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Landings: Opinions: RE: Tomahawk Article

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By: Pat Finucane
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As a former flight instructor who taught all students spin recovery techniques in a Tomahawk and who has experienced flat spins in the aircraft I have some comments to make.

I am also a Tomahawk owner so my comments may be considered somewhat biased. The flat spin is entered from an aggravated cross-control stall. Just hold the cross controls thru the first 1.5 turns and the nose will come up. It's about 30 degrees below the horizon, but the controls go 'dead' (i.e. no effect.) recovery is by deploying the flaps momentarily to get the nose to pitch down. Immediately retract the flaps when the nose pitches and then perform a normal spin recovery. Moving forward in the seats may not be possible due to forces in the pesudo flat spin. All spins in the Tomahawk that are unplanned or unexpected are the result of a stall at high angles of attack. The T-Tail gets into the prop slip stream and it is almost impossible to control the rolling or yaw moments. The Tomahawk stalls just like a C-150 when you limit the pitch angle of the nose to just slightly above the horizon. It exhibits normal characteristics, i.e. lost of buffeting, nose drop and smooth, progressive application of power with corresponding right rudder pressure, the airplane will fly out of the stall, in a hands off condition. This applies to all types of stall entries, power-off, power-on (limited to 2200 rpm), accelerated, take-off departure. By limiting the pitch attitude to the same as normal climb out, the stall characteristics are typical as in other aircraft. If you get the nose too high, so that the tail is being buffeted or affected by the propeller slip stream, the Tomahawk will begin to yaw and roll and will easily enter a spin. Recovery from knife edge flight is possible with full coordinated control input and smooth power application. Typical loss of altitude from the incipient spin entry is 400 ft.

Hope these comments are helpful to understand this bird's characteristics .

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