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Since spiral dives are responsible for a number of unnecessary trike fatalities, it is important for the industry to provide avoidance and recovery techniques to avoid future mishaps.
The most important remedy is to get actual spiral dive/avoidance/recovery dual training from a qualified instructor. This can most easily be combined with a flight review or a training session with a trike CFI.
Additionally there are many ground training resources that each and every pilot and instructor can utilize to move pilots from the proper or improper rote actions to the correlation levels of learning.
These are listed below:
Video with editing where spiral recovery training saved two lives:
Henry Trikelife raw flying footage of above video:
Exit a Spiral Dive by Larry Mednick video:
Spiral Dive in A.C. by Larry Mednick Video:
Ground school paper book where Spiral Dive science/principles is discussed in detail chapter 5 Advanced Flight Maneuvers:
Ground school downloadable eBook where Spiral Dive science/principles is discussed in detail chapter 5 Advanced Flight Maneuvers:
Trike Training Syllabus where Spiral Recovery is part of a comprehensive training program:
Steep Turns and Spirals for Trikes where steep turn turbulence resulted in spiral with immediate corrective action
Please provide any additional training resources on this subject for trike pilots so we can have a complete listing here.
Thank you your help with this issue.
This past Sunday evening I went up for the first flight of Spring in some nice calm weather. What was unique about this flight is it was my first flight after installing a Roll Trim Kit on my Revo. Installation of the kit was fairly straight forward. The entire process took about 4 hours to install the wheel spat mechanism and dash switch. Up until this point, I was using a "stick on" ground adjustable trim tab which I never seemed to get positioned just right.
For those of you who have watched my videos and seen some of my commentary, getting the trike to fly hands off at all speeds has been a point of frustration. For those with adjustable speed trim - you will probably recognize the issue. After much trial and error with the manual trim tab, I was able to get my trike to fly mostly straight at a nice 75mph cruise. However, if I trimmed slower or faster a slight turn would be induced.
On this first flight, I gave the in flight adjustable trim kit a try and I am VERY HAPPY to report that I was able to take out any turning tendencies perfectly WHILE IN FLIGHT! Furthermore, as I adjusted trim speed, I was able to easily and immediately take out any induced turn with the roll trim. I had my Revo flying hands off, at multiple trim speeds, with no turning tendencies by using very little adjustments of the roll trim kit. I found myself grinning ear to ear as I flew for long durations without having to touch the bar. It was a joy to have a trike that flew straight as an arrow no matter the speed.
For those flying in trikes with adjustable trim speeds or if you have any sort of mild but annoying turning tendencies, this is THE feature to get! It can be frustrating and tiring when your trike just won't fly straight. After proper wing tuning and adjustments are made, this little device compensates for variations caused by weather, humidity and speed changes. It proved its worth training with Larry in Florida on his trikes and now will make all my flights in my trike that much more enjoyable. As I continue to work towards my Sport Pilot goals and with some upcoming cross country flights to complete, this device will make those longer duration flights all that much more enjoyable, accurate and safe. I can't recommend it highly enough! It is without a doubt one of the best investments I have made in my short triking adventure. A must have option on any future trikes I own and fly.
Safe Flying All!
There is a lively discussion on www.alltrikes.com . Apparently an Airborne crashed killing the pilot and the passenger. This is a different Airborne than the one we heard about crashing recently.
According to the dicussion on Alltrikes.com the pilot spiraled into the ground from 500 feet.
This is very tragic and sad. My condolences to the family and friends. I think, going forward spiral recovery should be made part of PTS manuvers.
Airworthiness Certification of Products and Articles
Operations Limitations Job Aid,
I went with my friend for a flight today, I fly a Northwing Navajo with HKS 700e. We did a few touch and gos, on two of the landings we felt a significant shimmy.
Now on my trike, I already have a dampner, I am tyring to figure out what could have caused the shimming, the only thing I can think is that my tundra tires were a bit low on air and also the second landing was done probably a bit faster, with about 6 mile cross wind.
Has anyone who owns a Navajo trike exprienced this? sometimes I think due to a four stroke engine, maybe the rear part of the trike already is heavy to begin with, add a 215 pound passenger and slightly deflated tire, coupled with a cross wind landing and all of the above could have contributed to the shimmy.
The first time my speed during the shimmying was around 20s or so, so I punched the throttle and took off again, the second time I applied the brake and that kind of stopped the shimmying.
None the less, I would like your input. For those of you who have tundra tires, what is the pressure you keep in those tires?
I spoke to trike pilot friend, he recommended to check my axles and rear gear assembly, for any cracks or damage and also to land slow and keep the nose wheel up as long as possible at landing. I couldn't find any damage on the trike, so I was hoping for anyone else who has experienced the same shimmying, that could shed some light on this topic and share their solution.
Now is the time to order a new Delta Jet 2 as the Euro may never be lower than it is right now Here is an example of a SLSA DJ2 with 100hp, engine enclosure, Cheval 12.4m Wing with Electric Trim, MGL xTreme EFIS, MGL V6 Radio, lights, Flycom helmets and BRS for $66K.
Go to www.deltajet2.com and you can price out your own configuration and options and also design your wing color scheme with our online tool. Call Todd Halver today at (336) 558-6800 with any questions and to place an order for this high performing aircraft!
"The new Delta Jet 2 from Silverlight Aviation is a unique combination of performance, quality, and value among high-end trikes. I chose this aircraft as it offers top-of-the-line performance with exceptional value. As a new trike pilot, I find it handles precisely, easily and with features second to none. Beautiful, fun machine! " -- Ted Hunting, San Ramon, CA
P.S. See and Fly the Delta Jet 2 trike at Sun n Fun April 21-26 in Lakeland Florida.
With the 912S at density altitudes I operate at 5000 to 12,000 MSL, I am only getting 85 to 64 HP out of my 100HP. That 914 turbo gets 115, almost double at high altitudes.
I had an opportunity to deal with a great flight instructor who does the tailwheel training and specializes in back country high altitude training. I asked about how the 914 got so popular on Kitfoxes and he said he ordered one specifically for his type of training and now almost everyone is ordering them. It rockets.
Of course they are not cheap, and they weigh maybe 30 pounds more, but after my experience with that much POWER AT ALTITUDE, the 914 is amazing.
For cross country flights I get 90 MPH true at 8000 MSL equating to about 74 HP out of the 912S. With a 914 at 115 HP at 8000 MSL , running some really rough numbers, I could get 110 to 115 MPH true with the 914.
That is a nice speed jump for a cross country and maybe a new trike speed record.
Will there be a 914 for trikes in our future. HMMM
Just got a call from someone who wants to come out and learn to fly a trike, but does not want to buy a trike for his solo. Sure would be nice to be able to solo students in an ultralight which laws do not allow. Just make some stickers and paperwork and we could have a S-LSA ultralight for rental for about $20,000. Easier said than done i am sure.
I could see myself having an ultralight with S-LSA paperwork and would feel comfortable soloing students in a $20,000 aircraft. The ultralight could be upgraded with larger fuel tanks as an LSA and would not be restricted to ultralight rules. HUH. I could sell it as an ultralight, E-LSA or S-LSA.
Any other thoughts from the community about such an idea? Should we push our manufacturers to spend the extra money for S-LSA certification? Could a manufacturer even build an ultralight that could additionally get S-LSA certification?
Food for thought.
This is what I do to get tuned into a trike/wing and feel it is one of the most important maneuvers for pilots to practice.
Principles of energy management are important for low momentum trikes.
Sometimes we forget some of the basics are right in front of us.
Here is what is in the FAA Weight-Shift Control Aircraft Flying Handbook page 6-19:
The WSC aircraft has very little momentum because of its relative light weight as compared to airplanes. Therefore, it is important that pilots learn to manage the kinetic energy of the WSC. Higher speed and higher power is higher energy.
Lower speed and lower power is lower energy. The ability for a pilot to maintain high energy levels in turbulent air and while near the ground is the basis for energy management for WSC.
Energy management should first be practiced at higher altitudes. While maintaining straight-and-level flight, power is increased and decreased, and pitch control must be used. The pilot should start at the trim position and with the appropriate cruise throttle setting. As power is smoothly applied towards full throttle, the WSC aircraft pitch attitude attempts to increase. The pilot should decrease the pitch to
maintain level flight. This results in a high energy level. Once this application is held for a couple seconds, the pilot should then smoothly reduce power to the cruise power
setting and increase pitch to maintain level flight. The WSC aircraft is now back to at a lower trim/cruise power in a medium energy level.
Again, increase power and reduce pitch to stay level attaining a high energy level. Now, reduce power to idle and as the nose lowers, increase pitch. The pilot must be aware of the decreasing energy levels occurring during this phase of the maneuver for this is usually a precursor to accidents when
approaching the runway. The pilot should recognize this scenario and promptly apply the power as appropriate to prevent the aircraft from descending. Additionally, the pilot must be aware of the slow flight and stall characteristics to prevent a stall and to maintain a specified heading.
Once the student masters this maneuver successfully at higher altitudes, energy management can be practiced with low passes down the runway in calm winds at higher energy levels, then at the lower trim/cruise power medium energy level, and finally higher to medium trim/cruise power energy
levels. Low passes over the runway fine tunes the student’s skills for energy management and is an excellent exercise to prepare students for landings.
It is important to understand that higher energy levels should be used while maneuvering near the ground especially in turbulent or crosswind conditions. This is discussed in Chapter 7, Takeoff and Departure Climbs, that higher energy is recommended as the WSC aircraft lifts off and initially climbs out from the runway.
Higher energy is also recommended for a power on approach where the airspeed is higher than the normal approach speed; and the power is higher than the normal approach power. There is still a descent rate, but the WSC aircraft has more overall energy to handle turbulence and crosswinds.
Here is more in the FAA Weight-Shift Control Aircraft Flying Handbook page 11-15 for landing in the "Estimating Height and ovement" section:
The best way to recognize and become accustomed to heights and
speeds for a particular WSC aircraft is to perform low passes
over the runway, as discussed earlier, with energy management.
Perform a normal approach first, then a high energy pass at a
higher speed, and then medium-energy passes at lower speeds.
These exercises are performed first in calm winds at a height, as
an example, at which the wheels are 10 feet above the runway,
then lowering to just inches above the runway as the pilot’s
The objective is to become proficient at flying straight down the runway centerline at a constant altitude. This exercise provides the opportunity to determine height and speed over the runway before any landings are performed. These should generally be performed in mild conditions. Higher energy and greater heights above the runway are required in windier and bumpier conditions.
And finally on page 11-17 we have:
Power-on Approach and Landing for Turbulant Air
Power-on approaches at an airspeed above the normal approach speed should be used for landing in turbulent air. This provides for more energy and positive control of the aircraft when strong horizontal wind gusts, wind sheer, or up and down drafts, are experienced. Like other power-on approaches (when the pilot can vary the amount of power), a coordinated combination of both speed and power adjustments is usually required.
It is easiest to think of flying the aircraft onto the ground at an airspeed above the stall speed. The additional power provides the pilot the ability to reduce the descent rate to touch the wheels gently to the surface at a higher speed. Landing in turbulent air is where practice and experience in energy management are utilized.
This precise coordination of power and speed for higher energy landings should first be practiced in calm air and can be used as the next step in learning landings after the student becomes proficient at low approaches.
To determine the additional approach speed to flying in turbulence, one procedure is to use the normal approach speed plus one-half of the wind gust factors. The wind gust factor is determined by how much the airspeed varies while flying. If the normal approach speed is 50 knots and the wind gusts are at 15 knots, an airspeed of 57 knots is appropriate.
Another method is to ensure the aircraft is at least at VY speed plus the wind gust factor. In any case, the airspeed that the aircraft manufacturer recommends.
An adequate amount of power should be used to maintain the proper airspeed and descent path throughout the approach and the throttle retarded to idling position only after the main wheels contact the landing surface. Care must be exercised in not closing the throttle before the pilot is ready for touchdown. In this situation, the sudden or premature closing of the throttle may cause a sudden increase in the descent rate that could result in a hard landing.
Landings from power-on approaches in turbulence should be such that the touchdown is made with the aircraft in approximately level flight attitude. The pitch attitude at touchdown should be only enough to prevent the nosewheel from contacting the surface before the main wheels have touched the surface. Most WSC are designed so the front wheel is higher than the back wheels in this situation, but each
WSC is different. This must be evaluated for each model.
After touchdown, the pilot should reduce the throttle to idle and pull the control bar all the way to the chest to lower the nose and prevent the WSC aircraft from lifting off until it slows below the stall speed. The aircraft should be allowed to decelerate normally with the aerodynamic braking of the wing with the nose lowered, and assisted by the wheel brakes as required.