First Passenger in "Little Yellow Bird"

Last night my daughter and I went flying!!!!! She's 24 and has had a couple flying lessons at Bob Archibald's Dragonfly Aviation before she went to college.

With the NTSB issue it was a big decision to take a passenger with less than 50 hours on my plane. She has been thoroughly informed over that last few months of all that has transpired with the issue and still wanted to fly.

I have an ELSA. I was given only 5 hours for the Phase I testing. I extended it informally to 15 hours to allow for some 5 hour head-torquing and other engine and airframe checks and maintenance. I decided not to take a passenger until I had 25 hours on the plane, an oil change, and more maintenance. And, I would only take a pilot or someone who has flown a plane and was fully informed of the CH601 issues. It seems like I have done an annual every 5 hours. In the first 25 hours of flying I believe I did at least double that in inspections of the entire airplane. I have flown 20 hours since proper cable tensioning and survived moderate to heavy turbulence. My flying nature is very conservative. So........It's been more than 25 hours and my daughter was curious to fly. To her credit she has been waiting patiently, no begging, no pleading, no "C'mon dad, let's go." She's waited for me to invite her along.

Last evening she went with me to the airport to help remove the cowl to add some grease to the nose wheel strut. After we were done I looked over the cowl and said, "Wanta go fly while the sun's still up?" She said, "Goody! Yes." So we went.

We made a short .8 hour flight to the coast. In cruise I let her control the stick and get used to the handling characteristics. It was interesting that coming from Spam Can (Cessna/Piper) flying she at first had a tendency to over control the airplane in turns, and had a little trouble trimming it out. But, with a little time she got it locked in and did nicely. I landed the plane.

I am very pleased to note that the plane flies much nicer all around with a petite passenger and tanks at 3/4 full. The landing flare was smoother and the speeds on base and approach stayed nailed the whole way down. The little added weight in the passenger seat changed the CG quite noticeably. It did not feel as nose-heavy.

We took some nice pictures and, of course, I really enjoyed the father-daughter time.

I enjoy flying, so much!!!

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Comment by Doug Dugger on May 21, 2009 at 11:43pm
Brad congrats are in order and as you stated its good to have that kind of relations with our kids may all you flights be as good. as always any way we at QSP can help you have only to call. May all of our baby birds fly straight and true.
Comment by Stephen R. Smith on May 21, 2009 at 9:40pm
Hello Brad,

Nice story. Thanks for sharing it.

Comment by Tim Garrett on May 21, 2009 at 9:10pm
Brad - good story. Special times you both will always remember. This is why we fly.

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