Free at Last

September 24, 2008

Well I finally completed the 40 hours of test flight required for phase one test flying.  That means I am free to take passengers up and can finally leave the test flight box that I have had to stay in up until this time.

My first passenger was my 11 year old grandson Cole who has helped out from time to time during the construction of N57EN (Miss'ippi Mudbug).  

Here's Cole at age 6 helping his Papa with the nose ribs:

Here he is at 8 years old helping with drilling and clecoing the boot cowl in place:

And finally, here is Cole at age 11 getting the honor of being the very first passenger in N57EN:

I think he is hooked. He couldn't stop smiling and was ready to go flying again. He's going to learn to fly even before he can drive a car.  With the seat all the way forward, he can just barely reach the rudder pedals, so it won't be long.

I've been practicing some crosswind landings at local asphalt runways as well as my home grass strip. My local strip can be a bit of a challenge at times.  There are a line 50 foot trees right next to the runway. When landing in a crosswind I'm correcting for the crosswind with wing down and keeping it aligned with rudder pedals on short final, then just about when its time to start the flare, the trees block the crosswind and the bottom falls out. Almost lost it a couple of times but pushing the throttle in and going around is quite effective. I've since learned to do my crosswind landings without flaps, which gives me a flatter approach angle and lessens the effect the trees have on the crosswind.

The Bearhawk has met all of my expectations.  I feel like I need a little more pitch in the prop as I find myself continually having to pull back the throttle in climbs to prevent exceeding redline. I promised Bob that I wouldn't re-pitch until I came up for the barbecue and let him fly it to see what he thinks.

Looks like my first cross country trip will be to Bob Barrows annual barbecue on October 18th (weather permitting).  I'll take lots of pictures of the trip and update this website again after that.

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