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On March 12 I received the air worthiness certificate for
my challenger II CWS project. The plane was then
disassembled and transported to the private field where it
was put back together. Besides a few scrapes that I will touch up later,
the move went smoothly.
This past Sunday the local dealer came down and inspected
my work. He said it looked great and was ready to fly. Unfortunately the
weather wasn't so cooperative. The winds had been high and gusty all day long.
Late in the afternoon about 6:00 pm the winds had calmed down enough for a
safe test flight. The dealer (George Kyle) strapped in and after checking the
engine and flight controls he began the takeoff roll. With my
breath held, N660TC leaped into the air. IT FLIES!!!
George took her around the pattern for a while and after
he was sure it flew as advertised he returned to the field with
a great landing. The darkness was beginning to take hold and left no time
for me to experience the thrill of flight.
Of course the next few days were filled
with bad weather and all I could do was think about the upcoming flight.
Tonight (wed.) I met another challenger pilot at the field after
work. We preflighted and climbed in. After an engine
warm-up and checking everything again we taxied to the end
of the field. I made sure my backup was ready to assist if
needed and then applied full power. We quickly accelerated and before I
knew it we were in the air. I made a climbing left turn to head towards open
fields and another neighboring private airstrip just in case
something happened. It was great. Many folks had said how
good it would feel to experience flight in something I had
built. They didn't even come close. It was right up there
with my first solo flight. After a little flying in the area it
was time for some landings. The first one I came in to high and went around
again. The next one I touched down and my copilot helped me
through it I took off again and staying in the pattern set
up for another try. This one felt better as I approached
and I made the landing although it wasn't very graceful. I
didn't even bend anything thanks again to my back seat coach. It was getting
dark so I decided to call it quits for the night.
I owe a debt of gratitude to many people for helping me get
through this process. Everyone on this list has
contributed. My dealer George Kyle and many local folks,
especially Keith V. have steered me back on track when problems arose
or when I just didn't understand something. I also am very lucky to have a
supportive wife who encouraged me through this project. And last but not least
to Mr. Dave Goulet for designing a fine aircraft. Thank you to all who have
helped and answered my silly questions.
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