Sam Buchanan's RV6
To the Airport!
Inspection and First Flight
9/1/99; The big day arrived. Armed with a briefcase full of very official-looking documents written in FAA-speak, John Burgin, a DAR based in Birmingham, Alabama, arrived to perform the inspection on N399SB. As soon as he laid eyes on 399SB, a large inspection mirror appeared out of John's pocket and he proceeded to peer into the most private nooks of the plane. Actually, this is precisely what I had hoped my DAR would do. The occasion of an experienced set of eyes looking for overlooked items was something I appreciated, especially since the plan was to fly 399SB as soon as we could get John away from the hangar!
Every A&P type who has seen the RV with the cowl removed has stated their admiration for the Vetterman exhaust system, and John was no exception. After about a half hour of poking and prodding, the only squawk John listed was the absence of octane and capacity labels on the fuel tanks. He also suggested an equipment list be added to the weight and balance sheets so future owners would know how the plane was equipped when it was weighed.
This was the first plane John had inspected that had no conventional instruments. Usually, instruments have to be marked with redlines and operational ranges, but that is hard to do on a computerized panel! The Rocky Mountain units have programmable alarms, so this satisfied the requirements for instrument markings. Since the compass is also electronic and accurate to within two degrees, a compass card was deemed unnecessary.
Then The Briefcase was opened. For the next half hour, John patiently went over the numerous forms that had to be completed in order for the FAA to give its blessings to my airplane. The point of the entire exercise was to get my grubby little hands on a small pink slip of paper that is the temporary airworthiness certificate for my plane. Finally.....all the formalities were completed, the pink paper exchanged hands, a brib...... er.... check was placed in John's hands, and my RV-6 was legal to fly!
I fully expected the courteous and thorough inspection by John Burgin since he inspected my Fisher Super Koala several years ago. If you are within a hundred miles of Birmingham, Alabama, get in touch with John when your project is ready for inspection. John gave me a checklist of items for an inspection, and you can print it out for future reference so you will know what to expect in the course of the inspection.
At this point, I had a freshly minted and legal RV-6 with an insurance policy from SkySmith ...... and no excuse not to fly! In addition, two or three other RV-types had migrated to the hangar and we were all curious to find out just what kind of flying contraption I had dragged out onto the ramp.
(Seriously, when you are ready to fly, don't invite every relative in the state to come witness the first flight! Matter of fact, I only had one family member present, and the intention was to fly in relative anonymity. The problem with having too many hangers-on is the peer pressure you might feel to fly even if you are not really ready for flight. The guys that had gathered at my hangar weren't putting any pressure on me (..........snicker....) so I was free to fly whenever I wanted ..... as long as the first flight was completed in their lunch break....)
My plan was to enter the pattern, check temps and pressures, then call Huntsville Approach for clearance to climb to 4000' over the Decatur airport while I ran through a brief set of near-stalls and control checks.
And that is what I did.
Super-high-power-long-lens catches 399SB as it leaves the pattern and claws its way to altitude!
The first flight lasted about twenty minutes, took the plane out to about 145 mph, and was mostly a non-event. The plane will require no additional rigging adjustments, and the only squawks were a couple of minor oil leaks and a slightly warm engine. The leaky fittings are on the remote oil filter mount, and have been aggravating to get tight. However, One of the hangers-on donated some really good teflon dope which should put an end to the weeping fittings. I suspect the warm CHT is due to the exit at the bottom of the cowl being too small, and minor adjustments will be made in that area.
All in all, a rather boring first flight............ just the way I wanted it!!
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The Finish Kit