Hi everyone, i'm looking at getting your opinion, on trainging prior to test flight. For those of you who have completed your build and are flying, did you recieve training in the aircraft before, or is this something that is not necessary?


I ask this because i have experience flying Cessna 150 's but have never flown the Zodiac XL, and there doesn't seem to be one near by where i live.


What are your opinions.



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I could only relate my own experience. As like yourself all I had flown was Cessnas. Never had training in a 701. After the test pilot (I was just shy a few hours to be a legal test pilot) proved my plane was good I got in and it was no where near as tough as I syc myself to believe. I had never flown a stick control ever. First landing was good; never bounced or even a hard landing. I had 6000 ft of runway so what I did was tried to fly the plane a foot above the ground. You must have confidence in yourself or don't do it.


This is a perfect excuse for you to have some fun and pick up some invaluable skills and experience. I'm sure you've heard, and experienced, the saying that you can fly the Cessna 150 and 172 with your feet flat on the floor. If you can get some time in an aircraft that makes you realize that your feet aren't there just to get you to your plane, you'll be a more confident, and better pilot, in whatever you fly. Nothing wrong with a 150 or 172, most of us learned to fly in them, but there's a way to have some fun and learn some new skills that you'll always keep with you.

This is just your ticket to use when you explain to your wife that you need some time in a Cub to become familiar with a stick and greatly increase your confidence and skills. You'll be amazed after your first flight in a Cub what it's like to kinda "wear" a plane, where your feet are connected and moving, and you look outside and feel it fly, rather than watch gauges and peer over a glare shield sometimes. You'll find there's something about just moving that stick just slightly and coordinating it with your pedals as you bank that lends itself to play and flying, rather than straight line from here to there. And the more play, the better skills. 

Any experience in a different type aircraft does wonders for confidence and skills. A Cub has an extra bonus in that it's a taildragger, and you're going to be forced to develop some skills that are going to keep you on the runway in crosswinds. You'll see that you don't death grip a stick like in the movies, it's going to be fingertip flying, and you can't help but look outside with all of that glass and fly by outside references. 

Could you just get in your plane and fly it? Sure, and maybe not prang it or worse, but if you have the opportunity to greatly decrease those odds, and have a blast and learn and gain an experience you'll never forget, try to find a Cub to get some time in, you will never regret it. It's not a Zodiac XL, and it's not Cessna 150, but you're bringing another similar flying experience to your bag of skills and tricks, and one closest to requiring just plain old flying basics and skills. There's a lot of glass in a Cub for a reason. 

Walt Snyder

If you have some time, look up :"Stick and Rudder, An Explanation of the Art of Flying". Written over 60 years ago, but still required reading by some CFIs for their students. Ck out the reviews listed on the Barnes and Noble website if you wonder if it applies today and is worthwhile.

Who can fly a Cessna 150 or 172 with feet on floor.......A incompetent pilot that's who.

Instructing since 1980 I have seen some who think its true, but they are wrong.

Remember when the CFI pointed out that 1) high power  2) high pitch, 3) low airspeed = more rudder?

put your 150 or 172 up to 30 pitch feet on the floor and let the fun begin

The main difference in 601 vs. c150-c172 is in turns since the Cessna products have differential ailerons, and a friese design,

After flying my corvair powered 601xl I find the main difference is rudder in turns, about the same rudder imput, in climbs cept this time its left rudder (corvair is left rotating )

I find pitch  sensitivity  overrated. Apply control pressure to set attitude rather than simply displacing controls from neutral

if anything if taking 601 dual remember that with 1 on board  more performance, and at least with my bird inability to trim hands off on the approach. Flying near gross seems much more trimmable

I second Walt's Cub comments.  When I was building my nose gear 601XL, I only had time in yolk 150's like yourself, plus I was not very current.  I wanted to get back current and get time with a stick.  I figured going for a tailwheel endorsement was a good way to get both. I learned more about flying in those 12 hours of real stick-n-rudder time with a real tailwheel instructor than I did in my previous 100.  From there I searched for 601XL's available for instruction.  I found one 1000 miles away, but I would have traveled 3000 if that is what it took.  Your life is too precious to let a few miles get in the way of time-in-type.  The 3.5 hours I got in a 601 paid for itself when I rotated for the first time on my first flight.  The 601XL has a sensitive elevator and it is easy to over-rotate if you have never flown one.  I saw just that on another local 601XL first flight soon after mine that almost resulted in a serious accident.  There was a discussionnot too long ago about 601's available for instruction around the states.


Good luck,



I strongly suggest time in type.  The 601 is an easy plane to fly but it does have some differences compared to Cessnas or Pipers.  The biggest thing is the responsive pitch, especially on takeoff.  It is very easy to over-rotate if you're not careful.  I've flown planes with sticks before so the y-stick in the 601 wasn't an issue for me.  I second Dave's sentiment that no distance is too great to get some time in a 601.

Good luck,


I agree with the comments -- getting some "buffing up" is good, getting some time in type is good. Neither is mandatory but both are worth doing, for sure. Some excellent suggestions on how to get buffed and/or get time in type have been made already so I will not duplicate that.

My 601XLB is not flying yet but I am lucky to have a friend with one and fly his a fair amount. Do be careful of the touchy pitch response, it is easy to overcontrol. Once you get used to it, no problem. With the exception of the light pitch controls, think two seat Cherokee for flying characteristics. It kinda feels the same and has the same gentle, mushy stall. They both also have direct steering of the nosewheel (assuming you are building a nose wheel version of the 601) so they feel the same there for ground handling. You may even want to consider getting some time in an older, lower horsepower Cherokee if you cannot get any other prep time for your plane. If you get your time in a higher powered Cherokee you will have a wrong feel about power response. The Cherokee weighs considerably more than our 601's so it cannot duplicate the very light, bounce around in the air feeling, but otherwise are a pretty good substitute for our birds, I think. The Cherokee would also familiarize you with the feel of a low wing airplane and also get you used to using the electric aux fuel pump and such that comes with a low wing airplane.

On the touchy pitch controls, by the way......... Bear in mind that a forward CG makes heavier pitch controls and an aft CG makes lighter pitch controls. Try to have your plane built and/or loaded to yield a CG near the forward edge of the CG envelope and it will make the pitch much more controllable. If you are built/loaded to yield an aft CG you just make a touchy airplane worse in the pitch sensitivity department. My friend's 601XLB has a heavy engine so it naturally stays in the front end of the CG range and the pitch feels fairly reasonable. During the test flight stage I ballasted the plane to an aft limit CG and boy did it get more sensitive! This plane likes a forward CG. My advice would be keep that CG forward, especially for the first bunch of flights.

I believe enough in the forward CG for this aircraft type that I plan to make sure my aircraft's CG is very close to the forward limit. I flew one other 601XL with a lightweight Rotax engine and an aft CG and it was waaaayyyyy sensitive compared to my friend's forward CG airplane. If you are building with a light engine try to move the CG forward by mounting the battery, avionics boxes, whatever movable weight you have, as far forward as possible. You may even want to consider a heavy hunk of ballast bolted to the front of the engine mount to get the CG forward, it really makes a difference.

My two cents..............

Greetings from Idaho.

First; Congrats of the build of your bird!

Second; We all (I guess I can speak for the others) are excited for you!

Third; Go get checked out in a 601 for your own peace of mind.

Lots of people will tell you that "an airplane is an airplane". Each have their own idiosyncrasys and it is best that you have some idea as to what to expect on a test flight.

Read what I and others experienced on the "Open Discussion Forum" at the beginning of this discussion.

Go have fun and be sure to let us know the details of your test flight.


Thankyou to everyone for your comments and opinions, I appreciate it. I will let you guys know how things go as well I will post some pictures soon of my plane.


It's an airplane !!!! I did it !! First flight is over and done and I had fun, and I made back onto the ground in one pc.

So much fun, wow..... it is going to be very difficult to stay on the ground now.

That's awesome!  Now you know why you built it in the first place.  We all wish you safe flights.






You did it!

Wasn't so bad after all - was it???

Remember those butterflys are there for a purpose and this was a lesson as to why you always pay attention to them!

Give us a breakdown of what you did before, during and after the maiden flight so the next builder will have a better understanding.



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