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Old 09-03-2006, 01:17 PM
Gordon Mc
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Default RE: Building the Mick Reeves Hawker Hunter

Well, the big day finally came yesterday.

I'm fortunate to have some truly exceptional pilots around me, so when it came to the maiden I had abolutely no hesitation in putting the ego aside and getting the annoyingly good (for flying anyway, if not for anything else) Dave Presta handle the test flights for me.

First flight required a few clicks of aileron trim, and showed some tail heavy tendencies despite using the latest CG info published on Mick's site. It wasn't wickedly tail heavy though - just not quite right. For the 2nd flight we strapped an extra small nicad pack in the nose - don't know yet where that moved the CG to, but it made all the difference in the world. The aircraft now seems well balanced, and very well behaved.

Since I had no idea what flap & airbrake throws and or mixes to use, I just guessed at throws and Dave took the aircraft to a safe altitude to add inter then full flap, and inter then full airbrake. None of these actions caused the slightest trim change, which is pretty awesome - I was expecting to have to mix in some elevator to handle a pitch chage, but none seems to be needed.

There is a slight problem with the nose gear steering - not enough authority despite seemingly large throws. Even though the aircraft taxied dead straight on the taxiway which faced directly into wind, on the takeoff roll with a 90 degree crosswind of maybe 4 or 5 knots, it took full left rudder to keep it tracking straight. That needs some thought.

Also, although the brakes worked fine when tested before the maiden, they didn't work at all on landing. Fortunately the field selected for the test flight has about 3 or 4 thousand feet, so a 700 or so ft rollout was not a problem.

All in all, a pretty decent outcome for the maiden. Now I just need to find the time to take are of these few squawks, and then it will be my turn on the sticks.

BTW, just before the first flight, I fitted one of Tam's new gear failsafe units - what a great piece of kit this is, and it took only a few minutes to retrofit into the model. it fits in between the RX and the gear servo, and taps into the gear air pressure line so that it monitors the pressure and over-rides the transmitted gear position to drop your gear if the air pressure falls below a user-selected threshold. A heck of a good idea.

Thanks again to Dave for the impeccable test-pilot work. I give him plenty of s**t, coz we all know he deserves it - but the guy delivers the goods when needed so I guess we should keep him around for a little while longer.

A few pics from Saturday:
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