Author Topic: Build my confidence...please!  (Read 5047 times)

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Offline Britguy59

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Build my confidence...please!
« on: August 05, 2007, 05:39:42 PM »
I'm sitting at home seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Painting is now about to start. Hangar is about to be available. Perhaps it will actually make noise and move soon. Hmmm....now I see it more clearly, I'm actually having some fears. A lot of my plane was built before I got her, though in a very basic form. Seems well built. Can't find any evidence of shoddy work, poor quality materials. Attention to detail is excellent. So why am I worried? Simple. With little to base my experiance on, I look at the 2 little pins and 2 bolts in the canard and think...is that really strong enough? The wings bolt on with 3 bolts....seems like way too weak. Now my dreams of flight drift into visions of losing a wing or canard, unable to get out of the spinning cockpit to open the chute.  I can find NO evidence of failure of this type. No NTSB reports (and I read all I could find)that talk of airframe failure. Is this a common fear?  I invite comments and encourage the mental support I'm hoping for. Its really illogical to think this way, but can't help it....help!!
Martin Hulme, Zephyrhills Florida.

Made it to Oshkosh 2011.

Offline Drew

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Build my confidence...please!
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2007, 06:02:10 PM »
The bolts that hold the wing and canard on are pretty much overkill.  People have gotten hurt (and killed) by putting the canard on and failing to fasten it.

I seem to remember a elevator flutter accident in the Banning Pass that ripped the canard off (but the bolts were probably still firmly attached-----with bulkhead material ripping away).

One of the most critical areas on the airplane is the elevator.  If you did not build the elevator, take it off and weigh it to make sure it falls within standards.

Make yourself a comprehensive test plan so that you can incrementally check things off in proper sequence with proper build up.  This would include functional checks, taxi tests, etc.
Drew Swenson
Cozy N171ML

Offline walter

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Build my confidence...please!
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2007, 09:40:31 PM »
I am hopefully less than a year away from finishing my varieze. I purchased the project with alot of the work already done. It sounds like you and I are in a similiar situation. I wonder sometimes about the quality of work on my project as well. The concerns won't stop me. They will only make me double and triple check all the things that need checking. I don't think you are experiencing any fear. I think it is simply a matter of self preservation. I can't imagine test flying a plane I had built without experiencing a small amount of apprehension!

Offline Waiter

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Build my confidence...please!
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2007, 05:22:50 AM »
YOU NEED A PLAN.

Find your local EAA Flight Adviser and discuss this with him/her.  They have a plan to conduct an evaluation of the proposed pilot, AND a very nice set of cards on how to perform a flight test.

One of the greatest complements I received while conducting a first flight was what was overheard by one of the observers.

This was a routine first flight being performed on a LongEZ in Hollister California. I was the pilot and the owner of the plane was acting as the ground observer.

We both had a copy of the test cards (checklist for what we were testing). As I finished each card, I would call him on the radio and advise "Card XYZ complete, no deviations".

A few people from the local skydiving club had gathered and were curious and watching.  

One of the spectators was heard to say;

"Wow, you guys are really organized, this is like NASA or something".

Well, we don't have the NASA budget, but we did barrow some of their procedures and plans.

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

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Build my confidence...please!
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2007, 05:48:03 PM »
Just to add to the excellent notes above, basic things can make for a solid confident start to a flight.
- Double check the last thing worked on.
- Restart any preflight that is interrupted.
- The canopy safety catch. Confirm its function each flight sitting in the plane and closing the canopy for the first time. For some reason mine occasionally needs a slight adjustment after the plane has been open at a fly in.
- The three canopy latches. Temperature or unintentional side loads while closing can cause misalignment. From inside, with no easy viewing of all three hooks as they engage, a guy can look right past the mechanism and not notice that the hook is actually going outside the bolt head. I caught one getting ready for Oshkosh. It helps to re-read the plans for the proper tolerances.
- The canopy/gear/throttle warning system. Installed and working correctly. I have heard and agree that this is a no-fly, safety of flight item.
-We certainly use the experience of others to advantage. Adjust along the way.

Concerning the concerns. Work through them.
-RAF did demos for early builders. They tortured and abused canard tabs and wing fittings. They tested poorly built components. They attached wings and canards to hangar pillars and loaded on sandbags and then dozens of bystanders. In the CPs.
My concern was those tiny little axle bolts. Until attempts to trash and break a few failed. Impressive.
- Even with a VariEze approaching a thousand flights, each preflight includes a little consideration of the significance of the powerful and exciting physics experiment that is about to take place. It is a useful part if the preflight ritual and is usually quickly checked on and checked off the list.
- Documenting maintenance and flight details is a good way to track and resolve legitimate concerns. I hear it can occasionally make a guy feel really smart. After shutting down, a local retired test pilot spends about ten minutes scratching on his kneeboard before climbing out of his SX300.
- Best Bet: Use a checklist, at least for the first twenty years.
Congrats on your work and good flying.
Bill James, Fort Worth VariEze N95BJ
Downdraft Plenums, QuickCowls
There was supposed to be anhedral?
ATP, Society of Flight Test Engineers

Offline GlennBob

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Fears of test piloting
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2007, 01:04:11 AM »
Mr James ! !  

Is it really you ?  Emerging from the foggy abys ? ?

Mine is nearing completion too.  Since I have been over every little detail, I'm not as concerned.  Perhaps I should have more " over the shoulder " help.

Glennbob
N600EZ  O-320-E2A,  Hertzler prop, Trio AP, Narco HSI, Custom headers, Oil heat.