Foxbat flying tips
Every Foxbat owner and instructor has their own list of tips to get the best out of the aircraft. Here are some of them:
- As recommended by Rotax, ideally use PULP minimum octane 95 for smoothest running and best economy
- Use Avgas if you have to but change the oil and filter more often, as per the service schedule
- Except on take-off and landing, open only one tank at a time to stop cross feeding and possible fuel overflow
- Check carburetor dynamic balance every 200 hours or so to keep the engine sweet
- Apply full power smoothly and as you do so, immediately lift the nose about 6 inches clear of the runway and hold it there. This will minimize stone damage to the prop and puts the aircraft in the right attitude to fly off at about 40-45 knots
- For a short take-off, use no flap and apply full power. As with a normal take-off, lift the nose as soon as possible. At about 30-35 knots, smoothly pull on full flap. The aircraft will levitate. Fly straight and level until the speed builds to around 55 knots. Begin to climb out, slowly removing all the flap.
- Keep the ball in the middle!
- Ideally keep engine rpm between 5,000 and 5,500
- Remember, indicated airspeed (IAS) is not the same as calibrated airspeed (CAS) is not the same as true airspeed (TAS). Click here for a link to a TAS calculator
- IAS will be lower the higher (and hotter) you fly
- Warm the engine with about 30 seconds of power every 1,000-1,500 feet on a long descent to keep T's & P's in the green
- Use carby heat if fitted
- Get the speed back to maximum 55 knots as you turn on to finals
- Get the speed back to maximum 45 knots over the runway threshold/piano keys
- Do not ‘flare' as if you are in a heavy Cessna 172. Instead, with throttle at idle, gently level the aircraft out about 1 foot above the runway. Try to fly the aircraft down the runway at this height, throttle at idle, gradually pulling the controls back to keep you airborne at 1 foot altitude. Allow the aircraft to land, main wheels first. Hold the nose about 6 inches off the runway as long as possible (but see crosswind landings below) allowing it to drop gently on to the runway when it's ready
- Reduce the above speeds by 5 knots. Use full flap and use engine power to maintain attitude and descent rate.
- Round out as normal and then about 1 foot above the runway, cut the power and the aircraft will drop onto the runway, main wheels first. Hold the nose wheel off the ground as for a normal landing.
- Lots of different opinions here! Personally I feel most comfortable with a ‘crabbing' approach, using rudder to straighten as I touch down. This is the way I was taught.
- Others are taught different methods. Use the one that is easiest for you.
- Always aim to get the nose wheel down sooner (gently!) to give directional control.
Stalls in a Foxbat
A stall occurs when the wing is flying too slowly to continue to lift the aircraft. Different aircraft stall in different ways, depending on a variety of factors including the wing aerofoil design, aircraft weight, out-of-balance flight, wind conditions etc.
Without going into the technical reasons (wing aerofoil shape, slotted flaps, forward swept wings etc) the Foxbat has very benign stall characteristics, with little or no tendency to drop a wing, with or without flap.
- When the stall happens, you'll experience a brief side-to-side ‘waggle' of the controls (a Foxbat characteristic)
- Controls held back, without flap and engine at idle, the aircraft will just mush down. Application of power is enough to resume flying
- With flap and engine at idle there is a little more of a ‘break' and application of engine power will have the aircraft flying again
- Power-on stalls happen at such a steep nose-up attitude that it is unlikely you will ever experience such a stall involuntarily! However, gently lowering the nose and reduction/application of power will get the aircraft flying again
The Foxbat is not authorized for intentional spins and anyway is very reluctant to spin in either direction. You should not attempt to spin the aircraft - not only is it not authorized but it is illegal!
Recreational and Light Sport Aircraft regulations prohibit aerobatics. Thus the flight envelope in these types of aircraft is limited to turns no steeper than 60 degrees of bank angle, climing and descending at angles no greater than 30 degrees, and no intentional spinning or other radical manoeuvres - such as 'wing-overs' and the like.
The Rotax engine is not certified for inverted flight and any negative 'G' forces lasting more than a few seconds will lead to a rapid exit of oil and coolant!