Flying the Swift...


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My name is Robert Allen. I've been interested in Swifts since reading the article about Super Swifts in the 11/97 issue of AOPA Pilot. Since I'm new to the type, I'm looking forward to using this forum to learn as much as I can about the Swift. Please be patient if I ask some very basic (or even stupid) questions! Which I guess leads me to my first concern: I'm a new pilot with about 120 hours in a Skyhawk. I've read in a few articles that the Swift can be difficult to land. I'm concerned that a Swift might be a difficult airplane to get my first tail wheel experience in. Would a more forgiving (though less interesting) airplane be a more reasonable choice for a first tailwheel airplane? I welcome any opinions or advice you may have to offer. I’m looking forward to benefiting from your experience! -- Robert Allen, Dallas, TX (


My spouse, Donna, took several hours of initial instruction in a Citabria, soloed and then completed her private in a C-150 (the Citabria had airspeed, altimeter and tach!). After completing her private, she transitioned to the Swift in 10 hours of dual, now has 60 total in Swift. 40K has a 150Lyc, sticks and shorty wingtips, but she gets in and out of Santa Paula (2000’) solo. What does this mean to you? Go for it! I’d recommend getting a few hours in a Citabria or Super Cub if there are any available. All the excitement is between taxi and wheels off the ground. Same for returning to Mother Earth. In the middle is just flying. A “modern” airplane which flies most like a Swift is the Grumman Yankee series.

A second example is a local pilot who purchased a 145 Swift and took all his private training in it. I gave the instructor some dual and then this new instructor and new student did their thing. All the horror stories about the Swift are not deserved. Most come from overloaded and underpowered takeoffs, basic inattention to fundamentals of tailwheel operation, poor maintenance which makes controls sticky and rudders unresponsive, or lack of respect for the aircraft. If you can do a respectable crosswind landing in a nosewheel you can make the transition. The most alarming part of early landings in a Swift is the thrilling sink rate caused by large drag rise with flap and gear extension, coupled with a higher wingloading than your basic Wichita product.

If you have a chance to hit one of the fly-ins, I’m certain you’d have no difficulty getting a ride. I still remember my first in a Swift and it was 27 years ago. Warning! It’s addictive.

Ron Williamson (CA) ( N3740K


From: Bill Harris <>
Subject: Re: Directional control on take off
One thing many of you have forgotten , the tire alignment is very critical ie; you must have 2 - 3 degrees of toe " in " on your tire alignment or you will be all over the place on takeoff. The scissors may need a washer at the elbow to get the correct toe in. If the correction is needed the other way you may swap ends with the scissors or move one have to the other side to see if it will get the job done. The last resourt is to grind off some of the bushing if less not more is needed but I caution not to do this until you have tried all the other options. Draw a chalk line on the floor of the hanger from the tail wheel forword centered of the firewall out 10 ft. Now use a long straight edge such as a 2 by 4 on the tire out 10 ft. now measure between the lines at the gear and at 10 ft and see if there is less distance at 10 ft than at the gear. Do some math and see what 2 degrees should be. I hope I didn't confuse anyone. Let me know what you think about this. -- Bill

Vx AND Vy REVISITED...(4499)

From: Geoff Crawford <>
Subject: Vx and Vy
Regarding Rich Pizzi's question about Vx and Vy for the Swift, the YT-35 Flight Manual shows the following: Best IAS: SL, 82 MPH/900 FPM; 5000', 80 MPH/775 FPM; 10,000', 78 MPH/680 FPM ; 15,000', 75 MPH/435 FPM. Best Angle airspeed increases with altitude and Best Rate airspeed decreases with altitude until they meet at the airplane's Absolute Ceiling. Service Ceiling is shown at 17,250', which equates to a climb rate of 100 FPM. Extrapolating that plot results in an airspeed at Absolute Ceiling of approximately 73 MPH. Doing a mirror image of that plot results in a Best Angle airspeed of about 64 MPH. The TEMCO-recommended airspeed for obstacle clearance for a short-field takeoff in the Flight Manual is 70 MPH, accelerating to 85 MPH after obstacle clearance.

What does that mean for Swift owners? Other than the tip, it's the same wing design. It was pointed out by Charlie many years ago that for airplanes with fixed pitch props, if the engine is allowed to turn up more RPM at a higher airspeed, the climb performance might be the same or better. With the many different engine/prop combinations out there, the only way to be sure of an individual airplane's performance is by flight test. But at least there is official flight test data that confirms that 80 is a pretty good speed to start with for Vy. As for testing actual Vx, that's going to be a pretty tough thing for most people to quantify on their own, so your recommendation to use one speed a good call, since RPM gets a bit slow in a climb at 70 MPH with a fixed pitch.

The Buckaroo data was taken on an airplane with an Aeromatic prop with altitude control, a 165 Franklin and a gross weight of 1975 lbs. However, the data is there for people to use as they desire. -- Geoff

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