Some frequently asked questions about my airplane, and flying in general.
What kind of plane is that?
It’s a Viking Dragonfly MK III.
The Dragonfly is a 2 place experimental canard. It cruises around 120kts and has an endurance of about 3 hours. My Dragonfly is powered by a 110 hp Corvair engine.
Why the dragonfly?
I wanted a plane that was interesting. I wanted something that would teach me how airplanes work.
I’d flown my share of Cessnas and Pipers, and I wanted something more modern and more interesting. Initially, I was drawn to the Rutan LongEz, it was weird and fast and almost everything I was after. But looking at the kind of flying I actually do, I realized that I take a lot of people flying with me. I wanted side by side seating. The Dragonfly fit the bill perfectly.
What’s it like to fly?
The closest thing I’d flown before in terms of feel is the Diamondstar DA-40, but that’s still quite different. For starters the Dragonfly has a side stick. It’s is a bit twitchy in pitch, but overall quite stable. It lands faster than your average trainer (about 70kts), but not by a whole lot.
How did you get into flying?
During COVID I needed something to do with my time, and I had a friend who had taken flying lessons previously. I contacted a few local flights schools, went on a discovery flight and then started taking regular lessons.
It took me about 7 months of 1-2 lessons a week to get my private pilot certificate. But that time includes switching schools & aircraft, time lost to scheduling difficulties, me taking vacations, and the extra time it takes to get proficient enough to fly in the very busy Bay Area airspace.
What was the process of buying the plane like?
It took a lot of online research. I’d been interested in having my own plane for several years.
The actual process of getting the Dragonfly went like this. I’d narrowed the models of plane I was interested in down to a few contenders. I would occasionally scour the usual sites (barnstormers.com, trade a plane, etc) for listings. I had reached out to a few sellers, but I’d always been too slow, or the sellers responses would indicate something worrying about the plane. But I kept at it, and eventually found the dragonfly and as luck would have it, no one had claimed it yet.
The Dragonfly was located fairly close to me, so I flew out to see it in a rental plane. I took the plane for a demo flight and decided that I liked it. After that, I got a pre-buy inspection done by Marc Zietlin, who’s the expert on canard designs in the area. Luckily, the plane didn’t have anything seriously wrong with it.
Finally, I met up with the owner, spent the day doing transition training, and confident that I could fly the plane reasonably well, I flew back to my home airport.