Author Topic: sonerai flying qualities  (Read 7385 times)

piperpilot1363

sonerai flying qualities
« on: Nov 09, 2007 »
Hi all,
    As I begin to start getting ready for a project, my pilot in command (aka dad) has raised several questions about the overall flying qualities of a sonerai. Now dad is a fully certified, IFR night piper cherokee 6 pilot, and is a dang good one at that. Me, im used to the flying qaulities of a cherokee and a cessna 172. My dad has gotten around to asking people about the sonerai. Now an instructer he talked to said that the soerai was a bit squirrely. Know, being a little biased, i'd like to beileve this was a sonerai with an unrevised airfoil, but i do not know. A pilot offered me an intro ride in Coneticut, but my email went whacky so i haven't been able to reply (sorry). Plz offer ur ideas on this subject and plz try no to be baised.

Andrew
Controller to aircraft that just landed: "Bear right, next intersection"

Pilot: "Roger, we have him in sight"

Raceair

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Re: sonerai flying qualities
« Reply #1 on: Nov 09, 2007 »
Hello Andrew...Usually, but not always, when a person describes the flying qualities of an airplane as Squirrelly, or a 'handful', they have not flown one, and are just passing on the folklore and rumors they may have heard.
     If you can gently fly an airplane, not kick, shove, and push it around the sky, you will have no trouble with a Sonerai.  The takeoff and landing just requires extra attention, and good Situational Awareness.   Managing the energy you have in the pattern just requires a bit more concentration than with a Cessna 150.
     The Sonerai 1 is an additional challenge than the two, as it is much shorter, and has a higher percentage of weight on the tailwheel than the two.   The original designers concept was to build a 'racer', and by design, racers are expected to be less stable than a Cessna 150, but the rewards in fun are worth it...Ed

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Re: sonerai flying qualities
« Reply #2 on: Nov 09, 2007 »
I can tell you that its easier to land than my Piper Pacer, harder than a 150. Any answers to your question are going to be quite subjective. Its like asking someone what their favorite kind of music is.
Jeff Lange
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Re: sonerai flying qualities
« Reply #3 on: Nov 09, 2007 »
I'm glad you're coming to this forum to get answers.  Many people are quick to offer opinions about the Sonerai without ever flying one and in many cases, without ever seeing one.  I suppose they are just trying to help. 

I'll describe my Sonerai, which is a taildragger.

It is a very honest airplane.  In the air, it's a p*$$^-cat.  The controls are light and the aircraft is nimble.  It stalls gently and straight ahead so long as the ball is centered.  There's nothing about my Sonerai while in the air that can be even remotely construed as "squirrelly". 

Take off and landings take a little getting used to.  I found myself over-controlling and zig-zagging down the runway on my first few attempts.  This was quickly overcome with more careful use of rudder. The direct steering control of the tailwheel via the pushrod makes the plane react to rudder inputs immediately.  Calling it squirrelly though is an overstatement since it's doing what I'm telling it to do. 

If you're dad is concerned about you in a Sonerai, consider building a tricycle gear version.  I heard these are very easy to handle.  You can build the airframe with the mount points for the taildragger configuration so that you can convert later.

-Scott
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Gaston

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Re: sonerai flying qualities
« Reply #4 on: Nov 10, 2007 »
Hi Andrew and all

I suggest we talk about flying qualities and flying Comfort and convenience.

I think the sonerai offers great flying qualities.
-Extremely light and precise controls...
-Good performance for engine size and operating cost
-good crosswinds capability
-plenty of challenge  and demanding...must be flown up front and not sitting on the tail...

About  convenience  they make for great photos...
for comfort ...too much fun flying to think about it...

il all depends on what one want to do in the sky...
I really love to fly this little plane.

Gaston
S2L C-GPXD

Chuck in Indiana

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Re: sonerai flying qualities
« Reply #5 on: Nov 14, 2007 »
Hi, Andrew, and others that haven't flown one..
It flys very much like a Pitts. Not quite as stable as a Pitts, but not quite as instantaneous on the controls, either. You *do* have to fly this airplane 100% of the time. That's a good part of the fun with Sonerai, and why it is not a particularly good cross country ship.
So here goes..
Most people have difficulty with the rudder in the air. The vertical stab is rather small (big stabilizers slow you down, don't you know.. ) and the least bit of rudder input causes a lot of yaw. When I have someone in the front seat, I give them the stick first to get the feel of it, then slooowly give them the rudder pedals. Some have no problem at all, others are all over the sky.
Stalls are straightforward with about a 5 mph aerodynamic stick shake before the stall. That said, I can't do accelerated stalls to the right in my airplane without going inverted, banging my head on the canopy a couple of times, and losing 300 feet. Or more. You have to break the stall just as it happens, and I'm too klutzy to feel it, I guess.. ;D It may be just a rigging problem in my airplane.

Takeoffs:
Look straight forward, and pick up the runway edges in your peripheral vision. *Remember this sight picture.* Stick full back till 45 for directional control. It's very easy to keep going straight using this method. There will be some rudder input needed as the tail is pushed up, but very little.. lift off around 60 or so and let her accelerate to 80-90 in ground effect depending on power available . (lower horsepower needs more speed for the prop to unload). There will be a fair amount of left rudder needed in climb, but pressures are very low. In my airplane, at cruise, a little left rudder is needed to keep the ball centered.
Landings:
Plan ahead. She slows down slowly.  ;D I shoot for 90 by the time I get to the end of the runway. A fair amount of right rudder will be needed in glide. You'll find if you fly a "normal" pattern that when you turn final, you not only lose sight of the runway, you lose sight of the airport.  :o So. If you reduce power to idle at the end of the runway and about 1/2 mile to the side, (key position) and start a gentle 180 degree turn, you'll come out headed down the runway at about the right height.
Alternately, you can come in a little high, and use a forward slip to keep the runway in sight. Either method works well.
No less than 80 over the fence, solo. Fly it right down to ground effect. Remember the sight picture on takeoff? Gently put the airplane in this attitude. Pick up the runway edges in your peripheral vision again. Just hold it off as speed bleeds down, and she will touch 3 point still above stall speed and stay on the ground. Very smooth landings with all kinds of control authority for crosswinds. If you touch down before getting in the 3 point attitude, she wheel lands beautifully, but I don't recommend it because you run out of rudder in a crosswind somewhere around 40-45 mph. Not a good thing, and all you can do is get the tailwheel on the ground asap.  Just remember.. smooth smooth. Small errors, small corrections.
That's about all I can tell you about what it's like to fly. Once you get used to it, you'll love it.
Still my favorite airplane after all these years.. ;D
Chuck

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Re: sonerai flying qualities
« Reply #6 on: Dec 19, 2010 »
To all of you sonerai guys,

I fly a challenger which is a very rudder dominate aircraft but it is tricycle landing configuration.  How well could this rudder dominate aircraft prepare me for a sonerai.  I am looking at an older sonerai completed in 1981 witha 2100 revmaster in it. 

It seems like you guys really love to fly your planes and that is what i love to do it seems the sonerai has good cross country possibilities as well.

Dave
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daddo2

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Re: sonerai flying qualities
« Reply #7 on: Dec 20, 2010 »
           Hey Andrew,
     On my first flight it felt like I was all over the place. I was not quite prepared for how sensitive the plane is in yaw axis. But it only took a few turns while centering the ball to get the hang of the rudder.You move it with your ankles, not your legs as in a Cub or Citabria. In roll and pitch the plane is responsive and very well harmonized. I used to own a Bellanca Super Viking and the aileron inputs are almost identical.And in pitch it is about the same as a Cessna Cardinal.My first few landings I was over-controlling the plane and therefore,again,all over the place. But I have found that once the tailwheel is planted and the stick is all the way back the plane just wants to roll straight ahead.I did my tailwheel endorsement in a 100hp Cub and I think the Sonerai is much more stable on the ground, and in the air it's a great handling little plane. Once established in cruise I just sit back,steer with my feet,and enjoy the ride.No bad qualities and a heck of a lot of fun!......Fred.
« Last Edit: Dec 20, 2010 by daddo2 »

Bil438

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Re: sonerai flying qualities
« Reply #8 on: Dec 21, 2010 »
Andrew,
I'll agree with what the earlier writers have stated. The Sonerais are completely honest aircraft. That means it will do and continue to do whatever you have done with the controls.
They have neutral stability in all 3 axes. If you start a roll then you have to stop it because it will continue to roll.
Essentially you fly with your eyes outside the canopy, virtually all the time.
The controls are all very light and sensitive. Inputs to the ailerons and elevators have large effects. So you use tiny inputs, and use 2 fingers.
The rudders are looking for dancing feet. The inputs are very light but more travel possibly much more travel is required to control the yaw. I have hit the rudder stops in flight often.
Now my Sonerai IILS has a lighter engine which is mounted further forward to correct the CG. The result is that it does not have neutral stability, it has negative stability and if the controls are roughly handled it exhibits divergent stability in yaw and possibly in roll. I call it wild weasel. I installed a 5" ball slip indicator on the glareshield. Before you can fly by the seat of your pants (maybe 50 hours) that 5" ball indicator will help keep your aircraft flying straight.
All this is to say you want a Sonerai that is built exactly, repeat exactly as per the plans.

I did all my flight training in Cessnas, owned a sailplane and part of a Cherokee and a Cub for 4 years before I bought a Bonanza.
Flying experience in the sailplane saved me on my first 3 flights.
After that I spent $3000 on advanced dual in a Maule Rocket. It was worth every penny.
I suggest that you do exactly that, do a complete taildragger conversion, and then do some advanced dual in something hotter: e.g. Pitts 2, Christen eagle II, Stolp Starduster Too.
The only thing better than that would be to do a type conversion with David Wilcox in his SII who is on this list.
You will see on the list that some of the guys joke about me flying my SII. The parting words from my advanced dual flight instructor were.
1. Never fly tired.
2. Never fly hungry or thirsty.
3. Bring your A game to every flight
4. If anything goes wrong or the wind/weather goes bad during pre-flight tie down the aircraft and drive home.
They are not jokes. You'll live to fly another day. I have driven 65 minutes to the airport a dozen times only to drive home an hour later. Better than than being upside down in the center of a flaming wreckage. I warn you against the attitude that it won't happen to you. It both can and does.
I sometimes drive out to St George de Beauce. There is an SII pilot there. I knew him before, half his head burned away in a Sonerai stall/spin accident. The regulatory agency (medicine) told him they believed the psychological damage would endure and be so great that he would be unable to fly again. Sadly they were right. Flying is for those who prepared to be more careful, in a Sonerai much more careful.
I trust you have have great success with your Sonerai and many happy hours of really remarkable flying.
Read and digest what the other contributors have written above. It matters.
Ask yourself before you fly, "Are you ready for this?"
Bill Evans

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Re: sonerai flying qualities
« Reply #9 on: Dec 21, 2010 »
Gee Bill, now I'm afraid to start it up. ;D

Tom
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Re: sonerai flying qualities
« Reply #10 on: Dec 21, 2010 »
Well, that one set me back a few hours, Bill.

But, you are right.  I had a close one with the Citabria one day, that the Sonerai may not have made it out of.  I learned a valuable lesson about tire pressure. Better a little low than too full. 

I bounced and let her get a little crossways.  Had no choice but to shove the coal to it.  Thanks to instinct, wing area, and horses, I dropped the nose a little to gain speed, then turned before reaching the treeline running parallel to the strip. I put her up after that for another day.

Skip

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Re: sonerai flying qualities
« Reply #11 on: Dec 21, 2010 »
Bill....I wish you had a chance to fly a bone stock, VW powered Sonerai  2.....Ed

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Re: sonerai flying qualities
« Reply #12 on: Dec 21, 2010 »
Hey guys
Don't get carried away and over stressed by Bill's comment.
Bill's Sonerai is a particular one ,and very far from the real thing.
Bill's comments apply only to this plane which is very far from the reality one faces when flying a S2L.
in fact I don't remember I read so much scary things, or near this,about a well built,and VW powered Sonerai...

however it is true that this is not a beginner's plane...

I agree with Ed's comment If Bill could fly a VW S2,
maybe he could find motivation to turn it back into a real Sonerai,and enjoy it...

keep on working your project and you will be glad you did,and you will like this fantastic little plane...

keep it close to the plans, and enjoy it that way...

Many peoples flew my 2L and all were positively impressed...

Happy holidays Sonerai.net

Let's do the right thing, and keep this site alive

Gaston



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Re: sonerai flying qualities
« Reply #13 on: Dec 21, 2010 »
Gaston....Very Good, well said.......The Sonerai 2 I used to fly was a stock, mid wing taildragger, and had a 1700 c.c. VW.    It weighed 519 lbs. empty.   I had no trouble with takeoff or climb performance with  my 120 lb. wife, and I at 200 lb. at the time.   It flew well, and had no yaw problems whatsoever.   I compared it to a Grumman American Yankee in the way it flew.   Truly a decent, fun airplane.   Still today, even with the bigger VW engines, a lot of bang for the buck.....Ed

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Re: sonerai flying qualities
« Reply #14 on: Dec 21, 2010 »
Bill,

You see, thats where your missing the point ???, I'm NOT joking.  I'm honestly concerned for your well being and dont want another Sonerai accident to tarnish the birds reputation.  Do the right thing! De-modify your Sonronisaur instead of modifying it further to mask it's ill manored flight charecteristics.

If you cant do that leave out the comments of how your plane fly's as it is not a fair representation for someone evaluating building/flying one.

Tim
« Last Edit: Dec 21, 2010 by Pttim »
Pttim
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