11 May 2008

Putting the beast through its paces

May 2008 Sunday, 10th May. Feeling a little cheated of an opportunity to "work out" the beast during its ferry flight to Bankstown yesterday, I went out to fly DZY today. The weather was a little better than yesterday, with the cloud base at 4500 ft and some scattered pockets at 3500 ft.

After a (by now) normal 100 m takeoff run, the control tower called me on the radio as I turned to leave the circuit area. They wanted to know what sort of aircraft flew and made noises like the big bird! Only later, did I remember that while they were familiar with two-seat Yak-52, DZY is the only Yak-50 in the state.

Upon reaching my usual aerobatics area near Warragamba Dam, I began the bird's first heavy "work out" session in Australia. It handled extremely well through a series of Cubans, barrel rolls, rolling reversals, loops, aileron rolls, Immelmans, split-esses and four-point rolls.

Compared to the Marchetti SF260 I used to fly some years ago, the Yak-50's controls are nicely harmonised. When researching the Yak-50 before deciding to buy one, I had read a couple of articles commenting on the slightly heavier than ideal aileron control force. I actually didn't find them disproportionately heavy nor less than ideally harmonised. Perhaps servo tabs are necessary only for aggressive aerobatic competition flying.

Having had my fill of aerobatics for the day, I returned for an uneventful landing at home base; leaving me satisfied the big bird was fun to fly and looked nice to boot. Indeed, a Police Air Wing helicopter crew thought so too, when they circled DZY twice while I was cleaning it outside its hangar.

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