Several folks have asked about the Velocity's flying characteristics as an IFR platform. Here are some thoughts from qualify Velocity CFYI's and check pilots.
In my opinion Velocity aircraft make good IFR platforms.
- Very good pitch stability helps the pilot maintain altitude and at a set airspeed during climbs and descents
- Ability to fly fast approach speeds allows ATC to "blend in" the Velocity with faster IFR traffic. This helps when landing at commercial airports.
Less than favorable points
- Neutral roll stability means that small aileron controls will turn the aircraft - the pilot needs to be aware of heading control.
- Right handed pilots may have difficulty changing radio frequencies and copying clearances
- Slowing the aircraft can sometimes be a challenge. Extending the landing gear is a drag option once slowed to 125 knots. Note - many pilots have a habit of extending the landing gear at the outer marker on an ILS (or when beginning the final descent during a non-precision approach). If the aircraft is not slowed to V gear extension speed (125 knots) at the point where the gear is to be extended, it will be next to impossible to slow the aircraft to its gear extension speed during a descent. What I'm trying to say is this ... let's say you are being vectored for an ILS at 'big city airport' and ATC asks if you can maintain 140 knots. There is no problem in compliance - but just be aware, you must plan ahead and slow the aircraft to gear extension speed prior to the outer marker.
Lastly, non-certified avionics/flight instruments in Experimental aircraft make IFR flight risky until the equipment performance is proven reliable.
The aircraft handles very stable in just about all IFR conditions. The aircraft, like any will behave differently in turbulence Full fuel vs low fuel. The farther forward you have your CG the more stable the aircraft will be once you start to get into some turbulence. The aircraft in turbulence feels different from a conventional aircraft. When hit by convective turbulence the aircraft will lift up in the back quicker than the front. (Like a wave coming from behind when you are on a surf board). You don’t experience this as much in a tractor pull aircraft normally because you are sitting right under or on top of the main wing.
Above 170KIAS the aircraft will get bounced around a bit. I compare it to an arrow in turbulence but think of how bad turbulence would feel in an arrow if it was capable of traveling through the air at the same speed. The Velocity is still in the same weight category of a lot of GA aircraft and as such turbulence will affect the airplane. To obtain a more comfortable ride in the aircraft I typically will slow the decent down to 170KIAS when coming up on a cloud deck.
Cruise is normally not too bad for most. Landing is where the aircraft can feel unstable to some that haven’t ridden in the plane before. As you slow down and increase your angle of attack, the aircraft will start to feel sluggish and mooshy. (This is below 90KIAS) What is normally happening is that people start correcting wind gusts with the ailerons first. If you lead with the ailerons the nose will yaw away from the turn (the aircraft displays characteristics of a tail wheel aircraft). Instead you want to step on the gust with your foot. The rudders will keep the nose pointed forward and roll the aircraft. (the same procedure if you are at 170KIAS and you get hit by turbulence)
I have flown each variation of Velocity in IMC numerous times and shooting approaches down to minimums and taking off in Zero-Zero. They are all stable throughout all aspects of flight, I have not had any issues with controllability of the aircraft. Once you understand the differences of the aircraft and get comfortable about how it acts you learn to anticipate control inputs which lets you stay way ahead of the aircraft.
If your guy has any additional questions have him give me a call at the shop.
Best, John Abraham