Q-talk 66 - FIRST FLIGHTS
- Category: Q-Talk Articles
- Published: Friday, 31 October 1997 06:11
- Written by Tom Moore, et al
- Hits: 2413
I am proud to report that on June 1, 1997, at about 20:00 hours Quickie Q-200 321TM flew for the first time. The pilot, Tom Moore, was not far behind.
For those of you who have flown your plane you know what it was like. For those of you still working in that direction, it was everything you have been dreaming of.
We had been at the airport since noon waiting for some favorable winds. The weather in the Dallas area has been typical spring weather and very unpredictable. We had missed a perfect morning and I had to hear about it from everyone I saw.
The mood was already tense, but when an ultralight pilot dove his machine into the ground at about 14:00 on his maiden voyage things tightened up a little more.
Anyway, the sun was going down and so were the winds. Bob Malechek and I drove out to the runway for a first hand look. The windsock was heading across the runway, but fortunately it was hanging limp. IT WAS A GO!!!
Well, as far as the take-off goes, all I'll say is that I'm glad I was flying off of an old wide bomber runway. I flew above the airport for about 15 minutes, but I was loosing my daylight and needed to get back down. I did a low approach and then came back around to land. The landing? It was OK, but I think I'll stay on the wide runways for a while.
The above was a note that I sent out to the guys on the E-mail list (Q-LIST) to tell about my first flight. It has been six months since that first flight and everything has gone fairly smoothly. The first ten hours I spent just trying to fly the plane. I had broken one of the cardinal sins during my building process, I had not kept current on my flying skills.
After ten hours I decided that skill alone could not master THIS plane on the ground. I had some EXTREMELY exciting rollouts after landing and skill was not going to overcome a plane that wanted to occasionally leave the runway at 60-70 mph. I was fortunate enough to have dual hand brakes and was able to override this tendency. But grabbing a handful of brake lever and changing direction 90 degrees at 60 mph was something I didn't want to see anymore of (twice was enough). I was contemplating several previously published changes to the plane to correct this problem when David Gall sent me his ideas on resolving this problem. In a few pages you will find a excerpt from an article David published on correcting the Q's ground handling quirks.
Well I followed David's advice and it tamed my ground handling devils. From there I was able to fly off the 25 hours I had been assigned in time to fly out to the Ottawa fly-in.
The trip to Ottawa was what it was all about. All the years that I had spent working on the plane were finally paying off. Here I was taking a trip that I had thought about so many times. It really was a good feeling.
I first flew my plane with only a primer coat and I can say now that it was a good idea. I made some major modifications that would have been disastrous to a final finish. So after 46 hours I'm down for a paint job and some minor rework.
There's no way I could have kept going if it wasn't for the people in the QBA and Q-TALK. Thanks very much!
Tom Moore, Frisco, TX
After exactly 15 yrs, 6 mos., 13 days, the "500 hr" homebuilt Tri-Q2 is cast skyward. This great day came on the first day of spring, June 21, of this year. Every dog has his day.
The goal on this particular day was for the plane and pilot to return in the same condition in which they departed mother earth. Fortunately, that mission was accomplished. While a rather uneventful flight, the day was not without its glitches.
On that Saturday morning I had about an hours worth of "things" to do before the first flight; a few runups and a couple more high speed taxis. I told my wife, Nancy, that I would call from the airport before launching so that she could witness the long awaited event. At about 11:00 a.m. I am ready. I call her to tell her to come on over, Orville Jr. is about to launch.
Between the time I called her and when she arrived, I decided to pull the top cowling one more time just to take a last look. Good and bad news. The bad news is that one of the oil cooler hoses was leaking. The good news is I found it before flying. Because of my "custom" intake cooling ducts, it is not a simple task of taking off a few screws to get the lower cowling off so that I could get to the oil cooler. The clamp on the oil cooler hose had stripped. This took another couple of hours. At that point I had decided that I was pushing too hard and decided not to fly it after all. I was quite disappointed, but after waiting this long, another day wouldn't hurt. Besides, a good thunderstorm was brewing on the horizon.
Instead I decided to go home and take a nap. I awoke, was hungry, so I called my hangar mate, fellow Tri-Q200 builder, Earnest Martin, and he and his wife joined Nancy and me for dinner. As we finished dinner, the showers stopped, the wind died down, I was rested, so LET'S GO!!
Back to the airport. Cranked up and proceeded to No. 1 for Rwy 16 Asheville, NC. Takeoff roll began normally. At 65 mph I hauled back on the stick. Nothing. At 75 mph I am still pulling. Nothing. 85 mph, 95 mph. This was not supposed to be another high-speed taxi test. As I was approaching 100 mph and still on the ground with full back stick, I decided to abort. Just as I start to reduce the power it lifted off. (A little up reflexor took care of that problem on future takeoffs.) So I kept the coal to it and I launched. A little bobble as I released the back pressure, flew about 5 feet off the ground for a couple of seconds and decided it was controllable and started climbing.
I finally caught up with the plane at the departure end of the runway. Looked at the engine instruments and saw a couple of CHT's climbing out of the green, heading red. I have climbed to about 500 AGL, so I start an immediate crosswind and downwind. At this time it became interesting for the spectators. Earnest had brought his video camera along. The camera shows me turning a descending right turn onto the downwind behind a ridge. It appears that I am going down. At that moment the video camera work went all to pot. Lots of footage of the ground as he strained to see the puff of smoke. After a few minutes I appear out the other side of the ridge and he exclaims, "He's okay", picks up the camera and resumes the documentary.
My turn to final was great, and with reduced power, everything but the oil temperature was back in the green. Since I had been quite lucky in my checkout flights with Earnest, putting 12 out of 13 attempts on the ground, I wasn't thinking anything but landing. Final was great, right on airspeed and glideslope. Over the numbers I reduce the power and start the flare too early. Not wanting to drop it in on the first attempt and having no experience in milking it down from above, I decided to go around. That was my first consideration of how I would handle a go around. How would it respond? Poor planning. As I add power and see the needles heading out of limits again, I questioned my "good" judgment. I was committed so I went. This time I climbed to only 3400 ft, made a tight downwind so I could land in the opposite direction if I needed. Fortunately I made it back to final without melting it down.
Not knowing if the little VW could withstand another lap around the home drone, I felt certain I had to make this a good one. Luck was with me. As the video confirms, I made what will probably be the best landing I will ever make in this bird. Kissed it on. No surprises on the roll out. Just a deep sigh and a big grin.
Other than an overheating engine, a radio that the tower couldn't understand, and an encoder that didn't work, all went well. I have now graduated from the "build-it" phase to the "fix-it" phase. The build-it phase took me a career, how long doe the fix-it phase last?
Jerry Marstall, Asheville, NC
On August 22, N200AL finally became an airplane.
Work on this project began the fall of 1984. After four major moves, one of which included about a year of storage, the plane was inspected August 21.
I had taxied the plane to the runway and back two or three times (about 1 mile each way) a week or two before the flight. A couple of taxis I got the speed up to 40 knots or so, but a short runway limited my speed. On my first trip to the runway, I had only the engine instruments installed. In retrospect, it was really foolish to taxi as fast as I did without a completely airworthy craft. I am thoroughly convinced that any high speed tests should have all the preparation of a first flight, with the mindset being on continuing for a full flight should you get airborne.
The day of the flight I got the airplane out about 7:30 a.m. The forecast was for a cool front with rain continuing for two days. The morning was forecast to be OK. I did an engine run in my yard. The clouds were darkening. My neighbor ran over saying things like, "you're not going to fly that thing today, are ya?", and "come look at the radar on my cable TV." I didn't have to look. This front was really moving. I put the plane back in the garage.
After a couple hours of wind and rain, the skies cleared. About 11:00 I called my friend Bud, we decided, "let's do it". By about 1:00 we had things in place. My intention was to fly about 45 minutes to one hour. The departure runway was short but at least it was narrow, so the plan was to land at the municipal airport 8 miles away.
At about 1:15 I pushed up the throttle and pointed the plane downhill. The temperature was about 85? F with a few knots of headwind. Takeoff was uneventful, using about 1100 feet of runway.
I climbed out at 80 knots to about 1000 feet while turning back over the runway. I then headed for the longer runway. Accelerating through about 130 knots the left side of the canopy popped open. I stopped accelerating and waited. It was a little noisy but the canopy remained on the airplane. I slowed down a little and had no success in getting it sealed again.
By that time I was almost over the other airport. The engine monitor began to beep and flash oil temp. It was indicating about 240?F. I was about to pull off the power and make an approach to land when I decided I need to know at least a little bit more about the plane. I throttled back and set up for a wings level stall. The canard stalled cleanly at about 58 knots after adding a little up reflexor. Without the reflexor, I didn't have enough pitch authority to induce a stall. Knowing this, I descended to the pattern for my first landing. Fortunately it was about as uneventful as the takeoff. (Time to party.)
My Q200 has conventional gear using Cleveland 5x5 wheels and brakes. Differential braking is accomplished with independent brake handles mounted aft of the stick. It also has a parking brake. I have redesigned the tailwheel assembly with a composite tailspring and Matco steerable, full swivel tailwheel. It has a stock 0200 engine, Electroair electronic ignition and an RV-6 air box and filter. I have 3-inch circular inlets for engine cooling. More about other details later.
Many thanks, especially to Bob Malechek, for his many inputs over the years and for a few flights in his bird. These really made a difference.
Allen Kittleson, Denton, TX
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