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Europa XS monowheel

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Europa XS monowheel

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Old 13th Jun 2009, 17:43
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Europa XS monowheel

Hi folks. I'm just about to finish my PPL and am wondering what to do next. I have the option of a share in a 172 - which I understand will be similar to the 152 I learned in. However, I also have the option of getting into a Europa XS monowheel. I don't intend to do anything more than VFR flying for the next few years, so the PTF vs CofA issue isn't that important to me.

Im attracted by the running costs of the Europa but am wondering how hard I will find it to transition from the tricycle to the monowheel configuration. Am I being over ambitious here - shoudl I just go for the 172?

Any advice / suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Simon
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Old 13th Jun 2009, 18:10
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Hi, converting to the mono-wheel is no more difficult than learning tail-wheel, make sure you get training and as a member of the LAA you can use the pilot coaching scheme. The Europa will cruise at 125kts on 15-18 litres an hour, and it will be significantly cheaper to run than a C172. however if this puts you off take up knitting and fly the C172...only kidding after the expense of learning to fly, alot fall by the wayside due to the cost of running an aircraft, depends on how many in the C172 group, monthly costs etc, do the maths !

Will.
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Old 13th Jun 2009, 19:22
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The Europa monowheels are allegedly quite a handful on the ground on landing (and take-off) especially if there's a hint of a crosswind.

One of the reasons the tri-gear was introduced.............

Check the AAIB reports.

Cusco
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Old 13th Jun 2009, 20:01
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Mono Europa

Cusco
You could say that about many tailwheel aircraft. Which why it's vital to do a proper conversion with some one who really does know what they are about.
As Will says, the LAA scheme is exactly for that purpose.
Like many more tailwheel aircraft, if there are any shortcomings in your handling skills, the Mono will highlight them.
But don't blame the aircraft.
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Old 13th Jun 2009, 20:20
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Like many more tailwheel aircraft, if there are any shortcomings in your handling skills, the Mono will highlight them.
So would you say a Europa Monowheel was a suitable aeroplane for a freshly minted PPL whose skills are yet fully to develop?

Just curious, no axe to grind...........

Cusco
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Old 13th Jun 2009, 20:27
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Why not

Yes provided they are converted properly !
In fact any tailwheel aircraft would be fine, given proper training, in sensible conditions......But how long a conversion would take depends on many things.
"Yet fully to develop" well it depends what skills were imparted in the first place....Quite a variable item.
Don't you agree ?
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Old 13th Jun 2009, 22:48
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No Brainer

Monowheel Europa is in my opinion the worst ground handling aircraft I have ever flown... I'd avoid it if I were you...

Last edited by hum; 13th Jun 2009 at 22:53. Reason: tooping error
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Old 14th Jun 2009, 16:14
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Just a word of caution for those who have heard something but don't know the whole story.

The initial design of the Monowheel Europa had a rather large, steerable (but I think non-sprung) tailwheel roughly located beneath the leading edge of the stabilator. Apparently the ground handling was appalling so a later version/modification brought the tailwheel where it belonged: all the way at the tail. However, damage was done and the Europa Monowheel got a slightly bad reputation.

I personally have no tailwheel experience and on my only flight ever in a Europa XS Monowheel it was Mr. Shaw himself who did the take-off and landing so I'm not going to comment from personal experience. But if you do read a story about the aircrafts ground handing, make sure you find out if this was experienced before or after the modification.

Last edited by BackPacker; 14th Jun 2009 at 18:25.
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Old 14th Jun 2009, 19:37
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BackPacker’s history is spot on but the handling, whilst improved from very very bad, is still at the challenging end of things. In a conventional TW aircraft you can use differential braking at slow speed in a gusty crosswind. In a Mono Europa you do not have this option.

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Old 14th Jun 2009, 19:58
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I'd go for for the 172 4 seats might not be as fast but for getting in and out of many short strips but it also depends on group size I'm currently in a group of 6 and find that a perfect size
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Old 14th Jun 2009, 20:17
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Yep:

I'd agree: A share in a 172 is a much better bet:

Once he's honed his skills he can think about going on to a monowheel Europa.

(Bet he doesn't)

Cusco
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Old 14th Jun 2009, 20:46
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Tailwheel a/c

Yet again the bad experiences bubble to the surface.
Flying a 172 is absolutely nothing like any sort of Europa. Yes maybe early Europas had problems as they were quite short-coupled, and twitchy.
There are many other monowheel aircraft such as RF4, RF5, Slingsby T61. You never hear of probs with these.
All aircraft demand different techniques.
The Europa will definitely do more flying per £ than any 172, as good and safe as they are.
Since Simon wants to fly VFR I take the view he's better flying say 100 hous a year in a thrifty aircraft, than say 25 hours a year in a much heavier and thirstier machine, the handling of which is rather un-inspiring.
I know what I'd rather do.
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Old 15th Jun 2009, 09:36
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Europa

I had a Europa G-BWRO #196 from 1997-2002 and put 560h on it.

It was a monowheel "classic" and if I am honest I took a little time to get used to it (I went through a couple of props) despite having 250+h spamcan time under my belt and being relatively young (if that makes a difference).
I had both tailwheel configurations and found the mark 2 tailwheel far more forgiving than the Mk 1.

It cruised between 120-130kts depending on conditions and was the least expensive air-time I have ever had - especially when I flew it over in the US and Canada. I learned to change the oil and even re-wired the panel on my kitchen table - it was a fun experience.

My father took the aircraft over in 2002 and tried to get used to the monowheel but found it too much of a handful. It is pretty squirelly and can focus the attention in a crosswind.

He put the tri-gear undercarriage on but found this rather weak and under-engineered (instead of going through props he went through a few nose legs!)

The basic premise of the aircraft design is excellent.
Ivan Shaw really got it spot-on in terms of the flying characteristics, stability in the air and handling properties. The takeoff roll and landing rollout are the most vulnerable periods and you had to really stay ahead of it.

In some ways it is a little like the Robinson R22 helicopter - a wonderful but very light machine - great for honing your flying skills after which you will fly far more precisely - I wouldn't push the crosswind limits in one or want to spend prolonged periods going long distances in the fuel-smelling cockpit (they all smelled badly of fuel).

If you want cheap (relatively) fast flying then go for it.
It will make you a better pilot and if and when you move onto heavier stuff you will do a better job.

SB

Last edited by scooter boy; 15th Jun 2009 at 11:50.
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Old 15th Jun 2009, 10:02
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(they all smelled badly of fuel)
SB, I seem to remember that the "classic" design had the fuel filler right on top of the fuselage, with the disadvantage that any spills would run into the cockpit. The "XS" has the filler on the side, preventing this problem. Am I correct? Was this, in your case, the reason for smelling of fuel or is there something else?
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Old 15th Jun 2009, 11:48
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Backpacker you are right that the fuel cap was relocated for the XS.
I remember the XSs still smelt though - don't know why but it was pretty strong.

There was a mod early on regarding replacement of the fuel pipe within the fuselage as the original pipes weren't up to the job.

I had a suspicion that there was some porous material somewhere behind the problem, maybe the tank material, maybe the fuel hoses, maybe it was leakage around the fuel filters which are under the seats.

Europa are great little aircraft though - I would have paid a fortune and flown more slowly in an average certified airframe.

Right now it makes more sense for me to fly certified (night/IFR) but when I retire I may well go back to LAA as they make so much more financial sense.
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Old 15th Jun 2009, 12:54
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All monowheels are handicapped by the absence of differential braking. On the Europa, this deficiency is exacerbated by linking the undercarriage to the flaps. The net result is that it has too much flap for take off but not enough when landing. How many other aircraft take off and land with the same flap setting?
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Old 15th Jun 2009, 14:55
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I know three people who have had Europa's. One a consumate tailwheel pilot and LAA coach - spends a lot of time with other Europa pilots. One a professional pilot - whose aircraft has had a couple of 'off road' excursions and 2 props as a result. and finally one who had enough of being scared and converted it into a trike.

So that pretty much covers the whole spectrum. Lovely in the air, with only 80 hp a snail getting off the ground, and even after all the mods a little unpredicatable returning to the ground unless it has conventional gear, would be a simplistic summary.

The only other issue would be the number of compulsory modifications it seems to pick up.
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Old 15th Jun 2009, 18:29
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how heavy ?

Re the snail ref, Europa empty weights vary widely.
The last one I flew in had an 80 horse Rotax 912, and a constant speed prop.
It leapt off the ground with no problems at all.
The aircraft had been built with weight saving in mind from day 1 .......
tth
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Old 16th Jun 2009, 20:53
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How many other aircraft take off and land with the same flap setting?
Tiger moth
Jodel 112
J3 cub
etc
etc
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Old 17th Jun 2009, 10:03
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Are you entirely sure you understand the question?
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