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View Poll Results: Did you fly the maiden flight of your build?
Yes 214 85.94%
No 35 14.06%
Voters: 249. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 02-02-2021, 11:43 AM
salty salty is offline
Join Date: Nov 2020
Location: FL
Posts: 103
Default How many of you flew your maiden flight?

Curious how many of you farm it out vs flying it yourself.

I'm very interested in doing it myself. But it's a pride thing, I'm not sure I can be objective about my capabilities.

I'm a good pilot, have instrument and glider ratings, about 700 hours total time, most of that in complex aircraft. But I just started flying 5 or 6 years ago. Flew 200+ hours last year. Flight time has dropped significantly since we started building, I already see that I'm going to have to take steps to make sure I fly enough to stay proficient.

I'm a good troubleshooter. I did a field overhaul of the O-360 in my Mooney 3 years ago, and did first flights after that, but that's not the same magnitude of risk. I'm pretty cool under pressure.

I will definitely be flying most of phase 1 myself, even if I don't do the maiden flight.

Any thoughts on this are appreciated.
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Old 02-02-2021, 11:51 AM
scrollF4's Avatar
scrollF4 scrollF4 is offline
Moderator, Asst. Line Boy
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Flower Mound, TX
Posts: 1,567

Heck yes!

Sid "Scroll" Mayeux, Col, USAF (ret)
52F NW Regional/Aero Valley Airport, Roanoke TX (home of DR's Van Cave)
"KELLI GIRL" N260KM RV-7A tipper
Catch her on YouTube's "Because I Fly!" channel

Exemption waived.
Proud and grateful 2021 -=VAF=- Contributor

PS: I am not an influencer. I have no influence. Just ask my kids.
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Old 02-02-2021, 11:59 AM
DRMA DRMA is offline
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Sugar Land, TX
Posts: 462

I used the Additional Pilot provisions of the FAA rules to have a very well qualified (former test pilot, CFII, with >500 hrs in the RV-10 he owns) second pilot along on my first couple of flights. My reasoning was that he would not only focus on the engine instrumentation while I concentrated on flying the plane, but that as a disinterested party if something went wrong he would keep me from doing something stupid (such as trying to save the plane instead of saving myself). Fortunately, the first flights were uneventful, but it was still helpful to have him along.

I would recommend this option should you decide to do the first flight yourself.
Dave Macdonald

RV-10 First Flight April 1, 2020. Phase 1 Complete
2021 VAF Dues Paid (plus a little more)
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Old 02-02-2021, 12:08 PM
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airguy airguy is offline
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Garden City, Tx
Posts: 5,381

After spending all that time building, of course I flew it for the first flight.

Hiring it out would be like getting someone else to take your bride on the honeymoon...
Greg Niehues - SEL, IFR, Repairman Cert.
Garden City, TX VAF 2021 dues paid
N16GN flying 750 hrs and counting; IO360, SDS, WWRV200, Dynon HDX, IFD440
Built an off-plan RV9A with too much fuel and too much HP. Should drop dead any minute now.
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Old 02-02-2021, 12:09 PM
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uk_figs uk_figs is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Tulsa, OK
Posts: 1,064
Default Yes

I did the EAA program where you sit down with an experienced test pilot and go through multiple scenarios and the various actions/alternatives. We built test cards for the various failure scenarios and planned the activities for the first flight.

Two of the failure scenarios occurred on the first flight and I followed the test cards and returned to the airport. Some pucker factor obviously but the cards and the prior review of procedures made it manageable.

I would recommend this approach if you plan to do your own first flight.
Dave (Figs) (RV-7 N256F, Flying)
Dave's RV-7 Blog
Email me
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Old 02-02-2021, 12:23 PM
Ron B. Ron B. is offline
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Yarmouth, Nova Scotia
Posts: 2,515

Come on guys, there is no shame in asking a more experienced pilot take up your aircraft for the first flights. To me someone asking the question should seek help , they are to be commended for doing so.
Thanks Ron
RV-14 Flying
AirCam flying
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Old 02-02-2021, 12:24 PM
fixnflyguy fixnflyguy is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Winston-Salem, N.C.
Posts: 1,369
Default My thoughts..

I flew my first flight (RV-4), and never gave any other option a thought. What I have seen through years of reading posts and witnessing first flights, is that no two people have the same feeling about it, nor can prepare for everything possible with 100% confidence. In the world of RV's we enjoy much more confidence then brand X,Y,Z experimental with small numbers and greatly variable build scenarios. All series RV's built "per plans" with normal recommended baseline systems will likely have no surprises for the first flight. RV's are honest airplanes with few if any bad characteristics. A few hours of dual transition with a reputable instructor should provide the skill set needed to fly it. I also advise focus on the most basic flight profile you can settle on for flight number one. If your going to have to do an engine break in as I did (fresh build), plan on an hour plus, and there is a lot more that needs to be planned for. I also advise a camera that can capture the instrument panel, and analyze the film after the flight for details of speeds ect. When that day comes, and your sitting on the numbers ready to go, if the gut feel isn't right, go back to the hangar and change the plan.
Bill E.
8A7 / Advance NC
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Old 02-02-2021, 12:25 PM
Flying Canuck Flying Canuck is offline
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 518

I was left seat for my first flight, but my engine builder was right seat and PIC. I had the required hours, but not much more than that. Was quickly glad to not be PIC as we had a loss of power and temps on #1 cylinder as we started descent to airport. Came with a strong AVGAS smell. Landed without incident and found that the fitting on the line coming off the flow divider has worked loose.

I really wanted to do my first flight, but ultimately, very good thing I didn't.
Claude Pitre
RV-9A #91081, C-GCPT
Dynon SkyView HDX, IO-320 and WW 200RV C/S. Flying as of August 6, 2018

Added GPS 175 and authorized for IFR April 1, 2021

Interactive map of all of my flights here
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Old 02-02-2021, 01:02 PM
WingsOnWheels WingsOnWheels is offline
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Plano, TX
Posts: 2,137

I did not do my first flight. There was no one with a LODA nearby for transition training. It would have delayed first flight a month or two to do it myself. So another local RV'r did the first flight and then was right-seat under the additional pilot program.
Colin P.
RV-6A #20603
Complete 5/10/19
I donate every year on my B-Day (in Dec), but donated early in Sep'19.
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Old 02-02-2021, 01:22 PM
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Roadjunkie1 Roadjunkie1 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Erie, Colorado
Posts: 161
Default Who flew SuzieQ first........?

Originally Posted by airguy View Post
Hiring it out would be like getting someone else to take your bride on the honeymoon...
THAT cracks me UP!

I did fly my first flight solo in RV-4 SuzieQ. I stayed current while building her by flying the J-3 Cub and part of that was going over emergency procedures. Yes, it is WAY different in SuzieQ than the Cub but that was to get me in the mind set of "what if THIS...." I'm sure people on the ground were expecting to see a Cub in the dirt more than once....

I flew for several flights with Dean Hall (a long-time RV-4 pilot) right before I flew SuzieQ solo. We went through a lot of scenarios that could occur. And some things NOT to do. That was very helpful. I was/am a relatively high-time tailwheel pilot and that helped a lot but is not necessary. Especially in a -A

That said, I had every part of that first flight thoroughly thought out and on my Flight Card. I flew that first flight MANY times before I flew that first flight! After, I had EVERY flight after planned out to the minute as what I needed to accomplish and every card was on my kneeboard. That was in 1997 and many resources have since come into existence (including this forum) that I did not have the benefit of having. I went through every "Test Pilot" reference I could find, including military. I was prepared.

SO: yes, you likely CAN make that first flight. It is a whole lot like your first solo and something you will never forget. I can still see the horizon as it got lower on the canopy..... BUT: you yourself have to be comfortable with doing that. You will eventually have to take her up for the first time.....

What version are you building?

Photo is of that first flight...........
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RV-4 2860
1946 C-90-8 J-3 Cub
The adventure begins when things stop going as planned - Glen Heggstad
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