Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sun 'n Fun 2012: Day Three

Greetings, Earth creatures, from sultry Florida, where it's hot, humid and shooting toward 85 but already feels hotter than that.
Jana Morenz of Rans Aircraft shows me the ropes in the S7 Courier
Nonetheless your intrepid shooter/writer/flyer had the pleasure of spending a couple hours this morning with Jana Morenz, the gracious and lovely pilot for Rans Aircraft.
Jana took me for a dawn patrol demo flight in the newly updated Rans S-7LS Courier tandem taildragger and as expected, it's a real sweetheart...not just you Jana, but the airplane too.
We did some airwork where I discovered to my delight the Courier, though resembling a Cublike S-LSA, is its own animal: light, and I mean light on the controls, nimble, responsive, with excellent power performance, climb, clean cruise over 100 mph and benign stall characteristics.
As Jana says, "It's the kind of airplane you really don't want to spend a lot of time in straight line flight with.  It's so much fun to fly."  Too true.

An aerodynamic pedigree that reaches back to the J3 Cub and Champ...but has thoroughly modern sensibilities.

Not that you can't fly it straight.  Jana brought it all way out to Florida from Hays, KS and says she had a great time.  Once you trim it up (with a couple taps on the responsive stick-top electric trim button), you can relax and enjoy the view.
The Courier is sensitive in roll and pitch, and you want to block the rudder pedals: it doesn't take much of a push with the narrow fuselage to get out of yaw-kilter, which I amply demonstrated more than once.  An hour or two and the sportscar-like handling personality of the bird should feel like something you've flown all your life but because it has such delightfully light handling, I didn't fly it like an ace first time up.

I made one landing, a three-pointer at South Lakeland's grass strip that, because of the Courier's much-lower-than-J3 Cub deck angle on the ground, was a piece of cake...didn't even embarrass myself.  
Really, it felt like it landed itself, with a nominal approach over the fence around 55 mph, mellow round out and easy-effort flare.  I didn't even retrim, just eased the stick back with light pressure...with the Courier it's a breeze to look like you know what you're doing close to terra firma. 

The S-7LS is a sweetheart: lively, fast and easy to change direction, a real fun airplane with lots of room, two opening doors and many nice features typical of Rans airplanes.
Thanks again to Jana and the always-fun Rans crew, including pals Randy Schlitter and Michele Miller for a delightful, all-American designed/produced airplane.
Toe brakes front and rear seats, steerable, break-loose tailwheel,
lovely plumbing and hardware throughout.

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