Almost two years to the day from ordering the kit, the first flight was May 22, 2020 and lasted about 20 minutes. Everything was normal and there were no squawks. Phase one was completed two months later, and the airplane now has about 60 hours.
The build took about 900 hours incorporating some extras which drove additional time including the following: leading edge landing lights, autopilot servos, extra storage in the turtledeck, and lots of added insulation to ward off the cold at 17,500 feet msl which is normal cruising altitude. GRT Avionics worked with me and the engine manufacturer to create a software version that allows me to view and manage N1, EGT, FADEC controls, and engine warnings on the HXR EFIS, all in addition to the normal parameters like fuel flow, pressure, voltage/amperage, etc.
The airplane cruises about 190 knots TAS, but is just as comfortable in slow flight at 65-70 knots and stalls clean with minor buffet at around 61 knots. Rotation speed is a brisk 78 knots, and climb rate averages 1000 fpm at 125 knots indicated up into the high teens. Descents consist of pulling the power to flight idle and pointing the nose down at 2000 feet per minute, flying the pattern at 100 knots, and 85 across the numbers.
Huge thanks to my co-owner Kevin Wendelburg for his patience, Steve Ray for his mentorship, expertise, and hands-on assistance, and Will Baum for being an evil genius. They were all integral to the success of the project.