Tailwind N393RC

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Tailwind N393RC

My dad & I flew N6PJ to Elizabethtown, Kentucky from Indianapolis on Sunday January 21, 2001 to see Rick's Maiden Voyage. This pic was taken into the setting sun on the return to Indy.

CLICK THE DryBrush above for the ROLLOUT of N393RC!



Today at 3:40 PM Eastern N393RC slipped the surly bonds of Earth and sunward climbed, where her awed and humbled pilot reached out and touched the face of God.

The weather went butt awful on us on Friday and into Saturday, leaving us three or four inches of snow. By late Saturday afternoon a little sun had cleared the roads and quite a bit of the airport ramp, which is blacked more often than the runway. Weather was forecast for Sunday to be in the lower thirties and sunny, which held the promise of melting the snow off the black top. Decision time was getting close by mid morning Sunday, and a call to the airport brought a report of improving runway conditions. I called those who had expressed an interest in being there for the occasion, including Lou Owen (N6PJ), and told them we were going to the airport around 2PM and check on conditions, with plans to fly about 3PM or so, with the understanding that we may have to call it off and everybody go back home. At about 2:30 I drove my truck down the runway and decided conditions were fair and improving, with about 75% of the runway clear of snow. Lou arrived from Indianapolis in N6PJ at about 3PM and reported acceptable runway conditions. The go decision was made.

Preflight was in the hangar, which on Sunday wasn't heated, and the oil was found to be the consistency of molasses, so we rolled her out and ground ran the engine for a few minutes, not allowing the head temp to go over 300 degrees. When the engine showed a little heat we shut her down and made arrangements for the twenty or so people there to drive out to the runway with cameras, fire extinguisher, and hand held radio, agreeing to communicate on 122.75 after proper traffic calls were made on 122.8.

Fired her up, taxied to the active, ran her up and checked her out, rolled to the runway and put the throttle on the firewall. Take off was not at all difficult, and did not require as much right rudder as I was expecting. Initial climb was at 100MPH, and whoever coined the phrase "climbs like a homesick angel" must have been in a 160HP Tailwind. WHAT A RUSH!!

Climbed to 3000MSL and transitioned to level flight. I had a very basic agenda for this first flight. I intended only to takeoff, climb, cruise, check flap operation at altitude, descend and land, time in flight was to be about a half hour. We can begin to more closely evaluate and document performance when I achieve a comfort level that will allow flying and writing at the same time. Initial cruise was at 2400 RPM, and a speed of 170 was noted, throttle was advanced to 2500 RPM and a speed of 180 MPH was noted. Cruise phase was about 15 minutes, and speeds were checked with a quick GPS reciprocal course, verifying the airspeed indicator was at least fairly accurate. During cruise a slight roll to the left was noted, but well within my aileron trim range. Horizontal stabilizer incidence must be just about spot on, the stick seemed to be in the neutral position, and radical pitch trim was not required. Slowed her to 100MPH and flap operation was checked, flight at lower airspeeds of 70 and 80 MPH was explored and found to be normal.

I transitioned back to cruise, looked heavenward, and said a prayer of thanks to my Maker for giving me the gift of flight and the ability to build an airplane. This was starting to be REALLY FUN, and I couldn't resist a low pass down the runway. This turned into three low passes down the runway at about 190 MPH, AWESOME for me and the spectators!! I found out later that my wife was crying her eyes out, I'm sure the range of emotion she was experiencing was the same or more than I. Well, time to land. Entered downwind at a power setting of about 2100 RPM and about 140 MPH, abeam the point reduced power, slowed to 100 MPH and brought in 15 degrees flap. On base brought in 30 degrees flap and slowed to 80 MPH. Approach was normal, power reduced to idle over the fence and I floated a good distance down the runway, touchdown was an acceptable three point, my observers later reporting a bounce of about a foot. Rollout was interrupted by gear shimmy. I wasn't ready to quit, so I taxied back to the departure end and had another go of it, this time climb was at 90MPH and the performance was PHENOMENAL!! I was past pattern altitude before reaching the end of the 5000' runway. Around the pattern and set up to land, this time at 70 MPH, better landing, no gear shimmy this time (will probably install the damping sticks on the gear), and taxi to the ramp. The celebration was everything one could expect. My wife brought champagne, and the proper toasts were made, I was just as glad to have a little nip so I wouldn't be tempted to get her back out of the hangar and GO FLYING AGAIN!!

I was so happy that my uncle and his wife could be here, and I regret that my grandfather is gone from us, although I got closer to him today. Without Grandaddy I wouldn't have known one end of a screwdriver from the other.

Many thanks to all! The biggest to my long suffering wife, also our local FBO and our mechanics, my flying friends, and you guys in the Tailwind group have all helped so much. A special thanks to Lou Owen for coming down occasionally and especially for being here for first flight.

Looks like we have three or four days of good weather ahead, much more to follow!

Best regards:
Rick and Cindy N393RC

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