I need to start out with the following caveat; I can't compete with Scott Laughlin's flight reports. In fact the only way I can compete with Scott is that I'm older and better looking. Now that I have that out of the way, here is my latest death defying feat.

At 6:40 AM I took off in "Papa Goose" (4568G) leaving a very quiet 3R2 (Legros) behind and below. Surface temp was nearly 80F already and I did my best not to waste too much time on the ground. As soon as I had adequate CHTs and oil temp for full power, I did my run up and mag check then headed down runway 31 behind the massively powerful Jabiru 3300A. Being alone (still under 40 hours in Phase 1) the plane climbed easily at 2900 rpm , 97 mph IAS, and 550 fpm. As soon as I was satisfied that the engine was reasonably happy, I headed SE for Vermillion Bay on the Gulf of Mexico due south of Lafayette, LA. All the way there I was steadily climbing through gaps in the scattered cloud layers... not sure why but there where little cloud banks at different altitudes all the way up to 4,000' MSL with tops around 5K. With lots of huge gaps in the clouds I had no problem maintaining VFR minimums and visual contact with the ground. The high pressure dome that has been parked over us for several weeks has begun to drift west and over the last few days there have been a few T-storms in the afternoons to stir up the air a bit. Despite it being very hazy, I was thrilled find that the OAT was dropping nicely as I climbed so I kept on climbing. By the time I reached Vermillion Bay I had reached 6,000' MSL and the Goose was still climbing. Wonder of wonders, the combination of OAT in the upper 60s and the engine getting more broken in was producing oil temps around 210 F. That was a nice surprise since on the last two flights I was seeing 215 - 238 F at 2,000 - 3,500' MSL in high power cruise (2900 RPM). Today there were no such worries to mar the bliss of being airborne doing what I have wanted to do during three years of building.

Soapbox time: Keep on building... address whatever issues you feel need to be addressed but don't get disillusioned or discouraged. Disappointment is inevitable... disillusionment is optional. You will finally get to do what you set out to do as long as you don't let the bumps in the road break you. End of sermon; death defying tale resumes now.

Having seen the Gulf albeit through the haze, I decided to turn west and fly along the intracoastal waterway. It's so funny that now I have an airplane that is faster than the bass boats in the canal. There have been a lot of times in the past when my Excalibur ultralight could not overcome a headwind and overtake a fast boat. Now I have to work on sightseeing quickly as I breeze on by. It is taking some adjustments on my part.

I kept on climbing just to evaluate the performance on the plane and to see how cool the OAT would get to be. By the time I was directly over my home airport once more, I had reached 10,100' MSL and the OAT was a pleasant 52 F. The CHTs and EGTs were all happily in the green and the oil temp was very nice 204 F. At that point I needed to descend because I was expecting Bob Beach in his CH701 to arrive for a visit at 3R2, so I gradually throttled back, pulled on the carb heat and eased the nose over to re-trim for descent at 110 mph IAS. I dropped back down through the holes in the still widely scattered clouds, giving thanks all the way. Up at 8,000 - 10,000' MSL I had no EGT problems when I had tried throttling back into the midrange of the carb. In fact up at 10K full throttle made the engine rumble a bit as though the mixture was too rich for the altitude... probably was. That was a nice surprise because I was planning on changing the midrange jet to the next larger size soon since I had been seeing high EGTs between 2,600 - 2850 rpm at low altitude. Now I'm going to need some advice and rethink that move, but that's for another day and another time.

As I crossed the approach end of 31 and began to flare in ground effect, there were three of the pesky Mottled Ducks that have an absolute fixation with sitting on our runways at Legros. They seem to have decided that sitting in the grass is for other ducks... they prefer the concrete. I added power to allow me to balloon up and drift left then realigned and cut power to resume the landing. It was smooth and none of the embarrassing nose wheel planting that was a problem for me on the first 2 - 3 flights. I taxied up to a friend's hangar as he was preparing to pull out his Grumman Tiger for a quick hop over to Jennings (about ten miles west of Legros) for the Saturday morning breakfast version of the hundred dollar hamburger. He and another friend looked over the Goose and grinned at all my petty concerns about this temp and that pressure and so on. One of the guys told me to "throw all those gauges out the window" to which I replied in my best Brooklyn accent, "Yeah? Well I got your window right here!". It was all harmless of course and guess what? There was not so much as a hint of ZBAGing.

I was about to board the Grumman for the short breakfast hop when Bob's 701 appeared so I jumped back down to wait for him to land. We decide not to go for the breakfast on the grounds that our two obviously superior Zenith aircraft might cause widespread depression among the mortal pilots in Jennings. We opted instead for a photo session aloft. Bob had his buddy, Lloyd along as a safety pilot and his camera was at the ready so back upstairs we went. Heading north out of Legros we climbed back through the holes in the clouds and formed up at 4,500'. As I carefully and intently slid the Goose into low echelon left Bob snapped away and motioned me ahead to get some different views and angles. I can't wait to see what he got. It's reminiscent of Christmas when I was a kid. Who am I kidding? I'm the oldest juvenile on the block and I don't really want to grow up anyway. My inner child likes airplanes... what can I say?

Once Bob got enough shots from different angles we said our goodbyes and parted company. Each of us headed back to our own roosts before the heat of the day made flying too bumpy. I had 2.39 hours to log and besides, neither of us like to abuse our toys. That sort of thing can make a bad reputation for the designer ;-)

Ed
N4568G 601XL
Papa Goose
15.26 hours

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sounds great..
Good just get out and enjoy your work, was 10,000 feet the highest you have been?

The main reason was continued flight testing at altitude right, the rest was just extra, got to love the extras.. Any hint of CO? Just bought my radio Icom A-210 so wiring and reading manuals.
Chris
I reached 7,200 in my ultralight a few years ago. Didn't do it again because by the time I got back down I was cold and hungry. Besides, the Excalibur doesn't have a transponder and fast moving things live up there. Today I wanted to see how the Bing CV carb functioned in the rare air. To my satisfaction, the engine was happier up at 8 - 10K than it is near sea level. I still think I will have to change to a smaller midrange jet but I want more expert advice (Pete Krotje) before I actually change it. You're right though; no reason not to have fun while doing the exploratory work.

I taped the edges of the belly hatch and voila' ... no more CO issues. Today was a very enjoyable mission indeed.

Ed
Good stuff, Ed.
I do my best to beat down the negative, emphasize the positive and bring a little joy and togetherness, you know? It's like when athletes forget that sports is supposed to be fun. Why the heck did we build these planes? To end world hunger? It can be so fun and such fantastic therapy if we just keep the misery pimps from reigning, know what I mean? Jeez, I'm such a crusader. Let's go fly.

Ed
Ed,

Thanks for the report, it sounds like a great mornings flight. I look forward to the pictures. Hopefully the cloud layers will add an interesting element to them. I flew out Saturday to an Ercoupe Owners Convention that was being held close by. I got teased for not having enough vertical tails! I challenged them to a time-to-climb race....no takers. ;-)

Dave
That's the spirit Dave. Get out there and "show the flag". Photos will be on the way soon.

Ed
So Ed
now that the O2 issue is put to bed, would you still install the small fan in the rear bulkhead? I am up to that part of my build?
Chris
Honestly Chris, it's a coin-toss. I did not see it effectively exhaust the CO from the cabin inflight. The only effective response was to seal off the entry route(s). I haven't yet had to park it out in the full sunlight at a fly-in for a few hours. In that situation it may help to draw in some outside air through the eyeball vents prior to climbing back in to leave. In hindsight though, I think I would skip the exhaust fan in the rear wall of the baggage compartment as too little effect for the trouble of doing it.

What I do recommend is a strut made to prop the canopy partially open. The strut has a duplicate of the striker that holds the canopy locked on one end, a row of lightening holes along its length (about 15 inches) and the bottom lightening hole is just large enough to slip over the aircraft's striker. The top end locks into the canopy latch mechanism and the bottom end anchors to the striker. The canopy can't blow up or down when it is engaged. That is a better cabin ventilation scheme than my little fan to be honest.

Ed
I don't have a close-up picture, but the same canopy hold-up device that Ed mentioned is what is holding up my canopy in the attached picture.

Dave
Attachments:
I'll make an effort to find or take some useful photos of the strut in the next day or so.

Ed

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