Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Flying the Superlite...

The first hints of spring are emerging in Wichita. Finally, we are seeing temps in the 50's and 60's. Yesterday was such a day, which was perfect timing as the Superlite was ready to fly again.

Since Sebring, we moved into a new shop out in the countryside. We've seen deer, all kinds of birds, it's great to have wide open fields and a grass strip right next to our workshop door.

The lift strut was redesigned; the new approach is easier to fabricate. Our thought process has been to ready the airplane (and wings) for some heavy loading tests.

So I flew the plane, late yesterday afternoon and early this morning. The tests were meant to explore the top cruise speed of the Superlite and to verify stall behavior.

I flew several passes at an altitude of about 2000 feet. Winds appeared calm at altitude, with runs in both directions producing GPS verified speeds of about 57 knots -- 2 knots too high. We will either reduce engine power by another 50RPM or substitute a climb prop (at which point this little bird will no longer climb like a bottle rocket, it will climb like an space rocket).

I noted that the indicated air speed for 57 knots was around 73mph. I'll be substituting another air gauge in the near future to resolve this gross inaccuracy.

I then did several power off stalls with full flaps. Indicated air speed was around 33 mph -- remember, the gauge reads way high -- and the stalls were just a gentle bump.

When we get the Superlite tuned up, focus will return to the Trike. Both birds will be at Sun N Fun for show and flight!