Our Skyleader GP One light sport aircraft had its first flight in New Zealand. Murray Hagen, who is the local RAANZ test pilot and a long-time microlight guru, did the honours for us this morning at his deer farm, near Lake Manapouri.
I was very conscious of the many friends and family members (especially my wife, Lois) who have helped make this happen. Thank you to everyone involved. I owe you big time.
Digital technology exists in this part of Fiordland, so "Hey presto" a few hours later you can watch a video clip (sorry, only low-res) on YouTube of the GP One's first flight. Click on 'Read More' below to have a squizz.
Murray did one high-speed run into the wind to get the feel of the controls and see how the aircraft behaved at it’s lift-off point. Then he taxied back along the strip, turned around and just took off into the sky. No drama, not much noise. It climbed away nicely.
It was weird watching it. I think I was amazed that it really did fly. The unedited video captures my thoughts nicely “It’s in the air – flipping heck! . . . . . Well, that’s it. (sigh of relief)”.
Murray was very impressed with how the GP One flew. It handled well and would be very economical. He found it didn't need full power to take off quickly and was surprisingly fast at cruise rpm.
As the 'lad', I had been warming up the engine and doing some taxiing up and down the strip until Murray arrived. I found it was easy to control the direction, but I’ll have to get used to the ‘super-sensitive’ throttle control.
Murray will now complete 2 hours flying in the GP One before it is allowed to carry a passenger (to comply with the CAA's rules for factory-made aircraft). I'm looking forward to that day. Exciting, eh!