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All First Flights

Jason Johnson’s RV-7 | KCMA, Camarillo, CA RV-7 #73396

Hello Vans,

I got the Grin on the morning of January 3rd 2019 after 4 years and 9 months of building. Actually I have been grinning the whole build it has truly been an amazing journey that I hope will continue for many many years.

When I was about 14, back to 1985 I was flying model airplanes at the Jean dry lake bed in Nevada when out of the blue a gentlemen yells out “everybody land their models Jack’s coming in” I thought land? This is the maiden flight on my Super Chaos with a tuned pipe, what could be more important than this? Well we landed our models and Jack followed touching down in his RV-4. I quickly made my way over to check it out, I had never seen an RV- anything, it was like seeing a Lamborghini for the first time. After much begging Jack declined to give me a ride, some excuse about parental consent, I said well thanks anyway sir then in smart ass 14 year old fashion I said ” fine Jack Ill just build my own” he followed with “good luck kid” I didn’t get a ride that day but Jack did inspire me.

This airplane was built at KLGB Long Beach, CA started January 2014 and issued it’s airworthiness certificate October 2018. Unfortunately I would not be able to fly phase 1 out of KLGB Long Beach airport due to densely populated surrounding areas. So we transported the airplane from KLGB to KCMA in an enclosed race car trailer 80+ miles up the California 405 then the 101 at 4 AM on a Friday, this was truly the most stressful part of this whole process.

RV-7 N77XA SN 73396 departed KCMA, Camarillo, CA on runway 26 at 9:24 AM in calm conditions, a near standard day with unlimited visibility. Power up, nose up, rotate, pitch for 80, then 100, check temps, climb to 2000′, 180 turn back to the down wind, climb 5000′, set 75% power, contact ground crew on 123.15, orbit the field for 1.0, pick up the the ATIS, wind still calm, thank god, return to land 26, lets make it a 3 point, small bounce, bury the stick, YES WE DID IT! Such an awesome day!

AC 90-116

I decided to take advantage of the Additional Pilot Program and highly recommend it to anyone who has access to a QP who is current and proficient. As the BP Builder pilot I picked a very experience tail wheel friend as QP Qualified Pilot that has had test pilot training and flown many RV’s. We agreed that I would fly the entire flight as PIC provided everything goes as planned, he would monitor, observe, look for traffic etc. In the event of anything abnormal or an emergency I would relinquish PIC and give him control. I felt that the external stressors leading up to the first test flight may effect my decision making, that What If ? scenario in you brain is hard to shake so we decided on this plan of action and glad we did. We now have a couple flights on the airplane and its amazing how different the second flight was from the first, I was more relaxed mentally with a heightened awareness and focus. I plan to use my QP intermittently throughout phase 1 depending on work load or task. This is a great program!

Post flight debrief and inspection:

All engine temps were excellent and better than expected it doesn’t look like I’m going to be chasing cylinder 3 or any temp issues at this time. I do intend to fully survey the cowling and plenum for delta pressures to see if any additional improvements can be made.

I have a slightly heavy right wing and need a little left foot in cruise. I think the heavy wing will be resolved easily and intend to change the vertical stab incidence to correct the right yawing tendency in cruise.

Post flight inspection yielded excellent results with not leaks or loose parts.

The Airplane is a pretty typical setup:

  • Weight 1114 lbs with wheel pants and gear fairings installed, no paint
  • IO-360 A1B EXP Built locally and test celled at Lycon prior to installation
  • One magneto one Plasma III ignition
  • James long cowl and airbox
  • Hand built plenum
  • Whirlwind 74HRT Constant Speed
  • G3X, GTN650 and nearly every other box Garmin makes
  • Classic Aero seats and carpet

I am very excited about the future of this airplane we have many trips and missions planned for 2019 including obtaining my formation card and of course attending Airventure. Paint is planned for last quarter 2019. Until then we’ll be flying as much as possible. Thanks to Van’s for providing such an amazing kit followed by even more amazing support. Thanks to the VAF community for sharing ideas and solutions. Thanks to all my friends and family who either helped or had the patience throughout the process. And to RV-4 Jack, Blue Skies Buddy!!

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