Al Stix made me the offer of a lifetime today-flying his 1917 Curtiss Canuck in exchange for nothing. A few quick words of advice from Glenn Peck, Al lends me his helmet and I climb into the cockpit. Everything is already set. Al tells me a few words of advice and then backs away. I'm on my own.
I look over the nose to get my attitude. I don't even think about it because I know instinct will take over once I start rolling. I add power. The airplane slowly starts moving. I bring the stick forward to neutral and push the throttle all the way forward. The tail just barely comes off the ground and all of a sudden I'm heading up in an OX-5 powered elevator. Climb straight ahead. Lower the nose to level to turn. Throttle back to 1200 rpms to get rid of the vibration. Look outside! You're flying a Canuck (Jenny)!
I make my first pass. Glenn has my camera and I want to be sure he gets at least one of me flying this plane. Even at 60 mph, he and Al just whip by my cockpit. It's almost noon and the wind is picking up, so I'm really concentrating on the airplane. It's like flying a kite. Definitely a rudder airplane. Lots of adverse yaw and just a tad bit underpowered. This pass I would not try to land on because it feels so weird. I don't worry though, I'll deal with that later. I go around and set up for another pass.
I line up with the runway for the second pass. This time I'm more comfortable and I could easily land out of it.
The third time is the charm. I set up for a landing, leaving a little power in to make a soft landing on the grass.
I head over to the far right side of the runway and swing her around to the left. Glenn was right (as usual). It doesn't want to turn with the skid. I blast the throttle, forward stick to lighten the tail and back taxi down the runway.
I'm a Jenny's to Jets pilot.