Author Topic: Planning for the day  (Read 3057 times)

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Offline Britguy59

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Planning for the day
« on: July 07, 2007, 10:23:13 AM »
I still have some work to do yet, but its reasonable to say my bird will be ready within 12 months or less. I read about having an experianced pilot test it first, getting some back seat rides off other owners to familiarize myself with the plane. The thing is, I don't know anyone in my area to ask such a thing, can't imagine someone wanting to fly an EZ they didn't build, never having known me or my skills. And I've NEVER flown in any canard, let alone an EZ, nor do I know anyone to ask. Is it unreasonable to do it all myself? I see no real options but to do so. I'v had good responces to online questions, but don't feel I know anyone well enough to ask for rides or first flights.
 Anyone else done this alone?
Martin Hulme, Zephyrhills Florida.

Made it to Oshkosh 2011.

Offline Waiter

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Planning for the day
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2007, 01:08:18 PM »

Hundreds of builders have performed their own first flights.

Goto the FAA web site and download AC 90-89A Flight Testing Homebuilt Aircraft.

Getting an hour or two, even in the back seat is priceless. Go up to any EZ flyer, tell them your getting ready for your first flight, and I'll bet you'll get a ride. I understand there may be circumstances that a flyer may not be able to "drop everything" and do it right now, but don't let this deter you. I guarentee every EZ pilot at some point had a "first flight".

Of course, You know to buy fuel, lunch and whatever else it takes to reimburse expenses for the ride. Some pilots will accept it, some won't. If mine was flying, I'de get you checked out in the front seat within an hour.

As an EAA Flight Adviser, I would suggest that you contact one of the EAA Flight Advisor's in your area, and subject yourself to their evaluation. This is a fair and honest "Self Evaluation" of your experience, and comparing it to the expected requirements of the plane you propose to fly. Example, Wing Loading. If all your experience is in a lightly loaded wing (i.e. Cessna 150) then you move to a LongEZ, with a highly loaded wing, you probably need to be exposed to a highly loaded winged aircraft to get a feel on how it performs.

The biggest factor in first flights, is to reduce the risks. This is simply done by performing methodical, stepped test procedures.

Don't move on to the next step until the previous step has been performed and can be repeated without any surprises. There are two things happening if you follow this procedure;

a) You are testing the systems in a methodical, stepped process,

b) You are learning how the plane handles, and stepping up the level of difficulty as you progress through the steps. Start out with the baby steps, and progress through.


I've performed 30 or 40 first flights, and approach every first flight in the following manner:

1) low speed taxi 5 - 10 kts - This tests the brakes, steering, ground maneuvering, and general wheel alignment, and how the plane handles at low speeds (in the ramp area)

2) Medium speed taxi (20-30 kts)- This tests the same, but the pilot gets a feel for the higher speeds, start watch brake temperature.

3) High Speed Taxi (40 - 50 kts) - This test the brakes and higher speed handling. ALSO, the controls now start to become a little responsive. Rock the ailerons, move the rudders, carefully apply elevator. I also like to do "jabs" of the each brake individually to see how much response I'll get out of the brakes.

Pay attention to brake temperature, get a good feel for how the plane handles this speed.

Practice with the throttle to hold the test speed, (Throttle is almost at idle) This will be very important in the next step.

4) Nose Wheel lift off 50 - 60 kts) - This is the most unusual test a new "Test Pilot" will ever perform, because they have never done it before.

Bring the plane up to the test speed, start out at 50 kts. When the test speed is achieved, hold that speed, don't go any faster.

Now ease back on the stick to see if the canard will start flying.

Repeat this procedure, increase the speed by 5 kts and try again.

When you finally get the nose to come off, hold that speed.

Practice holding the canard in the take off position. When your comfortable with this, hold the nose off and practice with rudder inputs, and aileron inputs.

At this point, you may need to make trim spring adjustments.

5) First Flight - do exactly the same as you practiced in step 4, EXCEPT, don't reduce the throttle when you reach your lift off speed.

Congratulation, you just did a first flight.

Keep the first flight short, I stay within gliding distance of the airport. keep the speed below 100 kts, and just get a feel for the plane at this speed.

Come back in and land, de-cowl everything and check every nut bolt and screw before the next flight.

LongEZ-RG   >>    N961EZ
O-320 160hp  >>    MT Constant Speed Prop
F-16 Performance, On a Piper Cub Budget

Offline Drew

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Planning for the day
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2007, 07:35:20 PM »
Use at least a 4000 ft runway---longer is better.  Don't put wheel pant on the plane.

Make sure you are not only current---but better than current.  If you have not been flying for the last couple of years, don't make your first flight in your untested aircraft---you will want to be sharp.  Rutan's guidelines are pretty good for first flights.
Drew Swenson
Cozy N171ML