Time to wrap up this week’s discussion with John Lampson, CFII and veteran Flight Design CTLS instructor.
Our topic: How and why are LSA different than GA airplanes and what transition challenges do they present for experienced GA pilots?
|LSA like this Alto 100 can surprise GA pilots|
with robust takeoff performance.
"As I said earlier, GA experience shouldn’t hold pilots back in an LSA. But I’ve noticed they’re often surprised at the lighter, more dramatic, responsive feel of LSA, especially when they make the exact same control inputs that they're used to for a GA airplane."
"New pilots on the other hand, with no prior flying experience, have no preconceptions. I can teach them from the ground up. They don't have to combat and unlearn those old habits first."
Does that mean baby blue students get with the program quicker?
|Many GA pilots have never flown an aircraft with a stick|
“But I sure don’t mean to scare away GA pilots", he hastens to add. "Most of the time they do just great, there’s just some transition time needed, to make individual adjustments to these new aircraft."
"I have had pilots with thousands of hours expect that all they'll need is a quick, 'around the patch' flight, rather than any actual training."
"Usually, they're surprised at how different the LSA is once they get in the air.”
He recounts a recent flight with a gentleman he unabashedly describes as “a phenomenal pilot. I'd wanted to fly with him because I expected I'd learn something. But he expected I would just sign him off without flying. 'Let's go up for just half an hour,' I said."
|Many GA aircraft like this Cessna 170|
use a yoke for pitch and roll
John points out some adjustments specific to the CTLS that illustrate the general idea that proper transition to LSA flight is important:
"The sight picture forward takes a bit of getting used to during taxi, takeoff and landing."
I struggled with this myself: the short, puppy dog-curving nose sets up a false sense of where straight ahead is that gave me problems, particularly on landings. I’d slide into final thinking I had the wheels lined up straight down the runway, and was surprised to find I as several degrees off, putting a bit of a side load on the tires. That took awhile to adjust to.
"You sit in a little more reclined attitude too,” John continues. “It's a little more sporty than many GA planes."
“Also, we forget sometimes that some GA pilots people have never flown using a stick before. That yoke-to-stick transition can take a bit of time."
"And again, the sheer performance of it: it's simply a quicker, more sensitive airplane. People are always surprised, pleasantly of course, by the climb performance and dramatic deck angle. We get 1200 to 1500 fpm sometimes in the CT.”
“‘Hey, I didn’t expect that from a 100 hp engine!' is something I hear all the time."
Engine rpm is another surprise.
|Spicy LSA: the FK 12 Comet comes with Rotax or Lycoming 233-LSA engines for sport flying or acrobatics.|
“GA pilots are used to 1700 rpm for runup and 2400 rpm for cruise. In a Rotax, which is a reduction drive-geared engine, the numbers approach twice that: 4000 and higher for cruise, 3000-4000 rpm for run up."
"Glass panels present another challenge for transitioning pilots.”
Since LSA don’t require FAA certification for EFIS (Electronic Flight Instrument Systems), there’s a proliferation of affordable “glass” cockpits in the industry. They're not nearly as common in the existing fleet of GA cockpits, especially in training airplanes like the C-172 that have been around forever.
|Full EFIS cockpits are standard for many LSA cockpits|
"It all boils down to this: I tell new students, first timers and veteran GA pilots alike: 'Don’t even worry about trying to absorb the EFIS avionics today; let’s fly the airplane first. It’ll quickly become very familiar and easy to digest once you’re exposed to it a bit.’”
Call to my blog readers: If you've got any questions about LSA training for John, please post a comment here and we'll answer it in a jump on it in a future post.
And many thanks again John for sharing your expertise!