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Toobuilder
02-15-2010, 08:22 AM
Hi all,

My buddy let me fly his Rocket yesterday and it was a lot of fun. Since this was the first Rocket I've ever been in, I didn't really know what to expect, so I mentally prepared for lots of dancing on the rudder to keep the beast going straight. As you all know, this was not a worry... it was a pussycat. I logged an hour, and did a LOT of pattern work. The only area that caused me some trouble was getting used to the EXTREMELY flexible gear legs. It felt like the rear of a 1974 Buick station wagon with bad shocks. This airplane has a two blade prop, so I was worried about catching the tips on the runway. I did make some pretty decent landings, but it seems like it takes an extreme amount of care to grease it on.

So my question: Is this landing gear behavior typical?

If it matters, this is one of the early serial number Rockets.

Mike

f1rocket
02-15-2010, 10:26 AM
Which Rocket, Harmon or F1?

Toobuilder
02-15-2010, 10:29 AM
...Sorry

HR-2

Tom Martin
02-15-2010, 12:29 PM
Yes, this is typical. Try some wheel landings until you get used to the gear.

vfrazier
02-15-2010, 12:40 PM
I have an F1 with shortened gear (about 2") and it exhibits none of those quirks.

Just to make your head explode, shortening the gear by 2" only drops the nose about 3/4", IIRC. The reason for this, and the reason for much of the floppiness in the standard gear, is that the narrowest part of the gear leg is just above the axle socket. The axle socket is where the gear was shortened, and the reduced arm puts much less bending force on the narrow part of the gear leg. Gear is stiffer and bending force is reduced. Jim Winings is the guy who came up with the idea.

FWIW, I always full stall land my Rocket. No problems. Wheelies, IMHO, are tougher because the plane is still flying. YMMV.

Toobuilder
02-15-2010, 01:29 PM
At the advice of the owner, I did nothing but wheel landings. This is what I'm used to with the -8 and my Hiperbipe, so that was my "baseline". The rocket does sit at a much lower angle of attack than the other two airplanes, so I suspect that it will 3 point nicely... I'll have to try that next time. Will it actually exceed the critical AOA and stall in a 3 point though? Seems like when I was doing the stall series the nose was much higher than the 3 point attitude.

Tom Martin
02-15-2010, 03:22 PM
Sorry Vince but the early HRII gear is nothing like the F1 legs, shortened or not. It is quite a bit softer and is actually less likely to bounce then the stiffer F1 gear.
Micheal, what tail feathers do you have? I had a couple of HRIIs with the RV8 elevators and control was a bit more difficult at lower speeds due to the reduced surface area. Either way you will get used to it; some days you will declare that full stall landings are best and then for the next while wheel landings will be your favorite.

Toobuilder
02-15-2010, 04:28 PM
IIRC, the serial number on this bird is in the teens, so it has been around for a while. I'm sure it does not have any -8 parts on it though. I did notice that the elevator counterweights are full chord, unlike the -8. Can't remember if the -4 has that feature as well or if it a Rocket mod.

Tom Martin
02-15-2010, 08:16 PM
That means you have the four tail. Try the next flight with some weight in the baggage area, a case of oil perhaps, and see if that makes a difference.

smokyray
02-16-2010, 08:33 AM
I have a very early HR2 with the RV4 tail (and registry) and never have a problem flying the pattern slow, solo or with aft weight. Practice makes perfect.
If you want to make nice landings, pretend your runway is 1500' long, soft with 80' trees at one end, fence and mailboxes at the other. Fly final at 60 Knots power on, flare for a slightly tail low wheels landing and ease it up to level flight after touchdown with slight braking, retract flaps, dodge a few gators and voila' you're there. Welcome to the swamp!

The long HR2 gear is wonderful "off road, works very well on soft terrain.

Smokey
HR2

PS: At paved "civilized" airports I make a power-on, wheels landing with a 65 Knot approach speed. With experience you will know within an inch where the wheels are and grease it most every time.

L.Adamson
02-16-2010, 09:31 AM
I have a very early HR2 with the RV4 tail (and registry) and never have a problem flying the pattern slow, solo or with aft weight. Practice makes perfect.
If you want to make nice landings, pretend your runway is 1500' long, soft with 80' trees at one end, fence and mailboxes at the other. Fly final at 60 Knots power on, flare for a slightly tail low wheels landing and ease it up to level flight after touchdown with slight braking, retract flaps, dodge a few gators and voila' you're there. Welcome to the swamp!

The long HR2 gear is wonderful "off road, works very well on soft terrain.

Smokey
HR2

PS: At paved "civilized" airports I make a power-on, wheels landing with a 65 Knot approach speed. With experience you will know within an inch where the wheels are and grease it most every time.

Hi,

I'm reading and visualizing every bit of the "power on" approach. I have a 6A with a constant speed prop, and land with both power on or off. If it's "off", the approaches are rather steep, and the flare has to be perfectly timed, because airspeed bleeds very quickly. When I see 60 knots, I had better be just right above the runway, or it can fall out from underneath me. I swear that my 6A has almost no ground effect, with it's short stubby wings, & braking effect from the C/S prop. :)

A few months ago, I dorked, but recovered from an awful landing at a private airstrip. It was embarrassing as a group of spectators & pilots from a scenic airlines trip were looking on.

This botched landing was "power off", with the strip going uphill which changed the visual reference a bit. I could see that I needed to add throttle immediately, but the plane hit the runway & bounced. Happily, with a bit of power & rudder to offset the torque to the left, I nicely recovered from the first bounce.

The power on question......

When I often land at a WWII airfield with a very long runway, I'll fly half the runway with power on at 65 kias & half flaps. Otherwise, it's an extra mile of taxiing. This is very controlled, & letting off the throttle makes a smooth let down to the runway. Of course, at my local airport, this would be "dragging it in" so to speak, and unacceptable due to buildings, a four lane highway, etc.

So, the question is.............the best method for a power on landing & touching down just after the numbers. I tend to fly a tight & steep pattern. Usually use half flaps, and fly 90/80/70 kias on the downwind, base, and final.....with 65 over the threshold. But these landings are usually power off. How steep are your approaches, and what flap settings? Of course the 6A is different, but the technique could be somewhat the same ( I suppose). I like the controlled feel of power on, but want to have the plane touchdown just beyond the numbers without dragging it in. All advice appreciated.

L.Adamson --- RV6A

Mel
02-16-2010, 09:50 AM
If you want to make nice landings, pretend your runway is 1500' long.

Don't have to pretend; It is! (Actually, it's 1512', but I never use the extra 12'.)

Toobuilder
02-16-2010, 04:27 PM
I have a very early HR2 with the RV4 tail (and registry) and never have a problem flying the pattern slow, solo or with aft weight. Practice makes perfect.
If you want to make nice landings, pretend your runway is 1500' long, soft with 80' trees at one end, fence and mailboxes at the other. Fly final at 60 Knots power on, flare for a slightly tail low wheels landing and ease it up to level flight after touchdown with slight braking, retract flaps, dodge a few gators and voila' you're there. Welcome to the swamp!

The long HR2 gear is wonderful "off road, works very well on soft terrain.

Smokey
HR2

PS: At paved "civilized" airports I make a power-on, wheels landing with a 65 Knot approach speed. With experience you will know within an inch where the wheels are and grease it most every time.

Thanks for the response. After mulling over my performance the other day (but before your post), I came to the conclusion that I need to perform my next approaches just as you describe. Thank you for the timely post! I was somewhat at a disadvantage by using the approach suggested by the owner (way too fast... but who am I to argue!), but now I'm a little more comfortable with the airplane.

I'm also comfortable dragging the -8 and Hiperbipe right to roundout with power (though not my "normal" approach), so I should be able to use some of the same skills with the Rocket.

And just for the record, I seemed to know where the wheels were (all of my touchdowns were "greasers" (rare, for me)), but I had a heck of a time getting the weight on the mains without starting serious PIO. Knowing the prop/runway clearance, I just had a hard time checking the stick forward enough to plant it. Some were nice, some were go arounds after a PIO event.

In any event, looking forward to getting the thing slowed down and figured out. Thanks for the help!

F1Boss
02-17-2010, 09:13 AM
Hey Too:

Not all airspeed indicators are created equal, and this applies to static systems too. 60KIAS might be dangerously close to the stall on this particular plane. Do a few stalls at your expected approach power setting and CG/weight -- at altitude -- to see where this particular aircraft indicates a stall nibble. Use the std 1kt/sec speed bleed-off rate in this maneuver.

1.2 x this IAS @ stall would be a good short final speed, but you COULD get it a little slower with practice -- obviously Ol' Smokey Ray has this down pat. 1500' is plenty of runway if the approach isn't blocked by a high obstacle.

An AOA instrument would be helpful at these low speeds too.

Carry on!
Mark