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Old 05-25-2018, 07:38 PM
StickNRudder StickNRudder is offline
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Tustin, CA
Posts: 56
Talking "First Flight: Journey to a Dream" a film my son did of my, well you know...

Executive Summary:
After a little over two years, I conducted my first flight in N5427W, an RV-7. My son (a film student), was good enough to video the experiance and create this short film (only 6 minutes). I almost titled it "Five of the Best Landings I Ever Made", but I settled on "First Flight: Journey to a Dream."

Turn up the sound and enjoy!

First Flight: Journey to a Dream

The longer backstory:

11/5/2017 was the first flight of N5427W!
N5427W is an RV-7 slow build kit with the slider canopy. I built it in a little over two, very focused, years. I rigidly stuck to the plans except for the "Almost a 14" mod and the "Supertracks" slider mod. As an electronics engineer and software guy, I designed my electrical system and designed and wired my Garmin G3X IFR panel. Up front, I have a brand new Titan IOX-370 engine with a Catto 3-blade prop. She came in at 1040 pounds (unpainted and without pants).

After a final inspection by my EAA Tech advisor and DAR, Dave Prizio on Saturday, 11/4/2017, N5427W was officially an airplane. My first flight was being planned and executed by the team of Richard Wilsher and myself. Richard was the Flight Director and was responsible for the overall flight, and of course, I was the test pilot. Before the flight, he spent a lot of time working with me on the checklists. During the flight he kept me apprised of the schedule, helped monitor traffic, provide comm support (and backup if NORDO), took notes, and generally kept an eye on things. Having Richard on the ground really freed up my brain allowing me to concentrate on flying. Also, supporting the first flight was my son Jack (who is creating a documentary of the effort) and my son Hank and Richard's better half, Pat.

With a new engine up front, it wants minimum ground time and maximum time at 65 to 75% power. So the flight test was an initial 30 minute segment at 75% power, then some slow flight, then if everything looked and felt good, another 30 minutes at 75% power, followed by a low approach and a landing.

Taxi, run-up, and takeoff were uneventful. Then about 500' agl I smell SMOKE! I get to pattern altitude, reduce power, switch off my standby battery (which is in the cockpit) and radio that I am returning for landing. But the thing is, the smoke smelled like wood smoke and I have an aluminum airplane. All the gauges were good, no smoke reported from the ground, and it was definitely not an electrical smell. Then I noticed a few ash flakes floating in the cockpit. That's when I realized what it was. We had massive wildfires in the Corona, CA area recently and some of the smoke and ash got into my vents. By now, on downwind, the smell was diminishing. I decided to do one more slow orbit, the smell was completely gone, everything was green so I powered up to do the test pattern.

The test pattern was a 4 nm by 2 nm rectangle centered over Corona airport. Flying at 2400 feet, this kept me within gliding distance of the airport. Aside from a slightly heavy right wing (mostly because my fat a** was in the right seat) which I could trim out, the plane flew flawlessly. There were zero avionics or instrumentation problems. Everything just worked.

So after 30 minutes at 2400 rpm, the CHTs were right at 400 and the oil temp was right at 200. I did some slow flight and the since everything looked and felt good, we continued with another 30 minute test pattern.

Then, the landing. I got my tailwheel and some aerobatic training in a Decathlon at Sunrise Aviation and my RV-7 transition training from Mike Seager in Oregon. Adequate, but I ain't no expert tailwheel jockey. So I do a low approach with Richard calling height above runway to give me a sight picture. Then I climbed back up and came around for the real landing (and by now, a crosswind had come up).

I came down as gently as I could. But after touching, I was having a small porposing. Slightly bouncing off the runway, just felt like oscillating slightly. Then I hear in my headset, "stick back". Richard, who has ton's of tailwheel time, spotted my problem. Stick back and all was well. When I watched the video, it turns out I had done an inadvertant wheel landing with the tailwheel maybe a foot or so off the runway. More practice to come.

Of course the first flight was the culmination of much hard work which cannot be accomplished alone.

First, without the support and encouragement of my wife, Barbara, this project would not have happened. And while she was happy to provide moral support, riveting required something more tangible. That is where my neighbor Jack S. and my friend Richard really came through. Jack was always willing to shoot some rivets, even when it meant working in the nasty tank sealant while riveting the fuel tanks. Richard came by whenever asked and left his mark on the fuselage and wings. Over the build I had a few guest riveters as well. My son's Hank and Jack pitched in many times, and Jack's friends Andrea and Jennie built a seat back. A coworker, Peter B., checked in throughout the build and got his hands dirty a time or two.

Once the plane moved to a hangar at Corona, help was always a request away. Rick M. really came through when two sets of hands were required and Steve C. provided the guidance needed to tackle that most daunting of tasks, fiberglassing. In addition to those mentioned, many others lent physical and moral support along the way.
Rick Woods
N5427W == Jack, Hank, Barbara, and Rick Woods.
Flying, but not done, never done.
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Old 05-25-2018, 08:09 PM
rackley16 rackley16 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Oceanside, California
Posts: 106

Congratulations! That was a great video. Thanks for sharing your adventure. Well done.
2019 dues paid.
RV7 empennage acquired and the "journey" has officially begun. Wings are here!
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Old 05-25-2018, 10:56 PM
Schooner69 Schooner69 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 108

Well done!!! And flown from the proper seat, too...
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Old 05-25-2018, 11:05 PM
Paul from Flyleds's Avatar
Paul from Flyleds Paul from Flyleds is offline
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 237

Congratulations Rick!
And an A+ to your son for the video production!

Paul McVitty
VAF advertiser
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Old 05-26-2018, 04:37 AM
Steve Ashby's Avatar
Steve Ashby Steve Ashby is offline
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Stone Mountain, Georgia
Posts: 497
Default Holy Mama!

Best first flight video ever! How much does this kid charge to produce a first flight video? I want to get him under contract before his prices go up!
Steve Ashby
Stone Mountain, GA
N184RW (reserved)
YIO-360 180 hp Lycoming
Hartzell Blended Airfoil Prop
Engine Hung
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Old 05-26-2018, 08:31 AM
MikeyDale's Avatar
MikeyDale MikeyDale is offline
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Garden City Texas
Posts: 923

Great Plane and great flight! Congratulations! Let the Fun begin!

And by the way, that boy of yours has a special talent! Best first flight video I've ever seen!
Mike Hillger
Garden City, Texas
First Flight
Dues Paid
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Old 05-26-2018, 09:26 AM
bkervaski's Avatar
bkervaski bkervaski is offline
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Birmingham, Alabama
Posts: 1,872

Great video and congrats!

Also, great job not loosing your cool when you smelled smoke, that had to be unnerving to say the least.
RV-14A #140376
N196 (Flying)
2019 Bronze Lindy
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Old 05-26-2018, 04:01 PM
uk_figs's Avatar
uk_figs uk_figs is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Tulsa, OK
Posts: 1,192
Default Great video

Great video and I know how you feel, if you have not considered them I would install the gear leg stiffener set from Flyboy Accessories when you install the gear fairings which will make the gear a little less "springy" which will help the landings and particularly wheel landings. I did the Dan Checkoway expanding foam trick and find good wheel landings tricky and a friend just installed the stiffeners on his -7 and said they make a big difference.
Dave (Figs) (RV-7 N256F, Flying)
Dave's RV-7 Blog
Email me
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Old 05-27-2018, 02:06 PM
David-aviator David-aviator is offline
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Chesterfield, Missouri
Posts: 4,514

Congrats on first flight Rick, sure enjoyed the video.

Don't feel bad about the 5 landings, I've done it many a time, especially in the 6 and the 7. The 8 has stiffer gear legs and behalves much better.

A very experienced CFI tail dragger guy showed my how he does it, just a little forward stick as the airplane touches, Van calls it relaxing the back pressure in his "how to fly an RV" from years back.

In any event, enjoy the airplane, there is nothing as exceptional as flying any RV.
RV-12 Build Helper
RV-7A...Sold #70374
The RV-8...Sold #83261
I'm in, dues paid 2019 This place is worth it!
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Old 05-27-2018, 02:57 PM
charger81 charger81 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Texas
Posts: 259

Not a pilot but I have been perusing this site for well over 8 years and I can't recall ever seeing a plane set up preferentially to fly from the right side.

Curious as to your choice. I'm right handed and have always thought I would prefer to fly with my right hand and use the left for working everything else. I know I'm showing my na?vet? when it comes to cockpit operations but hey, we all started at zero knowledge, right?

Great looking plane, 2nd the high praise for your son's video and I commend you for the focus required to complete in the "two year" time frame. Your wife is surely an angel!

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