With everything all put together and signed off (lots of paperwork for an annual I’ve found), it was time to put the spurs to her and get in the air!
The plan was three-fold: first, an engine run-up to get all the temps to operating limits, second a quick hop, and thirdly, some upper air work.
The engine run went fine, brought it up to 2000 RPM for about 5 minutes to see all the needles (temps and pressures) start to move, then a shut down to check for any oil leaks etc. I put a bottle of “Avblend” in prior to the engine run as recommended by Kevin (The DFC president who has been a great help for the annual).
After the engine run, it was time to suck it up and get in the air. There was a small group on hand just by circumstance, so I put them out of my mind and took the active. I was indicating 2500 RPM or better as the tail came up, and a few seconds later, pulled back on the stick to get airborne. It was great being back in the air again, and I was indicating 1200 FPM in the climb out. Sticking to the circuit, I did two low and overs just getting the feel for things again, then I set up for a real approach. I planned on overshooting, but came down to about 15 feet before powering up. I felt confident in the approach, so the next time around, I intended to land. The flare felt too high, but I held the attitude until it touched down (a bit tailwheel first) and rolled out. I found I was doing some left/right PIO on the roll out, but for being a fairly green taildragger pilot, I was okay with it and taxied back to the fuel pumps.
After about a 30 minute break to go over the flight with a few of the folks hanging around, I knew that I needed to get back up and nail down the stall speeds. Gary from Action Ultralights fired up one of the training planes to fly chase for me. We blasted off to the west training area at 2500′ and I set up for a series of stalls. Power off, straight ahead came around 47kts, and by the time I got to 2000RPM the stall came at 39kts with a pretty much straight ahead break, no wing drop tendancy so far. This gives me an approach speed of 60kts (1.3 * stall). The ASI is still weird at the low speeds, but seemed nice an accurate in cruise. On the way back from the upper air work, I took Kevin’s advice, and opened it up. I think it’ll turn 2700RPM (redline is 2800), but keeping it to 2500, I stabilized at 105kts, while the book says I’ll be burning around 11 gallons/hr. Performance cruise is 2350 (which feels better in the open cockpit anyway) is down to 7.5 gallons/hr and gives 90kts. The landing shows that I am still flaring a little bit too high, and on the roll out I’m still PIO(ing) merrily down the runway, so the next flight is going to take me to Nanaimo where it’s significantly longer and wider (I think I’m just freaking out a bit on our short narrow runway)…