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2004 Western Trip - OSHKOSH Day 1

What Actually Happened:

Date: July 27th, 2004

I was awakened at 6:45 AM by a phone call from Robert Peplinski, who I was going to give a checkout ride to. I put him off for about 45 minutes, and then around 7:30 AM we pulled the plane out to head south. I switched the rudder pedals for him, since he's a lot taller than I am, and I made sure that all the ballast was out. We took off out of Oshkosh and headed south for Dodge County Airport (KUNU), about 35 miles to the south.

When we got to 2500 ft., I gave Robert the stick and let him fly us down there.  After he was comfortable, we did some slow flight, stalls, and stalled turns up to 45 degrees of bank.  Robert was suitably impressed, as is everyone that sees the plane's capabilities. Robert had had a couple of previous checkrides with Chris Esselstyn, but hadn't done any slow flight before.

When we got to KUNU, we descended to pattern altitude and started out with a downwind for 02 (as we were told by Unicom), but switched to a downwind for 26 after seeing folks taking off from there (the winds were calm). The first pattern, Robert was behind the plane and had a bit of a time getting a handle on the correct airspeeds, but he was NEVER out of control or unsafe - I just had to talk him through it.  The first landing was a bit hot (over the fence at 105  mph) so we floated 1/2 way down the 5000 ft. runway, but had no problems stopping.

I talked Robert through a full pattern (giving speeds and procedures), and Robert's second landing was great - he greatly improved the speed control and we were able to turn off at about the 3000 ft. point. I told Robert to use 100 mph on downwind, 95 mph on base, and 90 mph on final, slowing to about 80 mph at touchdown.  His previous experiences had been flown at MUCH higher speeds - up to 105 kts. on final - I really don't understand why some canard folks believe that they have to fly the plane that fast to land it.

The next few landings were very good - I have no doubt that Robert will be able to safely and expertly control, take off, and land his aircraft without any problems. He only had a slight Pilot Induced Oscillation once on takeoff (that bites people many times), and even with over 400 lb. in the front seat was having no problems on landings. Airspeed, airspeed, airspeed - if folks keep their airspeed down, the plane is easy to land, even on relatively short runways.

We then flew back into a mostly empty OSH approach, and I landed us on 36L and taxied back to Homebuilt Camping. Robert was very happy with the flight, and felt much more comfortable with the idea of controlling and landing his COZY MKIV, which is just about ready to fly.  During his time at the controls, I never took the stick, throttle, or rudders once - Robert did all the flying - all I did was talk.  He'll be fine!

I then went over to the internet cafe and updated these web pages with the last few days of stuff. Next, went and bought a couple of tires and tubes from Desser.  I've had Michelins on the plane for the past two years, and they've pretty much lost their tread - I thought that I'd try a couple of 6-ply retreads this time - they're substantially cheaper.  I'll be installing them at the next conditional inspection in September.  I also bought a couple of 100 degree countersinks - the one I've had for the last 9 years is shot.

I spent a good deal of time talking to Lightspeed Aviation about their electronic ignition system, and am 98% convinced that I will buy one.  The only question is whether to replace my Sky-Tec starter (a permanent magnet starter than can draw up to 600 peak amps on starting) with a B&C field wound starter (which will only draw 250 peak amps on starting) to ensure that the bus voltage will never drop below 8.5V (at which point the EI might misfire and kickback, killing the starter) or else install a small 3 amp-hour auxiliary battery and diode to run the EI seperately, and in case of  a main system electrical failure.  Gotta figure that one out.  Also, the EI has a magneto hole pickup, or a flywheel pickup - the magneto hole one costs $120 more and requires a non-impulse magneto gear, which cost ~$400 new!  Ouch.  I couldn't find any gears in the fly-market for non-impulse mags....

I spent some time talking to Bill Bainbridge at B&C, and am convinced that their starters are far superior to the Sky-Tec ones, but they do cost more.  If I didn't already have a starter, I'd get a B&C for sure.

Around 5:30 PM, Lee, Curt, Rick, Tim Sullivan and I walked over to the "FOOD" balloon and ate some dinner, then we walked over to "Kamp Kozy" and invaded Philip Johnson's area, drinking his beers and yakking about airplanes with them and the COZYGIRRLS, who had arrived the day before and were camping there too.

About 8 PM, Wayne Hicks and Alan Barnett (COZY builders) showed up and hung out with us, then we wandered back to our campsites.  Alan and Wayne were going to stay in my tent with me, but when Alan unloaded an air mattress about the size of Wyoming and I informed him that the only way that that thing was going to fit in my tent was if Wayne slept on it with him, they decided to set up the tent that Alan had brought just in case.  It, too, was the size of a large midwestern state, and the two of them had a grand old time setting it up while the rest of us laughed at them.

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