Carlson Sparrow and Sport Special

Discussion in 'Home Builders and Sport Pilots' started by zaitcev, Sep 22, 2013.

  1. zaitcev

    zaitcev En-Route

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    Opinions?

    In particular, if configured as a taildragger, is it more like Sonex and Kolb, or more like Pitts and Pup? The airplane is a single-seater and I have to check out myself in it, with only me and my 12 hours in a Cub onboard.

    I saw some pretty outrageous demos on Youtube, so airplane has some ability for an ultralight, but it's the ground handling that I'm concerned about.
     
  2. zaitcev

    zaitcev En-Route

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    Okay. Absent any friendly guidance, I decided to take a safe route and truck the airplane out to my airport, so that I can check myself out slowly: do a few runs down the runway, raise and lower the tail, etc.

    The plane looks fabulous, BTW.
     
  3. moonshine

    moonshine Line Up and Wait

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    We'll have to take your word for it, absent any pictures :)
     
  4. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    It's not short coupled like a Pitts. Looks like a pretty fat wing plus part 103 legal means a real low wing loading - should be landing pretty slow and get off short.

    I assume tailwheel?

    My LSA is just a bit bigger / heavier. No real issues on the ground. One nice thing is that you are off the ground before you can get into too much trouble.
     
  5. zaitcev

    zaitcev En-Route

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    Umm, in my rush I forgot. Only took 1.
     

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  6. valittu

    valittu Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Nice plane. Really nice plane. So nice, in fact, I googled it and found the coolest youtube clip, which raised a question. How exactly would a Sport Pilot student, or student in general get checked out in a single seat plane without killing himself? I would think the ultralight death rate was pretty high prior to the development of fat ultralights, huh?
     
  7. wanttaja

    wanttaja Pattern Altitude

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    Plenty of single-seat homebuilts out there, rarely are there problems. My "checkout" in the Fly Baby consisted of a talk with someone with a large amount of time.

    *If* the airplane has conventional handling! it shouldn't be a problem.

    Ron Wanttaja
     
  8. zaitcev

    zaitcev En-Route

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    The topic merits a serious consideration, especially since I think Ron is affected by a version of the curse of the gifted, or in our case the experienced. What's easy for a FlyBaby veteran may be quite hard for me.

    In my case, I have already obtained a tailwheel endorsement in an Interstate S1A. It's still a big step from an 1100 lbs, 90 hp airplane to 850 lbs, 60 hp airplane. Carlson is also short coupled.

    Step zero is to learn the systems: fuel, engine, flaps, trim. Egress procedure.

    Next step is going to be taxiing, going down the runway, lift the tail, lower the tail, get used to the visible speeds, braking and in general getting a hang of rudder. I target about 5 perfect runs.

    I am strictly against crowhopping, so at that point I'm going to fly, get up to about 4000 ft up and do some stalls, see what is indicated. After a few of those, landing into a three point (seller's suggestion). Then repeat.

    Next time, wheelies. After that, a few circles around the pattern, find some benign cross-winds, etc. Expand the envelope.
     
  9. valittu

    valittu Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Thanks for both replies.
    Keep us posted on your progress. It seems like a charming little aircraft, as does the flybaby.
     
  10. moonshine

    moonshine Line Up and Wait

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    Looks good!
    Good luck and just do it one step at the time, like you plan to.
     
  11. wanttaja

    wanttaja Pattern Altitude

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    My dear Pete, at the time of my first Fly Baby flight, I had about 300 hours total time. About 200 hours were taildragger, but I had precisely one hour of taildragger time in the preceding six years (a bit of dual in a Champ the week before).

    I don't want to minimize the need for proper preparation, but the fact is, you probably already have 98% of the skills and reflexes you'll need to fly it. You need to talk to a pilot experienced in the type, which your posting is obviously intended to do.

    The main concern is whether the Carlson has any handling quirks. I once flew a a homebuilt type that had bad adverse yaw. That's the kind of info you want to find out.

    Otherwise, research and practice on the systems, be current, then take off and climb out carefully... And have fun learning how the plane flies.

    Ron Wanttaja
     
  12. zaitcev

    zaitcev En-Route

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    Okay, it's here, or at least most of the parts are here.

    [​IMG]
     

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  13. Seanaldinho

    Seanaldinho Pattern Altitude

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    My second ever solo flight was in a single place glider. I ran through the book and memorized the numbers. Talked with another pilot about how she handles and how to raise and lower the gear.

    Took off and landed no problem. Biggest difference is recognizing the difference in sight picture.
     
  14. Banjo33

    Banjo33 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I'm excited for you and I look forward to hearing about your progress! Now, off to google this plane and learn more about it...
     
  15. zaitcev

    zaitcev En-Route

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    Okay, I went to make a few high-speed taxi runs at tail-up speed. Scared myself each time. I suspect that if it were a Pup, I would've crashed it already. As it is, I only had a good look into drainage ditch and irrigation channel that line the runway. Two things saved my bacon:

    1. Plane is draggy and loses speed quickly if throttle is cut. So it slows down quicker than PIO develops.
    2. It's relatively squat, so permits fairly scary zig-zags without rolling to a side. It's like a taildragger with training wheels.

    Knowing when pull the stick on roll-out was more critical than I realized, too. At first, I tried to ride it until the tail stopped flying. Not the best idea.
     
  16. wanttaja

    wanttaja Pattern Altitude

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    I recommend that new Fly Baby owners do NOT perform high-speed taxi runs. Fly Babies seem to get a tad sensitive about 35 MPH, but the aircraft accelerates/decelerates through that speed so quickly that there's not much reason to practice it.

    Ron Wanttaja
     
  17. Geico266

    Geico266 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You are one of the lucky ones. High speed taxis in a proven airframe are just plain dumb.

    Take off, go up and do a few stalls to know exactly where stall is, come in and land it.
     
  18. zaitcev

    zaitcev En-Route

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    Okay, so I went and flew it today. It was fairly anticlimatic... The winds were dead calm, so even my poor directional control was not an issue. However, I was caught by surprise by how easily it accelerated when nose was pointed down, so I had to slip dramatically at first, then let it touch down before it stopped flying. That led to porpoising, so I went around on the first try. On second try I widened the pattern, kept the speed in check and still floated a little bit before it stopped flying and landed. My wife was taking a video and ran out of space even before I took the runway :mad2:
     
  19. wanttaja

    wanttaja Pattern Altitude

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    Congratulations, Pete!

    Ron Wanttaja
     
  20. JoeSelch

    JoeSelch Pattern Altitude

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    Congratulations!
    I think it's supposed to be anticlimactic. Still, it was probably a thrill, too. :D
     
  21. zaitcev

    zaitcev En-Route

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    Well, that didn't take long... See attached for the visuals.

    But basically, I took her up for practice. Winds calm. Came in once - managed speed okay - normal landing - immediate porpoising. Full power, go around. Hmm... Came in twice - did everything as usual - same thing, only worse, because for a moment I tried to fight it with controls. Gave up at the last moment and had to maneuver with a 30 degree bank in ground effect to avoid a Cherokee that taxied for takeoff (remember we had a thread where everyone asked how a guy managed to slam into parked airplanes away from runway -- that's how).

    At that point I realized that I am stuck in the air and I have no idea how to land. I tried once again, and went porpoising again, quickly gone full power for go-around though. So I started flying around and thinking. I came very close to trying a wheelie. Previous owner told me not to do them due to a particular region of poor stability around 35 mph, but I considered if by flying really flush with the runway I may be able to descend very gradually and thus avoid rebound, and then add negative angle of attack and turn this into those high-speed taxis that I did. Just the memory of fishtailing all over prevented me from trying that...

    In the end, for the 4th touchdown I tried this: came very-very close to the runway at the end of the flaring and kept, I dunno, less than a feet off the surface while bleeding the speed and eventually hooked with the tailwheel first. Slammed the mains down, of course, but due to low height of the fall the rebound was not enough to lift me out into the air again and the speed went below stall by that time. Good grief, I thought it was BRS time for sure.

    I'm starting to ask if this tailwheel and experimental thing may be beyond my basic flying ability.
     

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    Last edited: Nov 18, 2013
  22. zaitcev

    zaitcev En-Route

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    [​IMG]

    I had the plane repaired and returned to flight. Even made the first little cross-country.
     

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  23. jsstevens

    jsstevens En-Route PoA Supporter

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    looks like fun.
     
  24. zaitcev

    zaitcev En-Route

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    A guy is selling a Sparrow Sport at Barnstormers:
    http://www.barnstormers.com/classified_921942_Carlson+Sparrow+Sprt+Rotax+503.html

    Unfortunately, in my opinion it's a project. It flies on Rotax 503, a 2-stroke engine, and that cries for re-engining it with an HKS like mine or a WV like on Jim's. Also, what's up with the trike layout? I prefer the tricicle gear in general, but Sparrow is likely not to like the weight penalty.

    For only $6k I thought maybe to grab it and use as a parts airplane, but that would deprive someone else from an airplane, possibly, and also I don't really have a space to store it. Transporting it from VA is also expensive.
     

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    Last edited: Aug 8, 2014
  25. zaitcev

    zaitcev En-Route

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    BTW, I received word that N367BZ is for sale. I'm attaching a picture from 2010 because I think it's pretty, although Jim sent me current pictures and it looks just fine in them, only the picture angles are different.

    [​IMG]

    If you ask me, there's little to choose between our airplanes, although they are somewhat different. I don't have flaps, but I have chute and electric start. His panel is somewhat nicer as it passes for a grown-up airplane better.
     

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  26. masloki

    masloki Line Up and Wait

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    Thanks for posting about your experiences doing a self checkout. And glad to see you got back on the horse again.
     
  27. zaitcev

    zaitcev En-Route

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    Just for the record, I already crashed the N41475. I started pushing it too far, flying in 20 knot cross-winds with little problem, and eventually it caught up with me. I took off in high heat, when a cell was about to overtake the airport. It was above 100F, AWOS reported +32C. I actually performed a DA calculation to make sure I don't hit obstructions after takeoff. But I forgot that heat has effects other than DA. On climb-out, engine overheated. I had no choice but to return and landed in increased winds, then flipped it over on rollout.

    The airplane apparently sustained damage to wings, which need rebuilding. I shipped it to the original builder, who agreed to work on it. Hopefuly it's going to be better than new.

    Good thing though, Carlson's fuselage is strong enough to protect you in a rollover. I do not suggest anyone stall a Carlson and lawn-dart it, because that's going to kill you for sure. But a little crash seems okay. My fuselage was built when Ernie Carlson was still alive and running things at the factory, so thanks to him.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2014
  28. zaitcev

    zaitcev En-Route

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    a1.jpg a2.jpg
    The N41475 is back after a restoration by the original builder.

    Update: I think I'm going to sell it. I'm just too pudgy for an airplane this small.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2016
  29. zaitcev

    zaitcev En-Route

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    Yesterday, I landed N41475 at its new home in Austin, Texas. The trip from Rochester, New York took me 5 days, mostly for the weather delays. But headwinds were a factor too. I was making 45 knots over the ground at times. While Chris B. was taking care of it, he re-pitched the prop for climb. The result was a reduction of the cruise speed from about 72-75 knots down to 65-68, and a drop in cruise fuel burn from 3.4 gph to a shade under 3 gph. But it carried my self, basic baggage, and emergency supplies with no issue at these low altitudes. To be sure, the DA was never above 3,000.

    n41475_new_home.jpg
     
  30. timwinters

    timwinters Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    How would a taller person (6-2) fit in it?
     
  31. zaitcev

    zaitcev En-Route

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    A tall pilot fits perfectly. I'm 6'5", 220 lbs and I'm comfortable enough to fly for 5 days straight from NY to TX as you see. My biggest complaint is that I cannot rest my right leg against the door. Well, I can, but doing so buckles the door outward and it starts scooping the air. I never flew long enough before to care about it, but now I'm thinking about adding an extra latch.