Flying the Swift...


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From Steve Roth via the Yahoo! Globe Temco Swift Club.
"Can one of you veterans give me help on short field take-off techniques for an O-300A powered stock GC-1B (when to lift tail, rotation speed, climb out speed, any flap settings, etc)? Short field includes both hard and soft (firm) surface runways. I know it can vary, especially on soft surface, but what distance should I be looking for to get off the ground and climb out? I need to strive for some goal here." Steve Roth - N2397B <>

Answer to Steve's question by Dave Carpenter <>
Short field techniques depend on how much power you are putting out from the O-300. It is easy to get behind the curve on the swift if it is a warm day, or you are loaded heavy, or if the motor does not turn up the needed RPM. I flew a 145 from 1800' of grass for 15 years... experience in this area. It does help to have a momentary flap switch so that the flaps can be set for about 10 degrees if you are on grass. The main thing is don't pull it off the ground too soon!!! I always used about 65mph and then flew flat with the ground with wheels just about 1 foot or so off of the grass until I saw 75. At that time it would climb. I used several props on the 145 and they do make a world of difference. Basically for good short field performance you should be able to static run up about 2350 RPM. Causes some high RPM in flight but it will get off of the ground.

(Editor's note: Since there are no formal procedures and "numbers" published for the Swift one has to use caution regarding short/soft field procedures. Swifts with fixed pitch props are very sluggish when it comes to takeoff performance compared to Swifts with constant speed props (for obvious reasons). The best thing to do is to go out with a Swift current CFI and practice generic taildragger short/soft field takeoff procedures on a LONG runway. See how much runway you are using. Add in a safety factor for the wife, child, etc... And you'll have your minimum distance to reference in the future. Remember the effects of density altitude and headwind. I operate my fixed pitch 145 hp Swift off a paved 1500 foot runway routinely but it is at sea level and is unobstructed. I don't expect to safely operate out of Don Bartholomew's 2000+ foot airstrip, elevation 4000+ feet. Be conservative, be safe, use common sense, and remember the basics!)


From: Alan Dicker <>
Subject: Swift landing technique
I was talking to a CFI last weekend regarding the Swift. I told him that in my limited experience the Swift is always wheel landed rather than 3 pointed. He seemed a little disbelieving and unfortunately I wasn't able to give a good technical reason why this should be other than to say that I had never seen anyone perform a 3 point landing in the airplane. Can you give me any insights into the aerodynamics so I can talk to him more about it. I did look in the Swift operations blue book but couldn't find any reference to landing technique. Thanks. Alan

I can tell your CFI friend has never tried 3 point landings in a Swift! I had reasoned out all the things that combine to make them difficult - I'll see if I can remember them here.... The stall strips on the leading edge of the centersection are the main culprit. As the nose is raised in a 3 point flare, they spoil too much lift causing an abrupt increase in sink. Many Swifts have the CG too far forward - they land much easier with an aft CG. Most Swift pilots approach at too high a speed for a 3 point landing. 1.3 times the indicated stall speed is the secret. If the airplane stalls at 50 indicated then 65 is the number. Also the flaps create a ground cushion, tending to ballon the airplane up, then as it stalls it is too high up and drops in - hard. Having said all this I used 3 point landings almost exclusively after I had 1000 hours in the Swift. I found it more satisfying and a bit of a challange. These days, I don't fly often enough to stay proficient as I'd like, so I only fly when the winds are favorable and then I trim airplane nose up, fly a stabilized approach and let it land itself out of an 80 mph approach.

I thought of another factor in 3 point landings in the Swift. That is the ratio of yoke displacement to elevator movement. In other words, not much movement of the yoke produces a lot of elevator reaction. The Swifts that have stick controls installed have a different ratio - it takes more aft pull to get the same up elevator - so it's somewhat easier to modulate the flair. In 40 years of Swift flying I can only remembering hitting the tailwheel on the runway before the mains once! I was returning from the Swift fly-in on 5-30-83. I got held up by headwinds and found it necessary to deviate to Winona, MN for fuel. A thunderstorm lay directly ahead. The approach was over the Mississippi River. On short final, but over the runway thank goodness, I ran into a wind shear. From about 30 feet up I sensed the airplane was plummeting. I applied full power and pulled back on the yoke to the stop. Unbelievably, it greased on tailwheel first with full power! Getting the power off, the roll out couldn't have been over 2 or 300 feet! (Not a recommended procedure, and I probably couldn't do it again for a million bucks!) -- Jim


Subj: Landing Gear Speed
From: Bob Runge ,>
Hi Jim:
Swifts are placarded "Do not lower landing gear above 100MPH." Does that also mean you can't fly above 100 MPH with the gear out? Best regards....... Bob Runge

No, I was told once that in certification, one gear comes out first and causes a yaw, the CAA (FAA) had (has?) a requirement that the aircraft only yaws so many degrees when one gear is down and one up. The Swift, at speeds over 100 mph exceeds those limits. Once the gear is extended, I don't see any requirement to limit the airspeed. Many people have seen Mark Holliday do his gear down loops in the GC-1A Swift. I have never asked Mark what he uses for a entry speed, but I have tried loops in my own GC-1A and it seems to me 140 mph ias was required. -- Jim