A distinctive plane

Yesterday, under a low ceiling and poor visibility in showers, I made my shortest-ever point-to-point trip in an airplane, flying the 7 nm from Ottawa/Macdonald-Cartier to my plane’s new home at Ottawa/Rockcliffe.

There are dozens, if not hundreds of light aircraft based at Rockcliffe, of all descriptions: the largest is a shorter-bodied version of the Piper Navajo, and the smallest are Cub-sized two-seaters and similar. There are many vintage and unusual aircraft tied down along the long rows of the flightline.

While one of the Rockcliffe instructors and I were standing in the rain kicking, raking, and digging through the mud trying to find the long-disused tie-down chains in my new spot, he mentioned that he thought my plane was the only Warrior on the field (though there are many other Cherokees). Who’d have figured that a Warrior, of all planes, would stand out on a flightline? I’m glad I don’t fly anything more mundane, like, say, an Ercoupe — I’d hate to blend into the crowd.

Note to American readers: while the Warrior is a very common training plane in the U.S., it’s not very popular in Canada — until the mid 1990s, spin training was required for a Canadian PPL, and unlike the Cessna 172/150/152, Warriors are not certified for intentional spins.

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6 Responses to A distinctive plane

  1. Kevin says:

    While spins are no longer on the PPL flight test I was told they still had to be *demonstrated* to me during flight training. I’m not sure if that is required by TC or if it’s just a policy of my FTU. If it *is* a TC policy then even though not a test requirement it would be yet another reason to keep those 172/152/150’s around. (I did my flight training this past summer).

    Good luck with the move to Rockcliffe – hopefully the switch works out well for you!

  2. Aviatrix says:

    “Spin awareness training” is required, and while the flight instructor has some latitude in deciding what to do, the guidance document states that “a demonstration of the full spin, performed by the student, is required during private pilot training. Students should be competent in recovery from a full spin while avoiding a secondary stall, excessive airspeed, or excessive altitude loss.”

    I was told during training that the FAA is the only licence that does not require this training. I doubt it’s true though, probably just the only major aviating country.

  3. Sam Weigel says:

    The FAA used to require spin training back in the day (ie before my time). They deleted the requirement after realizing there were FAR more fatalities during spin training than during unintentional spins. Since then, stall-spin accidents have continued to decrease – but I attribute that to aircraft design more than anything else. There are fewer low-powered spin-prone airplanes around; most of today’s new designs have a lot of power and posess docile stall characteristics.

  4. Aviatrix says:

    Canada used to have the spin as a flight test item on the PPL, but they took it off for a reason similar to Sam’s. Analysis of stall-spin accidents showed that most unintentional spins were initiated at an altitude too low to recover even with perfect technique: they happened in the circuit or immediately after take-off. So the training was changed to emphasize recognition of the conditions that lead to a spin and recovery from aggravated stalls before spinning starts.

    When I was a student pilot, my instructor sent me out to practise spins solo, but instructors aren’t allowed to do that anymore.

  5. Eric Tarbox says:

    In what ways is the Ercoupe mundane? Please explain.

  6. david says:

    Sorry, Eric — I left the irony filter off. The point is that a Cherokee normally is mundane, while an Ercoupe is not.

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