The Maiden Flight

Our story unfolds at the edge of a three acre field in Pensacola FL. Its 5pm, the orange sun is hanging low above the trees that border on two sides of the field…

And the wind is blowing, from the North West at between 4 and 8 mph in gusts. I was nervous about the wind, these were not ideal conditions. Still it was better than most days, it always seems to be windy here. The field is deserted and it hadn’t been yesterday and thats a very good thing. I put the wing on the Magpie, turn on the transmitter and connect the battery. Even if I don’t fly I should at least do some glide tests to check the center of gravity, right?

I did a range check and then gave the plane a gentle push. Too gentle. The second time, with an even shove the Magpie glides smoothly about 10 feet and comes to rest flat on the grass. No damage, the controls seem to be working properly and the CoG is just fine.

I throttled up the motor and held it at full throttle for 10 seconds and then shut it off. I felt the motor, it felt warm. It smelled of that burnt electric smell but all seemed to be in working order. I hoisted the airplane over my shoulder and held it ready for launch. I throttled up maybe 1/2 throttle, the airplane tugged at my arm and wanted to go free. My throat was dry. “Launch the plane, right hand to the stick… Launch the plane, right hand to the stick…”, I thought it over in my head. Go!

The plane leaves my hand and goes straight forward. Right hand on the stick. Its turning left into the wind. Its done a complete 180. Now its tracking cross wind towards me, my car and the trees at my back. Gotta think fast. I cut the throttle and glide in for a smooth landing about 10 feet from the trees. My heart was beating a mile a minute, I did it, success!

I got 7 more flight in before 6pm on a single charge. No crashes, bad landings not even a broken prop. Each flight got longer and more controlled as I got more confident. I did lazy eights, a couple of loops, then an outside loop I even flew inverted for a bit. In short I had a blast!

I would like to thank Roman Michael Möller for their work on Flying-Model-Simulator. Without 15 hours of time spent in their Sim I know things would have gone much worse.

More to come as I get time to write it…



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