For the first time in 20 years Cherokee II GNR took to the skies on Saturday at Boonah !
The Hall Cherokee II was designed as a simple aircraft for homebuilders in the mid 1950’s. While never designed as a high performance aircraft several have completed Diamond Goal distance and are still popular with many owners today.
With just over a 12m wingspan and LD of 23:1 a 300km flight would be something to be proud of.
This aircraft was built in and first flew in 1963 in Victoria, moved to Western Aust for a while before finding a home in Gympie. It was last flown in 1998 and was bought by the current owner off ebay a few years ago.
It has since been repaired, recovered, painted, weighed and all the paperwork was done to allow it to fly again.
It is quite a different era to the aircraft that are common now, the short wings with wood and fabric construction means it weighs only 166kg, so wonderfully light to rig and ground handle, wood has a higher strength to weight ratio than fiberglass, about the same as carbon fiber, but moves too much with temperature and humidity to hold accurate wing profiles so has become a thing of the past.
The seating position is very upright and that makes for very nice visibility, but more drag, and there is no trim, it is so light to handle you do not miss it.
So what is it like to fly ?
Take off was smooth thanks to Ken and his light touch on the throttle in WWP, the wings are high so a wing has to drop a long way before touching the ground, you have plenty of time to catch it, controls work at very low speeds, there is some slight bounce on tow with the tow hook being a combination winch and aerotow hook.
Off tow the controls are nice and responsive but not twitchy, nice and light, and have lovely control harmony which makes it easy to fly.
Hands off (no trim remember) it is happy at 35 knots, stall is 25knots or below, it talks to you nicely before dropping the nose gently.
Spins are textbook with nice quick recovery, but the VNE run used a big chunk of height to get to 90 knots, so speed is not it’s strong point.
Landing is nice, good view, spoilers (not airbrakes) are not highly effective but good enough for the job and plenty of low speed control.
Laurie flew it later staying up in small thermals, he was able to climb up with the local DG500 had the engine out, shows what low speed, short span can do in difficult conditions, we know which one would win in the glide though.
Great to see an old glider loved and appreciated and nice to get the opportunity to fly it.