tail) make you change Pitch over the Lateral Axis.Now that all looks simple and easy, but there is some very interesting and sometimes (for a beginner) confusing side effects.
The simplest one and easiest to understand is the elevator.
If the elevator is moved down, by pushing the control stick forward, you start descending, with a side effect that you will go faster. So first reduce the engine power, then you push the stick forward.
But as with other things below, I think they can be done at the same time, as you always hold the stick with one hand and have the other hand on the throttle.
The opposite is also true. when you pull the stick, the elevator goes up which makes you climb, and as side effect you slow down. So first you must increase the engine power, then pull the stick.
Now the next controls are a bit harder, as the ailerons and the rudder need to be used together, but I will describe them individually first.
First the ailerons.
They are flaps on the wings controlled by the stick going side ways. When you move the stick to the right, the left aileron goes down (see picture) and the right aileron goes up. This makes the plane roll to the right. This is normally done before making a right turn.But because the left aileron is creating more drag, that wing will be wanting to go slower than the right wing , making the plane want to turn left, the wrong way!
If the rudder is used on its own, the plane will just Jaw, but will continue going straight, not as what you would expect.
And as a side effect, the wings produce less lift and the angled fuselage will produce more drag, so you slow down and lose altitude.
To make a turn, both controls need to be used. To make a right turn, the stick needs to be pushed right to create bit of a roll to the right and at the same time right rudder needs to be applied, this will start the correct turn.But
The ailerons need to go back to neutral now (stick central), otherwise the plane keeps on rolling if it could.To finish the turn, get the rudder back in the central position and give a bit of left stick, to roll the plane back in the horizontal position.To aid the use of the rudder, in the plane I am flying is a slip indicator, showing you if you need more or less rudder.
When the ball of this indicator is in the middle the amount of rudder is correct.
Now when you do this for the first time there are so many things happening that its sometimes confusing. Almost feels like you sit in this box suspended on a string and you try to keep it aimed at the point you are going to but it keeps drifting away, or goes the wrong way around.
And to make things a bit more confusing, this plane turns left ( I think it was ) a lot faster then right. That’s to do with the direction of the propeller and the swirl of wind coming from the prop hitting the side of the rudder.
I was in the plane for 1.4 hrs, initially warming up the engine and taxing a bit and crossing two other runways, so must have been in the air for more then an hour. I must have enjoyed myself because it was over before I realized!