Flying characteristics of the Baby Great Lakes

Discussion in 'Baby Great Lakes' started by dls1981dustin, Feb 19, 2018.

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  1. Feb 19, 2018 #1

    dls1981dustin

    dls1981dustin

    dls1981dustin

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    Greeting,

    I’ve always loved mini bi-planes. With that being said I recently located a Baby Great Lakes in flying condition for what I feel is a fair price. I’m wondering what it would take for me to be successful flying it. I realize there is no easy awnser and there are many variables. I’m currently a private pilot with about 500hrs in various Cessnas and ultralights. My tailwheel experience is limited. About 10hrs in a Cessna 150/150 TW. If I was to get comfortable in my buddy’s Citabria would a average person be able to handle a Baby Great Lakes and not get hurt and wreck the plane? I’ve heard some say I would need training in a Pitts to have a successful outcome. Thanks guys.
     
  2. Feb 19, 2018 #2

    Chris McMillin

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    Midget biplanes and monoplanes mainly differ from larger airplanes by their short moments and large control surfaces. Because of this very little control movement is necessary for normal flying. More like control pressures are used instead of movements, in a manner of speaking.
    Plenty of practice in whatever you have and then some taxi practice in the midget airplane to get a sight picture of what it'll look like one takeoff and landing , and then go for it.
    I'd think a bunch of Pitts dual wouldn't be so important because they have a whole bunch of performance that a Baby Lakes doesn't and the guys fly S-2's around the pattern at 150 mph with big swooping dive bombs to speedy landings. But that said, it would be fun for you I'm sure if you took it as being additional experience in another airplane rather than specific to flying the Lakes. My opinion...

    I flew 20 minute flights in most little airplanes, a Taylor Monoplane and my Pitts Specials were the smallest, and that'll get you plenty of time do a stall series, feel it out with some air work, a loop and a roll, and to settle down and get ready to land.

    Making approaches and landing is down to approach on speed in the last 1/4 mile and finding that sight picture of taxi and take off when you get close to the ground. Little pressures for little corrections to get it where you want it. Maybe make the first couple approaches as low approaches just to get a sense first before the full stopper.

    Little, light, high drag airplanes/biplanes slow quickly and sink dramatically if slow, so keeping the power on to maintain speed isn't unknown. I preferred fast, steep approaches and then find that timing to get the power off to touch down at the right speed and attitude.

    I'm sure you'll find some Baby Lakes pilots in which to get the details of them. They look cute as heck.

    Chris....
     
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  3. Feb 19, 2018 #3

    dls1981dustin

    dls1981dustin

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    I appreciate your feedback Chris.
     
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  4. Feb 19, 2018 #4

    EAABipe40FF

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    Individual aircraft of the same type might be quite different so it's hard to say. I had 200 hours in a C120 and 60 in a O1D Bird dog when I first got in my Pitts S1C. I spent some time taxing around and then went for it. What I had going for me was an excellent mentor who had recent time in the airplane. Even then my first take off was "interesting".

    Fast forward. I now have almost 1000 hours in various sport biplanes. I would still approach each individual little biplane with a big question mark wondering if it was a ***** cat or a tiger?

    While some S2 Pitts time might satisfy the insurance company I wonder how much it would really help you handle a smaller, lower powered biplane? My advice is to find an experienced CFI who has flown little biplanes. Fly with him and follow his advice. Hopefully he can fly the Baby and then advise you, like the mentor I had.

    final point. KEEP IT ON THE GRASS!!! I believe that might be the best advice possible. Grass is so forgiving compared to hard surface. My home field in those Pitts days had both grass and hard surface. I made at least 50 landings on the grass before I tried the hard surface and by that time I had it figured out.

    I haven't flown a Baby Lakes but I suspect if it is "straight" and rigged right it should be relatively docile but again a mentor who has flown it would know for sure?

    Jack
     
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  5. Feb 19, 2018 #5

    dls1981dustin

    dls1981dustin

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    Thanks. Again I know it’s a difficult question to answer. I know each pilots experience level is different. And it’s a difficult transition being a single seat small bipe. Not like flying along side a CFI in say a C170 and he says ya got it. Even know the Baby Great Lakes looks like a cat I heard it can turn into a tiger quick if you let it. This one has a locking TW if that helps and I wouldn’t consider anything other than grass. Although I got my TW on paved rwy.
     
  6. Feb 20, 2018 #6

    Larry Lyons

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    Grass, Grass, Grass! I did not lift tail but did hi speed taxi up to that point. My Smith will turn on a dime and give 10 cents back! But grass makes a tremendous difference. My instructor told me 100 landing on grass before my first hard surface. He was close to being right! My first hard surface was not pretty nor were the next 20!
     
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  7. Feb 20, 2018 #7

    jhart

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    I have a Baby Great Lakes and second Chris, Jack & Larry's comments wholeheartedly. My Baby is heavy and with the small wing area has a high sink rate. KEEP IT ON THE GRASS. Take off happens very quickly, keep the nose down until you have some airspeed. Landing is exciting. Keep your speed up - I approach at 90 mph with power. keep your head out of the cockpit - fly by feel - too high a sink rate get your nose down and power up - ease off the power as you get close and gently flare - fly it onto the ground and keep your hand on the throttle. I also have a fixed tailwheel. It helps keep it straight and ground handling is not a problem.
    I have several thousand hours in light conventional geared aircraft for which I was very thankful during my first Baby flight. All said it is the most fun I have ever had flying.

    Jim
     
  8. Feb 21, 2018 #8

    dls1981dustin

    dls1981dustin

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    What are you flying? A Smith Mini? Was was your experience prior. It sounds like I’m in the same boat. This model has a locking TW.
     
  9. Feb 21, 2018 #9

    EAABipe40FF

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    Jim. Details and pictures please. (no picts, it didn't happen):)

    Regards,

    Jack
     
  10. Feb 26, 2018 #10

    Larry Lyons

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    I'm flying a Smith Mini Plane, 0-235 power, built in the 70's, rebuilt in the late 80's and restored by me about 4 years ago. Although I soloed in 1965 I acquired my PPL in 2015, had about 300 TT, 4 hours TT tail wheel when I soloed Miss Smith. I have a Scott 2,000 or 2,300 tailwheel used on early Aeronica and not available today. It has a detent but will break out with brakes.
     
  11. Feb 26, 2018 #11

    dls1981dustin

    dls1981dustin

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    You and I are in the same boat. I have about 5hrs TT tail wheel time and about 500hrs TT. So how did it go when you soloed her the first time?
     
  12. Feb 26, 2018 #12

    EAABipe40FF

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    Now don't get me wrong as it's best to have more tail wheel time than less......
    But these little airplanes are so different not only from the average conventional geared airplane but between individual aircraft of the same type that anyone's personal experience may not compute.

    The less time one has maybe the more important to keep it on grass for awhile?

    With dues respect, if you have only 5 hours in any airplane, it might bite your butt on the next flight.

    Keep it on the grass, avoid the wind for awhile and any honest/straight airplane should behave rather well if you don't get "excited".

    My S1C for example was outright tame if you left it alone and kept the stick back. Most troubles were PILOT induced.......

    Another thing to look at is rudder pedal and brake configuration coupled with pilot fit. In my current Acroduster 2 I have to remind myself to move my heels back and keep off the brakes by accident.

    Jack
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2018
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  13. Feb 26, 2018 #13

    Kiwi

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    I was about 20 with probably around 100 hours TT, half of that in Super Cubs and some Tiger Moth time when I first flew the Isaacs Fury. I didn't crash it.

    Get as much Citabria time as you can before letting yourself loose on the Baby Lakes. Think, think, think light on controls and small movements. Pressures as Chris says.

    Have fun and report back!

    Andrew
     
  14. Feb 27, 2018 #14

    iowaboy

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    I have never flown a Baby Lakes. Like the guys are saying...who built it and how the landing gear is set up is very important!!!! Also heard it many times about the Baby Lakes...
    The plane wants to fly on take off before it is ready because the wings are close to the ground.

    Harvey Swack who used to sell Baby Lakes plans said to get cked out in a Luscombe. And the Baby Lakes will be 10 times quicker.
     
  15. Feb 27, 2018 #15

    Bond007

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    I don't your age,but after checking out tons of pilots in the s2 Pitts ,and trying to get them ready for the S1.One of the most important factors is age,and of course past experience.
    Young guys learn quick and think fast.Its hard to teach a old dog new tricks
    Danny 007
     
  16. Feb 27, 2018 #16

    EAABipe40FF

    EAABipe40FF

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    For sure, being an old dog I'll drink to that. I'm glad I got my chance back when I was young and the insurance companies didn't run our lives so much:rolleyes:
     
  17. Feb 27, 2018 #17

    dls1981dustin

    dls1981dustin

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    10x as quick as a Luscombe. Wow. Didn’t think it would be that much more responsive.
     
  18. Feb 27, 2018 #18

    IanJ

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    Commenting on the stick pressures: the first biplane I ever flew in was a Christen Eagle with John Smutny. He let me have the controls for a few minutes during the flight, and I made a huge mess of it, bobbling all over the place, overcontrolling like mad and unable to reduce my control inputs.

    What I eventually learned, years later, was that I was grabbing the stick like I might the yoke of a Cessna or a Cherokee, and moving it. Whereas the correct method for dealing with a plane like this is to rest your arm in your lap, with a finger or two on the stick, just enough to put some pressure on it. In cruise, that's all you need. At takeoff and landing, you'll need more than just pressure, but maybe not much more. Even with this resting arm trick, I tended to overcontrol a Luscombe I tried out, since it was so much more sensitive than the Champ I'd been renting. This is one area where flight sim time is your direct enemy, since the joystick needs actual movement vs. pressure.
     
  19. Feb 27, 2018 #19

    EAABipe40FF

    EAABipe40FF

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    When I had to fly the S2C for the insurance company I had a heck of a time with it. Of coarse jumping into it from the Spezio didn't help. I think it's the spades? Not much trouble with rudder/elevator and landing/TO wasn't a problem. Now having almost 50 hours in the AD2(no spades) I suspect the S2C would be easier?

    OTOH the rudder inputs may be the initial issues landing a Baby....Maybe?

    Jack
     
  20. Feb 27, 2018 #20

    StinsonPilot

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    Good advice, I'll add do the landings from the back seat of the Citabria.
     

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