N1918Q Completes Phase One
N1918Q has completed Phase One (40 hrs) and is now
free to move about the country! Here is video shot during the flight in
which the Hobbs hit 40.0:
For the benefit of D.VII builders
who are still looking ahead to this milestone, below are some observations
gathered during Phase One.
The D.VII is an easy aircraft to fly but
one that requires proficiency to fly precisely. This is common with high
drag, low mass aircraft where small changes in pitch and power result in
large changes in airspeed.
There is no inherent lateral stability
because of the absence of significant vertical tail surface. Rudder must be
flown at all times because the D.VII is very happy flying sideways if
allowed by an inattentive pilot. After the pilot learns his feet are to be
in the control loop at all times the plane flies in a conventional manner.
Ground handling is good with no surprises
the plane is not allowed to get very far off-line. I've never ground-looped
N1918Q but can tell it would do so in a heartbeat if the tail is allowed to
get very far off the center line.
Aileron and elevator authority is
nicely harmonized, no surprises there. If well-rigged, the plane can be
comfortably flown in smooth air with minimal control input IF feet are kept
on the rudder pedals. The ride gets much more active in turbulence with the
undamped tail yawing with each roll upset. Chasing the ball can become a
full-time job if the plane is to be kept coordinated in rough air.
The above paragraph is one reason the D.VII won't be making long trips.
Limited range due to the small fuel tank seals the deal along with zero
The Continental O-200 is a sweetheart of an engine
for this plane even though it interrupts the D.VII cowling shape. It has
been totally trouble-free with no cooling issues during Phase One burning ~6
gal/hr of 90 octane non-contaminated car gas.
The D.VII is best
suited for local flights but gets a ton of ramp attention wherever it lands.
I also get satisfaction from just seeing it parked in my hangar....it is a
cool aircraft to have in the fleet.
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