Experimenter

MAR 2015

Experimenter is a magazine created by EAA for people who build airplanes. We will report on amateur-built aircraft as well as ultralights and other light aircraft.

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16 Vol.4 No.3 / March 2015 BILL AND K YOUNG CL APP'S CORVAIR-TAILWIND about 24 months. We picked up the airframe in April 2012, and I did a lot of work on it right away. However, at the same time I was closing out the automotive shop, so the work was done in a hit-or-miss fashion. We started work on it in earnest during the winter of 2013 to get it to Oshkosh in 2014. Kyoung was heavily involved in the build and a great supporter." FIRST FLIGHT THRILLS N196BC's fi rst fl ight was May 5, 2014. Bill said, "I have a par- ticular way I do my fi rst fl ights. I never do them the day of the FAA signof . There's too much stress then to be mentally safe. I do a complete inspection the day before the fl ight. The day of the fl ight I will normally run up to the fi re station on the fi eld and let them know I will be doing a test fl ight. I will also be sure that the tower knows what I will be doing. They are always gracious and give leeway to me for the fl ights. Typically, I will do a couple fl ights around the pattern in another aircraft on the days before the test fl ight to be current on emergencies and have my critical of -fi eld landing spots in mind. Luckily, at KVLD (Valdosta Regional Airport) we have an 8,500-foot main runway and two other crossing runways that give me ample room for any emergency. "I usually do all my initial test fl ights during early evening hours, in calm and stable air. I take of and set up a stable climb. At 300 feet above the ground, I am committed to continue the climb. I only glance at the gauges a couple times. (You can hear most any information you need.) If all is well, I normally fl y two patterns at pattern altitude and then return for a full-stop landing, put the airplane away, and relax. Once the fi rst fl ight is in, I can concentrate on any rigging changes, inspections, and documentation I need to do. "The fi rst fl ight can be stressful, so it is best to keep it short and simple. I normally keep the fi rst 10 hours within gliding distance of the airport. Once I start the cross-country phase, I will climb high and go to the next airport, descend, and land. And then on to the next. I try to stay at altitudes where I am always within gliding distance of an airport. This system works well for me, and the Tailwind was an absolute no-sweat air- plane to test. HOW DOES IT FLY? According to Bill, "The takeoff is pretty simple: Apply power smoothly, stick full forward, left rudder slightly and increasing, as the tail comes off the ground at 30 mph. Keep the plane level, as the stick comes back and lifts off at about 65 mph (10 mph over stall); as I pass through 80, I in- crease pitch and maintain 80 mph on climb-out. I normally climb at 1,200 feet–plus per minute in light load condi- tions (sea level). At gross I see about 700 feet per minute. Once through safe return altitude (typically 500 feet AGL), I transition to a cruise climb of 100 mph. Once through 1,500 feet AGL, I will throttle back to 25 inches MAP and maintain that (into full throttle) to cruise altitude. I set up cruise at 21 to 22 feet and 130 mph indicated for a low power cruise at 5 gallons per hour. "Landing is just as simple as the takeoff. I fly downwind at 110 mph and 18 inches MAP. Throttle back to 15 inches abeam the numbers. At 100 mph, the first notch of flaps (10 degrees) goes out, throttle to 13 inches mixture rich. The carb/engine design means no carb heat is necessary. I turn base and the second notch of flaps goes out to 20 degrees at 90 mph indicated. Turn final, check brakes, mixture full rich check, establish 75 to 80 mph (pitch) glide, and adjust descent rate with throttle. "Keep eyes out…checklist complete. Do a slight flare, bleed speed off, and let the mains touch. A little forward stick nails it on, the throttle goes to idle, and I keep it straight and tail up until out of forward elevator. The tail comes down, and I pin it to the ground with full back stick. That's it. It's a nice flying plane and is especially easy on grass. My biggest complaint is that there is a little wheel shimmy at certain speeds due to the gear design." In ending his comments, Bill said, "And before I forget, I want to thank the guys and gals on the Tailwind Forum for the input and encouragement we've received from them over the last couple of years. Visiting them at Baraboo, Wisconsin, for the Tailwind Gathering before AirVenture 2014 was a wonderful experience." It's pretty obvious that Chevrolet never imagined its lowly compact engine gaining a reputation as a viable airplane engine. But it wouldn't have surprised Steve Wittman. And for obvious reasons, certainly not Bernie Pietenpol. He saw the potential before almost anyone. Good call, Bernie! Budd Davisson is an aeronautical engineer, has fl own more than 300 dif- ferent types, and has published four books and more than 4,000 articles. He is editor-in-chief of Flight Journal magazine and a fl ight instructor primarily in Pitts/tailwheel aircraft. Visit him on www.AirBum.com . THE PILOT IS PART OF THE EQUATION Bill Clapp said, "As a certifi cated fl ight instructor (CFI), I fl y with a lot of different pilots in their experimentals, and frankly, I have more concerns with their ability to fl y than I do with their ability to build. I fear that a lot of nice planes are built but have very inexperienced pilots at the con- trols. One reason I got my CFI was to help people with transition training and testing. In that role, I've seen many pilots say that there is something wrong with their plane, but when I fl y with them, I fi nd that their pilot- age skills are the problem and require a lot of work. A well-trained pilot can deal with an emergency or the fl ying of a new airplane and will make good decisions. I've heard the "I'm safe now because I have a bulletproof engine" line before from pilots who can't fl y a straight line or hold alti- tude/airspeed. I'd rather see them become a skilled pilot. I am glad for the updated Additional Pilot Advisory Circular that allows a second pilot in the test phase. I did this for years as 'a necessary crewmember' to help the new plane/pilot combination get in the air safely."

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