The feeling is still sinking in that after seven years of building I actually flew a plane that I built myself. Like my brother in law said last night "to think when you started you didn't know the difference between a screw and a bolt" so I really never thought I'd get past the rudder, let alone have something that flies.

I had originally planned to have Roger do the first flight so that he could look the plane over but scheduling issues meant that I didn't want to wait, although high humidity and high timidity prolonged the flight date more than I expected.

If you watch the video you can probably tell I hadn't intended to take off when I did. My high speed taxis were going so well I kept going just a little bit faster and when the wheels came up I realised it was time to go. Sure did feel great to be off and climbing.

Oddly throughout the whole flight I felt very calm. Turning the plane did not seem as easy with the rudders as with my training with Buzzy, it seemed to take a lot more input on the pedal to effect a turn, and when the turn happened it was not as subtle as I wanted. I don't know if this is a rigging issue or a pilot issue, more time in the air will tell.

Straight and level in the air was just fantastic, looking out of those bubble windows, what a view (though too bad it was just fields and smelly feed lots). Hands off, the plane stayed straight and level - how the heck did I manage that.

I hadn't noticed until it was pointed out yesterday that I had a true crosswind on landing. I think I was so wrapped up in making sure I got on the ground safely I forgot some of the basic situational awareness. Combine the cross wind with my rudder pedal issues and I only got lined up with the runway at the very last minute though it looks worse in the video than I remember it: I don't remember any doubts. Touchdown was good, I kept my airspeed on the button almost the whole way down - the money with Buzzy was very well spent. I cannot recommend his transition training enough.

There's no way I'd have accomplished all of this without the great support from Zenith and this community: even the guy who told me his grand daughter could do what I was stuck on and I should maybe think of doing something else. I wanted to name some names but I fear I would miss someone and cause offense, but I do want to call out Jon Croke and his series of videos without which I would still be wondering how to use clecos or pull a rivet. At every stage of the build those videos were essential to my interpreting the photo guides and how to accomplish the sometimes "just do it" instructions. 

To everyone else who has helped in small or large part, a huge thank you on helping me achieve a dream that truly there is no way I should ever have accomplished. I hope to meet you all some day to thank you in person, but until then fly safe.


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Comment by Michael Chesney on September 27, 2017 at 4:27am
Great write up and an awesome accomplishment! Congratulations!
Comment by dan glaze on September 26, 2017 at 7:33pm

paul you did a great job, thanks for sharing, I have been 5 years on my build and hope to fly it in the spring, when people criticize me I ask them to show me their airplane that they built. shuts them right down. your plane looks great!  Dan 

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