Are Piper Tomahawks dangerous in general?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by DMD3., Jun 12, 2015.

  1. DMD3.

    DMD3. Pre-takeoff checklist

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    For someone who has no spin-recovery experience (and doesn't want any without a qualified CFI in the right seat :eek:), would a Traumahawk be dangerous be dangerous as far as regular straight-and-level flight is concerned?

    Some people say that once in a spin, they won't recover. I know this to be false because I've seen them recovered in videos on youtube. Others say that while they can be recovered, you have to execute the full spin-recovery procedure; powering to idle and ailerons to neutral won't cut it like it will in many other aircraft.
     
  2. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Here we go again... :rolleyes::):D
     
  3. DMD3.

    DMD3. Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I'll take it this has been discussed before.

    I didn't start this thread to hate on he Tomahawk. I'm just curious as to whether it's safe as long as one stays away from stall territory. :)
     
  4. Dav8or

    Dav8or En-Route

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    Just do a search on this. Really old topic and the answer is, they are completely safe today. Do not fear any crazy life ending spin in a Tomahawk. It's a good plane.
     
  5. Ravioli

    Ravioli En-Route

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    Not trying to hate on it, and called it a Traumahawk in the first sentence? meh
     
  6. tyndall

    tyndall Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Not bad airplanes. And very reasonably priced if you look at ones with a little over 10,000 hours. ;)
     
  7. FormerHangie

    FormerHangie Pattern Altitude

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    They're fine planes as long as you remember this one thing: They do not fly like a Cessna 152. I think rather too many pilots treated it that way and got stung. The same can be said about the Grumman American AA series.

    It was designed to act like a heavier airplane. As long as you treat it as such, it's no more dangerous than any other airplane. When I flew these, I enjoyed them very much.
    http://www.aopa.org/News-and-Video/All-News/2001/July/1/Budget-Buys-(4)
     
  8. DMD3.

    DMD3. Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Lol if I ever fly one I'll use it in my call-sign. :D

    And despite calling it that, no I am not hating on it. :)
     
  9. Flying Viking

    Flying Viking Pre-takeoff checklist

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    You may want to stay VFR for your MHC-escapades, though, just in case...
     
  10. bobmrg

    bobmrg En-Route

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    All airplanes are equally safe if this "rule" is followed. It's just those darn pilots who skew the statistics.

    Bob Gardner
     
  11. ifly4fun

    ifly4fun Line Up and Wait

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    I learned in a Tomahawk.. all 45 hours. I can't even put a number to the amount of stalls I did in that airplane, power on, power off, you name it.. Never once did I ever even consider it being an unsafe plane. Lots of fun.
     
  12. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    No biggie, do a bunch of falling leaf stalls. They are cool planes IMO, kinda like a long wing Grumman AA1
     
  13. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    Two things:

    1. How are you going to land without getting into "stall territory"?
    2. I stalled Tomahawks all the time when I was a student pilot and early as a private pilot. Never had a problem. Not even a little one.

    Except once, but it wasn't the airplane.

    Some years later I had an opportunity to rent a Tomahawk on vacation and got checked out. The CFI had less time in type than me and insisted I only do an imminent stall. I said that was silly and I'd preferred to do a full stall. She had me climb all the way to heaven, probably so she could pray closer. Never saw anyone so scared. Over nothing.
     
  14. Pilawt

    Pilawt Final Approach

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    When it was introduced in 1978, the PA-38's sharp stall was a selling point. Up to that time Piper's "trainer" was the Cherokee 140. Many CFIs criticized the Cherokee 140 because its "stall" was so benign, students didn't develop a healthy respect for the bottom end of the speed range, and didn't learn how to recover from a "real" stall. Piper claimed it designed the PA-38 based on input from CFIs who wanted a trainer with more of an edge to it.
     
  15. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    Is that an example of "watch out what you ask for?"

    If I recall correctly, the problem with Tomahawks was not only their sharp stall break but the need to be very good on the rudders. Apparently, when in a spin, the correct recovery technique (standard) would result in an initial tightening of the spin before it came out. Folks seeing the tighter spin would decide their inputs were wrong and put the rudder the other way. Not good.
     
  16. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I've stalled tommys lots of time. They don't break like the Cessnas, they just sort of start falling in a level attitude. You get a high rate of descent, but if you're waiting for the nose to fall, it's not going to happen.

    I've not spun the tommy, but you have to follow its poh procedure to recover. It's not going to just recover itself like the Cessnas.

    I liked landing the thing.
     
  17. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    The only thing wrong with them is they are under powered, have a very expensive AD to comply with, and they open from the top. not good in rainy country.
     
  18. N5922S

    N5922S Line Up and Wait

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    Having previously owned an AA1, I feel qualified to pipe up. Did you notice the "ACME" stamped on the belly of the Traumahawk? See Roadrunner. :lol::D
     
  19. RalphInCA

    RalphInCA Cleared for Takeoff

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    What's the AD?
     
  20. DMD3.

    DMD3. Pre-takeoff checklist

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    What I meant was stalling at altitude. Unless you flared at 50 feet or higher, I think it'd be impossible to enter a spin while landing. :D
     
  21. DFH65

    DFH65 Cleared for Takeoff

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    How many times have you found yourself in an inadvertent spin?
     
  22. txflyer

    txflyer En-Route

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    Fly it like you STOL it ♦

    No more dangerous than any other aircraft ...

    Just don't spin it. I don't spin mine. I could but I don't. It's safe but not made for spins so you're not supposed to spin it on purpose. If you let any non-rated plane wrap up three or more revolutions and you don't know what to do you're in trouble.

    Go get some spin training in a correct aircraft. It will save your ass someday if you fly enough ... :redface:
     
  23. petrolero

    petrolero Pattern Altitude

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    I flew one and survived. So in my experience it's 100% safe. :thumbsup:

    But at the time I flew it (circa 1996), everyone called it the traumahawk - except my instructor who referred to it as the tomachicken.

    Edit to add: We did slow flight and stalls. The instructor I flew with said the name came from some old defect that had been fixed long since. He wanted me to see that it was perectly safe. I was a student pilot (in a C152) at the time so there was nothing particularly special or dangerous about the Tomahawk - other than that it's a pretty awful name.

    "Let's name the plane after a device used to hack the tops of people's heads off".

    I mean at least the Arrow can be thought of as a hunting tool. :D
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2015
  24. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    When I did my student cross countries (circa 1990) it was already being called that and I got a lot of laughs. Think it was the airplane? Could have been my landings.
     
  25. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Final Approach

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    I never saw a general fly one......so, Ans: No. :D
     
  26. poadeleted20

    poadeleted20 Deleted

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    No.

    The truth is somewhere in the middle. While the Tomahawk is generally recoverable from an upright spin when recovery is initiated promptly, there is evidence that in some modes, the Tomahawk may be unrecoverable due to excessive wing torsion. Search on "John Lowry Tomahawk Spin" for large pile of information on the subject. But since it's pretty hard to get a Tomahawk to spin other than intentionally, this shouldn't scare you away from flying one -- only from intentionally doing aggravated spins in one.
     
  27. bluerooster

    bluerooster Cleared for Takeoff

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    The "Traumahawk" is a nice little airplane to fly. it's an honest airplane with no real nasty habits, but stalls require the use of rudder inputs moreso than the Cessnas do. The audible stall warning device ("oil canning" of the skins) warns of an impending stall well before the break.
    The T tail makes short and soft field ops kind of interesting, as it gets no wind from the prop, and doesn't become effective untill you reach about 40mph, then it comes in all at once, which can surprize some folks. But other than that it's an OK airplane.
     
  28. kyleb

    kyleb En-Route

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    Most 2 seat trainers are underpowered.

    What expensive AD are you talking about? I owned a Tomahawk for several years and the only AD I remember that had any $$ behind it was one to replace the forward VS attach point (IIRC) every 3K hours. Otherwise, there was a recurring (100 hr?) inspection on either the rudder or elevator hinges. That one was inexpensive.

    Really fun airplane, IMO, with great visibility and a nice comfy cockpit.
     
  29. kyleb

    kyleb En-Route

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    When I owned a PA-38, I went through ALL of the Tomahawk's fatal accident records on the online NTSB files, looking for stall/spin accidents. There was exactly one instance where someone spun in from altitude in a Tomahawk and that was a student who hadn't been instructed in spin recovery. There were plenty of other stall/spin fatalities, but they were all from low altitudes where you'd need to be in J-3 or something similar to spin and recover with the available altitude. Bottom line, don't stall/spin anything at pattern altitude or below. Ain't safe.

    The Tomahawk will drop a wing rapidly in a stall, and as Shorty posted, the elevator goes from completely ineffective at 40 knots (or whatever) to VERY effective at 41 knots. Everyone I know who has flown a Tomahawk much has at least one tale of over-rotating on a soft field takeoff and smacking the tail tiedown on the pavement. That'll crack the aft bulkhead if you do it enough times or hard enough.
     
  30. geneseib

    geneseib Line Up and Wait

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    Airworthiness Directive 83-14-08 issued in September 1983 mandated an additional pair of stall strips to be added to the inboard leading edge of the PA-38 wing to "standardize and improve the stall characteristics"
     
  31. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    That one, when you must comply it is expensive. Like I said, If you find a PA-38 be certain the ADs are all complied with, some are very expensive.
     
  32. Dav8or

    Dav8or En-Route

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    I think there is a life limit on the wing spar as well to keep in mind. I think it's around 10,000 hours. At this point in time though, I don't think it's very hard to find one with lots of life left.
     
  33. bflynn

    bflynn En-Route

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    Cirrus won't recover from a spin either and they have a very, very expensive AD...errr, price. Nobody calls then dangerous.
     
  34. ateamer

    ateamer Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Didn't Cirrus have to demonstrate spin recovery for European certification?
     
  35. Dav8or

    Dav8or En-Route

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    Yes. A Cirrus will recover from a spin. It has been demonstrated many times. The Cirrus has not however gone through the entire spin recovery program required for most certified Part 23 aircraft.

    Big F'n deal. I'll take the chute any day over spin certification.
     
  36. kyleb

    kyleb En-Route

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    12k hours, IIRC. Everything certified since the rule update in the early-mid '70's has a finite time life.
     
  37. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That's a crass generalization. I learned in 152's and Tomahauks in Denver at density altitudes exceeding 8000'.

    A 152 at gross will out climb a 172 at gross. Of course, you're always at gross in the 152.
     
  38. kyleb

    kyleb En-Route

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    One of them, the VS attach point, is the only repetitive AD that costs more than your basic oil change. That said, it still costs less than an annual, and is only necessary every 3,000 hours.
     
  39. kyleb

    kyleb En-Route

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    Crass would have been "all". I thought "most" was pretty accurate. But if you want to spend your existance picking the fly-poop from the pepper, knock yourself out.
     
  40. poadeleted20

    poadeleted20 Deleted

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    Yes, they did, and it did just fine. However, they got the AMOC for the chute for spins from the FAA before the finished the original FAA certification spin testing, and ceased the partially-completed testing at that point (all of which was successful up to where they stopped), so the POH still has only "pull the chute" for spin recovery. Personally, if I got into a spin in a Cirrus and had a reasonable amount of altitude, I'd probably try a standard spin recovery before pulling the chute. At the speeds you have in a spin, you don't have to worry about the 133-knot limit for deploying the chute, and if you're pushing that speed, you're not in a spin.