Hands, Mind, and Heart

What started as a handful of passionate enthusiasts has developed into a major force—and a significant component—of the aircraft industry.

Testing Articles

Trim Speed Band: Static longitudinal stability flight-test technique

11/1/2001 12:00:00 AM By Ed Kolano (originally published in EAA Sport Aviation, November 2001)

In October we introduced non-maneuvering static longitudinal stability. Through examples we explained how the amount of force you must apply to the control stick or yoke to fly an airspeed different from your trimmed airspeed can affect the ease or difficulty of flying your airplane.

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GPS and Airspeed Calibration

9/1/2001 12:00:00 AM By Ed Kolano (originally published in EAA Sport Aviation, September 2001)

The August “Test Pilot” completed our discussion of flight path stability, which showed how to take the data gathered using the flight-test techniques described in the July “Test Pilot” and transform the raw test-day numbers into a meaningful plot. This flight path stability plot showed you how the example airplane’s final approach path angle varied when the airspeed changed.

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Climb Test Procedures - In-flight data collection

10/1/2000 12:00:00 AM By Ed Kolano (originally published in EAA Sport Aviation, October 2000)

In September’s "Test Pilot" we laid the foundation for climb performance testing. We related climb rate to excess power and showed that the maximum excess power occurs at an airspeed (VX) that is neither the maximum power-available nor the minimum power-required airspeed.

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Cockpit Evaluation - A 20-minute assessment of your flying environment

6/1/2000 12:00:00 AM By Ed Kolano (originally published in EAA Sport Aviation, June 2000)

In May we discussed flight control system freeplay and centering. Building on April’s introduction to flying qualities we showed how you interface with the airplane through its flight controls, which can affect the ease or difficulty of piloting tasks, and we gave specific measurement techniques and some practical "normal" flying assessment suggestions.

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Freeplay & Centering: Flight control characteristics that affect pilot workload

5/1/2000 12:00:00 AM By Ed Kolano (originally published in EAA Sport Aviation, May 2000)

In April’s "Test Pilot" we introduced flying qualities and described the concepts of stability and control from two perspectives-in terms of design goals and how they affect you when you’re flying your airplane. After integrating these number-based airplane characteristics with pilot opinion, we called the result handling qualities, the focus of which is how your airplane feels to you when performing piloting tasks.

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Under the Umbrella: Stability, Control, and Handling Qualities

4/1/2000 12:00:00 AM By Ed Kolano (originally published in EAA Sport Aviation, April 2000)

Using the range and endurance testing described in the February “Test Pilot,” in March we explained level flight performance data reduction that produces useful tables and plots of speeds that result in an airplane’s maximum range, endurance, and specific range.

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Stage Three: Expanding the Flight Envelope

3/1/1989 12:00:00 AM By Tony Bingelis (originally published in EAA Sport Aviation, March 1989)

Sometime after that memorable initial test flight, and before you fly your airplane again, check conditions inside the engine compartment. You can't be too careful at this early operational stage. Remove the cowling and look for fuel and oil leaks, loose clamps, wiring problems, and the security of all installed components.

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Stage Two: Making The Initial Flight Test

2/1/1989 12:00:00 AM By Tony Bingelis (originally published in EAA Sport Aviation, February 1989)

The aircraft has been thoroughly checked, operated and taxied as described last month, and you know it is, mechanically, as near perfect as it will ever be. So, if all goes as planned, your homebuilt will, at last, fly for the very first time.

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Stage One: Making Preparations For Flight Testing

1/1/1989 12:00:00 AM By Tony Bingelis (originally published in EAA Sport Aviation, January 1989)

Many builders have the mistaken notion that flight testing an amateur-built aircraft must take place immediately after the FAA certification inspection and that it consists merely of that legendary first flight. Most are aware, however, that the homebuilt will have to fly oft its 25 hour quarantine in an approved flight test area. The minimum is 40 hours for homebuilts with uncertificated engines or propellers.

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Homebuilders and Stall/Spin Safety

4/1/1981 12:00:00 AM By Tony Bingelis (originally published in EAA Sport Aviation, April 1981)

I JUST LOST a friend. He was making that long awaited first test flight in his brand-spanking-new homebuilt. As is the case with most aircraft accidents, we don't know the officially determined cause . . . may never hear what that is. Only this much was relayed to me. "He took off and was climbin', when suddenly it nosed down and went straight in."Physical incapacitation? Possible.

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