Friday, June 26, 2009
On Thursday June 25, around 2:00 pm, the new Belite Aircraft had its first flight.
OK, the flight was just a short hop, just over the runway at Jabara airport (KAAO). Temperature was around 100 degrees, with a calculated density altitude of 4500 feet. HOT!
The flight demonstrated liftoff, verification of control effectiveness, power cut, and landing. As soon as the plane took off, it was easily demonstrating a nice climb rate. My plan for this flight did not allow for any pattern work, so I immediately chopped power and settled back to the runway.
Here are some specific details on this flight:
Empty Weight (no fuel): approximately 231.5 pounds includes 13 pounds ballast!!
As flown with fuel: approximately 240 pounds
This includes basic instrumentation, AND it includes approximately 12 pounds of metal ballast in the engine mount design. The plane is so light that we had a CG tail heavy problem. This will be resolved before Oshkosh by utilizing a heavier, more powerful engine.
Therefore, without ballast, weight would have been about 219.5 pounds. Not bad. This flying weight can be reduced further by removing the turtledeck, and even further by cutting corners in the fabric covering (EG, no UV protectant -0- BAD idea). Or by not installing the carpet. (which this plane has). Or by not installing the rear view windows (which this plane has). Or by not installing a wood instrument panel (which this plane has).
Our rollout next Tuesday will show the plane in "dress trim": with a nice cowl on it and a spiffed up engine/engine compartment. Our test flight was without a cowl.
Weight plan to Oshkosh:
We have 34 pounds to play with. (220 pounds effective current weight).
Swap out fuel tank for new fuel tank -- may save 2 pounds.
Swap out engine as we continue to test engines -- adds some weight depending on engine
Add cowl -- adds 3.5 pounds
Put in full panel and electrics, antennas -- estimated to add 9 to 12 pounds
Final Weight, with full panel, electrics, cowl, bigger engine -- about 245 pounds. (Legal limit is 253.9). Of course you can fly it as a home built experimental with any weight you want.
Hope you enjoy the picture as well.
BTW, for the weight calculations, I weigh 200 pounds, and I had about 5 pounds of additional radios & water bottles with me in the airplane.
We do have video of this, we'll try and post it on Monday evening.