Finding airport for ground/taxi testing

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pfarber

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Dollywood
When its getting close to fly, what are some of the things to look out for at airports?

Can an public airport forbid an E/AB from doing tests like taxi/run ups?

Any tips on what to ask about when trying to get a spot on an airport?
 

don january

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Fuel supply, mechanic, width and length, rest room facilities, first aid, light to no air traffic. Can the public airport forbid use ? I believe it depends on state or county rules.
 

TFF

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You need to make friends, because they need to know you are not a terrorist or crackpot. They don’t know you, so they are correctly protecting property. That stuff is FAA and TSA mandates to the management. They have to trust you to act in normal aviation actions if they let you through. Overall, don’t just show up and want access. Their discretion if you are outside the fence. I would start making yourself known a couple of months before you are wanting to use the airfield. I know your plan isn’t to be stupid; it’s the people who matter need to know. Some airports will be warmer to the idea than others. Users are considered to be the ones on the inside of the fence.
 

dwalker

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Which part of the country are you in? I have already got doubts to using my local airport for high speed taxi testing and first flight. It is simply too busy.
 

cluttonfred

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pfarber, are you planning to move your plane to a hangar at some point soon? If so, that may solve your problem as long as it's not a busy field. Just figure out when the field is little used and do your testing then.
 

User27

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Think carefully about your taxi testing plan. If you intend to go beyond fast taxi speed (20 or 30 mph) balance the data you will collect against the potential risks (brake fire, high speed ground handling problem, trouble with locals, etc). Some (including professional organisations) go straight from taxi testing to flight.
 

Pops

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Think carefully about your taxi testing plan. If you intend to go beyond fast taxi speed (20 or 30 mph) balance the data you will collect against the potential risks (brake fire, high speed ground handling problem, trouble with locals, etc). Some (including professional organisations) go straight from taxi testing to flight.
Not me. Some people do a lot of things. Make sure the higher taxi speed is done in wind conditions that you would want to have IF it was the first test flight, because if not , it could be if you are sloppy in your flying.
 

Pops

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The worse I have had was doing a test flight after installing gap seals on all of the control surfaces of my Falconar F-12. Took both hands with all of my strength on the stick to keep the left wing up. Little hard with needing a hand on the throttle and operating the flaps at the same time. Just had to take one hand off the stick and move the throttle or operate the manual flaps as fast as possible and try to get the wing back up again. Made it around the pattern.
Gap seals made a 17 mph increase in the cruise speed.
 

kent Ashton

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According to the FAA, a federally-assisted airport can refuse Phase I testing of an EAB. North Las Vegas pulled that once. I know one other Personally, I think taxi-testing is a waste and I have heard of lots of accidents taxi-testing. This one: taxi-testing a newly acquired airplane with old brake fluid. Moisture in the fluid got hot and boiled, brakes faded. Tore the nose offaccident.png
 

pfarber

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Dollywood
I gotta find out if the plane will track and stop.. its a conventional gear so I think its unwise to not know if the gear is rigged correctly before first flight. I'd rather find out at 30mph than at 50mph. Also just getting up on two wheels would give an indication of what to expect. Most private airfields are grass, and I don't think that's where I want to try the first flight from.

When time comes I'll definitely put myself on a hanger list and schmooze the locals..
 

Doran Jaffas

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When its getting close to fly, what are some of the things to look out for at airports?

Can an public airport forbid an E/AB from doing tests like taxi/run ups?

Any tips on what to ask about when trying to get a spot on an airport?
I don't believe a publicly funded airport can ban experimental aircraft testing in any form. That being said, during testing the aircraft being tested on the ground or in the air must adhere to the rules established in the FAR's.
With the aircraft I have test flown I have never had an issue. I always alert others in the area that I am doing testing for xyz reason.
 

BJC

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Most private airfields are grass, and I don't think that's where I want to try the first flight from.
I would have no reservations about making the initial flight(s) from a well maintained, sufficiently long grass runway. Grass is more forgiving of gear mis-alignment and touching down with some side drift than pavement is.


BJC
 

Pops

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Grass fields are better and as long a runway with good approach's and open fields as you can find. All testing in no wind conditions as much as possible. After making sure that it tracks straight and the brakes are good, I increase taxi speed by 5 mph each time until it starts getting light on the wheels and find if one wing wants to drop or not. If OK, then increase 5 mph and fly down the runway with the mains about a foot off the runway and if a wing is not heavy and the elevator feels normal. Then stop and make sure you have the amount of fuel you want for the first flight and another aircraft pre-flight inspection. Taxi to the runway, do the per-takeoff check list and WOT check. Everything OK, Blast off.
Very, very short abbreviated description.
 

Doran Jaffas

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I would have no reservations about making the initial flight(s) from a well maintained, sufficiently long grass runway. Grass is more forgiving of gear mis-alignment and touching down with some side drift than pavement is.


BJC
Lake City has 2 well groomed grass runways. 27/9 is almost 4000 and 18/36 is 2500. A bit out of the way but nice.
 

Pops

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Our grass runway is 3150' and 4000' would be better. When you are up to lift off speed you don't have much time until your wheels need to be back on the ground and be able to stop before getting to the end. Long is nice.
 

Doran Jaffas

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Our grass runway is 3150' and 4000' would be better. When you are up to lift off speed you don't have much time until your wheels need to be back on the ground and be able to stop before getting to the end. Long is nice.
Yes but our runway is really really wide🙃🙃
 

Rhino

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Which part of the country are you in? I have already got doubts to using my local airport for high speed taxi testing and first flight. It is simply too busy.
Tullahoma isn't really too busy for taxi testing. You just have to be familiar with it. The overwhelming majority of traffic at KTHA is on taxiways E and F. Taxiway C almost never has anything on it. G has very little traffic on it. I believe it's still technically inactive, but K gets used some by the businesses on the north end of the field, and is in very good shape. But it may not be long enough for you. C and G are probably your best bets for being in good shape and long enough for high speed taxiing. If you're able to tolerate bumps on an inactive taxiway, H could be a great choice. That's where I plan to do my taxi testing, but I have a STOL aircraft that's suitable for bumps. Most of the other inactive taxiways are usable, but would probably be too bumpy for high speed taxi. B is a no go, even for me, at least at high speed anyway. I don't think the management would even mind you using runways for occasional high speed runs, especially the grass runways, which get used very little. They're pretty friendly folks. You'd have to ask them of course. I plan to use the active runways for testing on a limited basis.

By the way, the KTHA diagram in the airport/facility directory doesn't have the taxiways labeled. Shoot me a PM with your email address and I'll send you an updated diagram. You might also want to consider using my hangar as a staging area when you get to that point. Makes stuff like tools, bathroom and a fridge available when you need them. I have tiedowns on the concrete pad out front. Plus my Labrador Retriever will make you feel like the most important and loved person on the planet.

EDIT(sssss): I should note that my hangar offer is time dependent. Right now there's construction going on next door and the grass taxiway to my hangar is unusable for getting all the way here. You could get pretty close though. All that should be fixed by spring. On most occasions you could probably also use my golf cart. My pickup also has a radio and warning lights, so it can be used for support out on the taxiways and runways, though I try to keep runway usage to a bare minimum, other than crossing it of course.
 
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