First Flight
 

10/03/09

Well Folks.... The day has arrived!
Web-Slinger  is shown below, fully assembled and ready to fly.

It was a dead calm clear morning. Vance Atkinson was at the controls. I asked him to perform the evaluation flight. I'm a low-time pilot, and felt it would be prudent to have an experienced pilot fly it first. They don't come much more experienced than Vance. (Thanks for the hat!) I was considering performing First Flight myself, but on the advice of a good friend, and objectively reviewing my qualifications, I was able to tuck my ego in my pocket and take the conservative course. Vance taxied out to the active runway, made a high-speed pass and lifted the nose to see if it felt right, gave us a "thumbs-up", then did it for real. (Hole-eee-crap!!!!) It was one of the most enjoyable experience of my life, despite the "Comet Kohoutek" sized lump in my throat. I've never fathered a child, (that I know of... but then again, 11 years in the Navy.... who knows?). I think I understand a bit more about the feeling.

As it turned out, no surprises. (Thank whatever Gods which may exist.). It flew stable and as advertised. There were cooling problems above 115kts at full power (surprise!!), and a slight tendency to roll to the right (a skinny washer should fix it). But, all in all, a great first showing!

There are a "butt-load" of people which have been instrumental in helping me complete this quest, but I'm loathe to list them due to the risk of forgetting to put one of you on and make you feel "left out", (my memory truly sucks.). Hopefully, you know who you are. On the other hand, I must take this opportunity to thank Debbi, my wife, (aka: Epoxy Lady to the Jimi Hendrix tune). She's been lock-step with me in this quest, because she likes aviation and travel, but mostly........ because I wanted it. Although skeptical at first, once she saw my conviction, and met the people in this community, and saw the Canard and Main Spar on the tub, it was not a far reach for her to lean over to me on the couch while we're watching TV, and lovingly whisper in my ear: "Aren't you going to work on the plane tonight?".

Let me say this: I've been privileged to serve in the US Navy Submarine Community for a number of years, (which I hold dearly). Great bunch of guys. And I can wholeheartedly say, this group of people of "Canardian-ilk" has been the most interesting, diverse, helpful, and fun bunch of people I've come across. I now have another Community to hold dear, and look forward to contributing to.

To those coming behind me:
If you like working with your hands, like figuring things out, and don't mind criticism and trail-blazing, this is the place for you! Decide for yourself... but not too quickly, because this has been a hellacious journey, and looking back.... well worth it.
No Regrets.
None.
Next: Phase One Testing!