16 First Flight

This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series 16 - Flight Testing

First flight was scheduled for July 7th. We drove down on the July 4th.  Ann came down on this trip (for some reason) :-). The last time she was in Sebastian was when we came down to talk to Velocity and take the demo flight in June of 2007.

I spent the 5th and 6th preparing for the flight by finishing up the various odds and ends that needed to be done. On the 6th, the plane moved for the first time under it’s own power.

I was very pleased with the handling compared to the trainer that I flew a couple weeks earlier. After taxiing around for a while, I picked up Ann and we did a relatively high-speed taxi (~ 50kts). Once again, the airplane tracked very nicely.  Then we went over to the compass rose to align the AHRS and magnetometers. Then we put it away for the night.

John Abraham came over around 11am on the 7th and began his preflight.  While he was doing that I explained the systems that I thought were unique to my plane.  The only thing he found was the main gear cables were a little tight. He wanted a bit more slack in them. So we loosened them.  He checked a couple other things and then said “Looks like it should fly… Let’s go see.” 🙂

So we pushed it outside.


John started the engine and we talked for a minute while the engine warmed up. Then he taxied off to runway 06.


Ann had a GoPro running and her iPhone at the same time (not sure how she did that).  The GoPro video is going to require some post-production work as the plane is so small that you can even see it. But until then, here’s the iPhone video.

John was up about 20 minutes.  During that time he check the control response, slow speed handling, monitored the engine and attempted to check the high-speed handling.

After landing, returning to the hanger and shutting down he explained that a flutter developed at about 160kts which limited the speed on this flight. He said that it seemed to be coming from one of the landing gear doors. The only other issue was a slight left roll tendency.

And with that, the first flight was over.

Now, in addition to being an “airplane” on FAA paper, it is also one in reality.

This calls for a celebration!

I’ve been holding my last bottle of Glenmorangie in reserve.  I had to do this because the sixteen men of Tain decided to sell their distillery to the French (YGBSM!) a few years ago. The current product, by the way, is barely acceptable for cleaning toilets. But we’ll leave that discussion for another time.

So I brought along my last bottle on this trip. I pulled out a couple of mixing cups because it seems appropriate that the cups which were used to mix the epoxy for this airplane be the preferred container for the celebratory drink.


Now that’s how you finish an airplane.

Series Navigation<< 16.1.1 N-NumbersGear doors, rudders and roll trim >>