It’s been 9 months since the last flight but this morning I finally got back up. It was a short flight, (only 11 minutes), but I was able to accomplish my objectives….. Test flight the Falcon and break the drought.
The new Falcon … First Impressions.
First, the Briggs & Stratton, Vangard 35 hp 4 Stroke is quick to power. Time from Level flight to full climb was much quicker using the same prop and hub used on my previous motor, a Generac 31hp. It was a little rough at idle but within flight parameters, (1500 to 3650 RPMs) it was very smooth with just enough vibration to “feel” the motor. I want a few more flights before I call, “best climb rate”, but I expect it will be , North of 300ft/ minute.
The machine does however, have some little kinks that need to be addressed.
First, it requires a long warm up with the choke. Not a big deal.
Second, the idle is not happy, it bounces between 900 and 1500 when cold and even when it’s warm it won’t lock in at 1400. I’m hoping that after break-in and the first oil change this will self correct. The idle screw turns too easily and probably should have a lightweight thread lock applied.
The throttle assembly needs some work. It is routed from the right side and when I run it behind my back to my left hand, it’s a couple of inches short of optimum. More importantly, the, “throttle action” is too light, making it difficult to smoothly modulate engine speed. I expect the best thing will be to rebuild the throttle assembly with a longer and higher grade cable. Shimano makes a nice one that has a Teflon sheath between the cable and the housing. Then I’ll use a stronger return spring to give the action a more positive feel.
I’m going to have to move the nose wheel back a little bit. It too long for me to rest my feet on the steering bar and use the heel strap.
When I hang tested the rig and set the pivot points, they ended up slightly aft of my center, which causes my arms to be slightly behind my shoulders. I had the same issue with the last machine and because this motor is bigger and heavier, it’s more noticeable. It also makes it harder to see the trimmers and magnets. Fortunately there isn’t a brace behind my head which gives me some maneuvering room.
Terry had an interesting suggestion. If I were to relocate the battery to the front , (above the nose wheel), I might be able to move the hang point forward enough to make it worthwhile. It’s certainly worth trying. I’m sure, over the next couple of flights I’ll figure it out.
Last , the old Falcon had been crashed and bounced so many times that the frame was bent in the middle which changed the thrust line to at least 20 degrees above horizontal. I could run up the motor with the wing laid out behind and it would not ruffle the wing. The thrust line on this rig is 5 degrees above horizontal and I’ll have to be careful not to have “premature inflation”. This morning while I was sorting out the toggles, the engine died and during its last bouncing gasp, it caught the wing, popping it up.
Once up, the Falcon flew well. The torque steering to the right is a little more pronounced, I had no problem trimming it out. I wonder if moving the right hang points slightly forward would counter the torque. I must remember to ask both Terry and Robert what they think.
I didn’t pay enough attention to the avionics to report on speed but I’m expecting to be faster. The brake pressure was slightly harder indication the rig is a bit heavier. I should weigh it.
It’s a new machine and like all of them, it’s going to need some tweaking, but all in all, I’m pleased and confident that it will serve me well….
I’m flying again 😎