First Flight

Last week I drove down to Charlotte to pick up the airworthiness certificate. I got back into town with it just as a cold front did, and it took these 9 days to get a day with the right combination of me being in town and the weather being good. The weather was perfect all day today, and the flight went well. I flew for about half an hour, then came back to do a thorough inspection. I found a few more minor items to correct, such as the direction of the elevator trim. It worked backwards to how I thought it should work, so I just flipped the wheel around to reverse it. In that process, I noticed that the nut in that bolt had no cotter pin, which goes to show that even with several sets of eyes looking over an airplane, things can get overlooked! Everything looked good with the inspection, so I put it all back together and flew again. On the second flight I repeated much of the first, though I expanded the initial stall testing by adding flaps. At the end of the flight, instead of ending after one landing, I flew around the pattern for 5 more. The challenge with test flying a new airplane is that there are several goals to achieve. One is to validate the airframe and systems, but another is to train the pilot. The landings were more for the latter goal, though of course they also helped with the first. I feel very confident with the directional control on the ground, which was one of my main concerns about the flight testing. I find that I have a little bit of a heavy wing, and a few other minor things to fix, but that’s what the next 40 hours are for.

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