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My Patrol's first flight

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  • My Patrol's first flight

    My Patrol got signed of a few weeks ago and I have been waiting for a day that I'm off work with good enough weather for the first flight. That day finally came today. I pre-heated the engine while I did one more last check of EVERYTHING, pushed the plane outside and taxied down to the FBO to get some fuel, I decided 30 gallons was a good amount and by the time I taxied back to the end of the runway my oil temp was a little over 100 f, all set.

    I did a run-up, mostly, I should probably make a checklist at this point. I forgot to cycle the CS prop and learned why that is important a couple minutes later. The brakes need to get broken in a bit more I guess as right now they can't hold the plane at more than 1700rpm. They are Matco double puck brakes, the same ones they sell for the RV-10, so I'm sure they will be fine but I was really standing on them and they couldn't hold the plane. That might have played a part in why I forgot to cycle the prop. Anyway the takeoff roll went pretty quickly, as soon as power is applied the rudder becomes very effective and it was easy to stay on center line. A little forward stick brought the tail up, I don't think I rotated as much as just brought the tail down a bit, thinking about prop clearance, and I was flying. I kept a shallow angle as I climbed out and at about 40-50 feet I got a couple surge type rpm drops, the rpm dropped and came back then did it again. That had my attention. New plane, 0 time overhauled engine, new CS prop, an engine issue at that point in the flight was my biggest concern but it was still climbing rapidly and no more surging so I kept going as I wasn't in a good position to try to land airspeed and altitude wise with the remaining runway getting shorter ahead of me. Once I leveled off and brought back power and adjusted prop rpm, it surged a couple more times and then settled down and I realized right away that it was the prop and all my fault. I'm pretty sure that in the 7-8 weeks since I last ran the engine all or most of the oil had drained out of the the prop hub back into the engine and the surging was due to air in the hub. I really doubt I'll forget that part of my run-up again.

    The plan for the first flight was to stay over the airport and only fly for about 20 minutes - enough time to get everything up to temp and for any oil leaks to present themselves without enough time for a bad leak to cause trouble. I kept a high power setting for break in and to check how my engine cooling works, at 24-25 squared after 15 minutes I saw CHTs of just under 400 and oil temps in the 160s. Then I ran it wide open for a couple minutes and the CHT went just over 400. The OAT was only in the mid 40s today but I'm pretty comfortable that I'm getting enough cooling airflow and that my baffling is ok. Plus I keep hearing that new engines run warmer for the first few hours.

    I had some issues with avionics, like my GPS wasn't getting signal and I didn't have airspeed indication. I have the GAP 26 pitot with AOA and I think maybe I switched the lines which would account for the lack of airspeed and I'm not sure what is going on with the GPS but I'm sure it will be an easy fix. Landing without any kind of speed indication was something I thought about for most of the flight. BTW I had airspeed before takeoff, I saw it increase to mid 20s and didn't look inside again until I was airborne. Anyway I decided to make a shallow approach with a little power and only use two notches of flaps to avoid overspeeding them. I came in slow enough to be sure it was ok for the flaps and just flew down to about 20 feet over the numbers, eased it back to idle and held it off the runway until it slowed down and just settled onto the runway. The Patrol lands so well that it was really easy.

    After landing I found evidence of a small oil leak, nothing serious, I'll pull the cowl tomorrow and find the source. I already switched the lines for the pitot/AOA and I'm going to raise the ailerons a bit as they were a bit heavy.

    Even with those little issues, it was a great time and I couldn't stop smiling afterwards. After four years of work the reward is finally here and it was SO worth it!! I can't describe how rewarding it was taxiing in after that 20 minute flight, and I don't think I need to try. You all get it or you wouldn't be here. If the wx cooperates tomorrow I'll do a second and longer flight.
    Rollie VanDorn
    Zanesville, OH
    Patrol Quick Build

  • #2
    Wow, congratulations! Glad it went well
    Dave B.
    Edmonds, WA
    4 Place Quick Build

    Comment


    • #3
      Well CONGRATULATIONS Rollie! As someone told me—welcome to the maintenance stage! 😊. There will most likely be a lot of that, so don’t forget to have fun with your new toy!!

      Comment


      • #4
        Congrats on keeping your cool and entering into a new phase of your journey.
        Mark
        Scratch building Patrol #275
        Hood River, OR

        Comment


        • #5
          Congratulations Rollie! Great feeling, isn't it?

          I forgot to cycle my prop on the first takeoff also. Not very confidence inspiring, on the first takeoff, to have the engine surging... I have a PCU 5000 governor. It ABSOLUTELY DEMANDS to be cycled before each takeoff.

          Keep us informed as you slay the gremlins.

          Bill

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Bdflies View Post
            I forgot to cycle my prop on the first takeoff also. Not very confidence inspiring, on the first takeoff, to have the engine surging... I have a PCU 5000 governor. It ABSOLUTELY DEMANDS to be cycled before each takeoff.
            That is interesting.
            Just for reference, the PCU5000X on my IO-540 doesn't give any trouble, I only cycle on the first flight of the day. Maybe it holds oil for a a number of hours but not overnight.

            Comment


            • Bdflies
              Bdflies commented
              Editing a comment
              That's always been my experience, in other planes, as well. Now, if I so much as make a quick fuel stop and fire right back up, it'll surge like mad if I don't cycle it, before takeoff. I've accepted it as the plane announcing to the world that I didn't use my check list...

              Bill

            • Battson
              Battson commented
              Editing a comment
              Are you certain that the governor is configured correctly for your prop?
              The PCU5000 needs to be set-up to produce the correct oil pressure for the prop you are using, this can only be changed by the manufacturer.

            • Bdflies
              Bdflies commented
              Editing a comment
              The governor was set up for the MT prop. It works just fine. I've got it set for about 2710 - full forward and resolution is great when pulling back for cruise. I agree that the need to cycle every takeoff is unusual, but it's really no more than a good reason to use my checklist -- as we all should!

              Bill

          • #7
            Congratulations Rollie! Can't wait to hear more after you've flown her a while. Good job!

            Comment


            • #8
              Congratulations, Rollie! It sounds like you had amazing first flight. What a great feeling it must be to fly something you put together with your own hands. I can't wait to experience it for myself.

              Have you created a "test plan" for your remaining Phase 1 flights? (Test cards with items to be accomplished on each flight, etc.?) I keep thinking that would be a good idea for me (when the time comes), lest I become so enamored with flying that I forget to gather the data for the "POH" I want to create...
              Jim Parker
              Farmersville, TX (NE of Dallas)
              Patrol Quick-Build Serial # P312

              Comment


              • Rollie
                Rollie commented
                Editing a comment
                Thanks Jim, I did make up a test flight schedule a few months back. The first flight was just to make sure it would fly, the engine stayed running and to check for any leaks or bad manners. The schedule I came up with breaks things up into sections, allowing for multiple flights for each purpose in case things need to be adjusted. My plan for the first few hours is to check things that can be done at high power settings as I continue to break in the engine. I won't get to stalls and slow flight type stuff until probably after 10 hours. Then I'll move on to performance numbers at various altitudes and speeds, also verifying all the IFR stuff and possibly some aerobatics. Thats if I go get checked out in a Citabria first so I have an idea what I'm doing. I figure all that should easily fill 40 hours.

            • #9
              Excellent! You've experienced what most of us are still waiting for with anticipation. Great job staying cool with the distractions in what is already a stressful time.

              Comment


              • #10
                I just finished my second flight. Flew a little longer today. This morning I pulled the cowl and cleaned up the little bit of oil that had leaked. It was mostly from around a valve cover that I hadn't tightened quite enough. I just wasn't sure how tight to torque them with those thick soft cork gaskets. Now I know. Leak seems to be gone now.

                After switching the two lines from the GAP-26 pitot, I now have airspeed indication. As a side note, with it hooked up wrong (AOA to pitot) airspeed still came alive up to around 22-25 knots but then nothing above that. So blowing on it or taxiing fast to see if its working doesn't really work in this instance.

                I did a proper run-up and had no issues with surging today. On takeoff I advanced the throttle slowly to make sure the airspeed kept rising on the EFIS so by the time I actually opened the throttle, the plane came off the ground immediately and climbed like it couldn't stand to be near the ground for another second. I'll see if I can attach the video a friend took.

                I adjusted the rigging on the tail wires and that seemed to help - yesterday I had to hold pressure to the left on the stick the whole time. Today it was happy to stay level. I do need quite a bit of pressure on the left rudder to keep it in trim, but that seems pretty common on the forum. I'm wondering if we are flying faster than Bob originally planned so now there is more camber in the vertical fin than we need. I'll try flying at a slower speed and see if that changes things. I'll probably start with a stronger return spring on the left rudder and see how that helps.

                I flew around at 24 squared for most of the 0.7 that I flew today and indicated airspeed showed about 125 knots in level flight. I haven't even come close to starting to verify accuracy of that yet. Temps and pressures were great. Temp on the surface was up to mid 50s and my oil temp stayed in high 160s and CHTs stayed in the 390-410 range the entire time. I have kind of a big cowl flap and I kept it open for the whole flight.

                The thing lands like a dream. Tracks down the runway great, plenty of rudder authority. It has a good solid control feel and there aren't any surprises. Once I get to know the plane better I'm sure it will be very easy to put it down exactly where I want to on short little strips.
                Rollie VanDorn
                Zanesville, OH
                Patrol Quick Build

                Comment


                • Bcone1381
                  Bcone1381 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  What engine and prop are you using? *What is your empty weight? *Do you have a photo of your instrument panel?

              • #11
                Man, I'm jealous... LOL My time will (eventually) come, though...
                Jim Parker
                Farmersville, TX (NE of Dallas)
                Patrol Quick-Build Serial # P312

                Comment


                • #12
                  Rollie;

                  I just read your article in Beartracks about your Patrol's first flight. What an enjoyable article!

                  Seat Belts: Tell me about your seatbelt/shoulder harness. I think the shoulder straps are the "pull down" adjustment . Do you think much about the shoulder harness when reaching to select the flaps from UP to 1 Notch?. My recollection back in the day was they very easy to adjust, but I never had to reach down. So I entertain ideas about an internal reel. Also, Is that the rotary buckle?

                  Tell me about your Boot Cowl Windows. Do they make a big difference in visibility?

                  Control Cables- I see you positioned your control cables for what I think are Parking Brake, Cabin heat, Alt Air, Cowl Flap along the side and below the panel. I have also considered this location. I have also wondered about placing them along the below the cross bar but wonder about clearance with the knees. How do you like where they are?

                  I like your cowl flap, and the engine intake. I put an order in to Bob for an IO-360, parallel valve, narrow deck, Bendix RSA injection. I am hoping to use a 90 elbow that Airflow Performance offers in order to also have a clean lower cowling. Seeing yours inspires me and I like where you placed the intake.

                  Brooks Cone
                  Southeast Michigan
                  Patrol #303, Kit build

                  Comment


                  • Rollie
                    Rollie commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Hey Brooks, thanks for the nice comments about my plane. The seat belts are Hooker and the front seat does have an inertial reel, the back doesn't. I thought it would be a hassle to loosen it up to reach the flap lever and I figured I'd forget to tighten it back up before landing, plus I like to be able to move the flaps just after touchdown so I figured the reel was necessary. For the back, that seat is usually empty and when its not, its not that important to be able to reach the floor so I saved a little money there. It is the rotary buckle.

                    That isn't actually a window in the boot cowl, its an access panel that was a simple mod and really makes it easy to get to the back of the panel and to the brake reservoir, etc. I have another cover that is painted and has a NACA vent in it but I decided to make another one with no vent for cold weather and I just haven't painted it yet.

                    For the heat, park brake, cowl flap, etc cables, I sat in the plane and figured where would be easy to reach and not in the way of my knees. Over on the sides it was easy to mount, and out of the way. The Patrol is so wide that you really have to try to touch them with your legs. Under the panel would be another story, especially while getting in and out. I have to be careful not to bang my knees on the bottom of the cowl getting in and out as it is.

                    I'm not sure that my cowl flap does anything yet, I will close it in flight next time I fly to see if it makes a difference. In my mind it has to make a difference because it almost doubles the opening, but with the big lip I put on it, it might be enough even when its closed.

                  • Bcone1381
                    Bcone1381 commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Thanks Rollie

                • #13
                  I've got just over 8 hours on my Parol now. The weather hasn't been very cooperative. Seems like every time I come home from work for a couple days we have freezing rain or something just as unpleasant. Today was nice though, I flew just over two hours and tried some slow flight and stalls along with checking out cruise performance at 7500 and 8500 feet. And a few wheel landings.

                  I also recently checked my tach with one of those optical tach checking tools. The tach is right on. I'm only getting 2590 rpm wide open, flat pitch so I'm going to adjust that to get 2700 and see if I get off the ground even quicker.

                  My slow flight and stalls were interesting, mostly because it wouldn't go very slow. I think my airspeed isn't very accurate at low speeds. Full flap power off stall occurred at 45 knots indicated, I was expecting closer to 30 KIAS. Power on I could only get it down to about 40-41 KIAS. Then I noticed on short final that whit an airspeed of 65 kts, my groundspeed was 45kts. The windsock was only halfway up, so should have been about 7-8 knots of wind. That made start thinking that at low speed my airspeed might be off by about 13 kts. I'll shim my pitot to lower the AOA of the pitot and see if that helps.

                  The other day I did a 3 point landing and got a tail wheel shimmy. I pushed forward on the stick to unload the TW and it stopped. The easiest way I know to avoid TW shimmy is just do wheel landings and as nicely as this plane lands on the mains, I'm not sure why I ever three point it. but today when I was pushing the plane out to go fly, I noticed that when the tailwheel turns one way, it leans to the side a bit. it only does it one way, not the other. I'm thinking I probably drilled it not quite perfectly way back when I was mounting it the first time. that probably led to the shimmy. I'll have to figure out what I can do to fix that.

                  I also tested out my cowl flap, it works. I closed it and the CHT's rose 20 degrees per cylinder and I opened it back up and they cooled off 20 degrees. Running lean of peak in cruise the CHT's come down to around 350 with the cowl flap open so I guess I will be about to cruise with it closed and keep good tamps.

                  I won't bother with performance numbers yet until I verify that my airspeed is accurate.
                  Rollie VanDorn
                  Zanesville, OH
                  Patrol Quick Build

                  Comment


                  • #14
                    Rollie, I read your comments about low end airspeed with great interest. My experience is just about opposite. I was showing slightly low airspeeds, at the bottom end. I have a G3X which displays winds. I noticed that I was encountering headwinds, no matter which direction I flew... I figured my issue was static source pressure. I have static sources on each side, aft of the baggage area. I placed small pieces of 'double stick' tape (about 1/16" thick) just ahead of the static ports, to reduce static pressure. Seems to have worked.
                    If shimming the pitot doesn't fix your issue, you might consider your static source.

                    Bill

                    Comment


                    • Rollie
                      Rollie commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Thanks, I hadn't thought of that. I think I'll try that before I mess with the pitot.

                  • #15
                    Awesome Rollie congrats, a well deserved successful first flight, im green with envy

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