Starting a new Season

Well, the plane’s been grounded for a couple of years more due to life than anything else. Even this year it took us a while to get the wings on, get all the paperwork done, and finally today the test flight!

First off, I wanted to pass along a huge thank-you to everyone who has supported and encouraged me to get the plane back in the air. We have so much going on in our lives right now with work, a 5 year old, three adult kids and applying to join Mission Aviation Fellowship which will hopefully take us somewhere in the world where we can help others with our love of aviation… That blog can be followed here if you’d like to see how it’s going…

The test flight went well, I was glad to have the offer of Gary O’Brien from Action Ultralights┬áto fly chase for me in case anything went wrong. After another thorough walk around, and inspection, I fired up the plane and taxied out. The winds favoured 31 at the Duncan airport so we back-taxied. Pre-takeoff checks complete, and a quick prayer, I put the throttle forward and passing the go/no-go spot, I eased the nose up and she rotated. It was pretty warm today (about 90) so I used a bit more runway than I had hoped (was at gross weight) but once airborne I was seeing 1000 fpm on the climb out at an easy 70 mph.

I kept things straight till getting enough altitude and turned towards the practice area for 2000′. I had honestly forgotten just how noisy the cockpit is with the front wind shield installed. Levelling off, the tach was climbing to 2700, and I brought it back to a more comfortable 2450 and things settled down indicating 90 mph. A couple of gentle turns and re-trimming got me back into the groove in this plane. Next was some slow flight, not a full slow flight regime, but down to 60 with 360s to feel it out. Recovering to cruise, I proceeded to do some steep turns (just 45s for now), then I headed back into the pattern.

I did two low and overs to get the feel and picture with the new cooling “elephant ears” and then on the third approach (liking what I was seeing) I decided to commit and put it down. First off, I really noticed the new CofG with that tail lead removed, not a single porpoise in the flare, and even though it still lands tail low (the tailwheel hits the runway before stalling) the roll-out was straight and true till the rudder lost effectiveness and I transitioned to the heal brakes. It’s always a bit squirrelly there as I shift these huge feet around…

Clearing the runway and taxing back to the hangar was a relief, this was a big monkey to get off my back with all the changes we made to the plane over the past two years.

After shutting down, I noticed a significant oil drip and sure enough under the fuselage was a long streak of oil. Removing the cowls showed most of the oil was probably out of the breather, but there was some that appears to have dripped down from one of the cylinders and all over the carburator so next step is a thorough cleaning and a static run up on the ground so I can determine where the oil is coming from for sure. Flight was only .7 and lost about 1/2 quart of oil…


Starting a new Season — 1 Comment

  1. G’day Steve,

    Congratulations on getting back in the air. I’m sure you will have a lot of fun with it. Thanks for sharing ,


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