After 5 1/2 years the airplane and I had a near perfect first flight yesterday! Winds were calm, some rain showers had passed through and the afternoon high temps had cooled to mid 70s. After some marathon sessions at the hanger these past few weeks tweaking, checking, rechecking, by around 6:30 PM yesterday, I had that strange "there's nothing left to do" feeling so I called the camera crew (aka my wife), pushed it out of the hanger, and did the pre-flight.
Started the engine, taxied to the end of the runway, completed the mag check and takeoff checklist. With everything in the green, took the active and advanced the throttle. The airplane tracked perfectly and with about 60 mph indicated, nudged the stick back and it was airborne! The thing that surprised me the most was how solid everything felt....zero need for trim on either axis and just locked on the heading. Got to about 5000 feet in very little time and throttled back to check response at slow cruise - all good. Then slowed down to low 60s with flaps to check slow speed handling....again, completely straight and predictable. After 20 minutes or so, went back to the airport to set up an approach. Bounced a bit on the first landing (the typical pulled power to idle early and flared a bit too soon) but a blip of throttle settled it in. What amazing airplanes these are!
Went back out today and flew to a couple of local airports and filled the tanks....a couple hours in and feeling very comfortable.
One of the things I was concerned with during the build was cooling. The engine is an XP 400 but between the large oil cooler using the RV10 firewall mount and tight fitting baffles, the highest temps I've seen on climb out is around 190 (ambient temps around 80 today).
Of course some thanks are in order....first to this great community for providing the massive knowledge base to help with those head scratching moments. I don't have any active builders nearby but help was always only a post or search feature away. Not sure if a day has gone by during the build that I wasn't logged on at some point. Next, a big Thank You to Bryan and Showplanes. I used his fastback conversion and cowl and have been delighted with both products. More than that, I've lost track of the number of times we chatted over the past 5 years (even RV8 questions not related to his products). Whenever I'd call I get hear the same steady and calming voice offering years of wisdom from one of the great builders....never rushed and happy to send pics to help explain his answers.
Lastly and most importantly a BIG Thanks to my wife! Regardless of all of our lots in life, building and airplane is a big commitment in terms of both time and money and I was very fortunate to have complete support in both regards.
If the weather cooperates, hoping to get the 40 flown off in time to see some of you and Oshkosh this year!
I'll see if I can get some pics posted soon...and change my signature from "Under Construction" to "Completed"!