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UNINTENTIONAL SPIN IN LONG-EZ
While approaching a stalled condition with the nose
about 15 up, air speed 62-65 mph, the left wing went down about 60º followed by
the nose dropping and the airplane entering a left spin. The nose was at least 60º
down. After the spin had started, an attempt to recover was made by using
forward stick and opposite rudder. There was no response. Opposite aileron was also
used which may have aggravated the situation. The aircraft had a rather rapid rate of
rotation - faster than a Citabria type but less than a Pitts S-1. Also there
was pressure to the right - being pushed against the right side of the cockpit. With no
response from basic control inputs the throttle was "jabbed" which resulted in a
momentary slower rotation rate. When the engine idled back, the rotation
returned to its original quite rapid rate. The throttle was then opened (1/8 -1/4) and
left there. The spin rate decreased and a recovery was effected. The pull out from
the dive did not result in high air speed. The actual speed was not observed: however, the
G load was not excessive - less than the bottom side of a loop with the airplane.
The number of rotations was about two and a half and 800 to 1000 feet of altitude lost. After climbing a few thousand feet a half-hearted attempt was made to duplicate the situation, but it was unsuccessful.
With the many times that the almost identical flight conditions have been explored that is the only time this condition ever surfaced or gave any indication that it might surface. The airplane has about 180 hours on it and flies and performs beautifully.
Approaches to stalls have been very normal and docile. Usually a wing will drop (30º at the most) followed by the nose dropping, and then wings can be leveled with either rudder or aileron. During this incident no attempt was made to level the airplane until the resulting spin was entered. That the gyration was a tight spiral does not seem logical for a couple of reasons. From past experience with spins and spirals, had the airplane been spiraling considerable speed would have built up and basic control would have been regained. Also the pull-out would have had much more speed.
As to the effect that the engine had on recovery, one wonders whether it was the thrust that aided recovery or the resulting torque, or both.
The only change to the aircraft since the original flight test is the addition of wheel fairings. It would not appear that they would cause appreciable change in flight characteristics particularly at such low air speeds.
Sincerely, Paul Wallace.
Paul reports that he installed 10 lbs of lead in the nose and his Long-EZ now flies
at full aft stick per the book.
NOTE: When doing the original envelope expansion on your new Long-EZ, wear a parachute and have at least 7000 feet of altitude. If you find yourself routinely operating at aft CG, ballast to around mid CG. Any aircraft flies better at mid CG, a little lead up in the nose does not hurt a thing.