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Old 06-08-2006, 11:59 AM   #1  
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Default High Wing Vs. Low WIng

Looking for a little advice. I have always flown low wing aircraft ( pipers, mooney, beech etc) I have never needed to fly a high wing until now. I am going to a local FBO this weekend to get checked out in a Cessna 172. I am curious if anyone has any advice or if there are any major differences between high wing and low wing to look for other than the obvious. My current experience is CFI,CFII, MEI, with 700TT. Any advice would be appreciated. I just want to be as prepared as possible for the check out.

Thanks in advance.

Last edited by WAVIT Inbound; 06-08-2006 at 12:39 PM.
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Old 06-08-2006, 12:14 PM   #2  
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I like the view from a high wing. You need to clear your turns by slightly lifting the wing however. I really don't have a strong opinion pro or con about either one though. Oh yeah, one more good thing about a high wing. I like the shade on a hot sunny day a high wing provides.
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Old 06-08-2006, 12:18 PM   #3  
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I can't think of any particular handling difference between low and high wing GA airplanes. Obviously there will differences since it is a new airplane so you should get a checkout like with any airplane you're not familiar with.

You may have a tendency to float more in the flare because a hi wing's lift comes from airspeed only, so you have to actually slow down to land. A low wing gets at least some lift from propwash, so you can reduce lift and land more definitively by chopping power.

Oh, remember to raise the wing to see what's out there before you turn...the lowered wing will block your view into the turn direction.
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Old 06-08-2006, 12:36 PM   #4  
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I started out in a low-wing airplane. When I finally got checked out in a 172, I couldn't believe the difference between the ground effect I got from the low wing and the lack thereof from the high wing. In the low wing, I didn't really have to do a lot to round out and flare. The ground effect helped a lot. My first 5 landings in a 172 were borderline dangerous. I kept giving it the same nominal effort, with almost disastrous results. Of course, I only had 40 hours at the time, so lack of experience may have played into it. You have plenty of time, and although the first one may not be pretty, I think you'll do fine. One more thing, I always felt like high-wing airplanes were more stable.
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Old 06-08-2006, 12:59 PM   #5  
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What twin did you do your CP-ME in? I don't know of any multi trainers that aren't low wings Just bustin on you a little...

The thing with cessna's is that you HAVE to be on the rudder during your stall series. They have a tendency to spin or snap abruptly if you are uncoordinated. They land and take off a lot smoother. There is more of a smooth transition to a flair in a Cessna then like in the Mooney or Piper. In the Mooney and Piper, as you probably already know...all you do is hold the pitch attitude level - "Don't let it land! Don't let it land! Don't let it land!" - CLUNK! (or...Chirp - depends on who is at the wheel) The Cessna's have A HECK OF A LOT more forgiveness for a crappy landing too.

Just remember - Get on those rudders in slow flight/stalls, and flair...don't hold level unless you want to wheel barrel down the rwy!

Good luck...and remember...have fun

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Old 06-08-2006, 01:39 PM   #6  
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High-wings tend to be less forgiving in crosswinds as well, so be prepared during taxi and landing.
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Old 06-10-2006, 07:49 AM   #7  
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one other difference...some low wings tend to pitch down when you put the flaps out, the 172 pitches up. Be aware of that if your previous airplanes all picthed down when flaps are added.
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Old 06-10-2006, 11:50 PM   #8  
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If it's an older 172 use only 30 degrees of flaps. 40 is really overkill unless you're going into a short field. It may also be adviseable to come down final a little faster, say 70 knots and use ground effect a little longer. I typically have my students do this, level out in ground effect and bleed off speed by increasing pitch slowly until it won't fly anymore. Makes for a nice touchdown. If you're used to pipers you'll have to get yourself away from going straight from descent to flare as this will result in flat and or hard landings.

And everybody else's sentiments about cross winds is dead on. Roll the ailerons into the wind on touchdown or you'll be skipping over towards the grass.
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