Saturday, July 02, 2011

Citabria Intro Flight

When I learned last week that Ed is now running a flight school at Sterling, and that he had bought a Citabria 7ECA since I last flew with him (in his Cub) in 2004, I decided to sign up for some time in that airplane, with two goals in mind. One is to complete the tail-wheel training and endorsement that I started in 2004. The other is to get current on my private pilot certificate so I can fly solo again (starting with the Citabria, as soon as Ed and I decide I'm up to speed).

The Citabria is a tail dragger like the Piper Cub, but in most other respects, it's more like a Cessna 152. It's got the same engine as a 152, it's got an electrical system (for starting the engine, among other things), and it's got a full, modern instrument panel (not really modern - it's all round gauges as you can see above, not a "glass cockpit," but that's OK with me).

For this first flight, Ed handled most of the takeoff and all of the landing from the base leg (just before turn to final). We went out near Mount Wachusett and spent an hour letting me get familiar with the feel of the airplane with straight and level flight, turns, climbs and descents (the four fundamentals). It was mostly OK though I had some trouble holding a steady altitude (not trimmed quite right so I tended to gain or lose a hundred feet here and there) and a steady heading (mostly not choosing and holding external reference points to aim for, plus lazy feet on the rudder pedals).

Still it was a good flight, and I really enjoy this airplane. Although it's a tailwheel airplane, it has much better forward visibility than the Cub, which really makes takeoffs and landings much easier.

Citabria 1.2 hours dual at 3B3.

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