Online Community of Zenith Builders and Flyers
The first flight in the aircraft that you've built yourself is an exciting moment in your life, one that rivals the other important "firsts" in your life. We love to hear first flight stories from our builders.
As we all know, the first flight can also turn into a very bad experience. (Way too many homebuilt aircraft accidents happen during the first few flights, and they are usually caused by pilot error.)
Please share with us how you prepared for your first flight. (A successful first flight doesn't mean that you personally had to perform the maiden flight: many wisely choose to have a more experienced pilot perform the first flight)
The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) has many excellent resources available to help you prepare for the first flight and also to successfully complete your flight test program. For a successful first flight it is imperative that you have a plan in place so that you are prepared.
Here are just a few of the available resources to help you prepare for the first flight of your aircraft:
I'm preparing for the first flight about two weeks from now.
I hope to find a highly qualified test pilot for the first couple of hours at least, but if not, I'll have to do the job myself. I have a fresh BFR (after 20+ years not flying), 5+ hours of stick time in a 701 thanks to the generous spirit of the owner (whom I met right here) and 4+ hours of dual in a 750. About 300 hours total time (Champs, Tri-Champs, Cessna 150's, 172's, 182's, Piper Tri-Pacers, Citabrias, and a T-34).
I'd like to hear from y'all about how you handle these aircraft, especially on landing, in still air, bumpy air, and crosswinds. I've been advised to carry 1500 RPM and 60 on approach, and have had a power-off landing (idle and 70) demonstrated, but didn't actually make one. I plan to shoot for touchdown well down a 6,000 ft paved runway so I can make the runway in case the engine burps or quits. I'm used to spot landings, power off, but I understand the value of carrying power to touchdown until I get used to the airplane.
Bent nose-gear accidents seem to be common in these airplanes, and I am curious about how they happen; what the pilot does wrong. No less a figure than Barry Schiff has noted that "excessive pitch sensitivity" is characteristic of Light Sport category airplanes in general. So I'd like to hear from as many pilots as possible on these issues; particularly just how you properly flare these airplanes, and how you transition from 60 or 70 to touchdown speed and how the nose gear is lowered to the runway without breaking or bending it--as softly as possible.
Thanks in advance. I'll be away from the computer from December 30 through January 6, then here for a few days, then on to flight testing. If you want to call, or for me to call you, send me a message.