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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Test Flying on Tuesday

Well I had a lot of things going on Tuesday including going into Canon City for some necessary shopping. However just before I left home I checked airport weather and it showed calm winds. So I tossed a plane into my car and headed to Canon City with an intermediate stop at our flying field. It was late in the day, but I thought there was enough time for a couple of flights before the sun set in the West. Within a minute of arriving at the field (I was alone there) I installed the LiPo battery in my Spitfire and set off for the first flight. The wind was slight and from the East. I switched on 3 axis stabilization and proceeded the takeoff roll. As it picked up speed it was straight arrow down the runway. The first left hand turn required both rudder and aileron to overcome the stabilization. No problem. After a few minutes of flying I switched off the gyros and realized it needed a few clicks of down elevator and a lot of clicks of left ailerons. It loops and rolls quite well and although it doesn't have unlimited vertical its power is okay. Again switching on stability I brought it into a landing approach. After rolling out onto final the gyros were locked in right down the runway and I controlled the rate of decent via the throttle. My mouth dropped open as the Spitfire made a picture perfect landing. It looked as if it were on an invisible wire. Before it came to a full stop I gunned it and pulled another takeoff. I wanted to see if I could repeat another "perfect" landing. Sure enough, with stability still turned on, it was another two great landings. However on the last landing I didn't bleed off enough speed before I turned to the right and partially collapsed and bent the right landing gear. I couldn't fly again until I bent the gear back.

Just then my cell phone rang and my wife just had to give the good news about her medical tests. So we chatted for a while until I had to explain that I was at the field and the daylight was beginning to fail. After the call ended I hurriedly got out the needle nose pliers and started bending the gear back when all of a sudden the Spit squirted out of my grip and dropped upside down on the ground, damaging the rudder hinges. That ended flying for Tuesday.

Spitfire from Hobby King
Note the separation of the rudder from the fin, caused by dropping it on the ground
Speaking of Spitfire we saw a full scale replica being constructed at the Aircraft Museum in Pueblo. It is quite an undertaking. See photo below.

Anyway, with a successful test flight,  I'm contemplating utilizing 3 axis stability on a larger nitro powered plane in my inventory. So many pilots of high dollar investment (jets & warbirds) planes are turning to 3 axis stability. I can understand why.

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