Ahhh, the sweet sound of aircraft engines at 6 AM.... Don't these clowns sleep? Oh well, I guess I've got to get up sometime - it might as well be 6:01 AM. Got dressed, blah blah blah, went and got some breakfast with the usual camping crew (except Lee Devlin, who had left the previous morning to get back to Colorado so that he wouldn't miss a business trip (where are this man's priorities?). I then got today's departure briefing and headed back to the plane to get ready for the rides.
Since Mark Knaebe had gone yesterday, I had a seat open today, so I called Ted Davis to see if he could ride today (Friday), rather than Saturday - it would make Jon and my departure on Saturday much simpler logistically if I didn't give a ride tomorrow morning. Ted was asleep, and none too pleased that I had woken him up, and since he was in Green Bay, couldn't make it. Oh, well. Greg Norman was the other rider, but apparently there had been a mixup in when he thought we were going, so he showed up at 6 AM when I was still lying in my sleeping bag grousing about the idiots starting their engines, and had gone away by 8 AM, when I got back from breakfast. What we have here is a failure to communicate......
Anyway, I adjusted the rudder pedals for Yair Gil, who's a bit taller than I am, and then we saddled up (Yair in the left seat) and waited about 15 minutes to get moving. We were #35 in line for takeoff on 36L, and eventually got off the ground at about 9:30 AM or so. I took off and flew us away from the KOSH area, then climbed up above a scattered cloud layer, where Yair did some airwork - turns, stalls, steep turns, turning stalls, etc. He's been flying regularly (he flies a Navajo) and did fine. We then let back down through a large hole and cruised over to Dodge County Airport (KUNU). I explained to Yair what was going to happen and in what sequence, and then talked him through it. The first landing was a bit low and fast - we probably came over the threshold at 100 mph, but we got down and stopped in less than 3000 ft. on the 4000 ft. runway. We then did three more circuits, and I never touched the stick or the rudder pedals the whole time. While the first two landings were a bit hard, the third was pretty smooth, and the fourth was a real greaser. All but the first landings were stopped in less than 2500 ft - probably closer to 2000 ft. The only real issue that Yair had was speed control through the downwind/base/final - maintaining 100 mph on downwind, 90 mph on base/final, and 85 mph over the threshold. But each landing was better than the one before, and he was never out of control. Since we had done stall tests and knew at what speed the canard would stall (75 - 78 mph at our weight/CG), we were always safe.
With a few more approaches/landings, I'm sure that he'll be fine. Pitch control for altitude/speed is really the only tricky thing (if anything can be considered tricky) about these planes - trimming pitch is crucial to ensure that there's no pressure on the stick, so that if you relax, it doesn't get away from you. Hopefully we'll hear a first flight report from Israel before the end of the year!
We then headed back to KOSH, and formed up with Curt Smith who had been transitioning Bruce Hughes in the right seat (for his L.E. readiness). We flew into KOSH on the "demo arrival" as a flight of two, and made it most of the way in before Curt got cut off by a couple of Mustangs :-). They eventually went around and left the runway to Curt.
After Yair's flight, we said hello to Kevin Funk and his son who had just arrived and parked near us, and then we went to get some grub before Nat's "Cozy Aerodynamics" presentation. Nat gave a nice introductory presentation on how the canard configuration works, and what advantages it holds over conventional aircraft (something I demonstrate in every ride when doing 30 degree turns while stalled!). The turnout was great - probably 100 folks or so, and lots of questions at the end.
Gary Hunter showed his normal and MKIV baggage pods (a bit pricey, but VERY nice, and with a TON of interior space). Dennis Oelmann showed his rudder pedals, which are also very nice.
Folks yakked a bit after the talk, and then I came here to send this email. The COZY dinner is tonight - turnout should be good!
The weather looks decent for tomorrow, with strong winds from the west up
high. Jon and I will probably leave late morning after giving Ted Davis a
ride, and climb up high (13.5K or 15.5K ft to get a good tailwind) for the
trip back to NJ/MA.
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