Author Topic: Pilot report for those who havn't flown a Cadet yet  (Read 8502 times)

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Pilot report for those who havn't flown a Cadet yet
« on: September 01, 2012, 01:17:04 AM »
   Hi everybody:
 I've seen a few Culver Cadets. I've read a lot about them. I've seen the U-tube videos but I had never flown in one or heard what they were like to fly.
 Well I just had the opportunity. What an awsome airplane. I just bought Tim Luncfords project Cadet and he suggested that I take his daughters plane up. I was dying to go up and see what the plane I bought would eventually be like. The first problem is that I'm really too heavy to do a duel check out. I'm 220 lbs and working at getting down to 180 or 190. I'll need to be lighter if I ever want to use the passenger seat! It is a small airplane. Once seated it is comfortable.
 Tim had the great idea of placing the Airplane on jacks then practicing retracting the gear and extending it. I did this about four times. Here is the sequence. Move the gear lever (between the seats) from the left position to the middle position, now grab the wheel with your right hand and rotate it. It's a ratchet system so as the wheel is turned it doesn't drop down when you let go of the wheel. Keep rotating untill you see the wheels in the wheel well and you can't rotate the wheel any longer. That's it. Now to get it down, a little caution is needed, first grab the wheel and pull in the upward rotational direction to unload the ratchet. Move the gear leaver to the right position  with your left hand all the while holding on to the wheel with the right hand. This is important because the gear wants to drop like a stone. Let the wheel rotate slowly in your hand, then when the gear is down, move the gear lever to the left position again. Wiggle the lever to make sure it's in place and also try to move the wheel. If nothing moves the gear is down and locked.
 If you have flown small airplanes before then everything else is quite conventional. Do a normal walk around and look At everything that moves.
 In the cockpit the fuel lever is under the dash turn it on, turn on the master, prime ( just one pump)! Then start the engine. Tim's plane has the Franklin engine which started right away cold or hot. I was surprised how smooth an engine it is. ( must be well balanced)  Oil pressure seems to run around 20
indicated at all times.
 After doing a conventional run up I did one circuit with the gear down. Then more circuits with the gear up.
 Here is the technique that I used for take off. With all the controlls nuteral I slowly brought in the throttle, when it was all the way in I lift the tail just enough so I can tell that the tailwheel isn't on the ground. I hold it in that attitude until it flys away. I don't know what speed it flys at, I did it by feel and my first look at the airspeed indicator Showed 60 mph at around 20 feet agl. Tim said to get the gear up prior to 100 mph so that you don't fight the air loads on the gear. This isn't a problem because the airplane isn't a stellar climber , if you are a little fast just increase the pitch a bit. The only caution in the climb is not to get fixated on the gear retraction and forget to watch the pItch. The airplane is very light on the controlls and has fairly small stick displacement to get directional change.
Once climbing away I accelerated to 100 mph and without doing a proper timed climb check believe the plane probably climbed around 500 fpm. Full throttle level flight indicated close to 130 at 1500 asl.  A more normal cruise of 2500 rpm indicated 120 mph.  Coming in for landing, in the later part of The circuit slow to around 100 and be fully trimmed because both hands will be busy with gear extension. I found I could follow the runway 3 degree papi at 70 mph using 1450-1500 rpm and I felt like I was on rails all the way to the ground. At around 10 feet bring the power to idle hold the attitude and let it sink.  At around 3 feet flair and I was able to 3 point it in consistently. The gear absorbs shock nicely and has no tendency to cause bounce. Just my personal technique but after touchdown I raise the tail slIghtly to keep the tail wheel off the ground. If I need it on the ground for directional controll obviously I'll keep it pinned on the ground.
In the air the airplane is simply a delight to fly its responsive and sporty. The view is better than I would have expected from an antique airplane. The wings look so cool.
 We did some pre arranged loose formation flying with Tim in his Dart, I found the Cadet an easy airplane to fly formation with because it responds so quickly to just pressure on the stick.
They say the Vans RVs are smile makers but it's been two days since I've flown the Cadet and I havn't been able to wipe the grin off my face yet!!
 It's a short airplane so a little twitchy on the ground but if you can handle a Luscombe you'd be fine in this airplane. I'll be sending Bill some pictures in a few days of my flight.
 For those who have always wanted to know what it's like I hope this was helpful


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Re: Pilot report for those who havn't flown a Cadet yet
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2012, 10:13:59 PM »
Hi Mark,
Your report sounds accurate, and a lot of fun!
Keep us updated with your progress, hope to see you flying your project soon.