Can a Low Time Pilot Handle the Mustang?
While it is a high performance airplane, most of our builders do not have a lot of hours in their logbooks when they first start flying the Midget Mustang. You may consider transitioning into a Midget similar to transitioning into a Skylane from a Cessna 172. It is not difficult but takes a little preparation. In fact the Midget Mustang pattern speeds typically match a Cessna 182’s or a Cherokee’s. The wing loading is about the same. Some dual in a high performance airplane is recommended before flying the Mustang. If you have no taildragger experience 10 hours of dual in a Champ, Cub, or some other type of conventional geared airplane will usually prepare flyers enough for the Mustang. A taildragger endorsement is required.
The most pronounced difference between a Mustang and a Cessna or other factory built is how responsive the Mustang is. It is an airplane that is flown with 3 fingers and does not need to be manhandled like a truck. Until new Mustang flyers gets used to this, the tendency is to over control in all axis. A grass strip will make this an easier transition in the taildragger as the grass will dampen the rudder inputs.
This responsiveness does not mean it is not fairly stable. The airplane can be trimmed up and flown hands off. It is neutrally stable. Despite the fact that many builders have full IFR instrumentation it is not a very good IFR platform. It lacks the panel space, cockpit space, and stronger positive stability to be flown easily in hard weather.
Stalls vary a little bit between individual airplanes but typically brake about the same as a Cessna 150. The stall buffet is about 2 mph before the stall. With our new wing root fillets most Midgets just mush along at a high sink rate like a Cherokee. The wing leading edge is very critical for proper stall speed and characteristics. That is why we are now using thicker, preformed skins in our current kits.
There are many features of the Midget Mustang that we feel offer much more in the way of safety as compared to a factory built. The low power loading of the Midget allows it to quickly accelerate and climb away from danger in a botched landing. This also helps with high density altitude performance. The four point safety harness and rugged aerobatic structure also provides the average flyer with enhanced safety.