Is norman nuts?
Norman has done what most people never do, he has built a plane by himself, and ultralight seaplane of his own design.
Now he wants to fly it himself.
Now that is not the way most people would do it, or even that I would do it. When I was a minor partner in building a homebuilt we chose a kit plane, a Starlite, a standard land plane. It was very light, only 254 lbs. and unusual in that it had a 2 stroke Rotax engine, and a side stick. By the way the engine ran ok once you got over the sound, and the side stick flew ok, but if I did acro in it I would prefer a normal stick.
It was a small single seat plane, and when it came time for the test flight, I did it. There was no chance to have any dual in it. Now there is the big brother of it, the 2 seat Pulsar but not then. I taxied the plane to get used to it, planned what I would do, and flew it ok. The really hard part was finding a parachute small enough to fit in.
Ok, I was already a pilot, but still there had to be a first time.
Nobody gave me dual when I learned to fly a hang glider. Sure, there is an instructor and he gives you some pre flight intro, but once you start that downhill run you are own your own.
And that is part of the excitement of the experience.
Norman is biting off a bigger chew, but in a way I admire him for that. Nobody gave the Wrights or Bleriot any dual. They read and talked to a few people, none of which really had the best info, but in the end as they said, One must mount the machine and take it in the air to learn it's tricks.
If I was doing it, I would get some dual in some other ultralight if I could, or a few hours in a Cub, but really that is not a close simulator. And it might be very useful for him to go watch some other ultralights fly, notice the nose pitch angles on takeoff, climb, and landing.
I am all for safety, but it is his right to take a risk if he wants, BUT NO PASSENGERS. I'll bet he does ok.
Last edited by Bill Greenwood; 09-09-2012 at 11:44 AM.
I agree, fully, Bill. Offer him advice, but don't ridicule. He has the right to do however he sees fit. I do all sorts of things, that I know for a fact, some sould advise against. I just don't advertise them.
FLAME SUIT ON AND READY. Here we go.
I love Norm's pioneering spirit. I love that he is designing and building his own airplane.
I, too, also love that Norm is a believer in the efficacy of single place training. In the past I have taught others how to fly using a single seat 2-axis Quicksilver MX. I am a proponent of the single seat methodology [SSM] for the future of ultralight instruction as Norm has stated he is. Provided it is done with the right equipment and an experienced instructor.
[The term "getting behind the airplane" [BTA] is a central concept behind why accidents occur during learning to fly. Or why there needs to be an instructor available to take over the controls. If there is a high probability of student BTA than the instructor needs to be in the aircraft. Instructors are ahead of the airplane.[ATA]
If the student can be kept ATA during the training process, then it doesn't make any difference whether there is an instructor in the airplane or not. There only needs to be one person in the airplane ahead of it.
I am such a believer in the ability of the SSM for the future of ultralight training that I have put my money where my mouth is. I've owned 3 two places for instruction since the MX I owned in '81. I have a trailer with 2 MXs in my driveway right now purchased for the sole purpose of training others with the single place method. I'm hoping to being training soon.]
Which leads me to these comments about Norms activities.
What I get concerned about personally is when Norm talks about SSM in the same thread with self-designing, self-building and self-test flying one's airplane. The SSM has always been misperceived as "self-teaching". Talking about it in the same threads with all those other "selfs" perpetuates that belief a bit.
I chuckled at Bill's comments about the "Wrightish-ness" of what Norm is doing. The only thing the general public would hear if the Wrights flew today is "Ultralight crashes at Kitty Hawk after pilot loses control". [The crash on the 4th flight that day was never repaired and it never flew again.] And one more wife would turn to one more husband itching to get into them and say, "Well dear, once again that's why I won't let you buy one of those." The pioneering spirit of what they had done would be lost in the media coverage. As it would sadly be if Norm makes the papers
P.S. Holy cows, too, Norm. Single place training off the water! Wow. I have 400 hours flying ultralights on floats. You really bit off a LOT to chew when you also decided to add learning how to get off water to your learning mix. I've considered doing single place training in the MXs on floats because I live on a 4x1 mile "runway". It would be so convenient for me to do the training in my backyard. But the problem with floats is that to use the dead calm conditions needed for the single place training method, the harder it is to get them to break off the water. To get anything with floats or a hull to leave the water easily, you need some wave action, which requires wind. Wind is a variable that needs to be kept out of the early training steps in the single place method in my experience when I have taught people that way. Variables are what get the student BTA. On a glassy water takeoff the aircraft literally jumps into the air the instance it finally break the water tension. It can be dramatic. Or you lift one float out of the water at a time, which is certainly adding too much complexity to a take off sequence teaching someone with a single seat methodology. [I don't know what the glass water take off sequence would be in a hull amphib]
So you REALLY bit off a lot adding the water operation of all this flight testing and learning to fly. WOW!
Last edited by Buzz; 09-10-2012 at 08:13 PM.