Flight testing...

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Well-Known Member
Apr 28, 2014
Boston Ma
It would seem to me
There is a salutary story about a pilot who, having built an open cockpit, radial engined biplane decided to perform his own test flight despite never having flown anything like that perviously.

After the remarkably short take-off in which he had not even fully opened the throttle, overwhelmed by the noise and slipstream, he found himself at about 1000' before he'd collected his thoughts,
I would do all I could to avoid this situation.

But if I were to find myself in this situation (even with no ASI), I would climb to 5000 feet towards the end of the active runway and do a lot of power off stalls to get a feel of any messages the airplane transmitted prior to stalling.

Only then would I attempt a landing.

As an aside, these days, I'd have my Dynon D2 with me and operating such that even if I had no pitot system, and even if the airspeed on the D2 shows ground speed, I could get some sort of estimate of stall speed from that. One could fly a couple of 360's at 1000 feet to get some indication as to the speed of the wind which would help my estimate of airspeed at stall.


Well-Known Member
Log Member
Jan 1, 2013
I have test flown about 7 or 8 aircraft and have time in about 85-90 different aircraft. Test flying is a very serious business, take your time and don't rush it. The aircraft can't be checked enough. Get new fresh eyes to catch things that you missed. If any doubts about anything, fix it. ( the reason the JMR has not went around the pattern yet). I first make sure the airplane tracks straight with the rudder pedals are in line with each other and the rudder is also in neutral. At the same time checking for the brake action. Then go to a little faster taxing and checking the ground handling either tailwheel or nose gear. Then a little faster and check if I can lift the nose wheel at the correct speed. ( function of stall speed). If all is well or fixed, next increase speed to carry the nose wheel off for a long distance and check the response of the elevator. Then if everything feels good the next step is a little faster until the main wheels are just skipping over the ground and check for a heavy wing. Next is about 6' higher and staying in ground effect and looking at the airspeed and determine if the airspeed is in the ball park with the estimated stall speed and everything still feels good.
Then if everything still feels good. I know the airspeed is working, the brakes are good, the WOT rpm's in the first part of the takeoff roll and oil pressure, temps look good, good elevator response and don't have a very heavy wing that I can't fly with. Say a prayer , Remember all the expected V speeds and V/s + .3 or .4 for the approach speed. Blast off and climb and circle the airport at 3k AGL , etc, etc.
Have fun on flying all the test cards off and getting to know the airplane.
Last edited:


Well-Known Member
Apr 19, 2017
Hirwaun, Aberdare, S.Wales, UK.
Saville wrote: I would do all I could to avoid this situation. :0)

He was inexperienced but arrogant and did not heed advice, so he was unprepared for the unexpected. It's a pity because the aeroplane was well-built. He tried to convince another Flitzer builder that the design was inherently dangerous, but it saved his life by its benign characteristics, despite being partly stalled when he rammed the throttle open on that first 'go around'.