Additional Pilot Program for Phase 1 Testing

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rv7charlie

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Are you using the exact engine recommended by the kit mfgr? The conditions allowing 2nd pilot are pretty restrictive; only 'certified' engines, or the engine spec'd by the kit mfgr are allowed for the program. So the only real value to the program (having someone managing a unique engine while the pilot is checking out a new airframe) isn't possible. I can understand wanting to be insured from 1st flight, but if you find a qualified pilot, is there any need for you to be in the plane during initial shakedown flights?
 

Rhino

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I would verify that with an insurance company to confirm it will help with availability or cost. Even if you don't find someone with experience in type, it would still be beneficial to have a second pilot. If for no other reason, you'll have someone who can keep theirs eyes outside the cockpit while you're reading, following and documenting test procedures. Obviously you'd prefer someone with direct experience in your particular aircraft, but the requirement in the AC isn't quite that strict, only specifying "...flight experience in the same model or other makes and models that exhibit similar flight characteristics...with the knowledge necessary to make assumptions and judgments about the test aircraft...". In other words, it doesn't necessarily require you to have a Sonex pilot as long as they meet the qualifications in other aircraft in that category that have similar flight characteristics. It would make the QP pilot evaluation and approval process far easier if you actually did find another Sonex pilot though, not to mention raising the comfort level for your risk mitigation.

I really like the qualification matrixes they have in that AC. Those will come in handy when my time arrives.
 
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TFF

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I think if it’s really on your mind, get a recommendation from Sonex and have them fly it solo. Not many would want to fly a Sonex two up on the first flight. If you need to be number one, go get some flights in someone else’s. A friend had to fly his RV 7 bare for a few hours, even though he had an RV8 that he built and the insurance company was covering at the same time.
 

Hephaestus

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Being in the USA and building a sonex - i'm sure you'll be able to find someone with time on type. Believe poking around the sonex forums there are a few who'll happily do it for you. Might cost a few $ but probably well worth it.
 

karmarepair

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Are you using the exact engine recommended by the kit mfgr?
yes, Sonex with their engine.
I can understand wanting to be insured from 1st flight, but if you find a qualified pilot, is there any need for you to be in the plane during initial shakedown flights?
For me it's a combination of insurability and risk management. The current plan is the first two flights, I'm not in the airplane. 3rd flight is a transition using the Sonex curriculum from the forum. I then fly the rest of the test cards solo.
 

karmarepair

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Being in the USA and building a sonex - i'm sure you'll be able to find someone with time on type. Believe poking around the sonex forums there are a few who'll happily do it for you. Might cost a few $ but probably well worth it.
Found a unicorn via the Sonexbuilders forum. They might get a free Bay Area VaCa this Fall.
 

Daleandee

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Maybe I'm alone in this but I think the idea of putting two people in a basic VFR plane for first test flight is bordering on stupidity. One qualified pilot should be able to get the thing up and around the patch if it's airworthy or plant it back on the nearby runway if it isn't. Making absolutely sure that it's ready to safely fly is part of the building process. When done correctly first flights will usually be a non event. In the rare case where it isn't a qualified pilot in the seat makes all the difference.

If you need to be able to record in flight information use a high definition video camera and point it at the panel. Most EMS & EFIS systems have tracking software that can be downloaded after the flight. If you need help looking outside then have a qualified pilot fly chase behind you.

Not to be negative but I've owned a Sonex with a VW and did the first flight on it with the new engine. There is no way on this green earth that I would have wanted to have another person in the plane during that flight. The flight went well but things may have been different at near gross weight.

Just one old man's opinion ...
 

karmarepair

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Maybe I'm alone in this but I think the idea of putting two people in a basic VFR plane for first test flight is bordering on stupidity.
Agreed!

That's NOT my plan....the THIRD flight, MAYBE, and then just long enough to get "the last ten feet" sight picture transmitted to the "Builder Pilot", I.E. me, with just enough fuel for a comfortable margin for the mission and to keep us away from Aft CG, as with two up we'll be near gross, AND aft CG.

I like this approach for the first two flights:

"The purpose of a first flight is to:
o Make sure the engine continues to run; and
o The flight controls and other systems operate properly until
o A safe landing is made; and
o The airplane can be inspected again.
The purpose of the second flight is to make sure that the first flight was not a fluke. Then the testing can continue."

From https://www.eaa.org/-/media/Files/EAA/EducationResources/SportAviation/1804-4-4-18-Phase-1-Testing-Homebuilt-Lee-09202017.ashx "Phase 1 Testing of a Homebuilt1", Brian P. Lee, Ph. D., P.E. Kent, WA
 
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