Well Q-crowd, It finally happened.
After 34 years, Tri-Q N8WQ took to the crystal clear blue skies of western Colorado today at around 11:30 AM local time.
Conditions: 45 deg. F, winds calm, Alt 30.28, ceiling and visibility unlimited.
Taxied the two miles on taxiway alpha to the departure end of 10,500’ long runway 11 and was cleared for take-off. Almost could not speak to the controller when I acknowledged.
Lined up and pushed the throttle in and accelerated quickly. At about 70 IAS, I began to pull back on the stick. Had neutral reflex and a forward CG, but it pulled nose off at about 75. The left wing dipped immediately and caught me off guard as I was trying to go forward on the stick at the time, it bounced the left main softly and then I caught the airplane and stabilized into ground effect, accelerating. Everything felt good, so opted to climb 6600 foot runway 4-22 crosses at the end of 11, so I had that as a landing option, but did not need it.
After crossing the end of 11 (threshold of 22), tower granted a left turn to climb north and I started climbing 95-100 mph IAS. Oil temps were already too high, Oil Temp got to 254. so I throttled back from 2750 to 2500 RPM, and oil temps started to come down and I got them below 240, was still able to keep a very slow climb going at about 5500 ft (~1000 AGL). Playing with the trim (reflexor) to try get a feel for it. Still only going about 100 IAS, so I throttle back up and go to 105 with about 850 fpm climb. Oil temps back up to 240 in less than a minute. So I says to myself, “hey self, lets try a little faster (heartbeat slowing a little now from the take-off fun), so I push the nose forward and get to about 120 IAS, then pull the throttle to 2700 and oil temps come down again, but no climb (at about 6500’ now).
Tower keeps me north of the field, so I just fly parallel to the runway, make a turn and head back the other way (I have attached the path as Google earth snapshot). Can’t go to full throttle without oil temps getting out of hand. By the way, during this time CHT’s are all under 300 and coolant temps never get above 140, so I am really only fixated on the oil temp. EGT’s look pretty good too if I keep it full rich.. With some working, I was able to get it up to 135 IAS (153 TAS) with engine at 2900 and still keeping Oil Temp below 240 (but that’s still too high for normal ops).
The plane is flying nicely hands off at this speed (135 IAS), not feeling any significant roll tendency at this speed. Starting to feel like the engine is not generating so much heat. Now indicating 128 IAS, and engine at 2800 rpm, I am able to climb at 300 fpm, up to 7000 ft. Pulling engine back to 2725 and going to IAS of 105 buys me 600 fpm, now at 8250’ altitude (interesting, engine seems to be more powerful now). Now at 9000’. Oil temps below 235.
I try doing some slow flight and landing-type descent. Pull power to 2000 rpm gives me 500 fpm descent at 100 IAS, so that feels about right. Same power setting and 1500 fpm descent is 118 IAS. OK, back at 7000’ now and watching fuel, so I psyche myself up to call tower and request the option for 11. He seems very calm (not me) when he clears me for the option. I have about 52 minutes of airtime now, so I start my and turn to base get airspeed stabilized, then turn about a 2 mile final and get everything trimmed up for 95 mph IAS at about 500 fpm decent, and the training kicks in. Hold that speed and descent steady (using 1650 rpm) to about 15 feet off the runway at my aim point, then round out about 8 feet off the runway and pull the throttle to let it settle on. Very smooth touchdown at between 75-80 mph according to the EFIS.
The touchdown was so smooth that I immediately had a big grin and sigh of relief. About halfway down the runway, the tower asked if this was a full stop and I answered sheepishly (“affirm”). Taxied back to the hangar, shut-down and had a look at everything. Have some small oil leaks that are easy to fix, but other than that, everything seems good. Will do some more careful shrouding of input to the oil cooler (there are some big gaps). I also will drain the oil and replace with new, since this batch got some bad heat. Will look everything else over closely, but did not notice anything not working properly.
If it sounds like I was watching the numbers too much, keep in mind that I am cheating while writing this summary by looking at the 1-sec outputs from my EFIS, which keeps track of everything and then is downloadable.. A very nice thing to have as I revisit the flight. Phase 1 has begun….
Jay Scheevel, N8WQ, 1.1 hours