Friday, November 8, 2013

The Unsuccessful Maiden Flight

Well the time finally came to get the Hawker Typhoon in the air......

Everything lined up and ready to go. All systems were checked and in working order.

Time for some last pictures (Just in case).

The Flight

Rather than jeopardize the tail wheel taxiing, I walked the Typhoon to the take off position. In hind sight, if we had allowed the plane to taxi normally, it would have given us a better feel for the control of the rudder and tail wheel.

Once lined up, the throttle responded reliably and tracked the inputs as designed. Trouble started as the Typhoon gathered speed. The throws set on the rudder and tail wheel were not enough to correct the alignment down the field. The plane did hit a bump and very briefly became airborne. At this point the rudder correction appeared to get worse and the plane turned further to the left towards the rough undergrowth at the side of the field. Due to the weight of the plane and the relatively 'resistance free' wheel rotation (due to their large diameter on the rough grass), the plane did not slow down once power was reduced. 

The undercariage hit the thicker undergrowth and the left gear became detached followed by the right. The plane then flipped over, presumably from the impact of the undergrowth hitting the large scale air intake under the propeller.

 The damage:

- Both main landing gear mechanisms where ripped off. Luckily the blocking used to set them in position came away from the main bearers cleanly.
- The access panels to the gear mechanism came away at the fasteners.
- The top of the rudder structure and fabric was damaged.

All the damage is easily repairable. The lessons from the first maiden attempt will be applied to the second. Special attention will be taken to make sure the rudder control is improved and the undercarriage tracks correctly.

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