Re: Videos of first flight + Flight 2 summary
Working in the business of experimental aircraft, I've seen more first
flights than I can remember. Watching them as ground crew always carries a
bit of terror, praying that all goes well. I've flown off Phase I and very
much appreciate your careful and analytical approach. Some have flown off
the whole 40 hours and learned little about their plane. One could say the
builder has earned the equivalent of a Bachelor's Degree in building the
plane, go for the Master's learning it thoroughly, working out the
Keep up these fantastic posts, Sanjay!
From: Q-LIST@... [mailto:Q-LIST@...] On Behalf Of
Sent: Tuesday, June 21, 2011 2:15 PM
Subject: [Q-LIST] Videos of first flight + Flight 2 summary
Thank you all for your good wishes and comments on my first flight. Indeed
it was a most momentous milestone and a memorable day in my life.
I have posted 2 videos on the quickheads.com site. The soundrack is original
and not much has been edited. You can click on the links below to see them.
Some of the cautionary comments I take to heart:
"don't let your guard down"
"now you'll have plenty of opportunities to screw up"
"Be careful of the 2nd flight!"
"Personal attitude: Always a test pilot, always a student"
I had not been able to sleep in the last three days. I have relived that
first flight over and over in my mind countless times.
The other reason was an anxiety, imagining what the second flight would be
like, without the beginner's luck, or the pressure.
So Monday morning back at the hangar. Following first flight, checked to see
that all parts were still attached, no new artifacts were present, all
surfaces moved same as before, no nuts and bolts had moved, no cracks on top
or under the canard and wings, tailspring, tailwheel fork, engine parts...
I did collect a lot of bugs on all leading edges ( canard, wings, prop)
which I cleaned.
Added 3 gallons of fuel (header stayed full + ~1-2gal left in main tank from
last flight). I still dont want to carry too much gas - fire hazard, I
My goal was to stay up for atleast a half hour directly above the airport
and build confidence in the engine.
KYIP 10am 70F winds 110 at 5-7knots RWY 23L 23R were in use. (Slight left
I spoke to the tower before the flight to insure that I could just circle
the airport at 1000' above pattern alt for a little while.
Little more traffic today. Takeoff on 23R - didn't wait as long as I did
with the first flight. Insured gages were all in range, and added full
power. Same behavior as before, lots of right rudder, then a slight nose
down, pulled up and was off the ground, then the left canard dipped and
corrected with right stick. It seemed to take a little longer to get off
ground. Noted that my rpm was a shade lower than before (~2500+ versus 2600
(more humid?)). Climbed 1000' before turning right. Climbed 800' more and
stayed in a wide right pattern. Noted airspeed indicator showing 170+. GPS
showed 160. Cut power to 2300. Generally, stayed at that alt and just flew
for a while. Varied speed while staying within a few hundred feet alt
variation, rpms ranged generally between 1800 and 2300. Turned on carb heat
a few times. It was supposed to rain/thunderstorm today, the view was a bit
hazy. Visibility was not too bad. It was getting hot and I was sweating. I
will have to do something about adding more vents/airflow. On this flight I
had plenty of opportunity to look at the instruments, and noted that oil
temp stable below 200Fand pressure at 40, and CHT stayed below 400F. (This
was very reassuring, as during all my taxiing, I would taxi till the oil
temp approached 225 and pressure had dropped off to 20.)
Since I had been making only right hand turns all this time, I requested to
switch to left hand patterns. Did that for a while. Noted that banking left
seems to be more effortless than right hand banks. Also it is easy to get
into steeper left banks and lose alt. I realized I needed to make these left
banks more coordinated with right rudder. Less so with right hand turns. It
also appeared to recover more easily from right hand banks. I mention this
because while this should in theory happen with most airplanes with right
turning engines, it appeared much more pronounced in the Q.
Getting a little hazier and maybe a touch bumpier. Decided to land. Over
shot the final turn, banked left a lot to correct, then right to level, then
right rudder to line up center line, overcorrected, repeated... Not a good
approach. Airspeed indicator (which I now suspect may have more error,
reading high) showed 105 on final turn. Did not notice gps speed. Finally
leveled off and continued to add more aft stick and was now real close to
the ground, I thought. But still no contact. Then a big bump, back in the
air a foot (or more?), another bump, and back in the air, settled down on
the third bump. With the relatively low airspeed I was afraid to add power,
with torque effects I may not be prepared for. What is not clear to me is,
whether I flared and descended, or my landing flight path intersected the
ground, leading to the bounce, as I do recall floating close to the ground
for quite a while.
I noted 3 lessons for next time. 1) Make a much longer approach giving me a
chance to stabilize the glide. 2) Carry more power, to land or to go around
3) Make wide square base leg so final turn is not cramped.
On returning to the hangar took a close look at the upper and lower canard
surfaces for any evidence of the landing. It held up fine. I also noted that
I am flying rather light with total landing weight less than 900 lbs. Now if
I had been flying closer to gross...
Total Hobbs flying time 1.1 hours cumulative.
Sleep - no factor.