Reflections on the first flight of a Highlander

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Reflections on the first flight of a Highlander

Postby barry767 » Fri Apr 18, 2014 12:24 am

N912JA flew today, mere minutes after receiving the airworthiness certificate.

Configuration: Highlander serial number 239, taildragger, Rotax 912, Kiev prop set at 11 degrees, extreme gear, VG's, flap gap seals, 694 pounds empty weight, me and around 6 gallons of gas.

Build philosophy: Per the manual. Troy Woodland and Steve Henry have told me to keep it simple, light and fun. Resist all temptations to build it otherwise.

(SPOILER ALERT: It ended well)

Flight: When I pushed the power up, it quickly became apparent that this thing wanted to climb right now! My VSI wasn't working so I don't know what the rate was, but I had a very good view of Southern California in no time at all. Leveling off at 3000 I noticed that it flew more or less wings level, ball centered. Some adjectives that came to mind: solid, nimble, light, very responsive in pitch, roll and yaw and what a view! The engine/prop combination was wonderfully smooth, quiet and powerful (I was wearing noise canceling headsets). Seemed to stall around 38 mph at altitude, but I might have been in a slight climb at the time.

Discrepencies: Couldn't get the flaps to lock in the third detent and I need more nose up trim. Both easy fixes, I'm sure.

The landing: Tried to three point it around 40 mph, but that resulted in several bounces before it settled down. My thinking is that 40 is more of a takeoff speed than landing speed. With VG's installed and the aircraft in ground effect, I'm going to try for any attitude closer to 35 mph (or less) next time.

Conclusion: What a thrill. Thanks Troy for designing such an awesome aircraft. Photos to follow.

Barry
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Re: Reflections on the first flight of a Highlander

Postby gkremers » Fri Apr 18, 2014 9:15 am

Barry,
Congrats on the first flight, sounds like you did a great job. Keep us updated on how the test flights go.

Gary
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Re: Reflections on the first flight of a Highlander

Postby accent air » Fri Apr 18, 2014 10:24 am

Barry,
Congrats on the first flight
Kris Griewahn
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Re: Reflections on the first flight of a Highlander

Postby taildrgfun » Fri Apr 18, 2014 6:17 pm

Good job Barry! I will always remember that you were the very first person that I got to sell a kit to. Call me about your flaps.
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Re: Reflections on the first flight of a Highlander

Postby User GDS » Fri Apr 18, 2014 9:33 pm

Excellent! Congratulations and have fun. 694 lb is a good weight to start with.
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Re: Reflections on the first flight of a Highlander

Postby barry767 » Fri Apr 18, 2014 9:54 pm

Thanks all. Successful second flight today. Steve, I'll give you a call tomorrow. Barry
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Re: Reflections on the first flight of a Highlander

Postby levyland » Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:06 pm

congrats Barry from New Zealand!
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Re: Reflections on the first flight of a Highlander

Postby barry767 » Thu Apr 24, 2014 12:23 am

Third flight today with multiple stop and go's into gusty crosswinds. Changed my technique from three point to wheel landings and that made all the difference. This airplane eats up cross winds with very effective rudder and brakes. Just have to be careful not to overcorrect with rudder. It is very sensitive, at least compared to other small aircraft I've flown.

One non airframe related problem that continues to baffle me. My radio, a panel mounted Icom IC-A210, operates as if I cannot turn the squelch up high enough. In other words, when I'm not receiving a transmission, I get continous backround noise. Additionally, tower tells me there's a loud squeal when I transmit. The squelch setting is at 10, the highest you can select. Anyone else had this issue? I'm wondering if it might be related to the Rotax electrical system.

Climb rate is ridiculous, despite the fact that the Kiev prop is set at 11 degrees. Max on the scale that came with the prop is 12. Despite the great climb, still seeing around 95 mph in level flight (gps verified) at about 5000 rpm at wide open throttle.

Barry
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Re: Reflections on the first flight of a Highlander

Postby Gil T » Thu Apr 24, 2014 3:48 pm

Barry

I just got back from a test hop to see if my numbers are still where I want them. This is what I have.
Kiev prop set at 11 1/2 degrees. (Its hard to see good with that scale they sent me)
Temp 86 DA2880
TO WOT 4950
Climb @ WOT 4950 1150 FPM @60kts IAS
Level flight WOT 5790 102kts IAS 69 degrees @3000 ft.
Level flight WOT 5300 93kts IAS 69 degrees @3000 ft.

If you're only getting 5000 WOT in level flight I guess your prop is set pretty much for cruise. A few days ago Gary from Big Bear told me with his prop set for max get off the ground mode he has to pull the throttle back as soon as he gets in the air so he doesn't overspeed.

Sounds like you're having fun getting used to it now. Keep it up.

Gil T
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Re: Reflections on the first flight of a Highlander

Postby Gil T » Thu Apr 24, 2014 3:53 pm

I'd better correct that cruise figure at 3000ft. That was at 5300 RPM. Not WOT.
My secretary was making me lunch and made a mistake.

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Re: Reflections on the first flight of a Highlander

Postby barry767 » Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:20 pm

Thanks Gil T and Levyland in Newzealand!

This morning I took off at 0600 in San Diego when the air was still and cool. What impressed me most (again) was the climb rate and how stable the aircraft flew, nearly hands free. With the engine sounding and performing so well I decided to venture away from the safety and comfort of my home field for the first time and do some landings at an unimproved strip a few miles away. Right now I guess I'm too impressed with what I'm seeing to take the time to copy down numbers. I'll try to do something similar to what you did for comparison purposes in the near future. But I did notice that I was able to achieve 5300 rpm WOT in level cruise on the flight. Sound about right for the 11 degree prop setting. Just to confirm, your numbers are in knots and not mph? If so, you've got one fast airplane! Hurting me, perhaps, are the larger tires and extreme gear. As soon as I can figure out how I can reduce the file size of my pictures, I'll attach a photo or two. Barry
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Re: Reflections on the first flight of a Highlander

Postby Gil T » Thu Apr 24, 2014 11:03 pm

Barry

Yes, those numbers are in knots and they are a little higher than most I've seen. However, I do have grove gear on mine and smaller tires. I did notice a increase in airspeed of several knots when I put the VG's on. My angle of attack in level flight was reduced by one and a half degrees also which was the reason. The next time I go out I'll try to take a couple of screen shots on my Dynon to confirm those numbers. I was going to do that today but I forgot the right buttons to push to do that. When you aren't playing with these pinball machines we have in these airplanes all the time you can forget the right combination. At least I can.

Have fun!

Gil T
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Re: Reflections on the first flight of a Highlander

Postby taildrgfun » Thu Apr 24, 2014 11:41 pm

Gil do you verify your IAS with ground speed two directions? My Dynons have all read higher speeds than what the gps backs up when I'm around 100 mph area. I'm not saying your numbers are off, just asking. I'm sure your little tires and cleaner gear help considerably. I know my last Highlander would easily go 115mph but I had more power than most.
I am constantly checking my IAS against my average GS because I've yet to have an accurate IAS indicator.
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Re: Reflections on the first flight of a Highlander

Postby Gil T » Fri Apr 25, 2014 11:33 am

Steve

The next time I go up I'll take a few screen shots on the Skyview to see what it looks like. It does look like the numbers are a little high but a look at the GPS vs the IAS at a couple different power settings and directions should give a better look at it. Right now the wind is coming up and will be for the next few days so I'm going to hunker down till it's over. I don't get paid to rattle around anymore so I choose the comfortable (smooth) days if I have the choice.

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Re: Reflections on the first flight of a Highlander

Postby barry767 » Sat Apr 26, 2014 8:22 pm

Hope this works...
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IMG_3465.jpg
IMG_3464.jpg
IMG_3462.jpg
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