Thursday, October 27, 2005

Keeping the rust at bay

It's getting to be the time of year when I don't really make a lot of trips, mostly because it's cold and gets dark early. Even with the Tampico, I always tried to make sure I was flying at least every two weeks or so just to keep the skills up. With the RV-6, I'm trying to make that at least once a week since the challenges are a little higher with a 150 knot taildragger than they were with the ultra-simple Tampico.

Last night was this week's fly night. It was cool and cloudy, and the winds were 8 knots from the northwest, giving me some good crosswind practice. Landings are steadily improving, although I can still count on at least a couple of small 'rebounds' when landing at Bolton. Directional control is good, though, and that's what is most important.

I've been asked a few times why the tires seemed to wear out so quickly on the RV. I've heard a number of theories, none of which seemed right to me. I personally think it comes down to how sensitive the brakes are. It takes only a little foot pressure on the rudder pedals to get some brake drag, and I've begun to really concentrate on only using the balls of my feet against the very bottom of the rudder pedals on takeoff. If I position my feet in the normal place on the pedals, I can feel a burst of acceleration when I takeoff. This indicates that I'm dragging the brakes during the takeoff roll. When the wing starts to list, but the tires are still in at least some contact with the ground, I'm probably eating the tread off of tires.

It's a theory. We'll see how it plays out if I continue to concentrate on not applying even the slightest brake pressure during takeoff.

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