I'm feeling ready for another session of dual. Permit me to give you some recent history which I think will be germane. I will try to be concise.
Since seeing you last I have flown the Sky Scout numerous times at a meadow close to me. I've enjoyed it tremendously, learned a great deal and improved my skills and confidence significantly.
I've also assembled and flown, there at Walt Grosche field only, a second Radian Pro, this across three visits and comprising maybe 10 or 12 flights averaging perhaps 5 or 6 minutes apiece. Generally these have gone quite well. By the second session I was feeling more comfortable and all of the flights were focused on good form, smooth and steady control and staying well within the bounds of my "safety zones" in attitude, altitude, airspeed and distance. After a brief warm-up I would fly traffic patterns to a low pass down the runway, followed by a smooth controlled climb out. (I never used more than a very little bit of flaps). All the landings were quite good and I was very pleased.
On the third session last Sunday I was a little anxious and reflected - as I had on the second session - how sensitive that plane is in pitch, particularly when the power is high and how fast everything happens then and that it was almost inevitable without having started in a more suitable trainer, like the Scout, that the spectacular demise of the first Pro was almost inevitable. I thought "this thing is over-powered. I ought to flatten the power curve way out in the radio and also dampen the elevator down. I must ask Mannie about that". I also noted that when the power is reduced abruptly it seems to stall. No surprise there when I think about it.
In finding a good trimmed airspeed I thought I noticed a slight porpoiseing and in preparation for the last couple of flights moved the battery forward a half inch or so which seemed to help a bit. Anyway I was climbing up, about as high as I ever do - maybe 175 feet? - and realized I was climbing too steeply and was banked too steeply and started feeling uncomfortable and the next thing I knew that thing was rocketing straight down at an unbelievable speed and was completely destroyed. I found myself wondering whether it was possible that there had been some sort of electrical or mechanical problem or failure. But the fact that I can't tell you what my thumbs were doing on the way down allows in my mind the finding of only one probable cause: I let my mind wander at a critical moment, and the thing probably stalled as I brought the power back, dropped off on a wing and I panicked and instinctively pushed the throttle forward and pulled the stick back and augured straight in under power.
I had been doing so well, and so consistently: focused on keeping everything smooth, simple and safe. You would have approved. While I enjoy watching you guys tear up the skies in your StratoBlasters, my objective is smooth, slow, graceful soaring. This incident makes me think that what I need is a session or two of dual focusing on slow flight at minimum controllable airspeed, stall recognition and recovery and, particularly, incipient spin recognition and prevention. These I always considered to be at the core of airmanship and have spent endless hours both practicing and teaching these in every aircraft which I have flown or in which I have instructed. The standard by which I judged proficiency was, in addition to smooth, precise control, a lack of anxiety about slow flight, a lack of fear of stalls, and relaxed, instinctive response to the first burble when flying on the edge. So it seems to me this is what I need. Again no surprise there when I think about it.
I have purchased a third Radian Pro and still intend someday to own and fly a Cularis. If you think there is another bird between the Sky Scout and the Pro which I should be flying first I would be interested in hearing about that. I have looked longingly at the Multiplex EasyGlider, but I don't have any idea what its value as a mid-step trainer on the way to the Pro might be. And, alas, the budget is limited.
Thanks for your time in wading through this. I hope we'll be able to fly together again soon.
I stopped at the hobby shop on the way home and picked up #3.
Her name is Ariel and she is assembled and waiting ...