The first 8 hours, Climb Performance, Level Flight Performance, Roll Performance and Aerobatics

November 25, 2012

I have been flying quite a lot (for me at least)  We have had great weather on the weekends and I have been taking advantage of all of them.  I have now logged 8.1 hours of flight time and everything is going well.  I have completed climb performance, descent performance at 2,000 Ft Hp, I have also completed Level Flight Performance at 2 and 4,000 ft Hp.  As for aerobatics I have completed roll performance and quite a lot of maneuvers; Loop, rolls, Half, full and reverse have cuban eights, Hammer heads, 2/4, 3/4 and full vertical up and down rolls, and Stalls.  The following are my results so far:

Stall Speed: 63 Mph (The stall is completely straight with no roll off)

Vy @ 2,000 ft Hp: 2,812 ft/min at 114 mph

Vx @ 2,000 ft Hp: 84 mph at 20 deg flight path angle

Best Glide @ 2,000 ft Hp: 96 mph with 7.7:1 glide ratio

Vmin Rate of Descent at 2,000 ft Hp: 90 mph at 1,050 ft/min

Max Endurance at 2,000 ft : 5.4 hours at 85 mph

Max Endurance at 4,000 ft Hp: 5.6 hours at 90 mph

Max Range No reserve @ 2,000 ft Hp:  450 Miles at 92 mph

Max Range No reserve @ 4,000 ft Hp:  530 Miles at 103 mph

Here are the results for the aerobatics in this video, although it is sloppy aerobatics it was nice to flop the plane around for the first time.


Airworthiness Inspection and First Flight!

October 28, 2012

So after a overseas 2 week vacation I finally got the FSDO to come down and inspect my plane. Wednesday the inspector showed up took a look at the vitals and said, “well this will be the easiest one I’ve ever done, you did a really nice job” That made me feel really good and 40 minutes later I had a set of operating limitations, flight test area map, an airworthiness certificate, and smile.

Wednesday and Thursday night I spent the evening putting the plane back together, I installed all the panels and fairings.

I installed the wheel fairings Friday morning and when the weather cleared I started the plane up and taxied out to the runway made double sure that everything was running great and poured on the throttle. She got airborne rather quickly and climbed like a homesick angel. It was a short flight but I look forward to more successful flights. The hurricane was baring down on us so I put her away for the weekend and I will do some more flying when the weather gets better. Here are some photos.

Continued the final inspection and high power engine run

September 16, 2012

So today I finished the final inspection. After words I did some more taxi tests to make sure everything was rigged right and the tail wheel responds the way I wanted it to do. This was also to double check the brakes were working well. I decided I wanted to make sure the engine ran well even up in the higher RPM area but the brakes barely hold the plane at 1800 RPM so I decided to tie the tail spring to a tie down ring and do a high power run up. After the engine had time to warm up about 10 min I did some leaning and mag checks (50 RPM mag drops!) I ran the engine at full power for about 5 min straight. At full throttle I was able to get 2450 RPM steady. So she has a lot of pull. I also checked to make sure the fuel valve, if turned off during the run, adaquately killed the engine, the answer is yes it does. I also did some acceleration testing on the engine to make sure if I poured on the throttle it would respond quickly with out any hessitation and it does this well too.

Time spent today 5 hours
Total Time spent 1635 hours.

Taking the plane back apart for final inspection

September 12, 2012

Today and yesterday I spent most of the day running through the appendix D of the FAR 43 checking and double checking my plane for airworthiness. I also had an A&P IA come by and take a look for a few hours to see if I missed anything. I had a few issues mostly with wire routings and but he didn’t see any major things. He had me put a large washer on the outside of my throttle and mixture rod ends (good catch). And I also had a slightly loose upper wing Istrut bolt (you could spin the washer but the bolt was snug) So I went back and checked all those bolts. I went down the route of torque striping all the controls and he mentioned that I had gone down a slippery slope so basically everything needed to be torque striped. I also had to take the belly pan off so that I could safety wire the gascolator.

Time spent 10 hours
Total time spent 1630 hours

Putting the airplane together for the weighing and weighing the plane

September 9, 2012

This is a numerous day roll up. The last several days I have been prepping for the aircraft weighing. Simply installing the panels is several hour ordeal. Between friday evening, saturday morning and all sunday I was able to get all the panels, fairings, cowling, and canopy on to the plane and fitting correctly. With the aircraft level I drained all I could from the fuel from the level attitude from the gascolator so that I would get the unusable fuel. I also installed the wheel pants. With the aircraft level I used a plumb bob to get the arm location of the main wheel and tail wheel. Using the forward leading edge as 65.05″ datum my main gear was at 52.55″ and my tail wheel was at 193.63″. After I was completely satisfied I pulled out my aircraft scales and pushed the aircraft up on to the scales and checked the level. The total empty weight of the aircraft was 830 lb. This is much heavier than I had hoped but If I install the Aerovoltz battery that will bring me down to 819 Which is pretty good.

Monday through Wednesday I spend several evenings getting the Pitot Static system leak checked. Originally I had pretty good sized leak on both the pitot and static lines. Monday brought several hours of chasing a leak in the Pitot line. I used the FAA suggested technique of attaching a surgical tube to the pitot tube and rolling it up to bring the airspeed up to cruise speed. So i brought it up to 160 MPH. Originally It pretty much flopped right back to 0 MPH. After I sealed the threads on the Pitot tube it has a very small leak of 2.5 MPH per minute. There is no FAA regulation so the acceptable leak but from best practices I see that 10% of the cruise speed per min is typically adopted that would be 16.0 MPH/Min so I am more then within that. Next Is the altimeter. I had to Tee into the the Static line and used the FAA technique of rolling up a tube then attaching it and letting it out till I got 1000 ft above field then timed the leak down. At first it leaked pretty bad but after I sealed the threads at the Pitot tube it held the altitude to 125 ft/min. Which at this point I am calling acceptable since this aircraft is VFR-Day only. If I was flying IFR I would think differently.

I also ran the engine again for about 15 minutes with the cowling on. After that I will remove all the cowlings for the final inspection.

Time spent 30 hours
Total time spent 1620 hours

Counter balancing and Attaching the ailerons

September 4, 2012

So Monday evening I double checked my math with the ailerons attached to the wings and slave struts attached to the ailerons. I used a Gatorade bottle safety wired to the upper aileron at the leading edge tube and poured 1 lb 8 oz of weight (I used BB’s they were cheap to buy and heavy) to balance the ailerons with the fuse level. So that meant that I needed 0.75 lb of weight in each aileron. I took each aileron home to balance them that night.

Tuesday after work I took the ailerons back out to the airport for final installation (I hope). This time I used new and correct sized hardware along with castellated nuts and cotter keys. What a damn bitch these things are to install! Getting the bolt in is no problem getting the washer and nut on is a another story, especially on the center hinge with the control arm in the way. It took an assortment of special tools like ratcheting end wrench, curved hemostats for pliers and box end plugs to go into my sockets to turn my sockets into low profile socket wrenches when accompanied by the ratcheting end wench and my hangar mates cool new low profile craftsman socket set. Side note everyone needs a set of these things I will be buying set soon. Anyway 6 hours later all were installed. I hope they don’t have to come off for any reason!

Time spent 8 hours
Total time spent 1590 hours

Ground Running the Engine

August 31, 2012

Several day round up here.  I finished up the fuel system by re-installing the gascolator bowl.  I added about 4 gallons of fuel to the tank and checked around for leaks and found none.  I then opened fuel valve and started pumping the wobble pump which took apart and installed a new gasket and windings (so that could be a source of fuel leak to) and it took about 40 or 50 pumps to get the fuel down in to the fuel lines and into the fuel pump but it eventually got there and worked well no leaks.  I then installed the battery and checked to make sure the master switch worked and did some final checks and pulled the plane out of the hangar for the ground run.  I got in and primed it hit the starter and it couldn’t pull the prop through.  My battery is kinda old so this wasn’t completely unexpected but I have some suspicions that my starter solenoid was going bad.  It was getting late so just pulled the plane back in and called it a night.

Fast forward to Wed 8/29 I had a long weekend mini vacation so I got back to it on wednesday this time I brought out another battery that I new would work and tried that.  It didn’t even turn over the prop.  So then borrowed a buddies deep cycle gel cell batter and and turn the starter over and it did turn over with more authority but it wasn’t great.  It was however good enough to get the engine started.

I ran the engine for about 10 minutes and got the oil up to about 150 deg. The mag checks, oil pressure and oil temperature were also good. I had my buddy to a leak check while the engine was running, no leaks were noted. The idle RPM was a tiny bit low so that will need an adjustment.

Friday 8/31 I decided to change out the starter solenoid so I went down and got one installed it and tried my old batter again. It actually started it this time so that may have been part of the problem. I also checked the fuel screen again to make sure nothing was in it and everything was nice and clean.

Time spent 8 hours
Total time spent 1582 hours.