Testing times

It's a month since the Aircoupe finished it's Annual check and I took it out for a test flight.
The elevator trim failed, I ordered the new parts, they arrived, but the engineer is busy and so the aeroplane sits awaiting attention.
So many things have gone wrong over these past few years that I have become resigned to 'this is the way it is', but 'this too will pass' is something I live by.
It's not a good period for many people I know, we must all plough our own life paths, and keep at it in a responsible and ethical way.

Auto-suggestion is very powerful, why priming the mind and body by doing an audible pre-takeoff safety brief sets you up to do the automatic actions should something happen on, or as we depart a runway.
Auto suggestion as a reaction to life's bad times is as damaging as it is helpful in optimistic happier times. Put a smile on your face, and maybe auto suggestion will set you up to carry on.
This too will pass, simply carry on, accept the good times and pass through the less optimal times.

Yesterday, Saturday, was a good time.
David Crouchman and I completed the flight testing of the Sling 2 taildragger.
Paul who built the aeroplane has had some annoying hospital trouble, nothing serious, but it means he has to miss out on the enjoyment of the aeroplane he has built so brilliantly for a while.
Completion of the testing means the Permit to Fly can be applied for, and it should arrive in time for Paul to enjoy the result of his efforts after his recovery.

Aerobatic weekend

Popham had an aerobatic weekend last weekend, with seminars and aerobatic flights. I stuck my nose in a few times. I used to teach aerobatics, and even candidates for their own Aerobatic Instructor Ratings.
In the 1980's I was known here for teaching tailwheel and aerobatics, but now I am an unknown here.
Nevertheless it was good to see the efforts being made, and the aerobatics close to the aerodrome were a reminder of those fantastic days at Redhill when Britain had a different culture to the one we have now. It was a time of freedom to fly that may never be repeated in the serious, indigent society we have now.

At one time I placed plaques in the Slingsby T67A's after I lost mine, and another crashed a month later after my warning to it's ego driven pilot:
"All Aircraft Bite Fools"
"Do Not Attempt Aerobatics Without Proper Training". I was pleased to see a similar statement on the screen as a chap gave a seminar.
Norman Jones put the "All Aircraft Bite Fools" plaques in all of the Rollason Condors, so I borrowed this and added the Aerobatics warning.

Sling Testing

Paul fitted the spats (wheel pants) to the Sling and so we went up to test them out to see if there was a big increase in cruise speed :)
The aeroplane has to have completed a number of landings for it's Permit to Fly. Thruxton offers an hours' worth of circuits for one landing fee during the first two weeks of the month and so we flew there to do a few and a landing on a hard surface too.

17th May David and I went up to calibrate the Angle of Attack display, this is a very useful tool for predicting the stall.
Stalling is not a 'speed', it's when the angle of the wing to the airflow is such that the flow over the top surface of the wing breaks away to the point where the amount of lift produced is less than the load (Mass times Acceleration). The stall is not No Lift.
In level flight it's when the the Lift produced is less than the weight of the aeroplane plus the download on the tailplane of a conventional aeroplane.
In a sixty degree bank turn, 2Gs load (twice the weight if you like), the stalling angle is reached at an airspeed that's 1.4 times greater. In both cases this angle is the same.

The last time I did this set up exercise it was in a Piper Malibu Jetprop, and this enabled accurate approach control to enable safer short field landings.


Sky Demon display on my mobile phone.

Saturday morning, 18th, we loaded the Sling 2 to it's Maximum Take Off Weight (MTOW) in order to carry out the Rate Of Climb test.
The air was smooth with a high overcast but with a poorer conditions on their way. The ground temperature was +13 Celcius, QNH 1013, and the wind was light.
We had the best runway for a heavy departure, 03, with a clear path ahead. Takeoff safety brief conducted, Go/No Go point was to be half way down the runway, we can reject the takeoff at this point, but the aeroplane left the ground within a third of the distance available.
'Headed over to the A34 Newbury road, dropped down to 800 feet, set the altitude limit to 5,000 feet, adjusted the power to produce 75 KIAS, set the Autopilot on HDG mode, 360, and IAS to the climb speed: 75KIAS, let it establish, and then added the throttle and trimmed as requested by the autopilot by a notification on the Garmin G3X PFD screen. I was told that the autopilot would control the speed better than me, and so it proved with a steady climb as shown in the Sky Demon image. We had smooth air all the way up to 4,180 feet with the climb rate dropping from 700 feet per minute at 1,600 feet to 500fpm at the top.

Then you see the sharp drop afterwards, that was the Vne dive where we went to the 135 Knot Velocity Never Exceed to see if the wings come off, or if we get control flutter followed by the wings coming off.

Down at 2,300 feet we flew triangles at various airspeeds down to 50 KIAS to record the GPS readings and be able to work out Calibrated Airspeeds.

The final 'test' on this flight was to complete a two hour endurance flight.
While testing you are only allowed to fly up to 25NM from your base airfield and with Sky Demon you can select Local Flight and the distance, and it will display a selected 25 Nautical Mile circle on the map within which you must stay.

We flew down to the south coast where the weather was deteriorating, and then back again with the bad weather to the east, up to loop around Newbury, and back to Popham to land after 2 hours and 10 minutes. I always like to go beyond the minimum time to avoid argument.


Taken at the same time.
When I took pictures of the displays David flew the aeroplane using the centre panel's ball.
My pictures show the display 'ball' out to the right a little, I don't fly like that!


10:27 Local time, my camera time is GMT, z.

Radio and Transponder test to do

With the grotty weather people left Popham earlier than normal in the afternoon, and I remembered that we still had to do the Radio and Transponder tests using Farnborough Radar (125.25).
So we trudged up to the hangar to go out in the marginal VFR weather to carry out this final bit of testing.
'Pulled the aeroplane out of the hangar, and glory be, the Sun came bursting through the clouds to break them up for a brilliant flight.

Farnborough confirmed the Radio readability, Five, and the Transponder height reporting was spot on.

Now it's Sunday afternoon and the Sun is shining outside.
It's awkward, but I must refrain from going anywhere as it costs money, instead I will have lunch and then mow the small back lawn.

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