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Local RV-8 builder Chris H. asked me some time ago if I would do the first few flights on his aircraft. He has hundreds of hours of time in gliders, but much less time in powered aircraft. He ran afoul of a requirement that the first five hours of time in an amateur-built aircraft in Canada be flown by a pilot with at least 100 hours pilot in command time in powered aircraft. He could have flown a rental aircraft for a few hours to crack the 100 mark, but he decided it would be quicker and cheaper to have someone else fly the first five hours.

We tried to get the first flight off Saturday morning, but it was not our day. First, the EFIS/Engine Monitor refused to boot. I could have flown without the EFIS, as the aircraft also has round dial airspeed indicator and altimeters. But, the engine monitor portion of the EFIS had the only engine instruments, so I couldn’t go without it. The failure message indicated the problem was an inability to read the internal flash memory, which contained the operating system. The EFIS can also be booted off an SD card, so Chris zipped home to load the needed files on an SD card. That solved the EFIS problem, so we pushed the aircraft outside.

The next problem was that the engine was not sufficiently preheated and/or the battery voltage was too low. The starter barely turned the engine over, and it refused to fire. I climbed out while Chris and RV-8 builder Mark tried using a car to boost the aircraft. It turned over much quicker with a full 14v available, and Chris warmed up the engine. He shut it down, I climbed in and fired the engine back up. Then I discovered that the radio would not transmit. It had been working earlier in the morning, but not any more. After shutdown Chris found the Push to Talk wire broken off at a connector at the bottom of the pilot’s stick. That wiring was hanging loose, and one us us (probably me) must have hit it with his heel while climbing into or out of the aircraft. Three strikes and you are out, so we aborted for the day.

Here we see Chris warming up the engine and charging the battery after boosting from his car to get the engine started. The aircraft is painted in the colours of the RCAF “Goldilocks” aerobatic team. They flew North American T-6 Harvards, and the name was a poke at the RCAF Golden Hawks aerobatic team (team paintings).


 


 

The Goldilocks signature manoeuvre was a crazy formation, with aircraft flown in large sideslips.


 

We tried again this afternoon, and this time everything went smoothly. I did a 20 minute first flight, with most of that time circling directly overhead the Carp airport. I did a simulated approach, flare and go-around at altitude, then came down for landing, keeping within gliding range of the field the whole time. The aircraft flies nicely.

After flight, Chris and Mark pulled the cowling for a post-flight inspection, and found that there had been a very large oil leak. We abandoned the plans for a second flight on the same day, as Chris must find and fix that leak. Chris later reported that he thinks the problem was a not tight enough connector on the prop governor oil line.

I had planned to do about 2 hours on the second flight, but I’ll shorten that to another 20 minute flight, as we need to make sure the oil leak is fixed before doing any longer flights.

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