Charlie Finn

Saturday April 26, 2003

What a blast. 1st flight in my new play toy. I bought HP-18 N15DP last week. The weather had not been cooperating until today. We had up to 10 knots of 60 degree crosswind and a little over 3,000 ft. ceilings today. I was able to get four training flights in. The first to 3,000 ft. to get an idea how it handled. After dropping a wing on takeoff, things smoothed out easily. I couldn't have asked for an easier airplane to fly. +5 flaps, 30 degree bank in a thermal - take hands off and use a little ruder to hold it perfectly in the turn. -4 flaps, node down a little and scream along at 100 knots. Very quite airplane.

Landings were easy. I did 90 flaps on all. I must say I did make a message to myself, "Self, keep your hands on the flap control all the way through the approach and landing". On the third approach at about 50 feet, the flap lever popped out of the detent and spun against my knee. It created an interesting little burble on the landing and a knot on my knee!

I'm feeling very comfortable with the plane. I feels at though it was made for me. If conditions end up as good as forecast tomorrow, I'm heading out with a Libelle 301 and a 304CZ for a 500 K attempt.

I want to thank every one for their help in getting me up to speed on the HP series over the last few weeks. Jim Harper of HP-16 fame, took several pictures.

Sunday April 27, 2003

What a day today. I quit after almost 5 hours. Everyone else was ready to pack up and go home. I could have added at least another hour. I hooked up with a Libelle 301B and a 304CZ for about a 220 mile triangle. Stayed between 3500 and 5500 feet. I could out run the Libelle, but the 304 out ran me. I could out climb both. They went in and I continued for another hour. Made it to 7,000. For a while, I was scooting along at 120 Kts with -8 flaps and not losing any altitude. I had the canopy vent closed. It popped open and scared the hell out of me!

Five hours and a little over 250 mile --- What a blast!