Having trouble flying my new Stinson
Hi, I'm new to the forum. I have a Stinson 108-2 with 165 franklin. I am tailwheel endorsed but less than 20 hours. I'd flown a Stinson before but never took off or landed. First flight with a CFI did not go well. Compared to my tailwheel experience in a Cessna 140 and Citabria, and other aircraft including a 172, PA-22, PA28, the rudder controls in the Stinson are remarkably heavier, which I didn't expect. So much so I had real trouble with them. In addition the moment the tail came up on takeoff the plane would dart left. The owner/CFI said that was "P" force. The 150 hp Citabria was not even close to this. I found it far harder to fly than the Citabria. Is this what others have found when transitioning? Thanks
Hi and welcome! Discounting evil winds I've not experienced that tendency. The Stinson is a bit heavier on the rudders than a cub or aeronca but every bit as controllable. By the time the tail comes up you should already have some right rudder socked in there to prevent the nose swinging left. Just keep at it. I used to fly a DHC-3, now there was a fun aircraft to get off and back on the tarmac.
Welcome to the Stinson family! The heavy rudder just takes some getting used to. They are great flying airplanes. I got my tail wheel endorsement in out -2. When I was considering how to get my tail wheel endorsement, people told me “don’t get it in a Stinson! They are too easy too easy! I tiled them I like easy! “.
Thanks for the comments, happy to be here. I found the Stinson harder to control in takeoff and landing than either the Citabria or 140 which I find odd given what I've heard about the aircraft. I transporting it back to eastern PA from Denver this month.
Is it legal or advisable to disconnect the rudder trim?
Probably not legal. What do you hope to gain by disconnecting the rudder trim?
I know my -3 has a rudder springs, so check your -2. In the parts manual, I see two rudder springs. One may be disconnected...? I don't have any L or R pulling tendencies on TO. I do like the rudder trim on long flights and use often, as it usually only takes 1/4 to 1/2 turn to center the ball at most, it's very effective.
It's starting to sound to me that there may be something amiss with the weird rudder bungee system on the -2. It may be time to check with a knowledgeable person and have it looked at and make sure everything is rigged according to the service manual and nothing is worn out.
Bob PicardN6346M Stinson 108-3 Floats/Skis/Wheels
N48923 Taylorcraft L-2B skis/WheelsAnchor Point, Alaska
Thanks for the feedback. I was thinking that disconnecting the trim would lighten the rudders. Kind of like disconnecting the rudder interconnect on a pacer conversion. At the very least I do need ot see if it is properly rigged with the right springs, etc.
James mentions he sees no left pulling tendencies. The 165 is not that powerful an engine so for me I probably need to check the wheel alignment too.
A quick and easy check would be to pick up the tail and support the back of the fuselage letting the tailwheel hang. You will be able to see if it cocks to one side. You can also play with the trim and observe the effects.
The rudder trim on a 108-2 does have springs and they will change how the rudder feels. It's going to be a bit heavier because you're going against those springs when using the rudder. However, I would check to see if the rudder trim arms are stiff, and need to be lubricated. If those are stiff, you'll be feeling that quite a bit over the springs. Normally I can't really tell the difference.
The rudder trim cable may have slipped on the wheel, which would cause the turnbuckle to move up or down, and not allow full motion of the trim. Check behind the rear seat and see where the turnbuckle is when the rudder is neutral. If it's way up at the top or bottom, you need to adjust that.
I assume that you don't have a problem with the trim when you're flying, as in you don't need to constantly apply the rudder.
1946 Stinson 108-1, Franklin 165, at one time NX8306K
Congratulations on your Stinson! We need to see some pictures.
I won't comment on the rudder trim topic because I only have experience with my -3 (different rudder trim system), but as far as the nose going left when the tail comes up, that sounds like normal gyroscopic precession to me. As long as rudder input is correcting it and it rolls straight otherwise, I wouldn't assume anything amiss with the wheels.
It was a while before I felt very comfortable in my Stinson, but I was a low time pilot to begin with (sub 50 hrs). Keep at it and it will feel like a glove before too long.
I don't know how close you are, but there's another Stinson guy up there in PA, Scott Hauser, at Bradford county airport (N27). He's actually the airport manager. Several more in the area as well.
Hi Casey, good to meet you . Yes, I know Scott. His cousin Nate Hauser is a friend of mine. I almost bought a 108 from Scott but it was much more of a project than I wanted.
If you know a CFI with Stinson experience up hear I'm looking for someone to fly with until I get comfortable.
Having flown other 150 hp tail draggers it just seemed more pull to the left that "P" forces would cause. I could be wrong.
Dan, I'm a little late in responding, but had a couple thoughts on this that may be helpful. I've owned my Stinson (-1) for over 20 years. But, I kind of scared myself on take-off a few years ago while flying with a long-time tailwheel CFI. We "darted" left early in the take-off roll and, after recovering to the centerline, I was a little perplexed. He offered 2 things--I had aggressively applied power and aggressively raised the tail on take-off. He reminded me to smoothly apply power and smoothly raise the tail. Doing both actions smoothly allows you to more easily stay ahead of P-factor with your rudder inputs. I remind myself of that on take-off today and haven't had a recurrence. FWIW.
Enjoy your Stinson--they are fantastic airplanes!