What to Practice in The XCub Before a Jaunt on Expert


You’ll quickly notice that the XCub does not like to taxi at 35 knots. It may take you a couple of seconds to reach the runway, but this is okay. It will still be there when you arrive.

You’ll find that if you just go full throttle like you’re wont to do in your 388, she will kick like a mule, and you’ll most likely end up inside another plane or in a field south of the ramp or something. We know you’re getting used to the feel, so there’s some leeway, but not if it’s because you’re approaching the Cub’s Vr while taxiing.


Clearly, it’s a lot harder to keep straight without some good rudder control than your typical commercial aircraft. We get that. We aren’t going to panic if you weave a bit, maybe skirt the edges a bit (I know I did that more than a few times when I first tried her out).

However, just because she is quick to be wheels-up doesn’t mean that there aren’t some things to consider:

  • Don’t turn directly over the ramp at 50 feet off the ground and overfly all other ground traffic.

  • Do extend your upwind a little bit. Maybe you don’t need to go out five miles, but you should not be doing 360s in the pattern.

In Pattern

When you’re in the pattern with the Cub, it’s physically possible to get landings in at an incredible rate. However it’s not an ideal way to fly around other traffic.

  • Give time for sequencing before you’re already turning your base not even having passed the threshold on the downwind.

  • Pay attention to takeoff clearances for both your runway and intersecting runways. Controllers can Call your base, but it’s even better if you take the initiative to allow a departure in between yourself.

  • The Cub has a final approach speed of 55-60 kts. This means that 388 behind you is going to catch up pretty fast. Be prepared to be sequenced behind someone sooner than you’d like, and when you are, extend your distance abeam the centerline a bit. If you’re number one, you’ll be pretty close on the downwind, since it makes such tight turns. However, if you’re sequenced behind a commercial jet on a pass or two, don’t keep flying that downwind a tenth-of-a-mile abeam the centerline. Give the other inbound a little lateral separation.

Exiting the Runway

As with taxiing, exiting the runway can be tricky in the Cub. You can only expedite so much without losing control. (Consider that a huge factor in your sequencing on full stops, too, since you’ll take extra time to vacate.) That said, while not speeding, do keep rolling until you come to an exit.

In choosing an exit, do not choose the exit nearest the hold short for takeoff. you may be able to physically stop her by then, but that just creates havoc when you try to exit into a long line of aircraft waiting for takeoff or on their way there.

Formation Flights

Just a (general) reminder since the Cub lends itself to some fun formation flights:

  • All planes in formation need “Flight of X” in their callsign

  • Only one member of the formation communicates with ATC, but all should be on the frequency to hear.

  • If multiple people communicate with ATC, or there is otherwise no indication given that you are a Flight of X, you will be treated as separate flights for the purposes of commands and separation. (“He’s my friend” doesn’t override separation rules, so remember the callsign and single communicator.)

When You Think You’re Alone

No, it’s not okay to takeoff from the ramp because you can beat the taxi warning. And, no, “I didn’t know there was ATC around” is not the justification some seem to think. Always 👀 somewhere. 😛


You’ve just given me the best idea to do on training.


… Tim literally just told you not to do that

do that on casual or solo. Yes, training is crazy. But you have to respect ATC and pilots.


Alright then, thought the topic was just about expert tho…

This should be pinned on top. Thank you Tim, this is very useful. The XCub is something completely new in IF, and those kind of posts help to understand it.

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When people lift off after doing a touch and go and turn immediately it gives me 0 time to sequence the person, and sometimes they just cut the person I was going to tell him to follow, so hopefully everyone sees this for this GA ATC schedule.

This is a very useful and educating read for the community. Thank you Tim for your incredibly detailed and informing posts.

Good information for everybody 👍. Hopefully if everyone cooperates then we can have fun mixing the big Jumbo’s and Cubs.

One Addendum:

Approach Path to Final

I’ve said it before plenty of times, but it bears repeating:

The ILS/GPS cone is simply a visual aid. It does not begin and end the localizer or glide slope. You do not have to intercept the localizer at the end of the cone.

In fact, in the XCub, you shouldn’t.

Because the XCub has a relative approach speed so much slower than most other traffic in IF, flying a full 11 nm approach without any traffic in front of you is bound to create a bottleneck behind you unless there is no one for a good 25 to 30 miles.

Whenever possible, plan to intercept the localizer more as you would when in pattern than if receiving an ILS intercept in a commercial jet.

Take for example this approach path:


At the moment, it looks fine. He’s by himself, looks like he has all the time in the world.

One problem, from this point, it took him a full 15 minutes to make it in, if not more. In that time, traffic traveling closer to 250 (or sometimes worse) kts is on its way to come in behind and climb up his back.

It can lead to situations like this:


Granted, the one plane turned right base way too early, but even if everyone is staying with sequence, there’s no way to expect a commercial airliner, or two or three, to slow below 80 knots to maintain separation. It simply isn’t possible. And the only alternative to that is to extend their downwind out to infinity. As I said, the previous example took 15 minutes to fly that last part of his approach. For 15 minutes in a 388, we are looking at what, a minimum of 30 to 40 miles downwind? It’s simply not practical.

(For those that tire of hearing it from me, this is also why I’m so adamant about pattern altitude no matter what aircraft. You do not need to enter the cone at the end under all circumstances. When warranted, and patternwork and XCub approaches fit the bill, the localizer should be intercepted much more like this:


By turning on the shortened base, there’s no concern about a bottle neck behind or 5 go around. (Also note that he’s already at pattern altitude and his path is still a smooth downwind-base-final transition, not a last minute panic dive bomb.)

Just one more thing to consider as we integrate the XCub.

(And the first two images are precisely why places like LAX, LHR, and ORD es no bueno for Cub traffic.)


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