I started work with Velocity this year in May. Since starting, I done transitioning training with quite a few people in the Velocity. It has been an interesting experience and a good one. Over the past couple of months I have noticed a common trend among pilots visiting Sebastian for their transition training - ranging from low time pilots to 20,000 plus hour military/airline pilots. No matter how comfortable a person is with the airplane, they seem to want to give control inputs to the aircraft even when everything is stabilized on short final. The Velocity is a gentle flyer and very stable. It seems to me that people do not like a stable airplane. Another tendency I've noticed among pilots has been a lack of rudder use when inside the pattern, and those that do use rudders, have used them in an improper manner. That is to say, these rudder inputs I've seen, if used in any aircraft other than a Velocity, would cause undesirable results.
So, what exactly am I getting at with the Velocity being a gentle flyer? Well, throughout my time at Velocity I have noticed that pilots transitioning into the aircraft seem to always want to get some type of feedback from the aircraft. For example, the most common area for this to occur is on short final when the aircraft is stabilized and everything is all setup for the approach. At the last moment, many pilots have started a PIO (Pilot Induced Oscillation). Once the aircraft is stabilized just let it fly and do not over control it and the approach will continue to remain stabilized.
Many aircraft out on the market, especially training aircraft require little to no rudder input at all to make nice turns and landings. The Velocity at cruise will not require much rudder input to make a nice coordinated turn; however when the aircraft is slowed to pattern speed, rudder use is a must. The rudders are the dominate control force in the Velocity at slow speeds. The rudders take some authority to come into effect when pushing - this is due to the lack of propeller slipstream over the control surfaces. The entire pattern should be flown with rudders and just a little bit of aileron to fine tune the turn. This will also allow for a more stable approach and reduce PIO close to the ground.
Something to be cautious of when flying your Velocity: Just because the Velocity can not spin does not mean that rudders and ailerons should be used improperly. In non-canard configured aircraft a spin can easily result when you hold rudder in the direction of the turn and opposite aileron to try and roll out. (This is also referred to as a cross control stall.) It is good technique to properly coordinate your turns - even in a Velocity.
Now lets talk about when we get closer to the ground: When landing the Velocity it is important to remember how the aircraft is configured. In any other aircraft we would be talking about our flaps and so forth, but in the Velocity we're talking about the canard. The pilot is not done flying the aircraft until the canard is finished flying. The Velocity requires for a pilot to fly the aircraft onto the runway. Landing the Velocity is much like landing any other aircraft with no flaps. There is no flare in the Velocity - otherwise the aircraft would fly out of ground effect. A common problem I see during flight training is the tendency people have to try to stall the aircraft onto the runway. Remember: the canard stalls first; this leaves the main wing flying, resulting in a down pitch moment - this will effectively place the nose onto the runway before the mains. You don't want that. Fly the aircraft into ground effect and imagine that you are to fly your aircraft at an assigned altitude of 3 feet. Once established at your assigned altitude then allow the aircraft to sink onto the runway. Make sure to keep your feet off the brakes to prevent nose slam.
Some Other Suggestions:
Before coming to the factory for training I would highly recommend getting some flight training in a tail wheel aircraft to get a feeling for what it is like to have to use rudder constantly. You will be very active with the pedals during your transition training in Sebastian. Getting used to it before hand will ease your training and make for a more enjoyable overall experience.
To aid in rudder use, set yourself up along a straight reference line and fly overtop in a 500fpm decent while doing Dutch rolls at 90kts. If you are unfamiliar with this technique it is used to help develop control of the aircraft. First start off over your reference line in your descent and begin to roll with your ailerons in one direction. Once started in the turn roll the other way. You will notice in order to keep your reference line on the nose of the aircraft that you must use rudder to prevent nose lag.
None of these common traits I've seen in training were said to belittle the pilots that I've flown with. They are written here solely to help future transition trainees aware of the common errors I've experienced, to aid them in completing their transition course and tofly their Velocity sooner and safer. I hope that some of these suggestions help to aid you in your Velocity flying experience. Safe flying.