Extra 330

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Primary Function:
Weight Empty:
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First Flight:
Lycoming AEIO-580 B1A
315 hp.
23 ft. 1 in.
26 ft. 0 in.
1,422 lbs.
2,095 lbs.
49.7 U.S. gals.
182 mph
253 mph
2,740 fpm
16,000 feet
460 miles

Extra 330

Extra 330

The highly aerobatic Extra 330 is designed by Walter Extra. He started the Extra Aircraft Company, located in Germany, in 1980. Extra 330 series aircraft are the winners of the 2008 German Aerobat trophy and numerous other competitions.

The Extra 330 can thrill air show crowds with tumbling maneuvers that are second to none.  The Chilean Air Force uses five Extra 330 aircraft in their Halcones Air Team.

Flying the Extra 330

Pilots of the Extra 330 have described flying the aircraft as extremely fulfilling.

The most common complaint about the Extra 330 is in regard to its cockpit canopy. It seems that just the slightest breeze can cause it to slam closed and break. Pushing it forward when it is not lock-closed will jettison the canopy. A new canopy costs about US$12,500, not including shipping.

Climbing into the cockpit is relatively easy, providing care is taken to avoid standing on the aileron pushrods running through the lower cockpit. Switches on the instrument panel will adjust each rudder pedal individually to the liking of the pilot.

There is a seven point harness, designed to safely hold the pilot in place while performing aerobatics, that takes a while to properly adjust. Although the cockpit fit is a bit tight and somewhat cluttered, most everything falls readily to hand. However, the fuel cock is out of sight, being quite low on the right side of the cockpit. The fuel source selection lever has three positions. They are off, both wings, and acro. The acro setting draws fuel from a 14.7 gallon fuel tank located forward in the fuselage. It should be noted that the 49.7 gallon capacity wing tanks must be empty before major aerobatic maneuvers are performed.

Visibility from the cockpit is good at the sides, but blocked by the nose of the aircraft, as is typical in most tail draggers. The aircraft is easy to taxi, even on grass. Just adding a small amount of power is sufficient to get it moving. The steerable tail wheel makes maneuvering on the ground easy.

Taking off in the Extra 330 involves lining up on the runway centerline, ensuring that the tail wheel is pointed straight ahead. Holding the stick slightly rearward will keep weight on the tail wheel until sufficient speed is reached for the rudder to gain authority.

The Extra 330 accelerates rapidly. A small amount of right rudder will counter propeller torque and keep the aircraft on centerline. A light touch on the rudder pedals is essential to avoid over controlling, especially with the tail wheel still on the ground. A good tactic to use in this aircraft, with strong rudder authority, is “little and often”. Some forward stick will lift the tail followed by lift off in just a few short seconds.

Best rate of climb speed is 104 MPH. The nose of the Extra 330 must be pulled upward in an unnatural attitude for maximum climb performance after takeoff. A more comfortable climb can be accomplished at about 127 MPH without the unnatural attitude, but it will take a few seconds longer.

Maximum maneuvering speed (Va) of the Extra 330 is 182 MPH. Past that speed, full control deflection is not permitted. Being aware of the limit is essential in an aircraft as aerodynamically clean as the Extra 330.

Aileron response provides an excellent roll rate, at 400 degrees per second, while having a positive feel. To do four rotations takes less than five seconds, including starting and stopping. And, stopping the roll to level flight is just as quick and easy. Elevator control is light and barely increases with maneuvering. The elevator, like the rudder, is best with a light touch.

Stalls in the Extra 330 are predictable, with small wing drop and a little of pre-stall buffeting. Spin rotations are relatively slow and easy to stop, while power-off spins, both upright and inverted, are gentle and predictable. Snap rolls are executed smartly.

Pulling into a vertical climb from 1,500 feet at 2,700 rpm and full throttle results in a complete stop at 3,400 feet. During the climb, right rudder is increased to keep the aircraft straight vertical.

Landing on grass is done at about 98 MPH turning final and 86 over the hedge. Very little power is necessary for a gentle descent. The Extra 330 remains rock steady, even at very low speeds. Side slip is necessary to see the runway on final, so a bit of right rudder and left stick is called for to keep the left side of the runway in view. During flare, side slip is removed and the throttle is closed. The Extra 330 will set down on three points without any drama. The tail has no inclination to rise so steering remains positive. Strong crosswinds should not present any problem with this aircraft.

RC Extra 330

RC Extra 330

That’s Drew Rousseau and his Carden Aircraft RC Extra 330.  Wingspan is 124 in. and length is 119 in.  Power can come from 150 cc to 200 cc engines.

The RC Extra 330 from FMS comes as a PNP (Plug n Play).  It has a 78 1/2 in. wingspan and is 79 in. long.  Power comes from a 6860-kV220 motor.  All up weight is around 13 1/2 lbs.

Phoenix Model RC Extra 330 is an ARF of all wood construction.  Its wingspan is 79 in. and length is 74 in.  Power can come from a 30 cc to 35 cc gas engine or the equivalent electric motor.  Weight, ready to fly is around 13 lbs.

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