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View Full Version : How can you fly a Citabria/ Decathlon from the back seat?


Bearcat F8F
18th Jul 2013, 21:37
Hi guys,

I'm doing a tailwheel endorsement + aerobatic rating on the Decathlon next month. I have 2 questions:

1) How can the instructor fly from the back seat without any instruments? The view to the front seat instrument panel isn't great either. By watching the following video you will see what I mean:

Decathlon Aerobatics - Passenger POV - GoPro - YouTube


2) Once I get my rating and endorsement, am I allowed to fly from the back seat?

Thanks

Pull what
18th Jul 2013, 22:13
In the same way you are checked out in this airliner. The instructor stands behind you with nothing more that a smile!

Air Atlantique. de Havilland Dragon Rapide. G-AGTM Cockpit. | Flickr - Photo Sharing! (http://www.flickr.com/photos/dennisgoodwin/3922858722/)

Solar
19th Jul 2013, 07:08
You don't need instruments to fly a Citabria!!!!!!

foxmoth
19th Jul 2013, 07:26
You don't need instruments to fly a Citabria!!!!!!

Whilst this is true, if I am instructing, especially aeros, there is one instrument I do like to be able to see and that is the ASI, especially when looking at high speed UPs!
Thankfully the ASI is usually top left of the panel and fairly easy to see from the back, especially if you use a decent cushion.:hmm:

As far as flying from the back seat goes, no reason not to apart from C of G limits or limits imposed by the person hiring out, I would suggest, if you are not used to flying from there you get checked out in that seat first.

Bearcat F8F
19th Jul 2013, 08:31
foxmouth, yes, ASI is all you need I would've thought but even looking at the vid that I posted, it's difficult to understand how you can see the ASI from the rear :suspect:

And yes, that's a good idea. Maybe on one of the flights I will fly it from the back seat with an instructor just to make sure I can do it well. I was only thinking of doing it in case I decide to take somone up in the future.

I have 1 more little question:

I was told by someone that the Basic AOPA Aerobatic Course (6 hours of aerobatic instruction) can now be converted to a rating in EASA.

Is it a requirement to have the rating instead of an endorsement? Can you choose which one you want to have (sorry I know that sounds a bit stupid) and if you must have the rating, then when does it expire?

Thanks

foxmoth
19th Jul 2013, 08:57
Try sitting in the back seat and looking, unless the person in front is very large, not usually too much of a problem - in the video the camera is fixed - you can move your head to the side:cool:


This:-
FAQ Answer | EASA | Operations and Safety (http://www.caa.co.uk/default.aspx?catid=620&pagetype=70&gid=2134&faqid=1314)

Tells you about the aerobatic rating, basically, from 8/4/15, to do aeros you will need the aerobatic rating, AFAIK it will not expire and the AOPA aeros certificate will be accepted as recognition for the rating to be issued.

(N.b. - dH Foxmoth - The height of economy ? the DH Fox Moth | Shortfinals's Blog (http://shortfinals.wordpress.com/2011/02/22/the-height-of-economy-the-dh-fox-moth/) )

djpil
19th Jul 2013, 12:45
Not just large but my most recent petite student had the seat forward (and therefore raised) plus a fitted cushion. Craning my neck I could only see the useless part of the ASI. Perhaps I could've used a cushion myself or whipped her headset off.

Bearcat F8F
19th Jul 2013, 14:52
foxmoth, thanks! All clear.

That Fox Moth thing looks nutts!

dobbin1
19th Jul 2013, 15:46
I do Tailwheel training in a SuperCub and I often can't see the instruments, especially if the bloke in front is on the large side. It is not a big deal - you have to trust them to nail the correct speed. You can generally tell if the speed is not stable by the wind noise and attitude changes.

The student has to work the radio and flaps, but the only control that I can't reach that I really worry about is the mixture.

dobbin1
19th Jul 2013, 15:56
I was told by someone that the Basic AOPA Aerobatic Course (6 hours of aerobatic instruction) can now be converted to a rating in EASA.

Is it a requirement to have the rating instead of an endorsement? Can you choose which one you want to have (sorry I know that sounds a bit stupid) and if you must have the rating, then when does it expire?

There are many ways to get your aerobatic rating grandfathered onto an EASA licence. The AOPA certificate is one way but the easiest is to have five hours of aerobatics in your log book and then demonstrate the manoeuvres listed in FCL 800 to an aerobatics instructor. The instructor will need to certify that you have had the necessary TK as well. Competing just once in a BAEA event also counts as does RAF and Navy military aero training. Being an instructor with the aerobatics restriction removed will also do it.



The rating does not expire

Bearcat F8F
19th Jul 2013, 19:13
dobbin1, thanks for the info :ok:

I'll be flying out of Tatenhill (close to Derby).
Do you know any short grass strips we can fly to in that area? Perhaps even some which are not in the Pooley's guide? I'm hoping I could get a job towing gliders next year... I think it's essential I have some short grass strip experience. I already asked the instructor at the school about this and he said yes, it's not a problem so I'm sure he'll know where to go anyway.

Piper.Classique
21st Jul 2013, 20:54
Bearcat, you don't need to be able to fly out of short strips to tow gliders. You will find being able to fly gliders a big help in getting a job towing them.
Most gliding clubs like you to have silver c or at least be solo on gliders. The very few field retrieves usually get done by the most experienced tuggies.
Usually you get to learn in a rallye or regent before you get your mits on the fun tugs.....

18greens
21st Jul 2013, 21:50
Seeing the asi from the back was never that big a deal,you can see it from the back. Anyway the citabria was pretty good at letting you know how fast you were going by feel ( and sound and smell and attitude). If you can't tell how fast you are going with your eyes closed do you have enough experience to instruct.

My biggest fear was that 'they controlled the mixture'. Followed up by 'they controlled the radio'.

On top of all that it was never that brilliant an aircraft. A chippy or a bulldog or slingsby gives similar perf without all of your worries.

Bearcat F8F
23rd Jul 2013, 09:33
Piper.Classique, it was the current tug pilot at the club that told me they would like to see short field grass experience. And yes, I'm planning on becoming a solo glider pilot also.

18greens, all those aircraft sound like they are more expensive to run and hire and train in. The Chipmunk especially.

And are you talking about the Citabra or the Decathlon? I would imagine the latter being a bit more capable aerobatic-wise, and then the Super Decathlon even more so.

Piper.Classique
23rd Jul 2013, 19:41
Fair enough then. I tow off 740 metres grass, never thought of it as short. Are you UK based? Will you get enough flying to make your costs back? Usually the members get all the flying they want, and the season's tuggie gets what is left over. Best of luck, and enjoy the gliding!

18greens
23rd Jul 2013, 20:50
18greens, all those aircraft sound like they are more expensive to run and hire and train in. The Chipmunk especially.

You got me on the chippy, very expensive. Curiously it was expense that removed my other fave from the list, the stampe.

Is a bulldog more expensive. Actually in my opinion the best aircraft to fly aeros in is the lovely Pitts. Cheap and outstanding performance. Even an S1C will cream a super decathlon. Come... Come to the dark side...

Where are you doing this flying?

foxmoth
23rd Jul 2013, 21:42
the best aircraft to fly aeros in is the lovely Pitts.

Maybe for flying them, though I would argue the RVs are pretty good bang for the buck - learning aeros though I would suggest you actually want something more basic, learn them on the Pitts and you get thrown flying anything less capable, learn on say a Chippie, Decathlon, Bulldog or similar and you can aero most aircraft!

Bearcat F8F
23rd Jul 2013, 23:07
18greens, at Tatenhill in the UK, near Derby. If you have better suggestions please do share but please take costs into account. I have friends who stay in Derby so I get free accommodation while I'm flying and at 148/ hour dual, it's difficult to beat the Decathlon. That includes landing fees and everything.

BELIEVE ME, if I could afford a Pitts, I would do it, no question. I don't think there is a video of Sean Tucker or Skip Stewart that I haven't watched. And similarly, a Chipmunk would be amazing too.

Given the roll rate of the Pitts, it probably is sensible to learn on something a bit more docile. My body isn't used to doing aileron/ barrel rolls outside of flight simulators, so it would certainly be sensible to work my way up to something as capable as a Pitts one day.



Piper.Classique, the tug pilots in the club which I am in contact with can get anything from 200 to 500 hours in one season apparently. Even if it was 100 hours, it's a damn side better than paying for most of my hour building. Of course there will be others applying for the position so I really want to stand out from the crowd. I think it's a risk well worth it. If I don;t get the job, at the end of the day I still have lots of extra experience which will come in handy one day!

Crankshaft
24th Jul 2013, 12:27
2) Once I get my rating and endorsement, am I allowed to fly from the back seat?

Not familiar with UK regs, but a general requirement to fly from a different seat than the intended is that you can reach all relevant controls. In the back seat of the Super Decathlon there are neither prop control, mixture, fuel pump switch or fuel valve and therefore I would say "No, don't fly it from the back seat" (unless you have a qualified pilot in the front seat).
The problem is not that you can't fly it without these controls, but that you would never be able to carry out any emergency checklist.

Bearcat F8F
24th Jul 2013, 22:02
Crankshaft, yeah I agree. I can't even do the radios from the back so it will definitely have to be me flying from the front unless as you say the guy in front is a qualified pilot.

What do you mean by prop control? The Decathlon has a fixed pitch prop. Do you mean the throttle?

Ramjet555
24th Jul 2013, 22:21
I loved instructing in the 8KCAB , the 180hp tailwheel.
This machine sort of assumes that the front seat is occupied by a licenced
pilot, or, a student who can be "trusted" to operate the mags, mixture, and or follow instructions in the event of an emergency, like read out the numbers.

It is very difficult viewing the instruments from the rear, you tell the student to lean to the right so you can see the airspeed or read out the altimeter..

If you are operating in a controlled airspace, its real easy to blow altitude limitations.

As far as flying goes, you don't need an airspeed indicator when you have a pair of ears, and can feel the slipstream on the machine.. You can just about shut your eyes, put in earplugs, and put one finger on the stick to guess the airspeed...

You al pdon't need a G-meter, your gut will tell you most of the time what G you pulled etc.

If you don't have those kinds of perceptions about the airplane than you should not be instructing in it..

Rear seat flying is easy when you have good basic tailwheel training.

There is a problem in the 8KCAB as in the front seat, you can easily see over the nose, which is just perfect for all those pa-28 students who just stare at the end of the runway and wait till the wheels make a squeeky noise.

Rear Seat Training , for the first time will teach you how to use peripheral vision, how to sideslip and do circular approaches not to mention, wheel take offs and the harder wheel landings.

All that training will give you abilities you did not have previously, make you a safer pilot not to mention a more confident pilot.

Good operators have a graduated training program and you should be feeling very confident when they let you loose by yourself in cross winds etc.

Its the same for the pitts, its a fun machine to fly, easy to fly when you know how but if you don't get the right training, you are almost guaranteed to end up with a wreak and a fatal streak in your aviation career.

If you fly with someone who likes making the g meter read 5 gs, or has a n obvious personality disorder, then go get someone else.

There are a lot of aerobatic pilots who end up dead from accidents. Don't be one of them. Just take a list of books on aerobatics and check to see how the authors died.

Ramjet

Crankshaft
25th Jul 2013, 20:25
What do you mean by prop control? The Decathlon has a fixed pitch prop. Do you mean the throttle? I was referring to the Super Decathlon with the 180hp lycoming and constant speed prop.

By the way, I agree with everything that Ramjet555 says.
And even with around hundred back seat hours instructing in the Super D, I most of all have a huge respect for the lack of forward visibility during approach and landing. Especially at slow speeds where the wing profile of the Decathlon gives you a very high pitch attitude compared to other light aircrafts.
I know of at least one accident where this was the contributing factor.

squawking 7700
25th Jul 2013, 21:14
The particular Decathlon (150hp) in question (at Tatenhill) used to be a Decathlon CS with constant speed prop and was great to fly.....then they put a fixed pitch prop on it.


7700

Bearcat F8F
26th Jul 2013, 20:37
Thank you for all the info everyone. I will do some good reading/ studying before I start flying it.

I am REALLY looking forward to it though! :E

OBX Lifeguard
28th Jul 2013, 01:43
You'll have a blast. The Decathlon is an excellent aircraft for initial aerobatics training...though admittedly I would prefer a cs prop. As far as not being up front and close to the instruments...my first ever flight in a J-3 Cub was in the back and I was with a non tailwheel pilot up front and it was just a non problem. I now prefer flying the Cub from the back (it's the only way you are allowed to fly it solo) . With tailwheel a/c it is easier to sense yaw on t/o and landings than from the front.

I regularly fly a Great Lakes biplane which has about the same performance as a Super Decathlon and it is a delight to fly acro in. :O

kookaburra
8th Aug 2013, 00:38
Ramjet 555 is on the money.
Only difference is wheeler landings were prohibited from memory in the flight manual of the Decaths I flew unless it was added as a company limitation.

1. Easy enough with experience in Decaths and as instructor.
2. No

I'd also advise against flying from the back seat unless you are instructing and approved for rear seat instruction on the type (required where I worked).
Looks very different from back there on takeoff and landing, taxiing etc let alone the front seat has most controls and instruments in view.

Legal mine field these days if something goes wrong and you weren't sitting where you should.

djpil
8th Aug 2013, 06:52
Pilot Operating Manual which came with the 1978-80 model Decathlons commonly found in the Melbourne area states: Either wheel landings or full stall (3 point) are permissible. ...... In high gusty wind or when a crosswind exists, a wheel landing is recommended ..... The handling notes provided by the local flying schools contradicted this effectively prohibiting wheelers (can't lay my hands on a copy quickly to quote it).

Checkboard
23rd Aug 2013, 07:35
I'm pretty sure you can't fly the Decathelon solo from the back as you would be outside the rear CofG limit. It's designed to be flown solo from the front.

Duchess_Driver
23rd Aug 2013, 08:47
learn them on the Pitts and you get thrown flying anything less capable, learn on say a Chippie, Decathlon, Bulldog or similar and you can aero most aircraft!

I learnt to teach aeros and now teach aeros in a 152 aerobat. Cracking fun, but as has already been said - speed control and engine RPM limits are all I'm interested in.