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  1. #1

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    Non flying solo flight training via a Penguin

    Every once in a while someone brings up the old Penguin flight training system. The "Penguin" was one example of an under powered "airplane" the students could be turned loose with to practice high speed taxi (important with a tail wheel). The idea was to learn yaw and pitch control without actually flying. The aircraft did not have enough power to make it around the pattern.

    The program these days is usually associated with some sort of youth program to avoid the liability of actually letting the kids fly into danger.

    I am interested in talking with others who may have an interest in starting such a program.

    Is there an interest in EAA youth activities to provide such a program at Pioneer field?

    Does anyone have an old airframe to contribute to such a program? A single seat glider would be preferred.

    Is there an EAA Chapter that would take up construction of an EAA Penguin.
    Last edited by jedi; 08-23-2018 at 11:24 AM.

  2. #2
    rwanttaja's Avatar
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    An interesting idea from the historical viewpoint, but I don't see this being introduced as a youth training program.

    1. Penguins were helpful in the tail-skid era to help learn how to control aircraft on the ground. But a trigear aircraft is a better solution to ground control issues, and you don't need a penguin for that.

    2. Penguins were used in BIG fields, to allow the trainees to lose control without damaging anything. Restricting activity to a typical runway (even that at Pioneer Field) would be far less safe. You'd probably want to give instructors a remote "kill switch" for if the students start heading for a hangar (easy to do, these days).

    3. Penguins were simple wooden aircraft that could be repaired easily when damaged...but that assumes a ground staff trained in repairing wooden aircraft. Back in 1915, crashes were more common and the continuous need for repairs was accepted. Attitudes toward crashes these days are a lot different.....

    4. Penguins can't take off, but they have an engine and a propeller. Ground collisions stand a good chance of resulting in serious injury. So you'd end up only running one penguin at a time, especially if you're limited to just a standard grass runway vs. a big open field.

    That said, it would be tremendous fun. You'd learn to operate a TAILSKID aircraft, vs. something with a steerable tailwheel. Few of us get that opportunity. Could probably overcome a lot of the safety issues with modern electronics and a safety cage around the pilot.

    Ron Wanttaja

  3. #3

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    All good comments. Thanks Ron.

    I am considering a concept that would eliminate disadvantage #4 above (including the propeller)and would allow short hops for limited air time but lots of takeoff and landing practice.

  4. #4
    lnuss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jedi View Post
    All good comments. Thanks Ron.

    I am considering a concept that would eliminate disadvantage #4 above (including the propeller)and would allow short hops for limited air time but lots of takeoff and landing practice.
    This brings up a potential problem. Unless I am misunderstanding what you propose, you're talking about just getting airborne, then landing again, without really going around the pattern or such. If this is the case, keep in mind that the reason CFIs take students to the practice area early, with TO&L only at each end of the flight, is to give the student a chance to actually learn how the aircraft behaves, how to properly control it in a reasonably safe environment, since near the ground is the most dangerous part of the flight.

    Or maybe I'm completely misunderstanding what you propose.

    Larry N.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by lnuss View Post
    This brings up a potential problem. Unless I am misunderstanding what you propose, you're talking about just getting airborne, then landing again, without really going around the pattern or such. If this is the case, keep in mind that the reason CFIs take students to the practice area early, with TO&L only at each end of the flight, is to give the student a chance to actually learn how the aircraft behaves, how to properly control it in a reasonably safe environment, since near the ground is the most dangerous part of the flight.

    Or maybe I'm completely misunderstanding what you propose.
    You say "near the ground is the most dangerous part of the flight." I will add that near the ground is where precision flight control is practiced and learned. That is the reason ground reference maneuvers and various types of takeoffs and landings are included in the syllabus.

    You have the purpose right but are making assumptions that restrict the syllabus to conventional training. There are many reasons the typical lesson concentrates on flight skills at altitude before attempting takeoff and landing practice. Many of these reasons have to do with airport operations and restrictions. I will not go into all the reasons for conventional flight training but will point out that the penguin method is not intended to be done at the typical GA airport of today which generally involves paved runways, runway lights and markings, etc. and frequently involves Class D (or in my most recent case Class C) operations with considerable radio work.

    The proposal is aimed towards Light Sport and Ultralight training or perhaps glider training where there is no need for the distraction of radio communication. Specifically, ultralight training requires single seat instruction which is much more difficult to find but is an excellent vehicle for learning basic aircraft control and principles of flight at a reasonable cost. It is intended to build an interest in aviation and a foundation for follow on training more suited for the students chosen path to flight.

    An example of the possible success is given by the quality of German pilots in world War II who began training on bungee launch gliders in the youth programs.

    I have many students who are turned off by flight training at busy airports where radio control is a requirement and the resulting time and dollars wasted kills the desire to fly.
    Last edited by jedi; 08-28-2018 at 11:09 AM.

  6. #6
    lnuss's Avatar
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    OK, what you are proposing is different from what I thought you were saying, and I didn't realize what aircraft type(s) you were planning on.
    You say "near the ground is the most dangerous part of the flight." I will add that near the ground is where precision flight control is practiced and learned. That is the reason ground reference maneuvers and various types of takeoffs and landings are included in the syllabus.
    Ground reference is indeed nearer the ground than most flying in conventional aircraft, but still usually 500 feet or higher, but the "near the ground" I was talking about is within 100-300 feet. It's still dangerous even for ultralights, but not as much as for more conventional craft.

    On the other hand, I have trouble conceiving of single seat training from scratch, so I'll butt out now.

    Larry N.

  7. #7

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    How about bolting an ultralight glider to the front of an old truck like Bede did with the BD-5 training?
    An ultralight with low speed could get three times the touch and goes that Bede got at 70 mph.
    Use a taxiway with permission.
    Or a hull glider bolted on the front of a powerboat with almost unlimited space into the wind.
    Last edited by Bill Berson; 08-28-2018 at 07:19 PM.

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