Hey guys, for those who applied, have you heard back from DEC? I'm keen on applying for this next year and to see what kind of experience those who were accepted had. Had a friend who flew for DEC for a season and said the flying is just amazing, beautiful views and challenging with smoke from the forest and was a great first job.
I enjoyed my time spotting and was a great first flying job. Don't expect a reply for a few weeks, Its a government department and things don't happen quickly. I belive there are a few seats going this year though so good luck to all who applied.
I bought an American Champion Scout from DEC last year and made up the following for a couple of friends of mine to help them transit to flying a tailwheel. Hope it helps.
Caution: Use the given figures for information only. Do not base flight calculations on given data.
American Champion Scout overview: The Bellanca Aircraft Corporation initially produced the Scout, and it is a derivative of the Citabria and Decathlon aircraft. It is not certified for aerobatics but was designed for utility roles such as bush flying, glider towing, pipeline patrol, fire spotting etc. The Bellanca Corporation went into liquidation in 1981 and finally the aircraft designs became the American Champion Aircraft Corporation and came into effect in 1990. The line of ACA aircraft can trace their lineage back to the designs of the Aeronca Champ design of the late 1920s. The scout is designated as 8GCBC. Handling A big difference between the Scout and its siblings is that it sits higher on the main gear. Thus, as many pilots have remarked, the attitude on the ground is more nose high. This, together with the stiff yet resilient spring steel main gear (smite the ground with too much of a sink rate, and it’ll spring you back into the air at an alarming rate) and large tires requires more precision and finesse from the pilot during ground handling, takeoff and landing, particularly when there is wind about
The good aspect of Scout behavior on the ground and in ground effect (it floats a lot more than the Decathlon or Citabria) is that it is over fairly rapidly in the hands of an adequately competent pilot.
Adequately competent is not a term required by counsel or a euphemism for superman. Any conventional-gear airplane requires better speed control, directional control and control coordination than the average tricycle-gear airplane. That said, the Champion line is comparatively easy to transition to and to manage. Speed and attitude control are key. And recognizing when wind speed and direction are beyond one’s competence is an essential element of safe operation. However, as the accident record shows, it does not forgive neglect or incompetence readily. Most accidents and incidents occur on or close to the ground, and involve directional control problems from the wind and because of poor judgment or flying ability.
Decathlons are noted for their heavy aileron forces. The Scout, with its longer wing, is even more taxing. Long spells in unstable conditions or flights in which a lot of maneuvering is required can lead to serious fatigue (unless you are a weight training fitness buff).
Pitch forces are quite light. In the hands of some pilots, even too light: there have been a number of instances/incidents/accidents caused by pilot-induced oscillations (PIOs) a/k/a porpoising. Rudder forces lie between the two. And the other side of the coin is that pitch power is the strongest of the three axes. In certain conditions, such as crosswind landing, roll and yaw control can be inadequate or too difficult to apply.
Aileron spades, which are aerodynamic aids to increase roll control and reduce the level of effort, have been offered for several Champion models in the aftermarket. ACA now offers them for the Scout, even as kits for retrofit to used airplanes. Cabin design One of the greatest attributes of all Champions is visibility to the outside. Both front and rear seat occupants benefit. Seats are not luxurious, but they are adequate for pilots of most sizes for all but the longest-duration missions. Placement of instruments, gauges, controls and switches, including (or especially) electrical accessories may take some getting used to for pilots new to this category of airplane. Keep it simple. Perhaps the greatest appeal of the Scout is its relative simplicity. This includes the powerplant and attendant systems. About as bullet proof as airplane pieces go, they are easy to support in relatively remote spots. Most components and systems are fairly easy to get at, too. For instance, the belly pan is a continuous piece that is easily removed to check lower fuselage members for corrosion and to inspect control cables, pulleys and fairleads
Accident record The majority of Scout accidents are, as mentioned above, related to handling on or near the ground. There is no pattern that singles out the Scout. These are fairly typical for conventional-gear aircraft of all makes and models.
However, it is worth noting that half of the Scout’s landing accidents occurred “in the bush,” or away from airports. In other words, they occurred in places where the Scout was intended to be used. These can be inhospitable places full of traps for wind spurts or for momentary mental lapses.
The single fatal accident recorded in the past five-and-a-half years was the result of loss of control during low flight. On the whole, the record of the Scout is benign. Probably the two most important elements of safe Scout operation are good initial training and use of a good restraint system (some Scouts feature a five-point harness—a definite safety plus).
The 8GCBC Scout is a good honest plane, and in my opinion, used Scouts are the best value in the high-power two-place utility market at this time. When asked what it is, I sometimes tell strangers that it’s a Citabria that’s been on steroids, although this isn’t really fair to either the Scout or Citabria.
As for handling, in the air, the Scout is heavy in roll, light in pitch, and medium in rudder pressures. The flaps are moderately effective, and can be supplemented by slips to increase drag, although these are limited by rudder travel. Stalls are straightforward, with a pronounced break and some tendency to fall off on a wing. Crosswind component is somewhat limited by rudder and aileron effectiveness, but is still more than most people will want to try. The “spade” ailerons now available from American Champion may improve response (I haven’t flown them), but watch your head on the ground! I carry scars from a Husky.
Ground handling is more demanding than in Cubs and Citabrias, despite the nearly identical cockpit (to the latter). The Scout sits quite tall on a stiff gear, and tends to weathervane a bit more than some taildraggers. Transitions to takeoff and to landing require close attention and prompt application of controls to keep things straight. The brakes/tires (8.50 x 6.00 on double-puck Clevelands, similar to a Cessna 185’s) are extremely effective, and can put the prop in the dirt very easily. These props are hard to find and expensive.
Over-the-nose visibility is fairly good for a tall taildragger, but pilots transitioning from Citabrias have to work at getting the nose up for three-point landings.
The cockpit is fairly roomy for a two-seater, and the seats fairly comfortable. Use known fuel fill against time at a known fuel flow rate. The fuel is on or off only and feeds from both tanks. Individual selection of tanks is not possible.
Specifications ( 8GCBC Scout) General characteristics
Crew: one pilot
Capacity: one passenger
Length: 23 ft 0 in (7 m)
Wingspan: 36 ft 3 in (11 m)
Height: 9 ft 8 in (2.9 m)
Wing area: 180 ft² (16.7 m²)
Airfoil: NACA 4412
Empty weight: 1,400 lb (635kg)
Loaded weight: 2,150 lb (975 kg)
Useful load: 750 lb (313 kg)
Max takeoff weight: 2,150 lb (977 kg)
Max Take Off: 975 Kgs
Max Land: 975Kgs
Basic: 635 Kgs
Baggage: 45 Kgs
Fuel: 272 Litres
Usable: 265 Litres
Powerplant: 1× Lycoming O-360-C1G, 180 hp (134.2 kW)
Cruise speed: 97 kts (at 55% power)
112 kts (at 75% power)
Extended Range Fuel tanks: 265 liters
Cruise at 75% power: 40 liter per hour
Endurance to empty tanks: 6.6 hours
Range: (30 mins reserve) at average 100 kts: 600 nm
At 55% power: 700 nm
Speed Marking Manoeuvring (Va) 100 kts None Normal Operating Range 50-113 Green Arc Flap Operating Range 45-78 White Arc Max Structural Cruise (Vno) 113 Caution Range 113-141 Yellow Arc Never Exceed (Vne) 141 Red Radial Arc
Power plant: Engine: Lycoming 0-360-CIG (Constant Speed Propeller) Propeller: Avoid operation between 2000-2250 RPM Demonstrated Cross Wind: 15 kts
Performance: Max Speed Level 120kts Cruise Speed 75% Power 112kts Rate of Climb Sea level 1,075 fpm Service Ceiling 14,500 ft Best Rate of Climb 66kts Best Gradient Climb 45kts (2 stages of flap) Stall Speed Flaps up 50kts Stall Speed Flaps 27 (full) 45kts
(Assume power off for stall speeds)
Take off Performance Ground Run Total to 50ft Flaps Up 198 M 333 M Flaps 16 degrees (2 stages) 156 M 322 M Assume Max Gross Wt, Standard Density, T/O tail low
Climb out over obstacle at 45 Kts to 50 ft
Landing Performance: Total from 50ft Ground Roll
380 M 128 M
(Full Flap, Approach Speed 52 Kts, Full Stall 3 pointer, Max brakes) CAUTION: Aircraft can be easily nosed over with excessive heavy braking. Apply with caution.
(These distances and speeds are demonstrated performance. Recommend higher speeds, if required, and therefore distances will increase)
Weight and Balance: Aircraft Empty Weight: 645 Kgs Pilot: 82 kgs Passenger: 82 kgs Baggage: 11kgs Fuel: (215 litres) 155 kgs Total Weight: 975 kgs Aircraft is within Loading Envelope at these weights
(215 litres = 5 hours 22 mins to empty tanks. No reserve) Fuel: To assure max useable fuel capacity fuel tanks must be filled slowly during last 40 litres each side. Normal operation is to fill tanks until fuel starts to “burble” and stop. This will normally give a capacity of 5 hours. Only fill to maximum for extended trips. If fuelled to maximum fuel will vent from fuel vent. Normal venting from left wing with full tanks on ground and climb will stop after 1 hour. The reason is the use of non-venting caps. Also if the cap is not on properly fuel will vent out around the cap reducing aircraft planned range. Change seals regularly using normal Cessna ones. Will last one year. Silicon grease every 100 hours or every month.
Left Right For Read For Read E 0 E 0
¼ 30 ¼ 35
½ 60 ½ 70
¾ 100 ¾ 110 F 132 F 132
Main tyres 8.50 x 6.00 Pressure 22 Psi Tail tyres 8 inches 2.80 X 2.50 40 Psi
Aircraft Operation: Wings have adequate clearance when pushing back out of the hanger if both doors are fully open and main wheels are centered over cement gap. When checking engine oil do not let the access door clips spring open. Oil is Ash less Dispersant (W100). Maximum is 8 quarts minimum is 6 quarts. Engine Start: Mixture Rich Carby Cold Throttle closed or cracked just slightly Prime approx 6 primes for cold start Propeller clear Master on Magnetos on Start Button Start Oil Pressure moving Ammeter Charge Radios on Transponder on Note start time Lean mix slightly on ground Taxi: With a tailwind keep stick forward during taxi. With a headwind keep stick back during a taxi. Use aileron into wind during taxi. If unsure what’s in front of the aircraft “waddle” using rudders and look out the side; or stop. If unable to see properly over the dash during taxi ensure all clear in front before boarding aircraft and adopt the waddle method of taxi. Before Take-off: Use Checklist Before run up mixture rich 1800 RPM check for 200 max RPM drop, 50 RPM max differential between mags.
(Magnetos: Left are on low side of engine. Right are on topside of engine. If plugs are fouling on ground After engine start lean mixture and return to rich prior to run up. Normal run up 1800 RPM; if fouling suspected increase power to 2200 RPM and lean mixture, then check mag drop.)
Check carby heat operation. Check Prop operation. Only allow slight RPM drop before reselecting fine pitch. Engine instruments within green band during run-up Do not expect oil temp to move. Allow 10 mins before run up if cold. Take off can be made with 0 flap or stage 1 or stage 2. Generally use 0 flap on long runways and 2 stages on grass. Flaps: 1 Stage = 7’ 2 Stage = 16’ 3 Stage = 21’ 4 Stage = 27’
Take-off: As power is applied keep stick back then start easing forward enough to raise tail. For the shortest ground roll, keep the tail low and allow aircraft to lift off at minimum speed (45 kts with 2 stages flap). For a normal take off, raise the tail to a level flight attitude and lift off at 55 kts. Climb: Retract flap Reduce power to 25” 2500RPM Mixture rich above 75% power setting Airspeed 75Kts Climbs can be made with full throttle, but reduced power setting is desired. Best Rate of Climb Best Angle of Climb Flaps Up Flaps 14 (2nd notch) Airspeed 75 Kts at SL Airspeed 61 kts
70 Kts at 2,500 ft
65 Kts at 5,000 ft
60 Kts at 7,500 ft Lean to best power when full throttle develops les than 75% power at altitude. Cruise: When at desired speed reduce power to 23” 2400 RPM to 24” 2400 RPM 55% power = 21” 2250 RPM
“Loiter” speed 17” 2250 RPM Check engine instruments, ammeter, flight instruments, area QNH set, and correct altitude as per clearance, Navigation, fuel check. Carby ice is a problem even if temperature is 35 degrees. Performance: 2,500 ft 2600 RPM 73% Power
2500 RPM 65%
2400 RPM 60% 5,000 ft 2600 RPM 69%
2500 RPM 62%
2400 RPM 56% 7,500 ft 2600 RPM 72%
2500 RPM 58%
2400 RPM 53% 10,000 ft 2600 RPM 61%
2500 RPM 55%
2400 RPM 50% Lean mixture using EGT. Reduce until indicator is in 3 o’clock position. Descent: Mixture rich or maintain rich side of peak EGT Throttle reduce as desired.
Reduce Manifold Pressure 1” at a time every 1,000 feet and leave prop at 2400 RPM Circuit: 20”/2400 RPM Airspeed as desired The descent should be made with enough power to maintain cylinder head and oil temperature in green arc. If possible, avoid windmilling the engine with the propeller. In other words do not make a full power off descent from altitude. Landing Approach: Do not allow RPM to remain in “red” (2000-2250 RPM) band. It is ok to transit through while reducing or increasing power. With reduced power use carby heat but return to ‘cold’ prior to landing. Base leg 2 stages of flap (when well within white band) speed 70 kts Final leg full flap and progressively reduce speed to arrive ‘over the fence’ at 55 kts for a 3 point landing. Increase speed during gusty winds for added protection. Make a full stall landing so stick should be almost fully back on touchdown. Keep stick back during landing roll. Reduce drift to zero prior to touchdown or use wing low method as desired in a crosswind. Use aileron as required throughout landing roll. Use brakes only towards end of landing roll. For wheeler landing (2 point landing) maintain speed of 65 Kts. Fly aircraft down to just above runway surface; don’t reduce power until aircraft is level with runway, now ease power off and aircraft should touchdown on main wheels. If there is a slight bounce ease forward (don’t ‘push’) on the stick and aircraft should stick. If a bad bounce, or not happy with landing, GO-AROUND! Once landed keep aircraft straight and as it slows down ease back on stick to gently fly tail wheel on. Balked Landing: Throttle full open Carby heat check cold position Airspeed 65 Kts Flaps up in stages Trim re-set
Emergency Procedures: Engine Fire (Ground): Mix idle cut off Fuel valve off Master and Mags off Evacuate aircraft Extinguish fire if possible
(In flight): Fuel valve off Master off Accomplish emergency landing
Electrical System malfunction/Fire: A steady discharge of the ammeter indicates an inoperative alternator system. Turn off unnecessary electrical equipment to conserve battery (e.g. transponder, radios) Master switch may be turned off. If indications of fire: Master switch off All electrical switches off Land as soon as possible
Engine Failure on Take-off: Throttle closed Flaps full If time permits check: Fuel shut off valve check on Mix Full Rich Carby Full Hot Magneto switches Both ON In general plan to land within a splay of 30 degrees either side of nose. Do not attempt to turn back to runway unless sufficient altitude.
Engine Air Restart: Airspeed 70 Kts Magnetos both on Mix rich or lean per altitude Fuel valve check on Carby heat full hot The engine starter may be engaged in flight should the engine stop windmilling.
Forced Landing: Airspeed 54 Kts (maximum glide) Glide Range 10,000 ft 14 nm 5,000 ft 7 nm 2,000 ft 3 nm When committed Mixture Idle cut off Fuel shut off valve Off Master switch Off All electrical switches Off On final approach use speed 61-65 Kts
Ditching: In addition to above, also jettison cabin side door Land into wind parallel to swell Flaps up landing to allow higher nose attitude on touchdown Do not stall prior to touchdown.
Excelent post Martin. As you have said the legs will fling u back in the air really quick if you come in too fast especially on the black top, so fly the numbers acurately that way you wont look like a compleat tool and as was described to me when learning the 3 things to remember when landing "keep it straight, keep it straight, keep it fuc$en Straight."
I hope its a good first job, but I couldn't from the ad how many tailwheel hours are required to be competitive (min 10 PIC is all that was specified). I was speeking to someone who did the job a few years ago and he loved it. He said that some years there have been very experienced applicants, so competition was tough.
Last edited by Trojan1981; 30th Aug 2010 at 12:38.
It was my first job, great gig. i got on with 220tt , 13 tailwheel command and no insider contacts. the other guys hired while i was there ranged from 200 - 2500 hours. all different personalities , home states and ages. so just apply and see what happens!
Roxy the process is as advertised send in a cv with what is required and wait a few weeks you will then either get a letter saying yay or ney. Next step will be a group get together induction where you will get a check flight and class room presentatins of how things work and exam to see if you were listning. this will take about 3 days and you will then get called up letting you know if you are sucessfull or not.
Well thats how it was a few years ago things may have changed.
This is part of a PM I sent to one of you blokes who is going to the induction.
It is realy just a meet and greet and check flight with a bit of training into the opperations.
Check flight is fairly basic few steep med turns, stalls etc and practice forced landing nothing major. You will do about 50hr ICUS befor they let you lose so don't stress too much. Is no remote flying as such u will be based at either Manjimup, Bunbury, or Jandakot.
All I can say is dress tidy casual get involved and meet and talk with all the guys. It is fairly laid back and a good social time just don't act like a knob and your set. Don't worry if you don't get in straight away as they start everyone in stages I did not start till Feb. It probably wont hurt to do a few laps in a tail dragger and Chris is an instructor so can sign you off for a bfr at same time if u are due. make sure your asic and medical are all current etc.
Also did this as a first job and can back the other posters up in that it was a good one. I started in Feb asa i heard there were some people leaving and managed to score the job over the phone with a basic CPL (maybe 200 hours or so) and no tailwheel or anything.
I realise this is not the normal process but worked out well for me, stayed 3 months or so then landed my second job under similar circumstances, I'm now out of the game (flying) due to financial reasons predominantly but would give the firespotting another go if between jobs one day as was a good experience.
If you get the opporunity I highly recommend it, beautiful part of the world and fairly relaxed atmosphere, some good travelling to be had on your days off aswell (if Manjimup based) The pay was award so not a huge amount but enough to live on if single given the cheap accomodation provided. Take some warm clothes especially if staying til end of season and an easy going nature and you'll get along well due to to varied people you get working with you.
Hope that helps somewhat, and yes Greg Simpson is who you'll likely be dealing with in Manji, good bloke IMO.
If you're after and tips of nice places to visit/travel experiences when you're down there let me know. A PM may be best.
This weeks thursday Australian. $50,000 to $73,000 pa. Although its seasonal not bad dosh to fly a scout. Think 6 years ago wages were around the $30,s. Huge change. Its boring and not that hard either. Just wish calm would get with the times, rolls of maps in eastings and northings. When you could just mark it on a gps. Ten times more accurate.?