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Old Jul 25, 2012, 05:08 PM
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Maple Valley, WA
Joined Apr 2006
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Today was fun.

I met some older gentlemen (fellow club members) at the field today...When one of them saw me bring my Blackbird out of the car he was immediately interested. Turns out he had built a much larger scale version many years ago and he proceeded to tell me about his adventures with her...Boy did they sound familiar! We had some good laughs over our respective follies and he went on to exclaim some true Habu stories from his years working in the military for classified departments.

It was obvious he knew his stuff as he went on to talk about the aerodynamics, materials used, how the chine acts as part of the wing surface, the importance of maximizing pitch and limiting roll, CG, on and on...I told them my story of how this was #9 and the reasons why. They were getting ready to leave but really wanted to see her fly. I said I may as well as I need to get over the anxiety of hand tossing and flying her due to my history.

I first flew my Hobby Lobby F/A-18E Hornet Blue Angel which in itself is a heck of a show. I switched out the stock 6-blade fan for a 12-blade fan and it not only screams, but actually has that turbine/jet sound like the real deal! They were oooh'ing and aaaah'ing that one pretty good. Now it was time for the main attraction.

There was a good head wind, and with that SkyLipo and minus the whale tail mod and afterburnerz, she feels much lighter and more manageable to hand toss. I haven't weighed her but I have to believe she's much closer to the acceptable AUW range than what I was flying with previous versions.

I throttled her up and took a couple running steps and chucked her into the wind and off she went with about as much hoopla as any of my other ho-hum hand chuckers. What a pleasant change of pace!

I quickly banked her and brought her on the downwind for a low, WOT pass...WOW does she ever scream by! My F/A-18 gets around 105-110mph on a fresh charge, downwind WOT pass and I would swear the Habu looks much faster on her first fresh charge pass. Judging by how my audience behind me sounded as she screamed pass I believe they would agree.

I kept her in the pattern for about six or seven spins before setting her up for final. I got her on the glide slope and throttled managed accordingly...Everything looked great. I brought her in with some power and about a foot off the ground (I thought I was in the safe zone) I chopped power and gave her a gentle flare but she bit me. With the lack of power and airflow the nose lifted straight up. This has happened to me about five times before. I jammed the stick down and it landed on it's tail and broke the tail off but luckily the elevons were unharmed and that was the only damage.

I dodged a bullet but as far as the guys thought, it was a success from start to finish!

Next time I will keep some power all the way to the ground. The maiden was pure dead stick on the glide slope from about twenty feet high but I did a better job keeping some down stick to keep the nose from doing what she did today.

All-in-all, I will consider sortie #2 a success!
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