Flying the Bushby Midget Mustang
29 Sep 2017
Anyone that knows U-Fly’s Kylie and Ivan Kripnner, knows that Ivan’s ‘Midget’ is his first born. He has owned the aircraft since he was 19 and cut his teeth, aerobatically speaking, in her. He keeps her polished and maintained to the highest level.
More than 27 years later the day finally came when Ivan put Kylie on the insurance papers and it was her turn to fly – making her only the 3rd person ever to fly her.
I started by learning how to pull her out of the hangar, where to and where not to grab. She is 5m long and has a wing span of 5.64m, with an empty weight of 540lbs, so she’s quite a handful.
You need to hang swing her and being a single seater, you don’t want to muck that up. I spent 30 minutes taxiing up and down the grass runway, reacquainting myself with the characteristics of a ‘twichy’ tail dragger.
I gave this my full attention as I know that there is only a half a second between taxiing along and then being too far through a ground loop to do anything about it. The fact that this is Ivan’s baby, hung heavily in the cockpit.
Ivan did say though, that if you inadvertently get airborne, to firewall the bit$# and go and do some upper air work such as turns, stalls, and get a feel for her. I didn’t accidentally get airborne, I just taxied faster and faster and got used to the tail down, 3 point attitude as this would most likely be how I would land for the first time.
A couple of weeks later we returned for another taxi session. Ivan stood off to the side with some local pilots while I got more and more confident. After about 20 minutes, I decided I was about as ready as I was ever going to be. I considered taxiing back to tell Ivan I was ready to get airborne, but figured he was more nervous than I was so I advanced the throttle to full and thought how hard can it be?
Off we (ZK-DDC and I) went with a low ceiling that day, so I opted for a couple of circuits. During the late downwind phase, the radio sparked up and my husband’s voice transmitted that they were all on standby on the ground. I ignored it and concentrated on the task at hand. For the last notch of flap you have to push the flap lever down from the top then pull it out sideways, and then back. I waffled around trying to do this on finals but eventually got it sorted.
I greased it on. Thank god! Meanwhile Ivan thought I had accidentally become airborne and was as nervous as hell watching me fly around the circuit. But when I back-tracked for another lap he wasn’t so sure.
I managed two circuits and opted not to fly away from the field looking for a higher ceiling that day. I am looking forward to my next session on a clear day where I would like to do the upper air exercises, and seeing how she feels to aerobat. She has an inverted fuel system and is very light.
With a 100 horsepower Continental engine under the cowls with the ram air conversion and inverted fuel system she can climb vertically which will be a nice change from the low performance aspirated engines I am used to flying.
Of course Ivan made a video of it all: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g455aVdTZqA