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Thread: EX builder flies FX/EX2

  1. #1
    Senior Member Dan L's Avatar
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    Default EX builder flies FX/EX2

    Having put together one of the first EX kits, #11, and having flown it over 500 hours, I've become pretty familiar with the plane. For me the fun of flying the EX is its short landing capabilities. I really enjoy multiple takeoffs and landings one after another. I'm fortunate to live in an area where I can bounce around on the gravel bars on the river, just a few minutes from our airport, making landings just minutes apart. And I've also got some private property just a few more minutes away where I can land in multiple places in a hay field and on benches.

    In the four years I've been flying the EX I've made a lot of landings - thousands of landings in it now. And 99% of those are on either off airport spots or semi improved sod strips. Very few have been on paved runways. And a few hundred of those are on skis. I make every landing a short landing using the technique I describe below.

    IMG_0732.jpg

    My kind of fun.

    So, with that background in the EX I wondered how the new EX2 and FX Carbon Cubs would compare? I called Mitch and asked if I could demo fly an FX. If the FX made an impression on me like my first flight five years ago did in the Carbon Cub SS, I might think about buying an EX2 and put together another kit.

    I wanted a real apples-to-apples comparison and asked Mitch if there was a grass field near Yakima where I could wring one out and also land my EX. My thought was I would fly both in the same conditions and get a good comparison. Mitch said the Buena strip that is 15 minutes from Yakima would work well for that. So in mid-October I flew my EX to KYKM from western Montana and met with Mitch. The next morning demo pilot Brad Damm and I flew both Cubs to Buena on an extremely nice fall day. I made a couple of landings with my EX to see how it was performing at the 830' field elevation. It is fun to see the performance increase at low elevations like this. I'm used to higher density altitudes and have limited experience flying this low.

    IMG_1023.jpg

    Both the EX and the FX at Buena, WA

    Next I flew the FX and made a bunch of landings and did some slow flight and ground handling exercises. I even landed on one wheel and rolled it down the length of the field on one tire.
    Mitch and Brad both told me that the big thing I'd notice would be the light touch on the stick when rolling in aileron. Were they ever right about that. The new ailerons are very sweet; at any airspeed. For whatever reason I also found that this FX was extremely easy to fly and keep the ball centered. Not to say that is difficult to do in the EX but it just all harmonized so nicely in the FX with the light touch of the new ailerons.

    I flew my EX again to get another feel for my familiar friend. Then back into the FX for another 10 or so landings. I wanted to get to know the FX as well as I could that morning and at the same time make real comparisons to my EX.

    I like the new flaps too. There is noticeably less pitch change when pulling flaps, especially the first notch. What I didn't notice, and really tried to find, was lower touchdown speeds. At the DA I flew in at Buena, and no wind condition, my touchdown speeds, measured in GPS ground speed, were in the 36-38 mph range in both airplanes. This is making tail-low wheel landings and rolling it up on the mains with brakes. This technique isn't for everyone but it is my choice. The slower the touchdown speed is the shorter the landing. A few MPH makes a difference. Iím always taking a glance at my ground speed close to the ground. It tells me if I have a headwind or tailwind or if Iím just too fast to land where Iím intending to stop.

    I made just one 3- point landing in the FX.

    Takeoff's with two notches of flaps in both airplanes was the same too - minimal. I could not see any difference. Both planes had the Catto 80x50 prop.

    Brad pointed out that the FX also has a modification to the stabilizer trim that allows more nose-down trim. I like that. In my EX I dial in full nose down trim for landing and leave it there for takeoff. I tried that in the FX and could tell there was more trim available.

    The empty weights of both airplanes are within 10 pounds and both had about the same amount of fuel. Both of these Cubs also had the tail feather gap seals that Cub Crafters sells. They also both have 3" gear but the tires are different. The FX had 26" Airstreaks and my plane has 31" Bushwheels. The FX had a 3200 type tailwheel and my EX a full-castering Baby Bushwheel.

    So those are my observations of the changes. I wrote this out initially for my benefit as I make a decision about the EX2. I've found that with test flights like this it is best to go with my first reactions because the differences are most apparent then. I made some notes while on the ground at Buena before flying back to Yakima while it was still fresh in my mind.

    I made this post because I thought others might be interested in reading what an experienced EX pilot thought about the changes. (And be careful of braking with the tail up and using full nose down trim for landing. I like the feel and effect but it takes some experience. I mentioned those techniques just as an accurate accounting of how I flew the two planes. Nobody wants to turn their prop into a rototiller.)
    Flying Carbon Cub EX #11 since 2011

  2. #2
    Senior Member ceslaw's Avatar
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    Default Re: EX builder flies FX/EX2

    Nice summary. Thanks for posting your impressions.

    So did you leave a deposit on a new plane while there?

    And finally, that picture of your plane in the stream bed is excellent - Calender material.

  3. #3
    Senior Member TroyBranch's Avatar
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    Default Re: EX builder flies FX/EX2

    Very nice write up. Hope to be landing in lots of gravel bars next fall in my EX2. I got 31's as well. We are not far from each other. I will have to take a run down one day. I often clear customs at Glacier in my RV10. No matter the choice, you will be having fun either way.

  4. #4
    Junior Member
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    Default Re: EX builder flies FX/EX2

    Great info. I see Mitch's fingerprints behind the scene as he puts the prod to me now and then that I need to be building another CC. I'm convinced after your excellent review.

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