VansAirForceForums  
Home > VansAirForceForums

-POSTING RULES
-Advertise in here!
- Today's Posts | Insert Pics

Keep VAF Going
Donate methods

Point your
camera app here
to donate fast.

  #1  
Old 12-14-2011, 08:43 PM
David Paule David Paule is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 5,070
Default Chase Plane?

Why have one? As far as I can see it offers only these benefits:

1. It's a platform for someone to take photos.

2. If the test plane has an avionics failure the chase plane can make the radio calls.

3. The chase plane can look out for traffic.

Anything else?

The reason why I'm asking is that a friend is going to make the first flight of his plane soon, and has asked me to fly chase for him. We have flown formation together numerous times and have briefed on that and other appropriate aspects of the flight.

I will not go in close enough to identify potential leaks, so that possible task isn't going to happen.

But if anyone can give me some advice, something to help make the flight safer or let me relieve the test pilot's workload, I'd be grateful.

Thanks!

Dave
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 12-14-2011, 08:54 PM
AX-O's Avatar
AX-O AX-O is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: SoCal
Posts: 2,545
Default

These are some others.

- Coordination with tower or other airspace requiring communications.

- Clearing the area for the flight.

- Ckecking for any leaks (fuel, oil, etc) or smoke.

- Airspeed comparizon.

- Coordination with ground/air facilities in case of emergencies.

- SAR coordinations.

- An important one; some one to hold your buddy to his/her plan. NOGOs

That being said. The chase should never be in the way of the aircraft conducting it's first flight. That test pilot has way too many things going on.
__________________
Axel
RV-4 fastback thread and Pics
VAF 2020 paid VAF 704
The information that I post is just that; information and my own personal experiences. You need to weigh out the pros and cons and make up your own mind/decisions. The pictures posted may not show the final stage or configuration. Build at your own risk. Further more, these are my opinions and not those of my employer.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 12-14-2011, 09:27 PM
N941WR's Avatar
N941WR N941WR is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: SC
Posts: 12,887
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by AX-O View Post
These are some others.
...

- Ckecking for any leaks (fuel, oil, etc) or smoke.
...

- An important one; some one to hold your buddy to his/her plan. NOGOs

That being said. The chase should never be in the way of the aircraft conducting it's first flight. That test pilot has way too many things going on.
Looking for leaks or smoke was the only real reason I wanted a chase plane on my first flight.

The second item wasn't an issue for me as I knew I was going to stick to the plan and did.

As for keeping out of the way, my chase pilot and TeamRV member, Tad Sargent was very helpful.

If nothing else, he was a calm voice on the radio during a stressful flight.
__________________
Bill R.
RV-9 (Yes, it's a dragon tail)
O-360 w/ dual P-mags
Build the plane you want, not the plane others want you to build!
SC86 - Easley, SC
www.repucci.com/bill/baf.html
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 12-14-2011, 09:45 PM
Steve Barnes Steve Barnes is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
Posts: 593
Default Chase Planes

Years ago I went to support a friend on his first flight of an RV 4. Half the RV community in a large Metro-area was there too. He must have had 5+ chase planes. I opted out of joining the Circus and stayed on the ground. I am sure that their unplanned escort was fun. Fortunately it turned out fine. I won't even go in all the reasons this should never have happened.

Steve "The Builders Coach"
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 12-14-2011, 09:53 PM
Ironflight's Avatar
Ironflight Ironflight is offline
VAF Moderator / Line Boy
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Dayton, NV
Posts: 12,835
Default

Axel - where did you get a copy of our pre-test plan for last weekend?

You nailed pretty much the reasons we had on paper for having a chase plane. Of course, you and I are both used to doing flight testing in a team environment. You have to have faith in your team to make it worthwhile!

If a person plans to stay in radio and visual (not to mention gliding) range of the airport, many of these reasons go away, and many first flights are conducted safely without them. if you aren't trained in the use of a chase, and can't practice with one, then you might very well be safer without one. For our test flights last weekend, we did mission-specific training to know what we were going to do. It paid off well for the plan we used.

Just don't feel pressure to have a chase plane "because other guys do it" or worse, just because you have someone who is excited about doing it. Have good, solid rationale for everything you are going to do in your test program.

Paul
__________________
Paul F. Dye
Editor at Large - KITPLANES Magazine
RV-8 - N188PD - "Valkyrie"
RV-6 (By Marriage) - N164MS - "Mikey"
RV-3B - N13PL - "Tsamsiyu"
A&P, EAA Tech Counselor/Flight Advisor
Dayton Valley Airpark (A34)
http://Ironflight.com
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 12-14-2011, 10:46 PM
fatherson fatherson is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Posts: 427
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ironflight View Post
Axel - where did you get a copy of our pre-test plan for last weekend?
Maybe the right question is when are all of us going to be able to buy a copy of your pre-test plan? . . . on Amazon?

Seriously, Paul. I think you should be writing a book, if not now, then soon after your pending move to the quiet confines of the desert southwest. Best Practices in Experimental Aviation: lessons in mission control, by Paul F. Dye. I'll pay for my copies in advance!

--
Stephen
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 12-15-2011, 03:13 AM
Andy Hill's Avatar
Andy Hill Andy Hill is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 976
Default

Dave (and others)

From my pov, all summed above. It can have it's place, especially when seen in the wider entire test phase e.g. at some point an IAS / Alt comparison can be made - although since the chase will often be (need to be!) an RV, you need to ask how well calibrated that one is

Our "regulator" over here (the LAA) gives a list of the "aims" / "targets" of the 1st flight, and Formation is not one of them. It will only be a 15-20min flight to achieve those aims, and will be high power early on, and then some slow speed stuff, so hard for anyone else to formate on, especially since the target aircraft will not be over-helpful.
Quote:
Years ago I went to support a friend on his first flight of an RV 4. Half the RV community in a large Metro-area was there too. He must have had 5+ chase planes
Something I was told, and agree with, is keep those who "know" of the 1st flight, as small as possible. This reduces pressure to make the flight with either aircraft or weather issues. We can just walk away and await the issues solved without leaving anybody else any the wiser.

Clearly if you the resources, experience and plan to do it "properly" (and above all discipline) then fine e.g. as with Paul. But I don't think anyone should feel pressurised to try and emulate that without the other elements in place...
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 12-15-2011, 05:49 AM
plehrke's Avatar
plehrke plehrke is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Defiance, MO
Posts: 1,828
Default

I did not use chase for three reasons: 1) I was flying out of an airport under a class B and next to a Class D. I did not want any geometry of the chase, relative to me, ever box me in with air space or access to an airport. 2) My first flight plan was always within sight of the airport due to reason 1. 3) I felt dis-simialar aircraft would be bad. We have no RV on the field and did not want a slow Cub or big Bonanza trying to keep up.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Hill View Post
Dave (and others)
Something I was told, and agree with, is keep those who "know" of the 1st flight, as small as possible. This reduces pressure to make the flight with either aircraft or weather issues. We can just walk away and await the issues solved without leaving anybody else any the wiser.
This is a very good point. I did a taxi test in the morning and had a slight oil leak issues when I took the cowl off. By the time I was ready to fly the winds were up. Since there was only the essentials people there, I was under no pressure to go fly. I waited 6 hours to early evening when the winds where down to fly.
__________________
Philip
RV-6A - flying 970+ hours
Based at 1H0 (Creve Coeur)
Paid dues yearly since 2007
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 12-15-2011, 06:53 AM
panhandler1956's Avatar
panhandler1956 panhandler1956 is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Ohio
Posts: 1,686
Default I used one

I used a chase on mine for all the reasons previously mentioned. I was lucky, my chase pilot is ex-military, built his RV-4, and is very good at formation.

One thing that hasn't been mentioned that may be unique to me was the comfort factor. Even though we were in separate airplanes, it settled my nerves a bit to have someone else with me - maybe 'human factors'?

And I think I would have been more disciplined in an emergency with someone watching - less likely to go for a hail mary.

I also agree that having a chase does not fit every circumstance.
__________________
Brent Owens
EAA Chapter 9 Tech Counselor/Flight Advisor
Columbus, OH
RV-8 'Contrary Mary' flying
N784DE S/N #82614

www.fixedwingbuddha.com
Follow me on Facebook
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 12-15-2011, 07:24 AM
Ironflight's Avatar
Ironflight Ironflight is offline
VAF Moderator / Line Boy
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Dayton, NV
Posts: 12,835
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by fatherson View Post
Maybe the right question is when are all of us going to be able to buy a copy of your pre-test plan? . . . on Amazon?

Seriously, Paul. I think you should be writing a book, if not now, then soon after your pending move to the quiet confines of the desert southwest. Best Practices in Experimental Aviation: lessons in mission control, by Paul F. Dye. I'll pay for my copies in advance!

--
Stephen



Stephen - books take time! You might check out a new series in Kitplanes Magazine that starts with the February or March issue for a few of the things you might be interested in. I'm working to get some stuff writen up in a coherent package talking about planning, training, and flying first flights.

And man, Andy (and others) are right about keeping the crowds down. We had a TOTAL of 5 people on our first flight team, and one "SO" who has years of experience inspecting airplanes that tagged along on the preflight. Any more would have been too many - and every one was ready to scrub if we didn't met our pre-planned criteria for the flight. Chase planes seriously complicate the process if you don't know how to use them correctly.
__________________
Paul F. Dye
Editor at Large - KITPLANES Magazine
RV-8 - N188PD - "Valkyrie"
RV-6 (By Marriage) - N164MS - "Mikey"
RV-3B - N13PL - "Tsamsiyu"
A&P, EAA Tech Counselor/Flight Advisor
Dayton Valley Airpark (A34)
http://Ironflight.com
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:19 PM.


The VAFForums come to you courtesy Delta Romeo, LLC. By viewing and participating in them you agree to build your plane using standardized methods and practices and to fly it safely and in accordance with the laws governing the country you are located in.