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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Re-Maiden Flight of the 1/4 Scale Super "D" Decathalon

Sunday January 20th, 2013

 I arrived at the field at around 10:30 AM to start in on repairing and replacing the broken upright leg on the large scale flight table that was blown over earlier in the week due to the extremely high winds that plagued the area for a few days, and damaged the flight table.
 After completing those repairs, I got out the Uproar to prepare it to get in a few windy flights, hoping to wait out the wind shift and to also see if the winds would lay down some as it had been forecast to do for the afternoon, to attempt the Re-Maiden flight on the Super "D" Decathlon. As the morning continued on, Terry Davis, Marlowe Cassetti, Jim Aultman, Ed Vincent, Cloyce Mann, Buzz Haviland, Kenny McMullen and Dennis Sporing arrived to fly also by around noon or so.
Buzz had a very beautiful flight on his Stick even in the breezy conditions, along with Terry Davis flying his ever fast Pulse 60, while Marlowe Cassetti flew the Great Planes Escapade that he had purchased used from  me about a month or so earlier. Cloyce Mann had out his Twist to wring it out and Kenny McMullen worked out some engine tuning kinks on his Sportster speedster engine, and also did his usual great flying.
 Our newest student pilot Jim Aultman, flew his trainer plane on the buddy box system with the club instructor Ed Vincent, and he did a very nice job of keeping it steady while flying in the heavy breezes, which as we all know is a challenge and concern for student pilots. Under Ed Vincent's capable tutelage Jim will be soloing in no time at all I think, from what I was able to see of his great abilities today.
 Dennis Sporing stopped by to visit and support his fellow club members, riding in on his new Harley-Davidson Ultra-Classic motorcycle, to every one's admiration of that very beautiful machine. Dennis is enjoying getting in some mid-winter mild weather riding on it he reports.
 The breezy conditions would lay down and get calm for a short while to allow some very fine flying from everyone, including myself on my Uproar, to try and get my thumbs limbered up and ready for an attempt at flying the Decathlon.
 I got it out of the trailer, and with several club members assistance and guidance, I was able to get the carb settings dialed-in and the plane assembled and checked out with a range check and pre-flight inspection, all while burning another two tanks of fuel through the engine to dial it in, and to also get some more time on it for break-in purposes.
 The winds finally laid down to almost nothing, so I did a couple of ground taxiing tests, to see how it would handle on the ground. It did fantastic, so I asked Kenny McMullen to do the honors of the Re-Maiden test flight and to see what it was going to need for trimming out on the control surfaces. As we taxied down the runway towards the East, the tail wanted to rotate up with almost no ground-speed to speak of, so Kenny decided to fly it then. It lifted off in a very gentle climb-out angle, and as he banked shallow to his left, he was able to throttle the engine back to approximately half throttle, and let it fly gracefully on the wing, in ever so slight blustery and cool breezes. It only needed 4 clicks of UP Elevator and 3 clicks of RIGHT aileron trim to achieve "Hands-Off" flying attitude. Kenny then felt it out some, and also did several passes near the runway flight stations where I was able to get a few in-flight pictures. He even got it to fly so well on this first flight, that he did a tight inside loop, and it handled that with absolutely no sign of any concerns.
 I had the flight timer in my transmitter radio set for a 5 minute flight on this first maiden flight to see what the fuel consumption was going to be like, so he decided he had better do a couple of passes down the runway in preparation for a landing attempt in the breeze. After a couple of passes around, he set up his approach and on final he basically set it down effortlessly, as it floated in at what seemed like no more than a 2 Knot approach speed, and then taxied it back to the pits. All the while we were both grinning our HUGE big smiles, before, during and after this great flight.
 The winds came back up too strong to attempt another flight with this gorgeous RC plane with me at the controls, with all of us knowing it would easily handle the windy conditions while taking off, and while up flying, but a landing for the first time for anyone in those now strong very winds, was very dicey at best, so better judgement prevailed and we left my first flight for another day. I am grateful for Kenny's absolutely great skills, and also to every one's great assistance getting this plane ready for flight. Thanks to you all so very much.
 I then flew one more flight on the Uproar in the strong winds, and I would basically fly it down-wind and cut the throttle back to where the plane was just stopped mid-air hovering with the strong winds moving across the wings providing the lift, rather than a forward motion doing it. Now for the dicey landing attempts, and I did the same thing as Kenny had done earlier, and that was to make several passes and touch and go attempts to see how the plane would like handling the slow speeds in the strong winds. I did several landings and touch and go's with those conditions, and as my luck would have it on my final landing, I did a hard landing when I plopped it down from a few feet up, with not enough forward ground speed, but the only problem with that one was I now have to replace the prop on it, which I was going to do anyhow after this flight, due to that size and pitch of prop being incorrect on it anyhow, so now I have a good excuse to get it changed like I needed to anyhow.
 A very great day of flying for everyone, and some fantastic mid-winter weather was  in store for us, and was a real treat for everyone out flying today.
 Once again I want to thank everyone for coming out, as well as assisting me, and also everyone else in enjoying this nice day.
 I hope to see everyone around the pattern enjoying this great hobby of ours in the very near future.

 Here are those in-flight pictures I took of this 1/4 scale size Super "D" Decathlon today also for your enjoyment.

1 comment:

  1. Mark, great commentary and pictures. I'm sorry I had to leave at noon due to an afternoon commitment. I was at the field Monday but I didn't fly the Escapade because of the winds. Kenny was there and he filled me in on the news of your Decathlon. I'm glad it went well.