Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Here is the POH I created for N701GV. Please copy this and use it for your own purposes.
This POH was heavily inspired by many others including my C150's, The Czech Aircraft Works, Keith Ashcraft and George Race's.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Second flight was on Sunday the 24th. This flight lasted for about 45 minutes, bringing the total time in air to one hour. Thirty-nine left.

The good news is that the door pin on the passenger side worked. I noticed some puckering on the pilot side today, so I will repeat the mod on the other side.

The efforts to reduce the rudder stiffness worked.

Today was a hot day which mad me think about cooling: specifically of the Dynon. The Dynon does not have any fans. After the flight it was hot near the Dynon. I am thinking a NACA style duct may be a good idea to promote cooling of the electronics.

The flight was a basic repeat of the first flight, with the exception of attempting slower flight. I took the plane down to ~50MPH and experienced the same shudder\bobble that I felt in the plane I transition trained in.

When I took off, winds were calm and mostly down the runway. When I landed I had a good cross wind.

During the landing the plane certainly seems to want to shuttle cock into the wind. That or there is a left yaw tendency. I checked the rudder alignment and it appears fine. If the third flight exhibits the same behavior then I will adjust the dorsal fin.

This landing was another firm landing due to flaring too high. I have also noticed that adding power to attempt to slow the settling will result in a ballooning. Adding power just makes the plane climb.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Frabricated a securing mechanism for the passenger side door.

The fix is basically a thick piece of angle riveted to the top side of the factory supplied handle. I then drilled a hole in the free side of the handle and bolted a rod-end there.

The rod end was connected to all thread. I then riveted a piece of tubing onto the door for the all-thread to be retained by. Finally I drilled a hole large enough for the all-thread into the fuselage.

I also spent a large amount of time chasing down friction in the rudder system. The biggest offender was a huge spot I had not greased - the nose strut stop plate! I ended up just giving everything more doses of grease, even the nylon fairings. With the tail tied down I was able to reduce the friction by an order of magnitude.

By the time I was finished with all the other work today the winds had picked up past my threshold. I did a taxi test and a run-up. The door held without any pucker on the ground where it had previously puckered some during run-up.

Taxi tests with the newly loosened steering system were highly encouraging. Friction for ground handling has been reduced to at least a quarter compared to the first flight.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

In retrospect the post I wrote Wednesday night\Thursday morning was a ry, technical report written in exhaustion and under the influence of a few celebratory drinks.

It is probably time to fill in the rest of the story.

There was of course a large amount of initial nervousness on my part, let alone my wife. Vivian only had gave me conditional permission to execute the first flight if Tom was there flying chase. In turn Tom made me promise not to mar his perfect history of first flights without an incidents.

The real pre-flight inspection was done on the 19th to make sure nothing was missed due to nervousness. I had practiced some of the first flight in the 150 on Sunday with Tom riding as an instructor. We also practiced HAPL.

On the 19th after the DAR visit, my own inspection and putting all the hatches back together I wanted to do a run up. This way I knew I would have enough battery to start for the first flight and maybe catch a few issues. The weather was extremely good and the airport was empty so I did some taxi testing on 34. The first pass was just to see how far I had to go for the airspeed indicator to come alive. Then I went as far as to rotate the nose. At this point the rudder still did not seem THAT stiff.

Flash forward to the 20th. I flew up to AWO from BFI for the test flight. Flying immediately before hand was probably the most calming thing I could have done. It got me in a flying mind set and also let me know the real conditions aloft. There was no guessing if the air was smooth or not.

Going over emergency procedures, bailout procedures, ect was a little stressful. The idea that that I may have to trust a parachute packed by someone else just seemed wrong. If my day was going that bad, then how much worse could it get, right?

We removed everything from the plane and vacuumed it out once more. Only stuff riveted, bolted or screwed down remained except for the bottom section of my seat cushion. I only had a three printed pages ( two pages of checklists\procedures and the test card ) and a voice recorder taped down and jacked into the intercom. The tape of course ran out during the flight.

The run up seemed to take forever. And it really did. You can’t fly the Rotax until the oil gets to 120F. That meant some idling to get the engine warm enough.

For this flight there was a clear division of labor. Tom was going to handle the radios from the Cessna. I just needed to stay on frequency to communicate with him. He was to keep traffic clear and advised.

With the run up done and the pattern clear there was nothing left to do but to just get the flight over with. This was the peak of my nervousness.

I had this expectation that as I advanced the throttle every single bolts and rivet would flash through my mind. That did not happen, instead I actually relaxed a bit and tried to enjoy the ride. Concentrate on the signals the engine is giving you, keep down the middle and wait for the bird to leap.

At this point the closest aviation experience I’ve had was my first solo… that combination of a familiar plane climbing unfamiliarly fast paired with “now I have to land this by myself”. By 1000’ that was out of my mind. At 3000’ I was getting a little bored of turning left and climbing.

Then another strange thing happened. Tom was trying really hard to stay out of view and the 701 was doing a really good job of running away from my poor 150. Looking down and seeing my 150 more than 1000’ feet below trying really hard to keep up was very strange. Then during some of the turns I caught sight of it again through the big door windows, but much closer. It was something like watching the race scene from “Iron Eagle”. There was this little white plane with a red stripe turning so beautifully against the mountains and clouds. The 701 also slows down MUCH faster than a 150 and Tom went darting past me whenever I cut the throttle back.

The turns to the left and to the right were no big deal. I really had to restrain myself from going more than standard rate.

The 701 does not have a centering spring in the rudder or pedals. In addition it uses an all flying rudder with wetted area ahead of the hinge. If you push left rudder, it stays left rudder until you push it back. This is hard to remember. You also really need to lead your turns with rudder first, which is also hard to remember to do after so many years in a 150 where generally you use rudder and ailerons at the same time. Every once and I while I would see I was un-coordinated and push the rudder causing a bit of a skid.

When coordinated the 701 turns VERY tight. It is reasonable to fly the pattern only ¼ mile out, do a standard rate turn and expect to lined up for final. Hitting the rudder to get coordinated would skid you into coordination and really remind you of this.

The practice approaches were really nothing special and I have nothing more to say about them.

Landing was the ugly part. I knew I had tons of runway to allow myself to settle in. I knew I needed to carry power into the landing. I knew I had to hold the flare until last minute. These things blanked on me until I had already started to flare and felt that sinking feeling that makes every pilot think they will have to bend the gear back into shape. So of course I added power, but a little too much and got back up to where I started. Letting power out that time gave me a better sink rate but it was still a firm landing. Then I had the steering\rudder stiffness to contend with.

My thought is that the landing may have loaded the bungee strut putting more pressure on the front contact area, making the stiffness worse. Maybe stick back pressure would have helped.

All said and done the first flight took about 25 minutes and it seemed like 25 minutes. I didn't not any sense of time dilation or contraction. I remembered to breath and did some instrument scans. I was only tense for a few moments, most of which occured during the landing.

Thanks again to everyone who has helped, voiced support, stopped by my hangar, ect.
N701GV had its first flight around 5:30PM on Wednesday 7/20.

I flew my Cessna 150 up from BFI to to AWO and met Tom Staggs. He then took my C150 and flew chase.

The engine in N701GV is a 912ULS producing 100HP at 5800RPM. The prop is a three bladed Warp Drive High Power pitched to 11.5 degrees. Static run up RPM is 5500. It currently DOES NOT have strut fairings or tail VGs. Empty weight is 626lbs.

Everything went as well as could be hoped. John Adams will get his helmet and parachute back un-used. There are a few items that I will fix before the next flight.

The objectives of the test were met and all steps of the first flight's test plan were completed.

Overall N701GV behaved very well and displayed no bad in-flight control characteristics. The flight controls felt balanced and no wings felt "heavy". The rudders were stiff in flight making fine corrections hard,

The flight test was pretty simple. I slowly advance to full throttle and then let the plane jump off the run way. At about 300' above ground I offset with the runway under my left. At 1000' above ground the plane was climbing so fast there was still runway ahead.

I then started a gentle left, climbing turn to keep in a cone of safety that would allow me to glide back to the runway in case of engine failure leveling off at 3000'

With that done I then evaluated basic left and right turns up to 15 degrees of bank and a descent. The descent proceeded into a simulated approach and a go-around.

This was repeated again descending down to 1000' above ground. One more practice approach was made to only 50' above the runway climbing back to 1200'.

Finally a full landing was made. It was not my best landing. I started the flare too high and came in a little hard to the left of center and barely was able to overcome the rudder friction to stay on the runway. Control friction was probably the largest factor, but loading of the nose strut may have also played a role.

I pulled the cowling and all inspection plates\hatches. No leaks were found and all bolts remained tight with Torque-Seal markings intact.

Several issues were found that need to be resolved before the next flight.

Bug#1 - The control tension for the rudders made for a stiff control system. This made fine tuned flight corrections hard and presented a challenge after touchdown for remaining in the center of the runway.
Bug#2 - The Garmin 496 GPS draws some amount of electricity from the main battery all the time. This keeps the GPS internal backup battery charged, but also reduces the available cranking amperage for starting. I will install a disconnect switch to cut the charging mechanism to allow for long term storage.
Bug#3 - The passenger side door displayed puckering during high power settings. An additional aft locking pin slaved to the main door latch will be installed.

Tom was kind enough to grab a pic while I was flying. I also took a portrait of N701GV yesterday after the DAR visit.

The flight back to BFI was pretty boring.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The friendly regional DAR stopped by on Tuesday morning.

Overall it was a pretty easy experience. A fellow 701 builder, Curt Thompson, was there to observe the process and see what the DAR would look for in a 701. He also wanted to avoid any mistakes I had made.

The appointment was for 10AM and the plane was mostly already opened up, IE all access hatches, inspection plates, ect. Only the top cowling had not yet been removed.

I had a table setup with all the paperwork in order.

The basic safety inspection started at the nose, moved back to the cabin, to the pilot side wing, control access hatch, the empennage, passenger wing and finally back in the cabin.

Generally he checked that cables and wires were properly secured, gas and electrical separates, bolts were tight and proper length, ect. He also checked control continuity and correctness for the engine, flaperons, elevator, elevator trim and rudder.

Placcards were also checked.

As always what you worry the most about never receives attention. I spent a long time worrying about details like the registration numbering. The FAA has very strict guidelines concerning the spacing of the numbers. He just looked up and made sure it was there.

Then there were things that I was sure he would think were wrong, but are by plans. The prime example are the control surface hinge bolts. The Zenith design uses a bearing surface squished between two bolts, no cotter pin. I have spent so much time explaining that the bolts are never under rotation that I had bookmarked the plans page. He had just done a 750 so it never came up although he did check the bolts.

Of course he found some minor issues, but nothing that would block an airworthiness certificate. I was able to address his punch list within a few hours.

After a break and a lunch I reinstalled all inspection plates and the cowling. That was then followed by a complete walk through taken from my POH for both pre-flight and 1 month inspection routines.

I had not touched the plane for a few weeks so the combination of running electrical for the inspection and the Garmin GPS trickling a small charge gave me a hard start.

Runup went well and I took my time doing it to charge the battery. I taxied the plane onto AWO 34 and performed a few taxi tests. Everything went smoothly, but I really didn’t do much. Airspeed comes alive on the Dynon at ~25MPH just as the nose wheel gets light.

I decided to trim the wing root covering some more to help reveal the forward wing-root cover bolts. I also found a few bolts without torque-seal.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Finished major construction, ready for the DAR.

Added trim to wing root skins. Secured strobe\nav wires in baggage compartment.

Added tangs to rudder cables to effectively lengthen them. Neutralized rudder and brake pedals. Safety wire and secured rudder turnbuckles. Added cotter pins to all steering assemblies.

Added adele clamps to secure brake lines.

Finished securing wires in hatch.

Fitted scat tubing to oil cooler and re-bonded NACA duct.

Chased down a squeak in the elevator.

Final check for all bolts, pins, wire.

Found prop serial number ( without having to disassemble! )

Did static runup to verify full power and prop pitch. 5500RPM at 11.5 degrees pitch.

Wrote "Fuel On" \ "Fuel Off" placards on floor since stickers would not stick.

Performed fuel flow test at nose high attitude.

Punch List:
Emergency flight refresher ( simulated engine out, ect )

Trim passenger side door fiberglass, add rubber trim.
Fabricate, install streamlined strut covers. ( post first-flight )
VGs on elevator ( after initial test flights )

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Found some more nut plates and added them to the trim servo access hatch.

Made a fork and then riveted in a small bracket to help keep the fire extinguisher from coming loose.

Drilled and deburred wing root covers to final A4 size.

Neutralized and set flaperon controls. Re-set aileron bump stops. Setting the ailerons is tricky, made worse when alone. First it is hard to determine the true up-right neutral position of the stick. Then you have to verify the lower torque tube bellcrank is in alignment ( not that much could be done about it now... ).

Finally it is a long slow process of measuring reference lines from the wing for gap distance. One trick I realized was to measure the angle between the rivet line for the push rod covers against the extrusion the connects the flaperon to the pushrod.

Luckily I had left the inboard pushrods coming from the torque tube long. This gave me more choices on setting the amount of reflex or deployment for a flaps up position.

The pushrods and jam-nuts are not flight ready.

The aileron bump stops are not the best designed items. Their placement is some what arbitrary and can be hard to align properly.

Using the darkness I verified the landing lights are aimed correctly.

On Tuesday the final securing of wires will be done. The steering push-rods will also get set.

Punch List:
Shorten steering pushrods, install plates to lengthen rudder cable.
Fuel flow test
Final securing of wires aft of seats in luggage
More cotter pins & safety wire ( flaperon pushrods & steering pushrods )
Safety wire turnbuckles on rudder cables.

Install wing root fairings ( post inspection )

fabricate, install streamlined strut covers. ( post first-flight )
VGs on elevator ( after initial test flights )

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Fabricated wire supports in access hatch. Created addition support for fire extinguisher.

Debugged transponder issue. I suspect it may have been caused by the GPS input on pin 2. Setting the Dynon to 29.92 matched the pressure altitude shown on the Garmin 327. Turning off the Dynon blanked the pressure altitude reading.

The manual indicates ( in very small print ) that NMEA inputs are not supported from the 396\496. Therefore I pulled the #2 pin to remove the input. This may have been a grounding issue caused by the GPS input or a software issue caused by the transponder attempting to decode bad input.

Found that taxing had loosened a bolt holding the passenger side nav light. Drilled out wing tip and tightened. Tips held by screws would be best, but may be impossible.

Punch List:
nuetralize aileron rods & control
Shorten steering pushrods, instal plates to lengthen rudder cable.
Final securing of wires aft of seats in luggage
More cotter pins & safety wire ( flaperon pushrods & steering pushrods )
Safety wire turnbuckles on rudder cables.

Install wing root fairings ( post inspection )

fabricate, install streamlined strut covers. ( post first-flight )
VGs on elevator ( after initial test flights )

Friday, July 01, 2011

Made a first attempt at transponder inspection. Bits were being adding on the discrete code while in the plane, but not on a bench. Not cause has been identified yet.

Added reinforcements to the radio stack. Tightened and flight readied all nut plates related to the radio stack.

Adjusted aim of landing lights.

Installed nutplates and cover for elevator trim motor.

Punch List:
Fabricate wire bundle supports for rear cargo area.
Have transponder tested by avionics shop
VGs on elevator
nuetralize aileron rods & control
Shorten steering pushrods, instal plates to lengthen rudder cable.
Final securing of wires aft of seats in luggage
More cotter pins & safety wire
Safety wire turnbuckles in "double wrap" style
fabricate, install streamlined strut covers. ( post first-flight )