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-   -   Airplane With The Nicest Handling (https://www.pprune.org/pacific-general-aviation-questions/642970-airplane-nicest-handling.html)

eckhard 4th Oct 2021 14:38

Chipmunk - simply delightful
Fuji FA-200 - nicest handling "spam-can"
Dove - a gentleman's aerial conveyance
747-400 - amazingly light and responsive, but watch the pitch/power couple

DaveUnwin 4th Oct 2021 15:32

Lot of love here for the Chipmunk! And if you think a stock one is nice you can readily imagine how nice the prototypes (which were considerably lighter) are. I do like the extra grunt of the Mk.23 though - has anyone flown one fitted with an O-540?

slast 4th Oct 2021 17:11

Interesting how much positive comment about de Haviland types. Add mine for the Chippie. Also I’m biased because my Dad was a DH draughtsman at Hatfield after the war.

One that hasn’t been mentioned so far is the De Haviland 121 otherwise known as the Trident - also of course the “Ground-gripper”, but this thread IS about handling qualities not performance! The T1 in particular did have excellent handling provided you were only going level or down…. Very little trim change with speed and configuration changes on approach, close rear engines so little swing engine out. Super roll response.

The contrast with its replacement B757 was remarkable – that had lots of power of course but I recall an early demo flight when a Boeing test pilot was stunned that we were not impressed by the 757 handling. It seemed you could rotate the wheel to the limits in each direction and back to centre, and the aircraft sort of looked over its shoulder and said “oh, are you talking to me??”. And the continual trimming especially engine out. But it did go up fast on a LHR-MAN shuttle on a cold day!

sangiovese. 4th Oct 2021 17:23

Worst Mitsubishi Diamond and Beech 400. Horrendous without yaw dampening, terrible spoiler roll rate

ONE GREEN AND HOPING 4th Oct 2021 17:25

Yup.....I trained on Chipmunks, and loved them so much I had done an extra @200 hours on the Chippie until my pocket money ran out. Later Piston Provost, a bit meatier, but it was Summer and used to get a bit hot and sweaty under the large canopy. Vampire T11 too, but then became an airline operative which didn't involve any flying upside down on purpose. Frankly I much preferred that more stately approach to hammering up and down the sky, plus with a coffee cup holder anyway. Hugely privileged to fly propliners and jets with stunning technology. Favourite for basic handling in adverse weather plus sheer fun was the BAC 1-11: 707-300s for handling skill set otherwise: DC10 30s for quiet cockpit and big windows. 747s on quite a few 200series variants as marvels of Boeing engineering achievement, and the 400 series for great views on non- stop 14 hours plus over stunning scenery such as Arctic and far East Russia, plus non stops London Osaka within sight of the geographical North Pole, etc.. All in all though the biggest thrill, was actually being let loose solo on Chipmunks when not long out of school, so has to be my personal favourite. Luckily in 1960, didn't need to be smart enough for university, and so more opportunity to learn 'on the job', unlike being thrown in at the deep end as perhaps is normal now, which calls for a higher education level at entry.

flapsin 4th Oct 2021 18:18

OK, love the Chipmunk, own a Tiger Moth, too many other types all of which had their own wonderful personalities, but the best of the best for me was the HS GNAT. Simply awesome for a student Biggles!
ps next best Canberra, Dragon Rapide and B757

halas 4th Oct 2021 18:54

I see B777 mentioned here several times. It's OK. But with 15,000hrs on type it pails to other, proper, non-FBW control aircraft.

Beech 200 Super Kingair. Best single pilot IFR aircraft ever.

Any AreoCommander would come second. 500 or 690. All fantastic.

And as much as l disliked the BAe 146 for over complexity, it did handle beautifully.

halas

msbbarratt 4th Oct 2021 19:42

Although not a qualified pilot, I can claim that my favourite to fly is a Tiger Moth. As a youth I went up with a BA pilot who had one, and in between bouts of aerobatics that fully explored the flight envelope I had several goes. I enjoyed the feeling of it all immensely. I can see why so many other comments feature non-FBW aircraft.

Reading this thread and seeing the Chipmunk mentioned several times with fondness reminds me of seeing them buzzing round RAF Abingdon lots, decades ago when I was a kid. Happy memories. Thank you for the trip down memory lane :-)

Chipmunk, BAE-146, Tiger Moth mentioned by others: should I be surprised that DH-related aircraft feature lots?

Captain Capstan 4th Oct 2021 20:51

de Havilland Heron a true gentlemanís aerial conveyance

By George 4th Oct 2021 21:37

Interesting to see people nominate FBW aircraft in a handling discussion when so much feel is artificial and no trimming is required. I have recently trained a few ex Airbus pilots onto the 737 and it takes them a while to gain a feel for trim and pitch control. Trying to get them to marry up the HDG bug is a lost cause. I am not an Airbus hater, they are just different in basic handling. Sitting at the holding point over the years I have seen some very exciting crosswind landing attempts, especially on A320's. To be fair to our Airbus cousins the 737 is not a very nice aeroplane to fly either, very pitch sensitive and busy at times. The 727 was always my favourite, like sitting on a cannonball but it could be a cow in the flare if you didn't control the sink. People also hold the 747-400 in high esteem but I preferred the 300. The 300 didn't have a tendency to float and settled nicely after the flare. Plus I liked the three crew concept with the flight engineer. F/E's were great at organising room parties with the cabin crew! As for the Chipmunk, yes a nice aeroplane to fly, but one nearly killed me. With a large examiner in the back seat we had an aft C of G and managed to get into a flat spin complete with a stopped prop. We finally got it sorted out but bust our 'floor height'. Gave me a slight stutter for a few days that did.
A more interesting topic would be aeroplanes with poor handling qualities. Only Arnold Schwarzenegger could flare an empty Seneca 1 and then we had the Nomad, which tested a few aerodynamic theories to the limit. Interesting things aeroplanes and so many I would love to try. That F100 has always appealed to me for some reason. It just looks right. (The fighter not that Fokker without leading edge devices).

ciderman 4th Oct 2021 21:50

No one has mentioned the absolute best, the Vulcan. Close the thread.

aroa 4th Oct 2021 22:05

Auster J5F.. the clipped wing job. Nippy, aerobatic and easy to fly. With full flap and a bit of a breeze, touchdown at about the pace of a fast walk. Great.
Austers the aircraft…. with the built in bounce.! Just work at it and get to feel it right.
Many Auster haters will disagree that an Auster can be anything but awful.
I beg to differ.

effortless 4th Oct 2021 22:20

Another vote for the chipmunk. The most wonderfully harmonised controls.

43Inches 5th Oct 2021 00:29

Never flown a fighter jet, however I always remember an interview with Israeli ace Giora Epstein (pretty sure he was the one although it was a while back) who fought more than 10 migs at once, at one point alone, shot down a few and came home. At one point in the interview where he describe the KFIR vs the F-16. While he would rather have the F-16 vs modern fighters in a furball, he always preferred the non FBW feel of the KFIR and how he felt he had way more control of it near the edge so could push him and the aircraft to it's limits.

I also loved his comment on the question about how he felt facing so many migs at once. His answer was along the lines, you can only have one on your tail at any time, and that is the only danger, so I just watched out for that one, and shot at others that came up in front.

I've heard similar comments in regards to Air Force pilots that prefer the Hunter to modern aircraft for similar reasons. Obviously this is from a connection with the aircraft and handling, not from an effectiveness in battle point of view. I doubt any of them would opt to take a hunter into battle over an F-22 vs an PAK-FA or such for many other reasons.

Even if you wanted to throw a modern airliner around to test it's handling you will hit a wall of computer generated nope at some stage, and the places you can go with the computer turned off/restricted will probably kill you.

I've had the pleasure of doing maintenance shake downs on some transport category, was quite weird to practice some steep turns and throw it around a bit outside of the simulator. All my years of flying it straight made me feel like something was wrong in doing it.

421dog 5th Oct 2021 00:53

MU-2 solitaire was the smoothest Iíve flown.

T28C is the most responsive. One finger in cruise, two fingers for a 4G loop where you hit your wake. Takes off just fine with the boards out if some yahoo forgets to flip the switch...

sludge 5th Oct 2021 01:58

Easy- Christen Eagle. Perfect control harmony, virtually zero control coupling, perfect control gradient ( or stick force per G) plenty of control authority. An absolute delight, slightly negative stability, just enough to keep you interested. No electronic nannies or artificial helpers, just you alone with whatever skills you did ( or did not!) bring. And unlimited Acro!

megan 5th Oct 2021 02:14


That F100 has always appealed to me for some reason
Like a lady she has attractive looks, but can you match her in dancing? She kills if you can't.

Capn Bug Smasher 5th Oct 2021 06:19

Of course the aeroplane with the nicest handling must be the Rollason Condor :E

Jo90 5th Oct 2021 08:23

Among heavies all the american types were much of a muchness. Never flew Airbus. Best type was British built as was the worst.
VC10 was a delight. No re-trimming for any changes of configuration or thrust and a lovely big cushion of ground effect for smooth landings.
Trident 3 was an absolute dog.

Pinky the pilot 5th Oct 2021 10:01


Only Arnold Schwarzenegger could flare an empty Seneca 1
Did my CPL and initial MECIR (plus several renewals) in a Seneca 1, with the late Tony Kingham.

TK used to say that if you could fly a Seneca 1, you could fly anything!


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