The EAA’s Pilot Proficiency Center next to the Museum offered a great opportunity Wednesday afternoon to pilots looking forward to their homebuilts first flight and Phase I test program. Two hundred pilots, most pre-registered and a few sneaking in to fill in for a no-show, spent the afternoon focused on flight safety and the EAA Flight Test program. The afternoon started with Dick VanGrunsven and Michael Bacaro giving a keynote address on the topics. The attendees then broke into three groups who then rotated through a series of breakout sessions explaining the EAA’s Flight Test Manual and how to apply it as well as how to deal with emergencies during the testing exercises. But, the hit of the afternoon was the opportunity to fly a Redbird Simulator with a CFI and go through an example working with Test Card 7, determining Vg and Vy.
I watched CFI Michelle Maloney from Arlington, Texas, put Amir Gerges of Grand Prairie, Texas, through efforts. Amir is buying an RV-7 and going through the test program is a great way to become familiar with your new-to-you airplane and ensure that the numbers provided by the builder are correct. For best glide speed, Maloney set the simulator (a Cessna 172) flying at 7000’ msl to start. Once Gerges stabilized his flight, he pulled back the throttle to idle, held speed at 65 knots for one minute, and recorded the altitude at the end of the glide. Reset and repeat at 70 knots, then 75 knots, and finally 80 knots. Once the four tests were completed, Maloney showed Gerges how to convert the data from indicated airspeed to true airspeed.
What a great opportunity to practice the precise flying and the data recording needed to conduct a good flight test. At the end of the session that I attended, folks were walking out raving about the value of the afternoon and how much it helped them understand the demands of the task ahead.