Successful first flight

Holy Hannah what a day! I had not expected to make my first flight today because I wanted wind from the south since that would keep me flying on take off over empty fields until I reached a safe altitude. Winds were forecast from the north so I settled in to cleaning up a few small projects until Loyd arrived and asked if I was going to fly today. Huh? What about the wind? Evidently it had shifted and was now from the south. So it was go time. I had to button up a couple things and soon was waiting for Loyd to fire up his RV-4 (as a chase plane) before pulling N241VP out on to the taxi way.

I’m not going to lie, there were some nerves and trepidation running through my body. I mean, what if I didn’t properly attach any of the dozens of bolts/jam nuts on the control surfaces? What if the engine failed? What if the trim was off? What if, what if, what if. Well there was no turning back, so I fired up the engine and taxied to the run up area. I’d learned that with my P-Mags it was important to lean the mixture during the mag test to get a valid test. And sure enough my RPM drop, when leaned was 80 RPM (much less than the 220 RPM during my taxi test). All check completed I taxied to the runway. Final mental run through of emergency procedures, what to be looking for on ground roll, rotation, and initial climb and I was quickly on my roll. Rotated at 65 with everything in the green with the plane feeling perfectly balanced. No relief yet. Once I was at 9,000 feet and could glide back to the airport if necessary I finally took a deep breath and relaxed a fraction. I made a few laps around the pattern with Loyd looking for any fluid leaks or other concerning things. He also did a speed check with me, confirming our speeds indications matched. With that it was time to land. I descended to pattern attitude and did my pre-landing checks. Downwind 110 knots, Base 85 knots and 1/2 flaps, and final at 75 knots. Over the numbers I eased her down and landed with just a subtle bump – it was a greaser. This plane is crazy easy to land. Rolling out and turning off the runway I could finally take it all in. Whew.

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