Looking onto the taxiway gives an impression about the visibility on the ground. You donīt see too much ahead of you.
Taking off the cowling takes about three minutes and gives great access to every part.
The pin is inserted along the longitudinal axis, the perpendicular small pin fits into a small hole below. The seatpan then fixes its position.
I keep the Carat rigged throughout the year but you could also keep it in a standard-sized trailer and rig it as quickly as any other
modern 15-m glider. The controls hook up automatically. The tailplane is secured with a spring bolt, the main pin is fixed in its
position by the seatback. Taping the plane thoroughly takes up most of the time.
The fuel tank takes 54l of autofuel or Avgas
and is easily accessible in front of the cockpit. The oil dip stick can be checked through a small hole in the cowling. To fill
in new oil you have to take out 13 Allen screws in order to take off the right side of the cowling. The engine uses very little
oil though, I only add about half a quart every twenty hours or so.
The cockpit can be entered via the left wing. It features
adjustable rudder pedals and a seatback with four different settings. Itīs fairly large and very comfortable. Two baggage compartments
are located behind the seat, small stuff can be put into three small bags at the cockpit walls.
Starting the engine is easy: master
switch on, ignition on, pull the choke, fuel pump on, then push the starter button. The Sauer engine usually starts upon the
first push on the button and runs smoothly. The procedure is the same for an airstart. The engine will be warm enough after taxiing
to the runway.
Since the cowling is quite high above the horizon slight zig-zagging is necessary to see the taxiway ahead. The tailwheel
is coupled to the rudder and steering on the ground is VERY effective, only very little inputs are needed. The hydraulic disc-break
is effective but thereīs no tendency for the tail coming up due to strong breaking. When operating on grass strips you should taxi
slowly in order to prevent the wingtips from hitting the ground.
During take-off I keep the aircraft straight by the help of
the runway edges. The stick is neutral first, approaching 40 knots I push it forward to bring the tail up. Visibility is great from
then on, keeping it straight with the rudder is easy and I accelerate further until getting airborne at about 50 knots. Retracting
the gear takes about 20 seconds. Thereīs no light indicating if the gear motor is still working or not, therefore I keep
an eye on the voltmeter of the nav-computer.
The recommended climb speed is 70 knots but I prefer to climb at about 85-90
knots to keep the engine cool. The climb rate is still acceptable at this speed. On average I climb at about 400 ft/min, during initial
climbout itīs close to 800 ft/min.
I achieve about 107 kts TAS at maximum continous power and use about 2,8 gallons/h (autofuel).
During a comparison flight between CA006 and CA030 we found out a big difference in performance, the later version achieved about
120 knots with the same engine and propeller. With a reserve of 1h the Carat has a range of approximately 450NM.
The noise inside the
cockpit is not too bad but I always fly with a headset unless itīs just for a quick climb to the next thermal.
Shutting down the engine
to start soaring is very easy: let the engine cool down for a short time, reduce speed below 50 knots, switch off the ignition. The
prop stops and the blades fold forward. The blades are connected by two metal plates which prevent asymetric folding. The gas struts
keep the propeller blades folded forward also at higher speeds. The setback of this configuration is that you absolutely need battery
power to restart the engine, windmilling is not an option.
Soaring performance of the Carat can be considered to be in
the region between an ASK23 and an ASW15, it has a true glide ratio of about 1:36.
Due to the high wingload it wonīt climb very well
in weak thermals, but its gliding performance is quite good! The normal speed while thermalling is about 52 - 55 knots, during
glides one should not get much faster than 85 knots. At higher speeds the large front size of the fuselage starts to
show. Agility is good, 45°left to 45° right will take about 3,5-4 seconds. The controls are very responsive down to low speeds and
The cockpit is very comfortable, flights of 10 hours duration are well manageable. Visibility is good, the small
pockets at the cockpit walls provide enough space for small snacks, maps etc. You can even access the upper baggage compartment
behind the seat if you show some flexibility.
Stall characteristics of the Carat are docile, but with a fully aft stick it will stall
and drop a wing. Putting the stick back into a neutral position is enough to prevent a spin though. Minimum speed is about 45 knots.
a landing under power you should reach the pattern altitude at the beginning of the downwind leg. The gear can only be extended below
72 knots and it will take very long to reduce during descent. Taking out the airbrakes will help but I consider this to be bad engergy
The gear will take twenty seconds to extend, a green light indicates it down and locked. In case of an electric failure
you can pump it down manually within about one minute.
The fuel pump and carburetor heat are switched on and the airspeed is pegged
at 65 knots.
The airbrakes are very effective and enable very steep approaches. The speed has to be carefully monitored throughout
the approach to make sure you have enough energy to flare. I usually approach with the airbrakes half extended and take them fully
out slowly during roundout. Touchdown has to occur at or just above stall speed to prevent bouncing, wheel landings are not possible.
landings are possible even with stronger winds of 18-20 knots keeping a crab angle until the flare and then kicking the nose straight
and lowering the wing slightly.
Back on the ground the Carat handles like a normal powered airplane and thus is easy to handle
also at large airfields and controlled aerodromes.