This page will document the pre-flight testing and flight testing of my plane.
Nov 3, 2006 - I got a Flight Test Plan from David Schoneman, and will be using this as my basis for my own flight test plan. I will be developing and customizing this plan as I move toward the testing phase of all this.
My friend Rusty Sachs tells me to be sure to include ground & taxi testing in the test plan
HERE is a link to flight testing info on another builder's site.
Here is an article posted by EAA Flight Advisor Dan Checkoway:
As an EAA Flight Advisor (uh-oh, he's throwing titles around!), I'm going to be honest. You may not want to hear some of the things I'm going to say.
Looking at your web page, I see a few things that looked to me like things were rushed.
1. The DAR signed the plane off with a skin not riveted on?! 2. The DAR signed the plane off before the engine had been run?! 3. The weight & balance was done last minute and the aircraft was not level (mains need to be ~2" higher than the nosewheel). 4. The engine was run with the front deck structural skin not in place (jeez, at least cleco'd on)?!
I may be picking nits, but the last minute rush is never good. What's another week or two in the grand scheme of things?! It took years, not weeks, to build, so another handful of days to make things absolutely right should be easy to build into the schedule. It's a mindset thing that every builder ought to take seriously.
Now that the plane is signed off (congratulations!), you can step back and take your time getting everything else in place. I don't mean to sound patronizing, but in light of a recent RV-10 accident and the undeniable "get-done-itis" symptoms involved, I'm leaning very conservatively.
Vaughan Askue's book is excellent. Just because you're flying an RV, of which there are thousands in the air, doesn't mean YOUR airplane is not unique and won't have unique traits and challenges. You built an AB experimental aircraft, and you need to treat it that way. Take your Phase One flight testing as seriously as you would on a one-off plane you designed & built from scratch! We have the luxury of assuming that things will be mostly hunky dory, but you as a TEST PILOT cannot rely on that assumption (or any assumption) to save your bacon. Trust nothing until it earns your trust. There will be squawks. You need to find them, and you need to be safe and methodical and brutally objective.
I don't want to see any friggin' videos of first flights with high speed low approaches or aileron rolls. That just drives me nuts. Take your mission seriously. Once you're done with Phase One you can have all the fun in the world -- and you will! But you gotta take it one step at a time.
I know I'm overshooting on the advice here, Garrett. I know you're not one of those guys who does these types of things. But I'm posting this publicly after all, so I'm using broad strokes. Maybe this will save one person's butt someday.
You're on track now. Get your transition training and leave nothing to question. Know the engine limits by heart. Make sure your engine monitor has been programmed for the correct limits/warnings. Know how to operate everything in your cockpit (I shouldn't need to say that, but you'd be surprised how many pilots don't know how to operate and interpret their instrumentation). I spoke to an RV builder yesterday who just made his first flight, and he was asking me about engine temperature limits...after he had already flown it. You gotta have this stuff down cold before the airplane leaves the ground. It should be written right there on your kneeboard after all...what is your "LAND RIGHT NOW" limit for every parameter? Know this stuff.
If you have questions, get them answered. And there may be questions you don't even know you have yet...in the middle of the first flight is not the time for them to come up. A good FA will help you anticipate these types of things.
Don't fly it if there are squawks. And just don't rush it!
We as RV builders sometimes get away with quite a lot on first flights. These airplanes and their relatively simple systems are so forgiving, but we absolutely cannot rely on that. At the end of the day, you are responsible for your safety, not the design of the aircraft.
As far as flight test plans are concerned, check out this link: http://tinyurl.com/yt8fhf Kevin Horton assembled a handful of resources there. You can scour them and develop your own test plan, and you can do that with your FA if you have one.
Have a very safe & enjoyable Phase One. You're gonna love that airplane!
)_( Dan RV-7 N714D (1481 hours) RV-8 N824J (someday) www.rvproject.com
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