Flight #12                                       

Conducted 11/18/2012 -

The plan was to head back up to the hangar Thursday evening when Christine got home from work, conduct the post flight inspection on the plane and be ready to head back up right away Friday morning. Instead, Christine ended up working late, and John spent most of Friday conducting the post flight inspection and applying weather stripping to all the covers and the canopy frame. While some of John's shaking on Thursday’s flight was just nerves, some was also due to the fact that at nearly 10k’ the heater has little chance against a leaky cabin.

The plane was ready to go for Saturday morning, but high winds and pireps of severe turbulence all the way down to 300’ AGL kept John from going up. Tomorrow morning looks good though, so We're going to try to be at the airport early to beat the chop.

John's flight report is below:

"Today I again awoke to blue skies. I checked weather and winds were under 10 kts and mostly down the runway. We headed up to the airport right after breakfast and immediately pushed the plane out. It was all fueled, ballasted, and ready to go from yesterday.

I wasted no time preflighting the plane and hopping in to start it up. Last thing before taxi was to check ATIS, Winds were now 12Kts, gusting 20 and about 40 degrees off the runway. That’s a higher gust factor than I had taken the cozy up in yet. I contacted the tower and advised them I was ready to taxi and had the current conditions, but was curious if they had any reports of choppy conditions near the surface. I was cleared to taxi and told there hadn’t been any traffic yet, but that they had a Cessna inbound and they would ask once they landed. I thanked them for checking and proceeded to the runway. Watching the Cessna come in it didn’t look too bad, and the windsock was only indicating about 7-10kts, so it came as no surprise that he reported only light turbulence on the approach.

After taking off I climbed up to 9500’ again and headed for my little test area east of the field. I was still nervous about slowing the plane any further, but reminded myself I was in the middle of the CG range, and I couldn’t be more certain my canard incidence and length was correct. As I slowed below 60 Kts I fought my desire to release aft stick pressure. 59…58…hand ready on the throttle to react in a millisecond…and before I could even finish the thought…DROP! The canard gently fell from about 10 deg nose high to about 3 deg nose down. I continued to hold the aft stick pressure as the airspeed increased to about 62kts and the nose began to rise, and fall again at 58Kts. Rinse…Repeat. No roll tendency was noted, and I felt very relieved that it behaved just like I remember Marc’s and Bob’s.

I then proceeded with accelerated stalls. First at 15deg, then 30, 45, and 60. Everything went fine, but I will suggest not eating a heavy breakfast before doing stalls in a 60 deg bank. Marc’s description of it as sitting in a clothes dryer is pretty accurate.

After completing the stall series I was so relieved that everything went well that I really didn’t want to go back down. I had a meeting to attend at the FBO at 1pm though, and I thought if I get back now I can do a post flight on the plane before my the meeting and be ready to go back up after the meeting to conduct the test again at forward cg.

As I dropped the 7500’ back down to pattern altitude I was greeted with a not so nice message from ATIS. The winds that were supposed to have been calmer were now 14 gusting 22 and were 60deg off the runway. I ended up going around twice, because I kept getting blown off the centerline as I crossed the numbers. Rather than risk dragging a wing tip getting back over, I opted to go around…twice. The landing on the third approach wasn’t a greaser, but I was still happy to have set it down as well as I did given the gusty conditions. These light weight, high wing loading planes sure get tossed around a bit.

I pulled the plane back in the hangar and Christine and I immediately started pulling the cowls and covers to inspect the plane. We fired up the pizza oven for a quick lunch while we inspected the plane. All looked well and we went off for our airshow planning meeting. By the time we returned and got the plane buttoned back up though, we had less than an hour of daylight left. But she’s ready to go again, hopefully tomorrow.

So today was an expansion of the flight envelope not just for the plane but for me as well. I’m sure I’ll worry again as I move the CG aft, but at least I can do that very gradually. It feels good to finally have the stall testing started."

Below are videos from the first canard stall as well as the rather turbulent landing: