| Steen Aero Lab Note: |
| While we present this article in the interest of completeness, we strongly disagree with the suggestion that the Knight Twister design has "questionable flying and handling qualities". The collective experiences of the countless pilots who have actually flown the Twister variations since 1929 leans heavily towards a verdict that it is an excellent airplane, without "tricky" tendencies - but one which must be treated as the high-performance aircraft that it is. |
The Knight Twister was designed to be a very responsive airplane, which requires a deft touch on the stick. When flown properly, it rewards the pilot with the smooth, just-think-about-it-and-there-you-go responsiveness that Twister pilots love. Those who fly it without any prior experience in a high-performance airplane or otherwise expect it to fly like a Cessna or Piper are in for a rude, and likely dangerous, awakening. As Curtis Pitts says, there are no squirrely airplanes, only squirrely pilots! Low-time or inexperienced pilots should not get discouraged... the key to safely flying a "hot" plane like a Pitts Special or Knight Twister is to get the proper transition training. The required skills are just that... skills which can be acquired by any pilot through instruction and practice. Some dual time in a Pitts Special would be a great place to start.
The Knight Twister isn't a plane to be feared, but like all planes, it must be understood and respected before it can be mastered. Be sensible about it, and you will find the experience to be rewarding.
EAA Headquarters has received another accident report on the Knight Twister type aircraft and is publishing facts and photos submitted by an EAA member who lives in the area where the mishap occured.
The aircraft known as the Redfern Knight Twister (see January 1956 EXPERIMENTER) was owned by a local flying service at Ogden, Utah, and was being offered for sale. From here we will quote part of a letter received from an EAA member - "Enclosed is a newspaper clipping and snapshots taken of a Knight Twister after a Sunday pilot got hold of it. He was told not to fly it, but was egged on by others when the more experienced pilots were not around. His previous flying experience was in Cessna 140's and 170's. I have been afraid of this ever since the aircraft came to these parts. The newspapers never mentioned the fact that the only reason he is alive is because of a strong cockpit, safety belt and shoulder harness. After takeoff he started a series of climbs and dives (over controlling) with each maneuver getting more dangerous and if he hadn't hit a tree the last dive would have been near vertical at around 200 mph. The prop cut through an eight in. limb as if it were butter. The G-meter which was not broken registered over 6 G's. The pilot suffered compound fractures of the left ankle, a smashed right knee, fracture of the upper right leg and cuts about the head and face".
All we can say is this is the second Twister accident brought to our attention over the past six months, the first one being very similar to the above described mishap but with fatal results. Accidents such as these are uncalled for but when a pilot's better judgment is deterred by inexperienced persons plus an aircraft of questionable flying and handling qualities, the results are usually disastrous. This not only holds true for the homebuilt aircraft as many persons are ready to point out, but manufactured type-certificated aircraft as well.