Saturday, August 06, 2011

Added another flight today for 1.4 hours. That brings the new grand total to 2.5 hours of in-flight testing.

The area above AWO started getting bumpy beneath the 4000' scattered layer over AWO, so I took the plane out of the pattern. There is a nice stretch of pasture the runs NW from the airport to the shore.

I ended up climbing all the way to 6k indicated and the plane still had plenty of power, refreshing compared to a 150\O-200.

While up there I did several things. First I contacted Whidbey approach and verified they could pick up the transponder. At first they were just picking up the discrete code. It took me a while to realize that the transponder was on, but not on ALT.

While climbing I played with my airspeed to at least partially verify Vy. Without doing a specific, A\B test, it looks like 55MPH indicated is the answer.

I also explored slow flights and attempted power off stalls. I took the plane all the way down to 40MPH and the plane exhibited good control characteristics. Even with low power settings substantial right rudder was required with the nose high attitude.

Power off stalls were approached with caution. In the end the elevator ( as often reported ) does not have enough authority to stall the plane. The altimeter unwinds ( but not too fast ) and you still have authority in the ailerons and rudder.

I also attempted to pull some Gs and perform tight turns. I was able to turn inside my wake, not hitting it until I straightened out to reverse the turn. Forty-five degrees was as far as I was willing to take it. Even then it was hard to pull more than a G or two, the plane is just that maneuverable.

Enough grease and lube has been added that the rudder now straightens itself out gradually. As the nylon block wears in the rudder should loosen even more.

Part of the testing was fuel usage measurements. The plane started with 10 gallons. After 1.4 on the hobbs the final indicated fuel amount was 5.5 gallons. Power was well below cruise for most of the flight, so 3.5\hour for cruise should be reasonable with 11.5deg pitch.

Today's landing was the best yet. I kept more power into the landing than before and made a good effort not to flare until last minute. Keeping the power up and settling on long final with a slightly nose high attitude ( like a seaplane ) really added a lot of stability to the approach. The improved rudder lubrication also showed through.

The 701 really rides thermals and updrafts. The low wing loading combined with short wings also gives the ride a unique feel. You hear some metal rattle a split second before you get tossed up in the sky. Crossing through a disturbance on one side of the plane produces what I can only describe as a "burble"... like crossing a power boat's wake in a canoe.

The next several flights will be taking the turns tighter, hitting VNE and then adding simulated passenger weight.

After the flight I ended up installing a rear locking pin on the pilot side.

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