^^And no this is not rotated at all(seriously!)^^
From my experience, a lot of IF users does not like the XCub because they think it’s extremely hard to fly. Which I totally understand as it is a totally different way of flying compared to any other aircraft in this sim. But since I learned about STOL(short for Short Take Off and Landing) it has become my favourite aircraft in IF. Today I am going to show you how to do this rewarding type of flying(and some basic stuff too).
The Cubcrafters XCub is a versatile aircraft. It is designed to have high performance in both STOL, range, speed, useful load etc. It may not be the best in any of these catagories but it certain excels in all of them. All this power combined makes it one of the most fun aircraft to fly in IF. You can do anything in it from cross country flights to aerobatics!
Before You Start
There are 2 types of cockpit on the XCub: Full Glass and Steam Guage
The main part is just your average HUD display. On the left you can see the RPM(Rounds Per Minute on the propeller), GPH(Gallons Per Hour[fuel]), OIL PSI(Oil pressure in PSI), OIL °F(Oil temperature in Fahrenheit), FUEL QTY(Fuel Quantity).
The screen to the center is a basic PFD. On the left you can see the RPM(Rounds Per Minute on the propeller), FLT(Flight Time), LOCAL(Local Time), ZULU(Zulu Time), F FLOW GPH(Fuel Flow in Gallons Per Hour), OIL P PSI(Oil Pressure in PSI), OIL T °F(Oil Temperature in Fahrenheit). To the center left is the speed guage, the outer guage is in MPH and the center guage is KNOTS(all in airspeed). To the center right is the altitude guage in feet. On the right is the vertical speed in feet per minute(x100).
Max speed in level flight: 133 KNOTS
Cruise speed: 126 KNOTS
Stall speed: 34 KNOTS/32 KNOTS in ground effect
Rate of climb: 1500 F/M
Endurance: 6+ Hours
Range: 695 Nautical Miles
Max Demonstrated Crosswind: 11 KNOTS
Information from Cubcrafter’s Website
I use a Samsung Galaxy A70 for Infinite Flight and I have the sensitivity set to default except I turned pitch down slightly. I have no experience on an iPad so I have nothing so say about that. Keep in mind to have sensitivity set to a point where you can comfortably fly at post stall speeds.
Maks sure parking brake is set, weight and balance is checked, bagage door is closed and right window and door are open. Then go ahead and turn on MASTER BATT, the PFD should pop on. Now turn on the NAV light and slowly advance MIXTURE to rich(100%) and . In your mind(shout it out if you want) shout ‘CLEAR’(that means prop area is clear) and start the engine. It should come on in a few seconds. After that turn on MASTER ALT and AVIONICS 1. You may now close the door and window if you want.
First reduce MIXTURE to 80% for fuel efficiency. I recommend going slow on taxi and be gentle on the controls as this thing can spin out easily if careless. If there is 10kt+ wind, pull back on the stick when taxiing to maximise the tailwheel control as the tailwheel may leave the ground easily and the aircraft will be uncontrolable.
Basic Flight School
The official IF tutorial on this is very good, but it’s only for normal takeoffs and landings. But I highly recommend checking them out before you learn how to STOL!
As this aircraft is not pressurised, I usually don’t go above 10000ft as the air pressure and oxygen level changes quite a lot above that altitude. Cruise speed is around 126 Knots which is quite impressive for a bush plane. If you want maximum fuel efficiency at cruise, reduce mixture to 65% after takeoff until final approach. Trust me it will save you a lot of fuel.
Advanced Flight School-STOL
Now you’re ready for takeoff! Make sure you have paarking brakes set and facing the wind if possible. Flaps should be at 0 and trim too.
Situation 1: 0-8 knots headwind
Push the stick forward all the way, nothing should happen. Now advance the throttle to full and wait for your the nose to level and relase the brakes while simutaniously lowing pressure on the stick to your nose keep level. Focus on the speed and once it hits 34 knots apply full flaps and rotate. Retract flaps right after you leave the ground. The initial climb is variable but don’t go below 34 knots or 38 if you are turning or you will stall.
Situation 2: 8-18 knots headwind
Push the stick gently and apply full thrust, the tail should come up swiftly. Release the brakes once you are leveled and keep it leveled. Focus on the speed and once it hits 34 knots apply full flaps and rotate. Retract flaps right after you leave the ground. The initial climb is variable but don’t go below 34 knots or 38 if you are turning or you will stall. But remember your airspeed will decrease once you turn as you will not be flying into the wind anymore.
Situation 3: 18+ knots headwind
Push the stick gently, the tail should come up without any thrust input. Get the feel of it and slowly apply full thrust and hold release the brakes when it starts to push down by itself. Keep the aircraft leveled. Focus on the speed and once it hits 34 knots apply full flaps and rotate. Retract flaps right after you leave the ground. The initial climb is variable but don’t go below 34 knots or 38 if you are turning or you will stall. But remember your airspeed will decrease once you turn as you will not be flying into the wind anymore. Again keep in mind that your airspeed will decrease once you turn.
The Backcountry Landing
This way of STOL is commonly used in backcountry locations as it’s steep approach makes it accuate and easy to clear any obstacles. It’s also easier generally in my opinion.
So first thing to do is find an aiming point. This can a runway marking or anything you like. You would like to do a 6 degree approach approximatly and you can judge when your aiming point is just below the 5 degree line on your HUD. Now you want to slow down to 35-36 knots and have your FPV(Flight Path Vector, the circle on your HUD which shows you where you are going) on your aiming point.
Now make sure you have flaps full, parking brakes set and I usually do full trim too. Continue your decent until about 5 feet AGL then pull back on the throttle, stick and retract flaps. Keep on applying back pressure until you come to a full stop. I tend to extend flaps to full again after I touchdown but it makes little to no difference
The Competition Landing
This alternative method is commonly used in STOL competitions. It utilises ground effect but is way easier with a generous amount of headwind. But it can really be way more effective in certain conditions.
First have flaps on full, parking brakes set and full trim if needed(normally is). Get down to 7 feet AGL(I found that is it the perfect altitude) and slow ot approx 33-34 knots while having nose up at 10-12 degrees to keep the altitude. You can do this however long if you would like to but I recommend at least 10 seconds just so you are comfortable with the conditions and stable. Keep doing this until just before your aiming point disappears below you. At that moment cut your throttle, retract flaps and pull back as hard as you can. The key thing is to keep your aircraft leveled the whole time as a slight bank can cause an uncontrolled stall while banking. The ground roll is just pulling back your stick. I usually do flaps full after touchdown on this one too but again makes minimal difference.
As you can see the rollout distance for the competition approach is considerably shorter.
How I learned about STOL and bush planes:
Big thanks to @Nate_Schneller and @Qantas094 for permission to use their tutorials as a template
Qantas094’s topic on this: Full Cub Crafters XCub Review
Nate Schneller’s F22 guide: F-22 Raptor: The Infinite Flight Guide