Another step in the finalization of Grumman American has been taken with the introduction of the Lynx, a little cat that used to be called the TR-2.
It’s one of the three commonly used training airplanes around, and flies along with Cessna’s inveterate model 150 and Piper’s Cherokee 140.
The Lynx, at the time, was a little trainer with a big surprise. It had a new engine that burns 100 LL gasoline and offers 115 horses to jack-rabbit the little plane up and down from its warren. It also received a major face-lift including cosmetic as well as aerodynamic modifications.
With the higher horsepower and a gross weight upped from 1,560 to 1,600 pounds, the Lynx has suffered a loss of range. If you’re looking for fault in the Lynx, call it short range. Published range figures for the craft are 299 nm at 75% power. (Ranges include 45-minute reserve at low power setting.)
What this translates into for the flight school operator is slightly more frequent fuel fill-ups. It also means there’s going to be less of an endurance safety margin for the student pilot who gets lost, or hasn’t yet learned to land when prudent.
On the other hand, the 22 gallons of usable fuel are contained in two tanks and fuel switching is required of the pilot. The limited amount and the switching necessity should instill good fuel management skills in the new pilot.
The fuel quantity is shown, as it always has been in this airplane, by two thermometer-like fuel lines mounted vertically in the cabin walls. Each one has a little red float ball that rests atop the column of avgas in the line, to show quantity in the respective tank.
Aside from all this, the aircraft is simply fun to fly. The flight check craft was the third Lynx to be built and had been delivered to its owner only two days before being flown for The Pilot.
Visible changes to the Lynx are a bigger elevator and horizontal stabilizer. Other new features, besides the new engine, are added sound-proofing and nose gear shock absorbers.
The sliding canopy, in the past accused of sticking and being generally a pain to close, now is “cable-stabilized.” Small wires run from the canopy’s slide fittings forward to spring-like mechanisms that help the canopy to slide forward as if on ice – even when pushed with one hand from the side. It’s a welcome improvement.
A good trainer will make you work for precision and the Lynx does do that. Its new elevators are always flying, though control pressures have been modified to offer a bit more heaviness. But there remains a very sporty feel to the craft, which almost begs to be rolled in flight.
These sensitive elevators and the agile control response mean the plane always requires positive control. It is never mushy or slow, and over-control would be the norm for a ham-handed pilot.
This potential over-control is particularly evident during touch-and-go landings. Even the gentlest pull of the wheel would bring the nose up unhesitatingly as power was added on a high speed roll. A gentle push forward would bring the nose back down with equal agility.
Temperatures at ground during the check flight hovered between 25Âº and 30ÂºF, and takeoffs and landings were initiated at Baltimore-Washington (elevation 146 msl) and Frederick, MD. (elevation 304 msl). Winds were generally under 5 knots. From Baltimore the aircraft flew itself off at 65 knots after rolling about 1,400 feet. Roughly 300 feet can be cut from that distance by using standard short-field techniques and hauling back when the needle hits 60. A landing roll with approach at 65 knots consumed almost the same distance as short-field takeoff.
An 80-knot best-rate-of-climb speed provided an initial 1,000 fpm rate of climb, which gradually decreased to 500 fpm at 6,500 feet where the temperature was 10ÂºF.
This little airplane hums along on its 115 hp at surprising speeds. During this flight, it went as fast as 121 knots at 2,200 feet in 17ÂºF air. That was redline power though. More normal cruise settings, at 6,500 feet, offered a true airspeed of 113 knots at 78% power, and 105 knots at 65% power. Published fuel consumption for 65% power at that altitude is 5.7 gph.
Stalls, flaps up, arrived at 55 knots indicated and at 52 when the flaps were down. The stall is controllable but should not be left unchallenged, for it will quickly get a bit unruly unless corrections are made. Spins are allowed with an optional spin kit. Steep turns of 60Âº bank require strong, but not arm-breaking force.
Used, two-place trainers tend not to be too costly, and for the money you’re getting a usable, if demanding, flying machine for training. There’s room at the shoulders and space between the seats for charts, sunglasses and gloves. Preflight is simple and the cowl can be quickly removed for a more detailed inspection.
It’s a utilitarian aviation machine that will get back and forth to the training area at good speed, leaving more time for what the Lynx is designed for, flight instruction.
Berl Brechner, AOPA Pilot, April 1977