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05 February 2008



I could not agree more with this article. I know I have only ever had the pleasure of learning to fly in the Robin DR400's, however I am hoping to try the DA40 soon but I still love the Robin.
And I know other people in France who have flown the Robin and love it.

My favorite would have to be the DR400-180, F-GMKT at the aéroclub de Limoges. It is more powerful, slightly larger and a bit heavier than the other two and I love flying it.

I can also remember (as you already said)the first couple of landings I completed, that after the back wheels have touched to get the nose wheel down ASAP and gain control of the aircraft. And also I remember trying to stall the Robin once and we just could not stall it.

Best Wishes


I think the Robins are great as well with brilliant visibility compared to the Pipers, Cessnas and Fuji which I have flown before.

I much prefer a stick to a yoke, especially in manoeuvres like steep turns where you end-up with the yoke under your chin.

As I understand it, the yoke was originally introduced to create the impression that flying an aeroplane was just like driving a car.

I did experience the skittish behaviour on the ground when I first flew F-DD though it doesn't seem so marked in F-YA and it didn't seem to be a problem at all on the heavier F-KT.

Either way, I soon got used to it and it isn't a problem anymore.

I do like KT for long flights and it seems easy to maintain a 135 knot cruise with me and A.N. Other, even though I am quite a big chap.

It can certainly get 4 people to La Rochelle from Limoges in under an hour and, on paper, would do London in less than 4 though I haven't done that trip yet and would probably stop off a few times anyway.

I love the Diamond Star as well and, even though it is a little bit slower, would favour it's superior avionics for very long trips, especially if the weather were uncertain.

Having said that, I would be more than happy to fly the DR400-180 from Limoges to London (though not to Biggin Hill who charged £26 when the Aero-club de Limoges DA40 flew into there last summer-and a further £26 when Sue and I took it for a 'jolly' to Cambridge and back).

The Robin and the Diamond.

In my judgement Sue is on track comparing cars with aeroplanes, however I fail to see the connection between thoroughbred horses and aeroplanes except for one point, in the Robin and the Diamond most of the length of the aeroplane is behind you, whether you are in the left or right seat. It was not until I was coerced into getting into the saddle of my daughters gelding that I realized most of the horse was behind you!

However I can relate to the comparison between cars and aeroplanes and I would compare the Robin with a Citroen XM or Xantia as against a Ford Granada or Mondeo. By far the most popular being the Ford, alias the Cessna, but the best being the Citroen, i.e. the Robin.

Turning to the Diamond DA40, my car comparison would have to be between a new BMW, perhaps a 520, and a Peugeot 406 (it would have to be a 3 litre coupe). The BMW has hard seats just like the DA, and thinks for itself, and the 406 has no mod cons but is a delight to drive.

It is a hard choice but being an ‘old’ pilot, I just like to be in control and not those electronics - except when I want my position confirmed!

Just a passing question for those students who ride, what turns an aeroplane and a horse?

Robin Abrey.

I learned to fly on a DR400, but later had a few flights in a C172, and could not agree more that the DR400 is more fun, more responsiveness, more fun. A low time pilot (about 100 hours) I had once a 15-17 kt crosswind with some turbulence and everything went OK (the DR400 limit is 22). Increase the approach speed by 5-8 kt, crab the aircraft, and use rudder to align at the very last moment just before the main wheels touch. Wait gently that the plane "stalls" at runway level (otherwise the Robin if pulled too much in ground effect may gain altitude and leave you with a real stall 2 meters high !), and that nose wheel is on the ground. But then immediately put stick forward and into the wind, and retract flaps. This is the technique that my instructor teached me. My instructor (now 80 years young) has logged an amazing 50.000 hours, and has owned pipers, cessnas, jodels, robins and many others over a career of more than 50 years. Now in the hangar, one single plane (besides a private twin engine) is left: the robin dr400

Hi Christian

Many thanks for your comments regarding the Robin DR400/140
I totally agree with all of your remarks However, it is the very last comment which is the most interesting to me, the fact that it is necessary to put the stick forward and into wind once the aircraft has it's wheels on the ground.

This is very different from other makes of aircraft.

Do you live in the UK or in France?.

Thank you again for your input and I hope that we shall receive further posts from you.


actually I live in Belgium. The reason to retract flaps is obviously to reduce lift. I think that the manoeuver to put stick forward and into wind can be decomposed as follows: the planed is crabbed for the crosswind, and rotated in that position. Gently await that the plane loses speed during the float, and when the main wheels are about to touch (before, not after otherwise risk of damage to main wheels!), use rudder to align and simultaneously put the stick in the wind sector to avoid drift (since the plane is no longer crabbed). When the front wheel touches down, then bring the stick forward, in the "wind forward" position. Then remove flaps. This is what I was tought. I think the reason is that my instructor told me that the DR400 should "either be in the air or on the ground, never somewhere in between". The plane is supposed to be quite sensitive to the wind into the large vertical tail with the risk to leave the runway in the direction of the wind, considering that once the main wheels are on the ground, they can act as a pivot around which the aircraft turns. This in counteracted with the stick in the wind. How this exactly works, I am not sure. I think that the drag on the lower wing (opposite side of wind) is higher than the drag on the higher wing (wind side), which keeps the plane straight. For the same reason I was tought that in strong turbulent air the take off speed should be increased, the plane kept firmly on the runway (stick forward wind direction), and when speed is OK for a safe take off, then pull the plane firmly to fly immediately, and avoid any risk that the action of the wind on the tail pushes the plane into the wind. This is what I remember and think I practice, but do not follow my advice if you are not sure: I am not an instructor myself !

Thanks once again for your remarks which are very much appreciated.
How does flying in Belgium compare with either England or France?.

Dear Sue,

I am not sure if this is the way to contact you or via the e-mail on the Aeroclub de Limoges. Either just myself or myself plus two are thinking of flying to Limoges with the ojective of doing check outs on the Mooney and the Robin (compared to the UK very favourable hire rates as well). Two aircraft I do not have in my log book. In addition to this, reading the blogs etc it seems a good platform to gain local knowledge in flying to the more rural strips etc.

If you are able to advise me which is the best method of communication with you that would be good.

Many thanks,

Kind regards,

Malcolm Edgecombe

Hi Malcolm

Thanks for your message.I am pleased that the blog site is helping people who wish to fly in France.I can assure you that it is a wonderful experience flying here, the country is vast and very beautiful and the airspace mostly unrestricted which is very different from the UK.The language is not a problem if you know who to contact.
I greatly admire the pilots who continue to push their own boundaries and try new places and new planes,Well done!

You can reply to me on this site or my home site www.nearlyheaven.com you will find further information on that site including accommodation if needed.Horse riding too if you want something a little different to flying!

My email address is info@nearlyheaven.com I would be delighted to discuss all your future requirements with you at any time.


I love the Robin and flew one to Australia in 1990, (see links below) and Lapland a year later.

I sold my plane in 1996 and have not flown since. I am currently renewing my licence and am looking for a DR400-180 Regent if anybody knows of one for sale. Must be 1990 or later.

Hope you enjoy the video's.

Australia Part 1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x64IeRCHWDs&t=15s

Australia Part 2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9AfK4MENyw&t=1334s

Return to Shoreham https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsJXXj8_3lE&t=8s

Flight Log http://eurolottery.vfast.co.uk/Australia%20Flight.htm

Lapland https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_su_lTnujw4&t=1397s

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