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  • #31
    A or B wing? Is there much of a difference between the two wings stall speeds? My buddy has a model 4 and his landing speeds seem a bit high compared to published speeds
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    • #32
      Yeah, I flew a fairly long trip with my hangar mate in his Cherokee 160. Book says stall speed is 55 mph. He flew short final at 90 mph, and when he flared, we floated... and floated... and floated until we finally touched down about halfway down the 7000 ft runway, turning off at the 3/4 point taxiway, (That's roughly 5000 ft, versus the ~600 ft called out in the Owners Handbook).

      I asked him "Do you always fly final like that? At that airspeed?" and he said he normally flew final at 85, but increased it "a little" because of the crosswind. (We calculated it after the flight – it was a 5 knot crosswind component...) I asked him if the plane always seemed to use that much runway, and he said "Oh yeah. The Cherokee really has a strong 'ground effect' with the low wing – it just floats along forever." (In my best Forest Gump voice - "And just like that, I understood why he had expressed so much concern about landing on the 1500 foot runway at our destination for the trip...")

      That night, in the hotel (and at his request, by the way), we talked more about the approach and landing - with the Owner's Handbook in hand. He was flying his pattern at 100 mph (1.8 Vso), and his final approach at 90 mph (1.6 Vso). We talked through the book procedures and recommended speeds (85 approach, and no specific speed recommended for final). We looked at a few later model manuals that recommended flying final at 70 mph (1.3 Vso), reducing to 65 mph (1.2 Vso) on short final, and how to adjust the speed if the winds were gusty (add 1/2 the gust spread)...

      At that point, he realized that he had been subconsciously adding 5 mph to the maneuvering and approach speeds every few months since he bought the airplane. Next time we flew (a few days later - we were AOG waiting for his dead fuel pump to be replaced) he tried 75 mph on final, and used about 1/3 less runway. Since then, he's worked on getting comfortable flying final at 70-65 (1.3 to 1.2 Vso), and is getting a LOT closer to book performance.

      It amazes me how many pilots make it all the way through to earning their PPL without really understanding how to fly the airplane... On that same trip, I taught him how to lean the engine... He had never leaned his Cherokee's O-320 engine in flight – never! He thought he could somehow magically fly "book" cruising range without leaning the engine at all. When I asked him why, he said it was because he almost always operated below 5000 ft MSL (flatlands of Texas and eastern New Mexico) and "You're not supposed to lean the engine below 5000 feet. Well, first of all, that rule of thumb is for "below 5000 Density Altitude" and second – it only applies to full power takeoff operations, NOT cruise flight. Even the primitive manual for his very early Cherokee says the mixture should be leaned for cruise when 75% power or less is being used. He asked "How do you know?" and we dug into the performance charts. Gee, turns out that anything below 2600 RPM is "automatically" less than 75% power at any altitude below 10,000 ft, and you can't turn over 2600 RPM that high anyway!

      He told me later that he learned more about flying in those two days of hangar-flying (hotel-flying?) with me than in the previous 5 years with instructors. Gross exaggeration, to be sure, but the gaps in his knowledge and understanding were pretty amazing. Hard to believe he'd flow (and passed) his PPL check ride and at flown through at least 3 BFRs (excuse me - "Flight Reviews") without anyone noticing any of these glaring deficiencies... I suffer no delusions that I'm a "super pilot" or even a moderately "gifted" pilot. I'm just an average Joe behind the stick, but I do try to ensure I know the airplane and understand how everything works... I have to, to make up for my lack of "the right stuff".
      Jim Parker
      Farmersville, TX (NE of Dallas)
      RANS S-6ES – E-LSA powered by 100 HP Rotax 912ULS


      • rodsmith
        rodsmith commented
        Editing a comment
        A friend let me use his Cherokee 180 for a year while his license was suspended. While checking me out in it I was pretty amazed that he was flying final around 90 and touching down about 80. When flying him places I could tell he got a little nervous when my final and landing speeds were about 20 less. So we had a similar discussion.

    • #33
      JimParker256 , it is amazing even to a newer pilot like myself at the approach speeds I see. Every landing I make I am trying to hit my spot for BC practice, that was the whole point of starting to fly for me so find the best fishing holes in the most remote areas. But I am a Vso 1.1 guy on final which is obviously pretty close to the edge, but I do it all the time and practice a fair amount. I can’t wait (silly me as my kit has not even arrived yet) to get my Companion in slow flight and nail some landings.
      Last edited by Utah-Jay; 09-05-2021, 03:30 PM.
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