Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tailwheel fun in a Citabria

Citabria Lately, I have been having fun trying out tailwheel airplane lessons in a Citabria 7GCBC. I got my first exerience at tailwheel and aerobatics in a Decathalon and Pitts in the spring, and I wrote about that tailwheel aerobatic fun in this post. I always like learning something new each year if possible, and tailwheel is something I have not done yet. It has been fun so far, and it really makes you concentrate on your rudders. My latest lessons focusing on the tailwheel endorsement have been at Air West Flight Center in Longmont (KLMO). They have two Citabrias, one Decathalon, and a number of experienced tailwheel instructors.

One of the things I like to do when going into a new plane is take some pictures if possible. That lets me think through the different items on the ground at home before I get in the air. There are not as many controls in a Citbria as an IFR equipped plane, but I still think it is good. I can imagine all the different parts of a flight and what I would be doing.

Below is the avionics panel for this particular plane. This plane is carburated and has a nice VFR panel. The engine controls from left to right are mixture, prime, and starter. This plane does not have a key for starting, just a button. This model also has manual flaps and if you look closely you can see the flap handle to the left of the left rudder pedal.

Citabria avionics panel
There are some controls on the left side for throttle, carb heat, and elevator trim. At the bottom of the picture near the red placard is the fuel control valve (down is on).

Citabria Left Controls

Up high on the left are the switches and circuit breakers. Since this plane does not have a key for starting and the mags, the mag swithes are up here as well. One for left and one for right.

Citabria Left Switches

Up by the wing roots inside, there is a fuel tank level, but it is only for one wing. So it is important to check the fuel manually in each tank.

For operations here in Longmont, 70 mph is a good number to remember. 70 mph works well for the initial climb after takeoff and the base and final legs during landing. 1500 RPM for the base and final legs seems to work pretty well for a power setting. I raise the tail when there is enough speed, and it seems to be around 40 mph. Takeoff is around 60 mph. There is a lot more to the tailwheel transition, but I think I will leave that to a follow on post after I get my endorsement. It should be soon.

I found these two checklists on the web that seem pretty decent: a fuel injected 7KCAB checklist and a carburated 7ECA checklist.

From what I remember, much of the Citabria was similar to the Decathalon I flew earlier. The Decathalon had a more powerful engine, a constant speed prop, and descended quicker due to a symmetric airfoil (it is not flat on the bottom for more intense aerobatic work), but overall pretty similar.

Lots of other details to think about concerning the aircraft, but that is some quick pictures and information. See the POH for lots more info.



Packing Supplies said...

The Citabria is a light single-engine, two-seat, fixed conventional gear airplane which entered production in the United States in 1964. Designed for flight training, utility, and personal use, it is capable of sustaining aerobatic stresses from +5g to -2g. Its name, "airbatic" spelled backward, reflects this.

Robin Hilliard said...

Hi Brian, I've used your picture (with a link to this post) of the throttle, carby heat and trim in my Quora answer