EAAAirVenture OshkoshShopJoin

Super Chipmunk Aerobatic Performance & Limitations

Posted By:
Mark Meredith
IAC MemberNAFI MemberVintage Aircraft Association MemberWarbirds of America Member
20
Posts
5
#1 Posted: 9/4/2009 21:22:01

I recently bought a 1951 Chipmunk converted into a Super Chipmunk in 1974 - N7DW.  I'd like to do basic aerobatics (+4 / -1 G) and maybe compete at Primary or Sportsman level.  However, I have no info about the aerobatic performance or limitations of the Super Chipmunk. For example, inverted and flat spin recovery.

It was an aerobatic performer for awhile in the 70's.  The airframe appears very solid, no known corrosion or cracks, though cosmetically it's a little beat up (I'm working on that!).  An A&P went through the airframe, engine and flight controls carefully; all are now in good shape except some play in the elevator which I'm working on.  It has the enlarged tail, clipped metalized wings and big engine (IO-540) with low time since overhaul.  Inverted fuel and oil.  It has a stall strip on the right outer wing near the tip...wonder why.  It's similar to Art Scholl's mods except a little bigger engine and open cockpit.  It has an FAA logbook entry from the 70's authorizing the owner to do spins, snap rolls and other basic maneuvers.  It also has a smoke tank which was apparently used at least into the 90's.

Does any reader either own one in which they fly aerobatics, or know of someone who does?  I don't plan to be a test pilot so won't do any aerobatics until I learn about it's spin recovery characteristics.  I'll get training specifically in this airplane but will not ask any instructor to be a test pilot either, so doing my homework first.  (I have some training in Bill Finagin's Pitts but not nearly enough).  Would really like something resembling a POH.  Ideas?  I'm in Annapolis, MD (ANP).  Thanks!  Mark



Ken Sasine
1
Post
0
#2 Posted: 9/10/2009 23:01:22

Hello Mark;

 

This is Ken Sasine.  I am a graduate of and former instructor at the USAF Test Pilot School. I also taught at the National Test Pilot School at Mojave California.  While in the latter position, I taught spin testing in gliders and the Chipmunk.  Our Chipmunk was a standard model with the Gipsy Major engine.

That aircraft has very straightforward spin characteristics.  One of the amusing (and at times inconvenient) things about the Gipsy Major is that it would quit after about 5 turns and have to be re-started after having recovered from the spin.

I have not flown the Super Chipmunk, so I can't comment on the differences. Clearly, the clipped wings would allow a faster rotation rate.  Having watched Art Scholl on many occasions, that became apparent during his routine.  The snap rolls were very abrupt, with high roll rates.

I am presently flying a PZL-130 "Orlik" for its owner, and have done extensive spin investigations in that aircraft.  It is a Turboprop Military Trainer similar in appearance and flying qualities to a Pilatus PC-9 or PC-7.

I'd be happy to discuss this further at your convenience.

Cheers,

Ken Sasine

FAA Designated Engineering Flight Test Pilot

Precision Wings, LLC

 





Mark Meredith
IAC MemberNAFI MemberVintage Aircraft Association MemberWarbirds of America Member
20
Posts
5
#3 Posted: 9/17/2009 20:40:37

Ken,

Sorry I'm a week late in responding!  Thanks much for sharing your experience with the Chipmunk.  I contacted two airshow pilots flying Super Chipmunks who both wrote back with many good suggestions about things to inspect and watch out for, the name of a mechanic  who knows where to look for cracks, and even the names of 2 FL based pilots who have tested Super Chipmunks.  One of them did the spin test for the airshow plane.  I'm working to hook up with them to see if one of them will spin test mine.  I'm going slow and careful - it's a 58 year old airframe, has 2 rounds of major mods with many of unknowns about what was done, and has unknown flight characteristics.  My local FSDO is interested too, which I see as a good thing to take it slow and safe.

My game plan is to verify the airframe condition and fix all the known gripes, have it spin tested by it an expert, and get training from that same expert.  Also doing lots of cosmetic improvements...at the end of it all, this will be one fine and unusual aerobatic aircraft!  Thanks again for the help.  Regards, Mark



Mark Meredith
IAC MemberNAFI MemberVintage Aircraft Association MemberWarbirds of America Member
20
Posts
5
#4 Posted: 9/17/2009 20:58:54

Mark again...I just noticed the Steve Oliver cockpit cam posted in this forum.  Steve offered me some excellent suggestions on the Super Chipmunk.  Gotta love the willingness of pilots and mechanics who love airplanes to share their experiences.  In short order I've found myself in email and phone correspondence with numerous people who know Chipmunks, one person talking to another.  Tonight I got a call from Bjorn Rafmar in WA asking about a Bonanza I sold 2 mo ago...who we discovered knows the owner of the Super Chipmunk based on his field in WA that is referenced in my logbook as the model for the mods done on my airplane back in 1972.  Making all these connections with people makes fixing up this airplane all the more fun! 

Mark, Annapolis MD



Olivier Langeard
IAC MemberWarbirds of America Member
7
Posts
1
#5 Posted: 1/16/2010 22:03:35

Hi Mark,

I'd be curious to come down and see your airplane if possible? I have 100Hrs + in the stock Chipmunk and flew a very basic airshow routine in France with it. I'd like to see what a Super Chipmunk looks like up close sometime.

Cheers,

Olivier, Wilmington DE