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Flight Report

News from seven years ago, but worth knowing if you own a Micro Mong, or there is one in your future
Micro Mong Archives
Flight Report 
Summer ‘94

By Gerald J. Olenik, President, Green Sky Adventures, Inc.

Low Powered Micro Mong Flys as Part 103 Ultralight

We received possession of the prototype in early June. Our immediate goal was to make the powerplant upgrade early enough for test time to be flown off prior to Oshkosh. It was equally important, however, for us to obtain 1st hand flight data with the airplane in Ultralight configuration, with the 277 Rotax engine. This was accomplished over a short time during the first half of June.

As a 205 pound pilot, I did not expect earth shattering performance with so little power. I had flown this plane for about 20 minutes back in April, just prior to our departure for Sun N Fun. In the sub freezing temperatures of Northern Ohio in early April, the Micro Mong had seemed very adequate, but I was concerned the now 90 degree outside air temperature which is so much more suitable for open air flying, would degrade performance below an acceptable level. Fortunately, that was not the case. I did not perform any scientific tests, just fun flying. The plane was being operated off a 1600 ft grass strip @ 1100 ft MSL. Take-off roll would average 400 ft based on the uncalibrated 200 ft distance between runway markers. Climb angle was similar to a Cessna 150 at gross weight. Definitely not earth shattering, but very acceptable.

If someone has to build the "Ultralight" version of this plane, (for medical reasons, or whatever) I think they will be pleased with the results. A restriction applies. Short field capabilities will have to be explored very carefully. This is especially true if the bulk of the pilot's experience is flying other Ultralights with higher power engines. If you're used to flying grossed out 150’s, 172’s or Cherokees, you'll have a good idea of how to operate the Micro Mong Ultralight.
Micro Mong proto type now flying as EXP Version

In mid June, ('94) the 28 HP 277 was replaced with a 50 HP 503, with dual carbs, a 3.0 Type E gearbox, (EEElectric start), and a 68" GSC 3-blade propeller. A new instrument panel, heavy duty landing gear, aluminum wheels, a set of landing wires, an extra set of tail brace wires, larger fuel tank, and brakes have also been added, plus, an "N" number, and certificate of airworthiness. Empty weight is now up to 340 lb. We are extremely pleased with this combination. Takeoff roll is about 200 ft., followed by a 1000 fpm climb out. So far, cruise speed has ranged between 60 and 90 mph. Though we have yet to achieve full power straight and level maximum speed, we believe it would be in excess of the 110 mph VNE
Ground Handling

Many folks have expressed a concern for the ground handling characteristics of such a close coupled taildragger. The Micro Mong definitely is a taildragger, and should be treated with the appropriate amount of respect. That does not mean it should be feared. The Micro Mong is very light on the tail. This has to do with the landing gear placement in relation to its CG. As you know, in tail draggers, and arrows, the heavy end would rather be in front. It just makes sense, then, as far as tail draggers are concerned, the lighter the tail; the less apt they are to switch ends during a ground roll. This trick only works to a point, beyond which an airplane becomes a nose dragger, and will be perfectly happy to go down the runway in the proper direction. The down side of low tail weight on a taildragger is the potential for nose over. In my observation of the Micro Mong, I've noted only two scenarios where this could be a problem during normal operation.
The controls of this airplane are harmonized very well. By that, I mean the amount of control pressure to achieve a desired affect is pretty close in pitch, yaw, and roll. Control pressure in all axis is very light, with pitch being the most sensitive. Pitch sensitivity plus the light tail could be a problem if someone used to heavy controls and heavy tails began a take off roll with too much down elevator. I think this airplane has enough elevator authority that a heavy handed pilot could perform the first half of an outside loop without ever leaving the ground.

The other potential problem has to do with start up. If the Micro Mong is started without an occupant in the pilot's seat, the thrust of the idling propeller makes the tail extremely light. If the tail isn't tied, or if someone isn't holding it down, the chances that the propeller will make contact with the ground are very significant. I'm being super critical here.
In The Air

The airplane just doesn't have any bad habits. Visibility is good. You sit far enough back that the bottom wing doesn't obstruct the view as would a low wing plane, and the top wing stays out of the way except during dog fights, aerial combat, and other steep turns. To find a mock adversary by looking over the top wing, an extreme bank angle is necessary. During such a maneuver, say, for instance, you are banked steep left, peering over your top wing, in search of your foe, the right lower wing creates a blind spot which makes you vulnerable if you happen to be outnumbered………..Sorry, I got carried away. The Micro Mong is just so comfortable to fly that mock situations, like this, do pop up from time to time.

Although light on the controls, there is no problem with instability. If you're used to flying Wichita iron, which requires little or no rudder input for maneuvering in normal flight, you'll feel right at home in the Micro Mong. I have flown for extended periods of time with my feet pulled back away from the rudder pedals. The airplane drives along very nicely making stick inputs alone, with hardly any adverse yaw. During some stall experimenting, the airplane was stalled straight ahead, left, and right, and recovered without rudder input. I practiced this repeatedly, and without fail, wings and nose were leveled without rudder input. In cross country mode, sometimes you might want to rest your hands. No problem. Once trimmed out in level flight, the Micro Mong can be flown continuously with only minor trim corrections. Quite often, Ill hold my hands outside either side of the cockpit, and by deflecting the proper hand, I can make corrections for tall three axis.

Short cross country flights are enjoyable. We currently have an 8 gallon fuel capacity. At economy cruise power of about 5000 rpm, we are getting airspeed of 65 mph at 3.25 gph. That’s 20 miles per gallon, in an open cockpit biplane! The range of comfortable cruise speeds for this airplane is 60 to 90 mph. The windshield offers good protection. I usually wear a regular ball cap when flying, and I have yet to loose one while flying the Micro Mong.
Aerobatic Flight is Prohibited

Current VNE is 110 mph, and you should observe this as a valid Never Exceed Speed. Although the Micro Mong was designed to make Utility category at 550 lb gross weight, aerobatic flight is prohibited. Spins have been practiced to explore the spin tendency and recovery of the prototype. My opinion is the Micro Mong prototype does not have any natural tendency to spin. Indeed, it has been stalled in many attitudes, which could result in spins in more temperamental designs, without tendency to  Spin. If invited to spin, the Micro Mong is a willing participant. To date, I have explored two turns left, and one turn right. Entries have been by conventional low power, or no power stall accompanied by a quick application of rudder
at the moment of stall. Recovery has been achieved in approximately ½ turn by applying neutral stick and opposite
rudder. Speed management is required promptly after rotation stops, to avoid excessive speed or loading on the
Slow Flight

Sometimes, the best way to get used to an airplane is to explore its slow flying characteristics. I had the opportunity to get into
an impromptu slow-fly competition at this year’s Ohio Kitfox Fly-in, against my brother and his Kitfox Model II. It’s really not
right to quote what speed we were indicating, because at extreme angles of attack, our airspeed indicators are probably very
inaccurate. Carrying power and very high angle of attack, the Micro Mong hung on next to the Kitfox till I got bored and gave
up. Later, when I queried my brother, he was flying as slowly as he could, and was just about to give it up himself. At Oshkosh,
I had the opportunity to fly formation with Larry Israel, who was flying the new TEAM AirBike, on a trip up to Brenon airport.
We flew this short cross country very well, together.

Landing the Micro Mong in three point configuration shortens the total landing distance tremendously. Till after Oshkosh, we
were landing very conservatively, because breaking the only flyable example of this design would cast major shadows on our
illusions of grandeur in the kitplane business. (By "landing conservatively" I mean, maintaining a minimum landing speed
substantially higher than what we would if we were in a short landing contest with nothing to lose if we smashed the plane.) It’s
easy, anyone can do it, just approach hot, close the throttle, put the plane in landing configuration till speed and altitude bleed
off, and drive the airplane down the runway on the mains till the tail wheel settles. This type landing in the Micro Mong, is a tail
low wheel landing. If you operate from a runway with zero obstacles, the Micro Mong will use 900 ft on that runway, ……..If
you are good. Now, change your technique to three point style and you will use only 500 feet of that same runway.