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Joyrider: Maiden Flight

After the first Center-of-Gravity tests my expectations have been thoroughly adjusted. I have to admit, at the beginning of this project I didn’t waste a thought on a possible failure. Meanwhile, the Maiden flight has become some sort of obstacle to me.

During the last weeks I’ve tried to accomodate weather, family and interested friends while taking patience and easing my doubts. That piled up too high: now or never!

A short remark: My wife thankfully took some video footage. However my PC has quit service, so I can’t postprocess. I will hand in the videos as soon as a new PC is at hand. Meanwhile, some still images will have to do.

First, the traditional “Before” pictures. The model won’t be as pretty as now again, no matter how this day ends.

Finest sunshine and gentle winds.
Finest sunshine and gentle winds.
I really like the forward view.
I really like the forward view.
Waiting for the first takeoff.
Waiting for the first takeoff.

Then the band begins to play: hand-launch against the wind, the high grass will soften the landing. A first timid gliding test-throw offers some hope:  The bird feels lively, but stable and controllable. And so the first takeoff under power:

And up into the air she goes!
And up into the air she goes!

Sadly it’s going to be a very short flight. The joyrider rears again, as if she was tail-heavy. Almost a dozen tries show me that the plane becomes less stable the more power I apply. Understanding dawns slowly: I haven’t tilted the motor. Fine, that can be corrected. The mounting screws allow for some adjustment.

The Joyrider tends to rear.
The Joyrider tends to rear.

A second issue resists my attempts to understand, too; the plane labors to keep airborne… why? Even under full power I can barely keep the airspeed. Eventually I realise that my prop has to be undersized. The diametre seems to be too small, the broad cowling blocks almost a quarter of the prop’s disk – and just the quarter with the highest pitch.

The last flight was the farthest… right up to the elders, which you can see just behind my hand in the above picture! That ruined the upper wing’s mounting, fortunately at the predetermined breaking point.

So, it’s back to the shop! However, the to do list is a short one: repairing the crash damage, adjusting the motor’s tilt and acquiring a bigger prop. Perhaps I will lend the EasyGlider’s folding propeller, it certainly fits the motor’s power output and should deliver the required performance.

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