Finally got the new Pitts out to a park today for a try at its first
flight. On the first try it took a bit to get off the ground but made
it up. Once up it was pretty touchy. It needed a LOT of up elevator
trim and I was just too busy with the sticks, both compensating and just
getting used to the airplane, to adjust it in flight. So I landed and
adjusted the trims. Next flight went a lot smoother, and after a minute
or so I was getting used to how this airplane behaves. I learned that
you really need to give some rudder along with the ailerons when
turning. A touch of rudder and it turns nicely. Also the rudder has a
LOT of authority on this plane. I think you can almost turn it with
rudder alone. If you watch towards the last part of the video starting
around 5:00 you can see me play around checking out the rudder - you can
see some "tail skids" in the air. That's a lot like my BUG is too -
the rudder can almost spin it around on itself mid-air.
After about 6 or so minutes though the motor over-heated and shut down.
You can hear it "growl" at the end and play a pretty little tune. I'm
pretty certain that 10x4.7 prop was way too much for this setup. Then
it occurred to me (DUH moment!) that this was the same motor I'd used on
the old Spitfire, and it worked great with a GWS 9x5 prop. So I stuck
that on it and it feels good. I think I'll try that next time.
Actually I was thinking to use the larger prop with a smaller pitch to
slow the plane down, as this biplane isn't meant to be flown like a
warbird. But I'll try this setup next time and see what it does. One
thing I've learned in this little hobby, finding the right motor/prop
combo isn't an exact science. It seems to me to be about as much trial
& error as anything.
For the flight time I got in, it seemed to be a fun little airplane. I
got in about 7 minutes total flying time (I edited out one small
session) and it used up about 2/3 of the battery. I suspect a better
prop combo will make it more efficient. Also I think the ailerons need
more throw and I'm already at the maximum on my radio. I can always
drill more holes in the aileron control horns and adjust the linkage to
get more mechanical movement. I have that on my "to-do" list but it's
after I make sure I get a good power/prop combo working good first.
Regardless, this wasn't too bad for a maiden flight. I've sure had
WORSE (bringing home pieces in a plastic bag!) Here's the video I got
if you want to check it out.