Today I finished flying off the Phase-I testing and I thought I'd celebrate with a bit of coastal flying on the way back to Cessnock. You know, some poor buggers have to pay hard earned cash for this kind of thing!
Soooooo...What did I find/learn/stuffup in Phase I? Well, several things, actually...
First and foremost, this thing is a blast! Here she is sitting outside the hangar a couple of months ago before a fuel-flow test, IIRC...
Secondly, it turns out my fiberglass skills weren't quite
as good as I thought...Part of my RHS Lower Intersection Fairing is now adorning some farmers paddock following sideslip testing early in the piece.
The Dynon autopilot required no - that's right, zero
calibration or settings-alteration to work, and work well
- in my RV. I have both pitch and roll servos installed with the Dynon brackets and changed nothing
. It has done everything I have asked of it so far, straight out of the box. That being said, I have the SV32 servo's IIRC, and occasionally the roll servo slips when trying to initiate a turn at high-ish speed. Give the stick a small nudge and that's all that's needed to keep it happy.
Something else I've learnt - Just because you can
climb at nearly 2000FPM and turn downwind inside the aerodrome boundary, doesn't mean you should
. I got chatted by the ARO about turning crosswind too soon after he apparently had a couple of annoyed locals complain about me having (too much) fun.
Entirely my fault though, as there is a fly-neighbourly-type policy for Cessnock Airport and I wasn't aware of it. I am now.
I can still reach circuit altitude by the perimeter fence, but fly upwind another half-mile before turning downwind.
Another learning point: If you do your fuel calibration on a Dynon SkyView system, exit to your main screen (PFD/Map/EMS) before
you power down your system, or your fuel cal tables won't be saved. Ask me how I learnt that
Next: Brisbane Centre get's a little antsy about VFR paints tooling around in their Class-E doing funny-looking things on their scopes. I never got booted out, but was questioned several times about what I was doing and why I was doing what I was doing where I was doing it. Being able to be flexible about your flight testing goes a long way to keeping the guys and girls in ATC on-side though, so I was quite happy to descend a couple of thousand feet or otherwise help them out as needed with accepting a discreet code, etc. They were nothing but polite and professional throughout and I look forward to working with them more in future.
It turns out you can hover a fixed-wing. If you find a 60MPH wind at 3,000'! This was fairly early in the testing regime and I wasn't as confident with the handling as I am now. If I was to do it now, I could probably get it down to 0MPH GS.
What else have I learnt?
- For planning purposes, I will use 10.5L to climb to & descend from, 8000', and will use 24.2LPH at 2400RPM at 8000', while TASing 145 knots at 55% power. This speed will probably increase slightly when I install the upper intersection fairings though.
- 2300RPM gives a nice 500FPM descent, at 145KTAS.
- It pays to do inflight mag-checks. The #3 plug lead fell off the Left P-Mag inflight. Nothing a quick re-crimp and reinstallation didn't fix and it has been fine for 25 hours since.
- I have a pesky oil leak somewhere I am still trying to track down.
- Running down a Shorai battery does not do any favours for long-term use. I did it once and it has never been the same.
- The Rotec TBI must have blast-cooling on the regulator, or have it further away from the exhaust pipes than I currently have it. It suffers vapour-lock on the ground at low RPM after a quick-turn. Not an issue in flight, but it doesn't like to idle below 1000RPM when hot. Cold, it will idle down to 500RPM relatively smoothly.
- The LHS exhaust pipe makes a loud drumming on the floorboards that causes the AKG ANR to over-compensate. Putting my left foot on the magic spot and flying with the LHS left rudder pedal solves that. What any future passengers will think about me playing footsies with them remains to be seen.
- The AKG headphones are much better than the Bose QC15's I was using with the UFlyMike adapter (though that is still an excellent ANR combo in its' own right) but their customer-service leaves a bit to be desired. I have a loud crackling in one earcup and am waiting for the bloke to get back off leave to respond. Seems rather poor form to have but one person to deal with that kind of thing....
- The PlanePower FS14B alternator easily copes with my electrical demands, which top out at 6A in flight.
- The Silver/Red/Yellow livery stands out like dogs balls in the circuit, I'm told.
I have not been able to complete the full CG testing regime, due to the regulatory MTOW limit of 600Kg/1320Lbs. I'll knock that over when I re-register Aurora Australis
with CAsA or RAAus gets their MTOW increase, though with that said, I can't go outside CG limits with any loading configuration possible at present.