Little did I know that two months after the airplane’s debut at the Sun ‘n Fun Aerospace Expo in Lakeland, Florida, I would have the chance to fly the Super Patriot.
“Cayla, where can we meet you this weekend to have you fly the Super Patriot?” asked Don Wade of Patriot Aircraft during a phone call.
“I’ll be at Triple Tree on Saturday for their Young Aviators Fly-In. How does that sound?” I asked.
“See you then,” said Wade.
After an hour flight to Triple Tree Aerodrome in Woodruff, South Carolina, in a Van’s Aircraft RV–8, my husband and I landed on the smooth 7,000-foot-long grass runway and were parked by one of Triple Tree’s volunteers.
A golf cart shuttle whisked us to a Chick-fil-A food truck on property for a true Southern comfort meal—a juicy chicken sandwich, lemonade, and waffle fries. We enjoyed our meal and caught up with old friends, and Wade soon arrived in the Super Patriot. Once parked, Wade was met by an onslaught of onlookers who began asking questions about the familiar but distinctively different taildragger.
One onlooker was Middle Georgia State University student and pilot Ben Templeton, who thought the Super Patriot presented itself as “an amazing display of craftmanship.”
After mounting two GoPro cameras inside the cockpit, Wade walked me through a brief starting tutorial, which consisted of “mags hot, let her start, then mixture rich.” He showed me where to find temperature and pressure readings on the new-to-me Dynon SkyView HDX. Thus prepared, I exclaimed “clear prop.”
Since this was a hot start, it took two attempts for the airplane to come to life, but soon enough I was taxiing off toward the runway.
One of the first things I noticed while on the ground was the ergonomic design of the rudder pedals in addition to the effectiveness of the Beringer brakes. Gentle pressure on the top of the rudder pedal was all that was required to redirect the airplane, or hold it in place.
After completing a standard runup near the hold-short line, I began looking for landing traffic on short final. To my delight, the Super Patriot’s upward visibility through transparent plexiglass made this task an easy one.
Shortly after landing traffic cleared, I reached for the flap handle to the left of my head and pulled a notch of flaps (without having to simultaneously engage a lever) and lined up on Runway 03.
Soon enough I found myself wondering how I had already managed to leap off the ground.
Right away, the characteristics of the Super Patriot started to come to life. As a shorter pilot, my immediate thought was, “Wow, this airplane fits like a glove.” Thanks to an easily adjustable front seat, an upright seating position, and a curved panel, I felt like the airplane was handcrafted just for me.
Meanwhile, my husband, who was sitting in the back, was already commenting on the roomy backseat, wide interior, and increased visibility.
After climbing up to 1,800 feet at 2,500 rpm I put the airplane into a steep turn. The ailerons (which were surprisingly heavier than I expected) took a little getting used to, but by the second steep turn, I had it figured out. Although heavier, the airplane felt solid and stable throughout the maneuvers.
The added bonus of being able to open the door and windows midflight on a hot summer day made the flight even more pleasurable.
After handing the controls off to my husband, I took a whack at figuring out the Dynon SkyView HDX. Without any prior Dynon experience, I was expecting to become lost in the foreign technology, but to my surprise, the unit was far more intuitive than I was expecting. With simple return functions, personalization options, and touch-friendly features, I wouldn’t mind spending more time with this piece of tech.
Due to time restraints and wanting to allow others the time to take the Super Patriot for a lap around the patch, I headed east to return to Triple Tree.
After joining the arrival procedure, I flew over midfield and entered the downwind for Runway 03. Abeam the numbers I pulled my power and extended a notch of flaps. Rounding out my base turn, I lined up for 03 and let down a second notch of flaps with a simple pull.
As I slowly bled off airspeed, I took particular notice of how stable the aircraft felt. Although we were slow, and just above the Triple Tree turf, the Super Patriot was nowhere close to stalling.
Although I failed to glance at the airspeed indicator at touchdown, I knew it was nice and slow, just as a short takeoff and landing contender should be.
After a quick taxi back to the parking area, my time with the Super Patriot had come to an end, but I knew this wouldn’t be the last time I’d be seeing this aircraft.
Wade and his team have plans to make a few improvements to their aircraft and have invited me to fly the airplane after adjustments have been made at their home airport in Bessemer, Alabama. The Super Patriot will also be on display throughout EAA AirVenture Oshkosh July 25 through 31 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.