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It’s been a busy ten days. I was in Montreal for a few days the week before last, and my sister and family arrived for a week last Saturday. It was great to spend time with them, but it was a bit tiring, as we aren’t used to having three children around 24/7. They flew back home this afternoon, so after they left I zipped out to Smiths Falls for a few hours.

One of the big items that was on my To Do list was to get some sort of RV transition training. I have flown a wide variety of aircraft types (around 90 types, at last count), and one of the things that test pilots learn how to do is to quickly adapt to the unique characteristics of new aircraft types. But, I don’t have a lot of tail wheel aircraft time in the big picture. I did my initial flight training in a Piper Cub, plus the occasional flight in a tail wheel aircraft since then, and hadn’t flown any tail wheel aircraft since my Dad and I flew his Fleet Canuck from Nova Scotia to Oshkosh and back in 2001.

Originally, I had planned to get some transition training from one of the recognized RV flight instructors. But my schedule has been so fluid that this was difficult to organize. I finally gave up on that and went with Plan B. Three weeks ago I did a flight in a Maule M-4-210C - photos with Andrew B., an instructor based out of Smiths Falls. The M-4 is an early Maule, with the small tail, which makes it quite loose in yaw, and you definitely need to use your feet. It was a good way to reawaken the connection between my eyes, brain and feet. It was fairly ugly at first, but Andrew doesn’t scare easily, and things went progressively better as the hour progressed.

This afternoon, I did a half hour of circuits in an RV-6, thanks to Lee F., a coworker. There was a bit of a crosswind, which added to the training value. The first take-off wasn’t pretty, as I was overcontrolling a bit on the rudder, but it was safe. Subsequent circuits were much better, once I figured out what gains I needed on the feet. Each circuit was better than the last, and the fourth landing was perfect, so I stopped there - I learned a long time ago that there is no point to attempting to see if you can repeat a perfect landing.

I’m satisfied now that I am ready to fly the RV-8, once we get to that stage. Thanks Andrew and Lee.

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