bertie's blog
bertie's blog
Age: 46
Home: Bournemouth
Occupation: pilot
Blog Description
A successful 2007 Rally! Flying in France again.
My Aircraft...
Description: Luscombe Silvaire, 8E, Nov 1946. Silver/Blue.
Location: Near Compton Abbas, North Dorset, UK.
last days
October 2006
Flying Moments...
First solo in Hong Kong.
First visual approach in a 757.
First display.
Managing to attract 28 Luscombes to the first ever Luscombe Rally!
Too many to mention!
Additional Information


Monday, 16 October 2006
About 2 weeks ago, at the request of a luscombe chum of mine, I phoned another flying chum, an Auster pilot, to see when we could convert an Auster 'mind' to a Luscombe mind!

Basicaly he'd sold his Auster and brought a half share in a lovely 1940 8A and the owner asked me to get him up to speed on his Luscombe and on the strip it was based on.{ also the same strip as Brug is based on as it so happens}

He and I had done quite a bit of tailwheel work in the past, converting him on the Citabria and the Auster, so we've known each other for a long time and had struck up a good repore.

After a thorough brief comparing the Auster and the Luscombes' different characteristics, both on the ground and in the air and also knowing that he'd been well briefed by the owner regarding the starting procedure, fuel system and, importantly, the 'hot start' procedure, we set off into the air on a thermic and breezy day to a long grass strip which would be less demanding than the strip we'd taken off from. On the way we explored the 8As' stalling charactistics both in the turns, power off and, importantly, power on and discovered she would drop a wing only to the left but in a reasonably beinign fashion but, never the less, a relatively serious drop if one was on the approach with a sideslip nose right and left wing down close to ground.Recovery is instantaneous when releasing the controls.

His flying was 'rusty' as he'd not flown for several months but quickly got the hand of it. The in cruise 'step' was determined by speed, trim and picking a spot on the cowling or winscreen to determine where the Luscombe nose sits whilst riding this 'step'. { similar to the Auster but more difficult to 'pin'. } He'd admitted that he'd not practiced engine failures for a very long time{ very common } and proved this by being caught out several times from various hieghts;1500' to 500', each recovery being initiated at around 30 feet. Although a good 'glider', the Luscombe will be caught out on a windy day, so if one was looking to undershoot the field, then the stick must be must be pushed forward aggressively to penetrate{ providing you have the height, no lower than 400'agl } and he soon had feel of this, proven by a big grin on his face, after lots of practice- he was now becoming Luscombe..

On arraival at the easy strip and having demonstrated an approach and landing, I hoped he'd memorise the flatter approach and the power setting required for a stable approach {quite a challenge for me} as this was a major area that the Luscombe differed from the Auster. This proved frustrating for him as the flapless and much cleaner Luscombe resulted in excessive height and speed related approaches{very common on conversions} ending with a long, consuming landing roll, unactceptable for the strip {1500' long, on top of a 550' hill, with a rise to meet you on landing as it stretches over a significant blind brow}} at which the Luscombe was based. However, as always with practice, his landings were becoming shorter as we could comfortably approach at 65mph, similar to the Auster- ironic all of this, as the Auster is built for short field landings. Side slips were demonstrated and he soon got the feel of these, as I believe, the Luscombe, with it's powerfull rudder, executes this maneouvre very well indeed and will generaly get you out of the 'Poo' than into it!

I looked across to my friend and was agasp at the colour of his face! When I asked how he felt, he replied not well, I agreed and we elected to fly back asap. {It later transpired he had food poisining} On the approach to the base strip he could see the wisdom of what we'd been practicing, as the strip looked quite a bit smaller.. I must stress at this point that he'd flown into this strip in his Auster 3 or 4 times but with full flap and good bit of drag around him and remarked at how different the Luscombe is to the approach and landing compared to the Auster.{ but I think he prefers the Luscombe now!}

Although we'd achieved a lot, my good friend{and I thank him for his candidness,} realised just how rusty he's become and this had not just been a 'simple' type conversion. We will be polishing it all off shortly, concentrating on the base strip, with a gentle crosswind, {again the Luscombe is excellent in this area} and will be only too happy to write{ briefly!?} on how we've gained another Luscombe pilot!

To sumarise the problems encountered, from my friends' point of view, was A, holding her onto the deck far to long- she'll fly at 55mph, we were still on the deck at 60 plus{again, suprisingly very common} B, flying an accurate rate of climb speed, 70mphs' just fine, similar to the Auster, but I just put it down to a new attitude, being rusty and new type- not the end of the world really. C, finding the step,this is awkwerd and requires practice to someone not used to the Luscombe, Try making a mark on the windshield or the 'V' struts, the lighter the Luscombe the more effective the step will be in reducing RPM and, consequently fuel burn. D, Visibility, compared to the Auster, is poor and my friend found himself more aware that lifting up that wing and using that overhead window is a must. E, glide approaches, either in the engine failure or to normal landing scenarios have to be practiced regularly. I'd rather see a higher approach{remember that sideslip!} plus having two fields for the overshoot or undershoot scenario. Remember, the luscombe glides further in still air than the Auster, I can't stress how important it is to practice this.70mph in the E & F, 65 in the As', all slowing through 60mph over the numbers. Speed and and height control are essential to a good landing {on all types} and practice, again, {not espeacialy due to differences in the Auster] cannot be overstressed-espeacialy at his new base field. Short field landing technique hasn't been practiced yet but I will recommend 55mph on both types, with what ever power setting is required, and this is where the Luscombe differs a lot from the 'flapped' Auster, as visibility in the Luscombe, due to the higher nose attitude, is poorer.I will point out to my friend to aviod stricking the tailwheel onto the ground first, on this type of approach{again, common}.This is generaly caused {on many types} by flying through the stall and into the drag curve and is not really necassary as touching down at 48 mph{ on the Luscombe} and reasonable braking, should ensure a short landing roll- about 300'.{dry grass}. A three pointer, at this speed should result, protecting the poor old tailwheel. Pulling the engine before touching down in this scenario is not recommended, only on touch down.

All in all a good work out for us both, great fun! Both types are very capable, the Luscombe being a little more practical for non-civilian flying, proving that the addition of flaps, as Cessna and Bellanca know{ and others} are not required in these general circumstances.

Bearing in mind these are just my opinions and point of view as a result of my experiences over the years, I hope this might help someone, at least put them to sleep! I never stop learning..

Keep practicing and safe flying all,

Nige posted @ 09:59 - Link - comments