First Flight

Here are some photo's. 

Everything went great. Had a few glitches. Details below. But 1hr. in the air and home safe . I'm in the air here. Just pretend cause its a little plane.

Taxi back, with Casey (dog) waiting for dad to turn the corner and make sure I'm safe.

Here is me and my chase plane. A Cessna 172. He had a rough time keeping up.

A happy pilot and a relieved girlfriend.

Here are some details.

The day was beautiful. 40 degrees, cool, light breeze, no chance of getting overheated in this air. My close friends, including 3 Tech Counselors, 1 A&P, girlfriend,  and dog (Casey has been the only one who has been with me through the entire project. Girls come and go, Casey stays through the end)

Emotions were flying way before I was. Women crying. Pilot anxious, excited, nervous. My chase plane had 2 pilots, 1 A&P, and close friend and amateur photographer. 

Everything was set during run-up. A&P friend Scott mentioned throwing all breakers and switches off and verify she stays running, which I did. Good idea Scott!

I was cleared for take-off, then told position and hold. So my pulse shot up, then back down.  

Cleared for take-off, I eased the throttle up, watched engine gages, kept her on the center-line, then up she went, with a heavy climb and heavy left wing. Strong stick force was required to keep her level. Uhhoo, whats wrong?

"Hold what you got", I said to myself. She was in a good climb and I had control of her. As I turned right cross wind, at 1500ft agl, I looked at the trim's and they were pegged in the full up and full left position. "damn, must be a short. I know they were centered in run-up." So I put them back into center and she leveled off nicely. Feeling comfortable now, I look for the chase plane, which I had already climbed past at 3500ft agl. As I looked for the plane, again I feel some strong force on the stick, and again the trims are pegged. "Damn, must be a short. Do I land? How am I going to trace all those trim wires? Thats gonna take a week of pulling stuff off."  Little things going through my mind as I flew along to 4000ft AGL. Fighting this trim issue for 20 minutes. I noticed if I stared at the trim indicators when they were centered, they did not move. How can that be. How do they know I am looking at them. If I stared at them for 30 sec., they would not move. Take my eyes off them for 10 seconds, they were pegged again. What gremlin is messin with my trims. 

Then, I caught them moving on their own, with my left thumb, without input from my brain, was resting on the hair trigger trim buttons on the stick and running them to their end stops. "Oh Hell, ITS ME!! Get you thumb off the buttons dumbass!"

Once I had the pilot error figured out, the flight began to settle down for me, looking at the unlimited visibility round Atlanta. I could easily see the Tennessee mountains, and downtown looked sensational. So many feelings running through me now, with this little plane carrying me safely through air, with an incredible view of the world. I have seen this view many times in a Cessna 172, but it never looked as good as it did today, and it never will.

I was having some trouble maintaining altitude when I was not focused on it. When I would pour over instruments, look for chase plane, talk to tower, etc., altitude would come and go. I am just not used to a plane this fast and smooth. I told the chase plane to stay away that I was not safe to close any distance.

After 45 minutes of tooling around, practicing slow flight, checking systems, including talking to Atlanta center verifying they were getting altitude on my transponder, I dropped down to enter the pattern.

Conscious of the fast plane entering pattern syndrome, I kept her under smooth slow control at 90 mph entering pattern.  As I was abeam the numbers on the approach end, the tower call me to short approach as a Citation is on a 3 mile final. "Short approach? I'm on a first flight, first landing, and he knows it. What the hell? I don't want to extend a long downwind and deal with being too low and too far away from the airport." Well I was in a good position to short approach, good sight of the runway, so I slung her around to final.

On short final, she began to sputter a bit. No big deal, I figured it was a bit rich, but I was not going to mess with that little red knob right now. "Keep her lined up, hold what you got, forget about the engine coughing." I had the most beautiful flare to touchdown I will ever make I am sure. I was perfect. As she settled in and I pulled the throttle back the last half inch. Puhh pahh. She quit, and I coasted to a stop. Dead center runway.

"6 Mike Sierra, do you require and assistance?", the tower calls. "Stand by" I returned.

Wooshh, the Citation jet does a go around over my head. "Take that" I said to myself, taking great satisfaction at the little jet having to do a go-around cause the tower made me do a short approach in front of him. Don't quite know why I felt that way, but it was a very distinct feeling none the less. 

Plus, I knew Michelle ( girlfriend and chief pin striper ) was now in a panic listening to the tower tell everyone to go around for a disabled plane on the runway. I knew she figured I was in a ditch or something. She was not in a position to see what had happened.

Again the tower calling me to see if I need any assistance. What I needed was the tower to quit hounding me whilst I attempted a restart. I shut the radio off, switched tanks, boost pump on, and she started up.

I taxied back, unconcerned as I knew from the sound and feel, particularly from flying model planes, she had loaded up on final and finally choked on her own fuel. Not a problem. Easy adjustment.

And I taxied back with a grin from Florida to Maine. I mean life was truly good today. Everyone waiting at the ramp, elated with me with what I had accomplished.

I want to thank all those that supported me. Friends, family, RV'ers, Van's, and my little buddy Casey. There are just so many. So many I have met along the way. You know who you are, and you were all up there with me today. 

Life is good. And now that I have this little machine to carry me to distant places, it will only get better.