Tuesday, June 9, 2015

DAR inspection, Taxi Tests, First Flight

Before first flight I had a lot of ground running time. First engine start, first taxi, high speed taxi down the runway and slam on the brakes. I actually did that one a few times to condition the brake pads. And there is magnetometer calibrations which require the engine running. Lots of run time before you even get to take off. I tried to keep the engine cool and did a lot of this during the evening hours to try and not die of summer heat.

Somewhere in the midst of all this taxi testing I had my DAR inspection. Went really well. He had a few pointers and suggestions but nothing show stopping. We signed all the paperwork and I got my airworthiness certificate! All in just a few hours.

First flight. 
I am hangared at a Class C airspace. And no they didn't care that this was a maiden flight for an experimental aircraft. I requested to stay above the airport, denied, " well can I stay next to the airport?", denied,.....ok, I guess I'll head to the next closest airport. "cleared as requested have a good flight".    Ugh.   So I line up for take off and throttle forward, man this plane moves, accelerating down the runway and off the ground in just a few seconds.....I am now flying in an airplane I built! OK, focus Justin, whats your airspeed, 140KTS!!! jeez ....OK pitch up a little....climb? 2000FPM!!! damn this thing is fast....3500ft altitude already...OK....keep the throttle open we need to break the engine in....150-160-175KTS!!!! wow....(there is so much going on this time I can't even describe the complexity) I then discover my trim isn't working...crap....OK fly the airplane. With lots of stick force I flew the airplane wide open throttle for almost an hour. I tried different power settings and simulated landings and then finally decided it was time to head home. 

174kts! that's fast. (for you non airplane types that's 200mph! in something I built...in my garage...at home)

I got clearance to land on 36R and followed the landing procedure I had written down and it resulted in a great landing. I call tower "Successful first flight for experimental 521 Tango Whiskey!" Tower answers back "Except you landed on the wrong runway....taxi back to hangars via Juliet" .....dang it, I was so focused on my landing speeds and procedures I turned into 36L instead of 36R. But you know what...that's fine....I had a great first flight, a great landing, and I'm still alive. All is good.

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