First Flight - September 18, 2005
Well I managed to muster up the courage to go fly the thing today. The weather was
hard to beat and I couldn't find anything wrong with the plane so I had run out of excuses.
Jeff Gross flew chase for me and did a fantastic job. It sure helped knowing that he
was back there. It was nice to have a cross check that my altimeter and airspeed
indicators were on the money. Thanks Dynon! It was also nice to know that I could spend
time worrying about my airplane and Jeff could worry about keeping me out of the
Class B airspace.
After making a couple circuits around the airport to shake it out and make sure that
all the numbers stayed where they were supposed too, I did a couple of slow speed runs
to put the flaps down. On the first one I found myself getting too close to the Houston
Class B and the Oil temp was getting a bit high, so I pulled them up and made another circle.
On the second slow speed run the flaps quit moving at about 40 deg travel. Well time to
land. So I flew the pattern with the flaps down, and after a few bounces I was safely
back on the ground.
I can't express how valuable the transition training that I did with Alex DeDominicis was.
I was able to handle the flap problem without even getting nervous. I highly recommend getting
some professional transition training. I am really glad that I did. It made all the difference
in the world.
Second Flight - September 20, 2005
The flap problem turned out to be a fuse that was simply too small. I put a
5A fuse in it and got Shannon to help me put the motor under load by holding
the flaps while I ran the motor. We could stall the motor and the fuse
wouldn't blow. I also made an adjustment on the prop. 1/2 turn clockwise
on the low pitch stop screw to try and get a 100 RPM decrease in the
The second flight went fine. The prop topped out at 2710 RPM so that adjustment worked
and the flaps did what they were supposed to do. I still had a little tiny oil leak
on one of the oil cooler lines but the other one went away completely. The oil
temperature is running a little high so I need to look into that. I was running at
around 75% power and noticed the oil temp heading north of 210°F so I chickened
out and pulled the power back. I never could get it below 205°F.
I need to do some more research on this one.
September 29, 2005
It seems that my oil temperature problem may be more perceived than real. I put a
little RTV around the corners of the oil cooler and added a quart of oil to see
if that would help. I talked to Superior and they told me not to worry about it
if I can keep the temps under 220°F so I decided to give it a go. I also
made a small adjustment to the oil pressure regulator and to the idle stop.
The flight went perfect. I took off and started orbiting the airport at 24/2400 power
setting and the oil temperature never got above 191°F. The OAT was lower than it
was on the last flight and I suspect that had more to do with it than anything else but
at least I know that I can fly the plane and get some of this testing out of the way.
The weather should start cooling off here in Houston so I'll probably be able to
keep the temperatures in the green at least until next spring. By then I'll be able
to fly it and get a feel for what they are going to be and then I can decide about a
bigger cooler or something when it starts warming back up.
The pressure adjustment didn't seem to make any difference at all. I turned it 1/4
turn CCW and I didn't see any change. I'll turn it some more before next flight. I
can't seem to get any kind of consistent idle out of this thing. At first I thought I
had it set too low so I moved it, now it's too high until I land and then it's too low
I guess I should leave well enough alone until I get the thing broken in and then worry
about tweaking all these little things. I still get about 2710 RPM on the prop but
that's not enough to worry about at this point.
Jeff joined up with me on this flight and gave the plane an air to air looking over.
He said that I had a little oil canning on the right side just aft of the baggage
bulkhead. Next time I have that bulkhead off I'll epoxy a stiffener in there. I took
a look at my elevator while I was cruising around at 140 knots IAS and it was about as
perfectly in trail as I could hope for. I guess that means that the incidence angle of
the wings vs. horizontal sttabilzer is right. I also had to make an adjustment on my
Dynon. It was very hazy yesterday and I couldn't make out the horizon so I was having
a heck of a time maintaining altitude. I started trying to train the brain to use
the Dynon but it was way off. Then I remembered the 8° angle of the panel, so
I went to the setup menu and put -8° in for the pitch adjustment and that thing
was right on the money. I mean right on the money! If I was a pixel nose up I was
climbing and if I was a pixel nose down I was descending. I really like this Dynon
October 1, 2005
I made two flights today. First I filled up both tanks to the top. That's
the first time the plane has had the tanks full. My oil pressure is still too
high. I have turned that regulator about a full turn now and it doesn't seem
to be having any effect. I'll keep trying. Other than that both flights
were pretty boring. I left West Houston Airport for the first time. I guess
the engine will keep running so I ran up and down Waller county just to burn
some gas and try to get these rings seated. I listened to my MP3 player a
little bit. I'm gonna be glad that I installed that thing. Both landings
were pretty good today and the first one was in the worst bumps that I have
been able to bring myself to fly in. It wasn't bad but I'm trying to
take it slow.
October 15, 2005
So far I have been just flying around trying to make sure that the engine would break in.
Today there was a fly-in at Wharton. I decided that it was time to leave the nest. I went
up and flew around the same old area of Waller county that I am getting really familiar with
and then headed down to Wharton. Jeff was just getting there when I did which was pretty late
because we both had some work to do on our airplanes. It took me three tries to get it on the
ground. It was about as bumpy as I had attempted a landing and I was probably a little nervous
about the audience, but I guess two go arounds is better than a bad landing.
After we ate lunch Daryl said "Hey, let's go to Brenham and get a milkshake."
I guess that's why I built this airplane so off we went. It was a lot of fun. Thanks for
buying the milkshakes, Jon!
October 17, 2005
I spent some time yesterday playing around with electronics. I swung my compass and then
aligned the Dynon with the compass. I also played around with the autopilot to get it
talking to the GPS. I'm not exactly sure what I did, but it started working. Maybe I
never left it on long enough to find itself. I flew with it today and it holds a heading
pretty well. There was some light turbulence and it reacted pretty fast. I imagine that
it will do fine.
After I played with that for a while I decided to fly back over to Sport
Flyers to do some air work. I like to do it over
Sport Flyers because if something goes wrong I have a nice runway to put down on and I know
people that live there. I did some more slow flight and some steep turns. It handles really
well. I also stalled it. I had flown it down to stall speed before but it seems that if I
approach the stall speed really slowly it just mushes along but if I really pull back on it
has a nice clean break straight ahead. It stalled at 49 knots IAS clean. I looked down at
the clock and I only had about 10 minutes until sunset so I headed back and just when I shut
down my GPS switched to night mode. It does that right at sunset. It's legal. Tonight was
a beautiful night. I hated to have to be on the ground. It would have been a great night
to do some flying. Oh well. I'm almost halfway there now.