Perceptions are strange things. When I was flying the police helicopter over Glasgow, everybody down on the ground was a potential criminal, but when I transitioned to flying the air ambulance as well, then suddenly everybody on the ground became a potential patient, in need of help at a bad time.
Likewise while the aircraft was laid up waiting for new piston rings, or for the oil leak to be fixed, my perception of the aircraft was “that multi thousand pound paperweight at the back of the hangar” – and that’s pounds in monetary terms (£), not weight (lbs). But now that it has passed the annual inspection and the test flight is complete, with paperwork submitted to the LAA, the perception has flipped again into “that awesome aircraft, which is great fun and ALL MINE!”
The test day was a lovely sunny day. The permit inspection was complete, I had booked out with the airport operator, my insurance was back up to full cover (it had been downgraded to “ground risks” only for 2 months). All I needed was some fuel:
No self respecting test flight would be complete without some stirring music and a Guard of Honour for the take off, supplied here by the duty crew from work:
…and then it was off into the wild blue yonder to test climb rates, stall speeds, maximum and minimum oil pressures, performance in a simulated baulked landing, radio reception and so on.
Once the bulk of the flight test was complete it was just a case of flying around to run the engine at flight operating speeds for an hour. Always being mindful to stay within 10 miles of the airfield as per the guidance. The Skydemon trace showing the 10 nautical mile ring:
…and the same flight as recorded on Flightradar24:
It was great to be flying again in the RV:
Great views in the sunshine. Here’s Perth from the south:
…and some random fields taken out the other side:
1.1 hours of flying, with a landing on the grass runway back at Perth. Best landing in the aircraft so far. I have adjusted my seating position so that might be it, although grass is very forgiving.
That was to be it for 28 days until the next engine health flight, but now several days later there are aircraft in the sky again, so it looks like it’ll soon be back to some semblance of normality as the lockdown eases. Once the paperwork gets back I’ll be able to get airborne in “that awesome aircraft, which is great fun and ALL MINE!”
Perceptions are everything.