Extra 300L – Dream Machine With No Conscience

Extra 300L

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Luckily I have had the opportunity to fly an Extra a few times – from the passenger seat [PREVIOUS POST HERE]. I felt compelled to offer my thoughts on what might be one of the coolest machines I have ever handled.

Extras are built at the Dinslaken Airfield in Germany. It is a certified, factory-built, thoroughbred aerobatic machine that combines strength and agility in a way that leaves a lasting impression on anyone that has flown one.


Your first impression on the ground is how smooth the thunderous 300hp Lycoming is in spite of its staccato growl. This is collectively due to the 6 cylinders, the long nose that puts some distance between you and the engine, and the low mass 3 (or 4) bladed composite prop. 


The next positive impression is on takeoff. It is effortless even in strong winds due to the caricature-sized control surfaces that force the air into submission coupled with a 300hp blast of air from the MT propellor.


Of course the takeoff is just a hint that the fun is just beginning. On climb you can tell this is not your average airplane with the VSI and altimeters winding up rapidly and the control response telepathic. Think it and the Extra delivers.


Once you are in the practice area and you speed up you might expect the controls to load up and get stiffer and maybe less responsive to the touch – not so. This demoness of the air doesn’t care about airspeed. She can provide whatever you want in virtually any speed regime. You would think an airplane like this would be easy to over control and be too touchy for mere mortals to fly, but somehow Walter Extra also designed it to be great at just milling around the sky – uncanny!


The really fun part is how neutral the stability is, you point it somewhere it stays put. And when it’s time to move, well it moves as fast as you want – roll rates are in the 400 degrees per second range and vertical penetration is exceptional for an airplane with no afterburner. It’s like being inside of one of those crazy 3D model airplanes that the RC guys fly around and like her model airplane little cousins the 10G load limit insures she’s up for the punishment.


On approach, the airplane slows down like nothing I have ever seen. One minute you are doing 170kts, the next you are at 80kts coming down like a brick. The braking affect of that big prop and the drag of the bulbous wing make flaps and/or speed breaks unnecessary. 


If you ever have a chance to get a ride in one of these beauties or if there’s school that uses them, jump at the chance. Everyone should experience such a marvelous airplane at least once.


By Brent Owens <click on my name to email me>

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