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Easy to fly , Nice to fly , differences?


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I'd like please, opinions on what the terms :

 

"Easy to fly "

and  / or 

"Nice to Fly"

 

what they mean to different people.  I hear both regularly.

 

and of course, opposite ends of the scale.

IE I regular hear  "easy to fly but not nice to fly"

 

examples welcome.

 

-glen

 

Edited by RFguy
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My Terrier is 'easy to fly'.. controls are light with plenty of authority and very few vices..Boring is my description.. but the 'nice' part I would say comes from the creature comforts.. seats, relaxed instrument/control layout, easy ingress etc along with better turbulence handling ( Terrier's is no worse than standard Cessna performance). 

Where Terrier is not 'nice' is in the seats ( to be upgraded) and as I get older ad stiffer the 'Ultralight Roll' entry is an increasing challenge..

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A Cessna 172 is easy to fly and so is a Piper Cherokee Archer PA28-181. The 172 has very upright seats a high panel, controls are heavy and cabin noise is quite high so in my opinion not nice to fly but it does have doors on both sides making getting in & out easy. The Archer has a more laid back sports car style seating position, better forward view over a less intrusive panel, lighter controls (with electric trim) and a quieter cabin so is nice to fly. It only has one door so getting in & out is a bit more of an issue. The C172 has electric flaps & the PA28 has manual flaps. The strange thing is I preferred the Piper (handbrake style) manual flaps. 

 

So both are easy to fly but the Archers is nice to fly.

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My taste in planes is probably different to most. I like control rather than stability and a bit of penetration in rough air. STOL stuff is too wind susceptible (Low wing loading). The C-172 has to be easy to fly as is the Gazelle in the lighter category. BUT you still have to FLY anything. No plane fly's itself and they can all kill you if you are careless or unskilled or incorrectly trained. Nice feel of controls is good if you can have it, Like a  DHC-1 Chipmunk but it's not necessarily easy to fly and can bite you. It's underpowered and the rudder is too small and the cockpit gets fumes. 

   Nice to fly?  That probably gets to creature comforts like sun and ventilation and noise level, control feel, brakes visibility.. I put a strong airframe in the nice to fly category because I'm happier with one. Put turbines there as well but beyond our horizons . I'm actually a weird piston engine nut but not over suburbs. Nev

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As said above, for me 'easy to fly' suggests a nice stable airframe with forgiving flight characteristics. That is integral to the aircraft.

 

'Nice to fly' suggests the both the experience of flying (comfort) and what you can do with an aircraft (performance).

 

My own aircraft is very easy to fly, extremely stable (some might call it 'boring' in flight). But you have a huge interior, can fly cross-country eight hours ( admittedly at a very slow speed) and can land pretty much anywhere. Its built really tough and solid and you have the advantage of it being a proper  

aeroplane with the little wheel at the back...

 

A 172 is also stable and easy to fly  but the overall experience is somehow different 

 

Alan

 

 

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I agree with most of the above, but for me Nice to fly, means responsive and finger touch needed, not necessarily stable. But that changes if I want to go long distance. Nice to fly then becomes, stable, comfortable and quiet. none of which are required for short trips.

Easy to fly, means it is hard to get into trouble, but that means it can be equally easy to get out of trouble.

As stated above the Cessna 175 and piper are easy to fly, but comparing them to cars driving them is like driving a truck, whereas my Corby would be more like a Lotus.

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A "stable" plane sounds like a good idea (who would want an unstable one?) but it really belongs to free flight or a chuck glider. The self correction feature is not nice in turbulence where it's really better if your plane just moves with the inevitable gust rather than weather-cocks etc and you have to correct.(fight) it. NEUTRAL is the go. (stays where you put it). They spiral less easily also. . Nev

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One of the things I loved about the Nynja was that in turbulence, it was better flown hands off. The more I tried to counter the effects of thermals, the worse I flew. That probably meant it was "stable" but I liked that, especially for long flights. That said, it was still a nimble aircraft. It went where you told it to, when you told it to, no more, no less. It was reasonably light on the controls and responsive.

My current airplane is a bit of a handful in turbulence. The phugoid duration is a bit longer and turbulence tends to set up a bit of a porpoising effect. In thermals, I have to fly the Legend more than I did with the Nynja. However, the Legend is easier to fly due to the placement and layout of the controls. It is also more comfortable and quieter.

For me, that is the difference between "easy" and "nice" to fly.

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Isn't 'nice to fly' also dependent upon your mission? I've owned aerobatic aircraft that are nice to fly but hardly easy to fly. My current aircraft, the Varieze, is fast, different and nice to fly but does not suffer fools if you are not in front of it when circumstances are challenging.

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I find it difficult to categorise flying into these concepts, quite frankly. ALL planes have some idiosyncrasies and you just cope with them. Some are dogs on the ground and OK in the air. Some BITE and wing drop easily. Skip those or they will GET YOU one day.. I doubt some planes I would LIKE to fly are Nice OR Easy to fly.  I think it's mostly in the Brain Space of the individual. Respect for any plane is essential or it will catch you out if you are complacent enough. Nev

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There is a mathematical basis to this discussion which I think it is important to understand (but not the maths) these are termed "transfer functions" that govern how the control input gets converted to an output and the feedback provided.

 

Transfer functions explain the difference between "Nice", "easy", "hard" etc. The best way to explain it is by reference to Mercedes Benz. A cars "feel" is a transfer function of the tyres, suspension geometry spring rates damping etc, right down to the seat geometry and padding. Mercedes years ago put billions into understanding the transfer functions for a very important reason - they wanted to ensure that the average driver could use 70% - 80% of the cars actual capability in terms of braking, steering, collision avoidance etc. without feeling uncomfortable or in danger. This is a transfer function of how the car "feels" to the driver ie feedback through the steering, seat vibration etc.

 

Mercedes understood that the vehicles ultimate performance was unimportant - what mattered was what fraction of it was actually available to mum and dad without scaring them to death. Other carmakers exclaimed that their cars could perform better than MB ...in the hands of a Lewis Hamilton but none of it was available to the average driver because they will feel unstable and at risk long before the car is anywhere near its limits.

 

This is the source of all those "My torana is faster than your benz" stories.

 

I suggest Piper and Cessna by luck and hard work got most things right and the average pilot can make them perform to specification. Not so other aircraft.

 

I learned about this after taking a Mercedes off the road in a 70 mph perfectly controlled  4 wheel drift with ten passengers on board. I had been licenced for two weeks. We were on our wy to a party. Very little damage to car and none to us. If it had been a Holden or Ford of that era we would have hit a tree or gone into the yarra inverted all dead. I decided to learn about driving after that.

Edited by walrus
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