Well, I took the big girl to the Lleyn, and on Sunday I decided it was maiden time, into the teeth of a blustery squall.
It didn't get away. 4 brave souls chucked her aloft for me (great launch guys, thanks!) but alas, she stayed level for a wee while then pancaked the ridge line. I was feeding in up elevator at the time, but it seems just not enough quick enough. All-in-all though, I think it could have been a lot worse if she'd pushed out a bit then pancaked further down.
Damage list as follows :
- tailplane snapped in half, starboard fin dislodged
- tailplane mount (dowel plate) dislodged, bracing former cracked
- various splits in rear of fus around tailplane mount planking
- Big dent in the A10 teeth on starboard side on the nose, gun and associated hardware torn off
- ply former at torn in half at (new!) tensioner device
- mating phenolic tube (port side) dislodged / pushed forward (no idea how that happened)
- nose weight made a bid for freedom through the (admittedly thin) cockpit floor, but was ably stopped by the full-length carbon alignment tube
And that's it. I'd estimate 40 hours work to put right, and I have 6 weeks, so should be easily do-able.
So what's the plan? Put everything right listed above, with a couple of improvements :
- Move the C of G back to the 5% stability line (equates to about another 20mm back)
- Seal (tape) all control surfaces from the underside, to make the most of low-speed efficiency
- Attempt to add a centre-line / C of G area launching handle, within the fuselage, to allow a single (brave, poor) soul to launch single-handedly
- Add "launch" setting for entire TE, dropping maybe 5 or 6mm if the wind is mediocre
- Investigate use of a moving sealing plate to eradicate the huge groove left in the wing's bottom surface when the flaps are at 0 deg.
- Local reinforcements to fus split-line formers & tailplane dowel former; new spruce spar for tailplane; heavy duty cockpit floor in ballast area
I hope all this should end up with the aircraft at least weight neutral, if not actually loosing a pound or two.
More when it happens!