AT first, I was moderately skeptical about flying the 172. From all the times I have seen or been in one, they are run-down, slower and look like a flying car. As soon as I started the engine, however, I felt like I was coming home as the roar of the engine vibrated through my heart.
It by far a beautiful and easy aircraft to fly. I now understand why it is quite possibly one of the most popular aircraft around the world. While slightly slower and less maneuverable than the Katana, The 172 is incredibly stable and forgiving. If you put it into a spin (if you can get one) or stall, its stability is so positive that it will right its self back to straight and level flight, just like the 2-33 glider.
I had no issues what so ever with it while flying. It is actually nice to have high wings as well, so one can see the ground and take aerial photographs of the world below more easily.
The only real issue I had with the aircraft is the landing. Due to its high wing design. the aircraft tends to "float" longer before you flare the aircraft. This can create some very long landings. Luckily, with the massive forty five degrees of flap available, one can land her like a C-130 Hercules and get her down.
The Diamond made Katana was my first solo power aircraft. I flew with the Diamond flight Center (DFC) in London, Ontario during the summer of 2012. For a new solo pilot, London was a very busy airspace, full of commercial, military and other private aircraft. However, the Katana still managed to make flying enjoyable if not beautiful under these stressful conditions. With an impressive glide ratio for a power aircraft, beautiful flight characteristics, responsive controls and a well designed control column, I have to say I am truly lucky that this aircraft was my solo/training aircraft.
Unlike many private aircraft, the aircraft uses push rods instead of control stings to move the control surfaces such as the ailerons: they control the 'roll' of an aircraft. This results in immediate reaction from control inputs by the pilot. This makes the aircraft very responsive, and easy to make it do what you want it to do without much delay. While on the topic of aircraft controls, I love flying aircraft with a stick instead of a yoke. (A yoke is like a steering wheel) The Katana has a beautiful cockpit layout and feels like you are stepping into a fighter aircraft as soon as you set foot in one. I guess the cadet flight suit also helped with that!
The only problem I have ever had with the Katana is flying in very hot weather. This can be very difficult. Due to the aircraft being made of plastics, it is possible for the aircraft to melt if it gets too hot. The cut-off temperature of approximately thirty-five degrees Celsius can be easily reached during modern summers, and even when flying bellow these temperatures, cabin ventilation is horrible. With a large bubble cockpit window letting the sun in to heat up the cockpit, you only have two hand sized windows to open while taxiing. You cannot open the canopy after you start the engine due to the way the aircraft was designed. The airflow from the prop would tear the canopy right off, and will possibly total your tail from this as well.
The Katana is licensed for most standard maneuvers such as stalls and spins, and are a joy for a fun flight with a friend. The aircraft has excellent visibility and at times, seems to have neutral stability, which means it stays where you put it without getting worse, or getting better (going back to straight and level flight) While being a very fun and friendly aircraft with a G1000 high tech glass cockpit available, I still enjoy the old "steam gauge" style as well. Both are effective, for I have had experience in both, and enjoyed them equally)
Overall, The Katana is a real joy to fly. It is a very fun aircraft and does the job you give it well. It is a very economic aircraft with a flying time and of around four hours on a full tank of 24 gallons, (burning an average of six gallons an hour) and can easily maintain a glide slope for a nice, soft landing. Overall, While it is true that it may be limited by the temperature due to its fibreglass and plastic design, in every other way, it is a remarkable aircraft.
The 1-26 glider is a close cousin of the 2-33. At my flying club (York Soaring) it is known as "The sports car." This is due to the fast airspeed of 60 knots needed to land to avoid hitting your tail wheel hard against the ground. Out of the few times I flew in the 1-26, it was always a truly magical experience. At first, it can be a little nerve racking transferring from the two seat 2-33 into the single seat 1-26. The main reason for being scared is that in the 2-33, you can have an instructor go up with you and make sure you understand the aircraft, but with the 1-26, due to it being a single seat aircraft, your first flight in it is always alone. To train you for the single seater, an instructor will take you up flying in a 2-33, but will pretend it is the 1-26 by asking you to fly certain speeds and attitudes.
The one change one will notice coming from the 2-33 is the 1-26's unique responsive controls. It is a very unforgiving aircraft, and will respond to even a centimeter of movement of the control stick. While on a mock training flight, smooth control of the aircraft of tow, and flight are the main goals to achieve to get onto the 1-26.Aside from being super responsive, the aircraft is very light. Only around half the weight of the 2-33, the 1-26 is great for finding and using thermals and will achieve target altitude faster than most older aircraft. When flying in another kind of glider, all the pilots at York soaring use the bright red 1-26 as a marker of good thermals when used by a more veteran pilot. When you see the 1-26 going in circles from miles away, all gliders in the area converge on it and join in the same thermal (a truly magical experience) While the light weight of the aircraft can be a positive factor for using a thermal, it is a problem when encountering winds. Due to the light weight, the 1-26 is usually the first aircraft to be grounded due to high winds. This is due to it being an easier target for winds taking the aircraft downwind away from the airfield, forcing the pilot to land in a farmer’s field (hopefully!) The only problems with it (besides the wind) is that it has limited visibility due to the design of the chair and windows and is harder to land due to the tail wheel and main wheel being closer together.
In conclusion, it really is a nice aircraft to fly. After flying the 1-26 successfully, I found an increased confidence in myself, and had discovered that my blood pumped a lot faster than it did in other aircraft. While it may be a little more cramped than a 2-33 or even a high performance grobe, you really do feel like a fighter pilot after stepping out of it for the first time.
T The 2-33 was the first aircraft I ever flew solo in. Flying from York Soaring near Arthur, Ontario, I had an amazing start to my aviation career with an amazing aircraft.
The 2-33 is an old aircraft. One can tell after they enter it by the old, ever aging interiors. Many 2-33's today are old, scratched and are generally though of by the general public as "old pieces of scrap" but they are known to pilots by other words: Beautiful, majestic and forgiving birds.
While it is true that they are from late as the 1930's, they are fun, forgiving and easy to fly. They make the perfect training aircraft. While they have a poor glide ratio for a glider (23:1) Their large wings provide an easy way to locate thermals in the air and stay aloft for hours. My one friend, Tracy, stayed in the air for four hours in one of York's 2-33's and came down with a huge smile across her face.
While it is also true that they are large, and less aerodynamic than its modern day cousins, the 2-33 remains a great introduction aircraft to new aviators. The aircraft is basically a flying roll cage. Built to last, the 2-33 can handle very hard landings and over-stressing that only training pilots can provide. (It has been know to be able fly with a few parts missing as well) With all of the 2-33's aging around the world, many are still well maintained and provide a positive flying experience. The Royal Canadian Air Cadets have the largest, most well maintained of 2-33's in the world. I have had the pleasure of flying s few of them myself, and they are absolutely amazing. with radios, fresh new coats of pains, and well kept interiors, the cadets rebuild the gliders ever few years to keep them looking, and feeling fresh out of the factory. It may not be the most professional, or high performance glider to fly, but is is one of the cheapest and most enjoyable. Simple pleasures such as opening the rear door during flight to look bellow or the simple, yet effective controls. One of the best abilities of the aircraft is its positive stability. Due to the high wing design and large build, the 2-33 is an ineradicably stable aircraft. When trimmed properly, it can fly without someone at the controls, and can fly out of a high attitude stall all by itself. You can also perform wing over's with ease, and are easy to land with an easily achievable glide slope. The aircraft can be equipped for both winch, and air launches, and provides an overall good platform for most flying situations, the only real issues besides the age and glide ratio is the that the trim is only located in the front seat, so you may have to get your passenger to change the trim for you.
In conclusion, it is a beautiful aircraft. While you are not going to win any races with it or break any world records, it will generally get you what you want, and may even grow on you like it did with me.