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Old 03-20-2003, 09:13 AM   #1
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Test Flying New Planes

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So, how do people feel about being the test pilot for someones brand new plane that they put their heart and soul into.

I still get people to test fly some of mine, it depends on the model. If the plane goes down, I don't blame them. Sure you're upset, but I figure if they had problems (and they have a lot more experience than me), then I definitely would have had problems and maybe do more damage. I still like someone to double check my balance as I never seem to get it quite right.

We'll see if I think I want to test fly my TF Corsair in a couple of years. (Yeah, it will take me that long to get it finished)

For all the people that like the "responsibility" of maiden flights.
I never crash...I land with style!

Ajax R/C Club
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Old 03-20-2003, 09:28 AM   #2
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You're right that it depends on the plane, plus confidence that it inside your head. The test flier has enough confidence that they can fly it otherwise the knees would knock too.

These does come a point where you have to have confidence in your abilities. We're not talking about 3d hovering here, just take off, a couple of circuits, some approaches and landing.

Until you do it, you really don't know how you'll feel about it. I'm maidened my wangers (combat) and I hand launched my Fazer for the first time last week. Fun but knee knocking, really because it's the first time.

The Pete N Poke, the Revolution II and the scratch bipe, I will maiden on my own (with someone probably beside me, for confidence ). The Sukhoi?? still undecided on that but I know there are one or two people who would maiden it for me if I asked.

You gotta start somewhere though
Bob D.
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Lighten Up, Life is waaaaaayyyy too short
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Old 03-20-2003, 09:45 AM   #3
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If you instruct new students Scotty, then test flying your own plane should be a breeze.

Test flying other peoples planes can be a bit more nerve wracking but if you do a thorough pre-flight, checking all surfaces, connectors, linkages, CG, etc, then most uncertainty will be eliminated. You also have to have broad shoulders in case of the inevitable happening.
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Old 03-20-2003, 09:46 AM   #4
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maiden flight

Every year it's the same for me . fix planes during winter, install different radio,engine, wheels (landing gear)
Only two planes i havent touched .
will maiden flight check three planes this spring. all with diferent stuff on them since last flown,
yea my knees will rattle for the first five minutes of flight and about one minute before landing
All depending on if i have to dead stick it in. (I seem to do this calmly and pull off amazing landings)
My brother says its because thats the way i always land. it's just another Rob landing proceadure, engine off glide it in.
Live to Fly, Fly to Live
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Old 03-20-2003, 09:49 AM   #5
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My biggest problem with test flying is that it has been soooo long since I have flown anything other than a decked out pattern plane I just dont feel comfortable doing it.

Although I have lots of time behind me, and I have lots of confidence in my abilities, I just dont have that comfort factor with something unfamiliar. I will do it if someone really needs me to, but I avoid it if possible.

Since I switched to Mode 3 though I find that I get less requests

My only test flights this spring will be

A revamped Evolis
A new Evolis
and an Enigma (updated Evolis)

sooooo they are all pattern planes, and they all fly easier than trainers
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Old 03-20-2003, 10:04 AM   #6
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Saving peoples planes seems to be easy. Guess I have good reactions, but I still would rather not do the maiden flight. I guess I'm a unique individual.
I never crash...I land with style!

Ajax R/C Club
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Old 03-20-2003, 10:12 AM   #7
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I have never, ever asked anyone to test fly one of my planes. I feel that is MY duty as the plane owner/builder/buyer! Thats just me though. Nothing wrong with getting somneone with more experience to test fly a plane.

I also dont like test flying others planes, but have done so and will do so, as I fly a lot of different types of craft I can usually handle most of them.

I have to laugh, some guys (no names!) think they are the "cheif" test pilots and have crashed so many planes on 1st flights I dont know why anyone would get them to test another plane out. Then they blame it on improper balance, engine not running right, etc, radio hooked up wrong..

Thats one important thing - as a test pilot, I firmly believe it is up to YOU not to take the word of the builder/owner that the plane is balanced, radio installed properly, etc but it is the TEST PILOT's responsibility fopr the safety of others to check the plane over for airworthiness. JMO...
Andrew Coholic -MAAC #26287L

1/2A to giant scale, IMAC, SAM, R/C sport, turbine jets, Heli's...
if its got a wing or two and an engine - I like it!
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Old 03-20-2003, 10:17 AM   #8
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I agree 100% Andrew. I have refused to test fly planes in the past that when I thought needed some work whether it be balance, control linkage, etc. only to have someone else come by and say that it was probably ok. You can guess what happened. In my opinion the test pilot was 100% at fault but what can you do???
DX18 Stealth, H9 Inversa 33, H9 33% Edge, H9 33% Decathlon.
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Old 03-20-2003, 11:15 AM   #9
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I tested out my new fun fly plane I designed already.
Was very pleased with the results.
If I ever get back to building my ultimate that will be the next plane to try. Probably in the summer some time.
Dave S.

Did I just hit that tree?
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Old 03-20-2003, 11:18 AM   #10
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I used to get my hotshot son to do my test flying (and so did a lot of other people) He has a lot of natural ability and has a hunert percent safety record... Well, as he started getting summer jobs, going to college etc, he wasn't available anymore, so I had to lean on me - which is probably the best thing that happened to my flying abilities. I was using my son as a safety crutch for way too long.

So I have test flown a bunch of my own now, as well as other peoples. I do a thorough pre-flight (even on my own planes) checking and rechecking control movement, centering, direction, balance, hinges, structure etc. After I get it running, I spend a lot of time running up and down the runway, checking acceleration, and ground handling. When satisfied, I will do a short lift off and landing about 6 " above the runway. If anything was critically wrong, it should have revealed itself by this point. Now the plane and I are ready for a first flight...

A lot of this evolved from watching the mistakes of others....a cartwheel on take off is not a pretty sight.

The sooner you fall behind, the more time you will have to catch up.
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