By Dan G., MVSA Webmaster
Bill packed up his Pike Perfect looking for the black bag containing the wing joiners after a damage free set of two maiden hi-start flights. He chucked as he found them in the plane’s padded blue carrying bag. He placed the wing tips in one way, and then another and then another before he sealed them in snug with a Velcro strap. The bag has a new zipper from Dan G. and “Tony Estep” embroidered on it.
In our club “Maiden Flights” are a big deal. They are announced at the field and discussed in our Google Group after. A Maiden Flight is a flyer’s first flight with a particular plane. These flights are technically “experimental” flying or test flights as each plane has its own peculiarities to be worked out. The first-hand launch can he odd as the real-world effects of trims and flight controls will only be realized by flying. The goal is always to complete the test flights without incident and move on to learning the plane deeper.
It is pretty rare to see a flyer on a maiden flight moving up from one class of plane to another. This was Bill’s work on Saturday as he moved up from a 3.5 meter RES to a 3.5 meter carbon fiber plane.
“How’s it going,” Dan shouted to Bill during one flight.
Bill’s reply, just sounds.
It is pretty common for a flyer to be so “brain busy” during one of these flights making it tough to get words out. In the real world the mantra is “Aviate, Navigate, Communicate” – simply put – fly the plane first, get it in the direction you would like it to go and then talk with air traffic control. Fix the issue, get into steady flight and then communicate over the radio. It is also the reason why there are two pilots on commercial planes. We’ve all been there.
The purpose of this story is not to rat Bill out to the club with a play-by-play but to celebrate this guy as he’s buckling into to his 2023 flying goals. Mastering this plane will probably take months and he says he is looking forward to the journey.
He said, the Pike Perfect is a plane that needs to be flown the whole time unlike the Ava Pro. The effects of control inputs are immediate and precise. The programming options are much wider than the Ava Pro or anything he has flown before. The price of freedom is often an overwhelming number of options.
On the first hand launch the heavy feeling plane rises easily out of his hand and stalls. Fellow club member Bob G. can be heard giving counsel off camera as he filmed, “Little down”. The Pike recovers and falls nearly flat in front of Bob G.
On the second hand launch, the plane rises again, stalls, recovers for a short moment and stalls into a cartwheel to the right.
After a few more hand launches, Bill did two hi-start launched flights. Dan spent some time with him as he packed up the plane. They debriefed the flying for the day and talked about the path forward. It’s a lot to take in and at times only a few flights with a new plane can be exhausting. They collect the two hi-starts and talk along the way.
Bill packed his car with a bubbly talk – excited about the adventure of learning this new glider.