Well, I read your post and then went over to Wayne's house to pay him for the plane. I was surprised to hear him saying some of the very same things you mentioned in your post. Sage advice.
I did the CG check per the instruction manual diagram and after adding a few ounces of noseweight, got it to balance where the wingrod point was about 19.5" below the reference point on the empennage (per the diagram). Wayne also helped me to reduce that pushrod interference by re-hanging the servo horns.
Yesterday afternoon I went with my family to visit my brother and sister at our family property in the hills, and I brought the Hobie Hawk along to try out some gentle flying in the south pasture. The winds were coming up the gentle slope at about 12 mph, and I thought I'd risk it. I launched and the plane went straight out, but as I neared the road, there is a line of 50' tall poplar trees down there, and I think the west winds hitting those trees made a bit of a rotor, so there was some mild turbulence. I flew like that, heading down to those trees, turning back and coming up the hill, landing smoothly three times. This was sort of white knuckled technical flying (for a crunchie) so I decided to pack up while there was no damage. I felt good that the plane seems pretty airworthy.
This afternoon I took the Hobie Hawk up to Del Valle Regional Park and really got a chance to wring it out. The lift was almost too light for the slopers, so I launched and the plane ventured several hundred yards out, looking really sweet. I was mentally trying to picture keeping a nose-down attitude, but was never sure I achieved this. The plane seemed to fly fast.
After flying and then coming home to read Jack's post, I realized that I must not have been flying nose-down enough. As long as I was heading into the wind, stright and level, the plane flew as smooth as silk. Often on turns, and definintely on cross-wind flights, I would experience the waggling that Jack was referring to. It was a bit annoying.
Earl was up there, and he mentioned that he had flown Hobie Hawks before and when he saw me fly, he could relate. He said his experiences were the same. Jerry Hall asked me to let him fly, and I respect his skill and experience. I figured it would be good to know if Jerry had the same experience, or if it flew perfectly for him. He also had the waggling problem.
I'm guessing that I just need to learn how to fly a Hobie Hawk (nose-down). After a smooth pop-and-drop landing on the east LZ, I set the Hobie Hawk down and relaxed a bit with my Moth. I was glad to have yet another day with no damage.
I'm looking forward to getting more experience with this plane, and I'm REALLY looking forward to seeing what it can do in thermals.
Thanks go out to Jack for his expert advice AND for his excellent Web site dedicated to this amazing plane. Jack - it is hilarious to me that you're the builder of that site, cuz I read many of the pages of your site, on the evening that I brought the Hobie Hawk home for the first time -- several days before your post in this thread. Your site is highly visible at Google, and I think it's the best Hobie Hawk reference on the Internet at this time. Great work
Happy Flying ;-)