I blogged this too, but for folks that may not read that I’ll summarize here. I took the factory checkout from April 14 to 16, 2014. The course consisted of 5 hours of flight time and 3 hours of ground instruction. If you built the airplane, the ground school will be a bit dry, but whatever. The flight time is probably about right, depending on your experience. If it weren’t for the winds, I think it would’ve been more than I really needed, but it was great to get the practice in. Each flight was 1 hour in duration, and the trainer aircraft was a fixed gear, constant speed long wing SE, with a fuel-injected Franklin engine with 1 mag and one electronic ignition, N94VA, and she’d seen better days.

Before I get into the flying stuff, here are some particulars. I planned to stay Monday through Thursday since there was another student, and you never know about weather. The factory would normally only recommend 2 days, but that seemed iffy to me. I departed Cincinnati at 7 am, and arrive pretty much at Midnight in Sebastian, with plenty of food and pee breaks in there. I decided to drive because it was planned on short notice, so commercial flights were expensive, and I wanted to leave myself some wiggle room to leave earlier or later depending on circumstances. I elected to stay at the Best Western because I thought it would be slightly nicer. My flight instructor Pete kept me company and helped with the driving duties, which pretty much consisted of not letting I-75 out of your sight. I flew a couple of times on Monday, and then we did dinner at Captain Hiram’s on the waterfront.

Home away from home

Our stead

You know you’re home when there are only Velocity’s on the ramp

Dinner seaside

Pete loves to fly!

Tuesday we were lucky enough to catch up with Scott Baker, now runningĀ Sierra Bravo, and home-builder assistance workshop at Sebastian, but formerly of Velocity. Scott was the office manager pretty much the entire time we were building, from purchase to first flight and our incident. He’s an all-around great guy, and we consider him a personal friend, so we were delighted when he invited us to dinner. He gave Pete and I (Pete had yet to fly the Velocity) some great CFI wisdom, and steak sandwiches. Scott’s been on a bit of a diet and was looking great. The advice was well worth it, as the winds were quite strong on Tuesday, and all though I felt pretty good about my effort, every bit helps.

On Wednesday it was just us at the factory, so I finished up my flying and got the sign-off, while Pete got his first taste of the Velocity. I think Pete will comet love the V-bird, but like most I think his first experience felt a bit unnatural. Here’s some video of him flying.


Getting gas…

The second (third?) Twin has winglets!

I really, really think it looks better with them.

Scott Swing gives Pete and I the tour.

Scott is also just a really nice guy, and it was great to see him again

Flight 1
This was a familiarization flight out over the ocean near Sebastian inlet, Florida. We climbed out and practiced slow flight, stalls (power on and power off), and steep turns and dutch rolls. The main point of the dutch roll exercise was to show that, while the rudders are not needed or used above about 110 kias, they are required at slow speeds, especially to roll out of a turn, and can easily overpower the ailerons. This is especially important in a side-slip situation, in fact, John showed me sideslips where we would slip across the center line and start to slip the other direction, because of the power of the rudders. We returned to X26 for a few patterns with the wind down the runway.

Flight 2
This flight was done primarily at Valkaria, X59, where the winds were again favorable, to work on power-on approaches to landing, getting the sight picture correct, and try to set the appropriate deck angle on round out and touch down. We did several (10?) touch-and-gos here.

Flight 3
This flight was again used for power-on approaches, a few with the preferred (wind-aligned runway) at Sebastian, and then switching to the runway with crosswind components. Incidentally this involved switching to right-hand traffic, which was good practice as our airport has this pattern also. This was the windiest flight we took with gusts to 30+, and I let the left wing get away from me on one particularly bad gust, scuffing a winglet. I felt really bad, but there were students going around in Warriors, so overall I thought I was doing OK.

Flight 4
Here we started doing power off approaches, working on energy management. It wasn’t really emergency procedures proper, because we were always losing the power abeam the numbers, but it was instructive that you can’t just drive to the runway. Even with the CS prop windmilling, the Velocity glides nicely, and whatever is off the end of the nose is where you’ll want to flare, so you just keep driving more or less towards the downwind end of the runway until you can see that a 180 turn will put the numbers in front of the nose at about 30-50′. Then roll over, opposite rudder to arrest the turn, round out, and land. No big deal.

Flight 5
The final flight, we tried to perfect my landing technique, performed a few more crosswind landings to work on technique, and did some more emergency approaches. This was good practice and confidence-building, but might not have been required if some of the earlier flights hadn’t been quite as windy.

The program cost $1,425 to complete when I was there, and though not cheap, I think it was well worth it. The insurance companies like it, it helps with confidence, and it puts those first few, awkward landings on someone else’s airplane. What’s not to like?




Posted By: Brett Ferrell
Sunday April 20th, 2014 at 8:50 PM

Categories: Blog Flight Training
Tags: Blog Flight Training Travel

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