The Gannet's First Flight
The "Gannet" is a plane built for research in bird migration.
While it was cloudy with showers on flight test day, it wasn't so dark as some of the photos suggest. The real problem was operator trouble with the camera. This was one of my first forays with a used Nikon D70, and I have not mastered all the controls yet. And no... I am not using any of the automatic modes... that's cheating... can't help it I'm old school.
Below The Gannet fuselage is next to the builder's (Brian Barainca) Subaru, prior to first flight.
Here's the wing still in the Subaru.
Some images of the Gannet with the wing attached.
In the next two photos Brian is working to get the antenna wire fastened to its anchor under the starboard (right) wing.
Below Brian is on the left with the transmitter. Mike is on the right. One and all are agonizing over the runway.
Here's the flight test team (less the photographer), just prior to the first flight.
Pilot performs final flight control tests.
OK... turn on the camera...
... and the takeoff roll...
... and finally airborn.
Thrust vector of the engine causes a good amount of porpoising when rolling the throttle on and off, despite 6 degrees of pitch at the fire wall, and the vector pointing through the center of gravity (more or less).
Well out of danger and behaving nicely just under 100 meters up.
Orbiting the field...
...OK time to bring her back down...
The photographer was a bit slow on the uptake. Too much watching, and I had forgoten about the camera. Almost missed touch down.
... roll stop... first flight completed.
Good girl... good girl... such a good girl.
Not really... just had to remember to turn off the camera.
Wow! First flight went well. Just some modest tuning to do.
Of coarse that didn't stop all the pointy headed engineers in attendance from chatting about ways to improve the design. Including massive structural changes... whatever.
Well done Brian!!!
Many thanks to Rebecca Holberton PhD for funding the project. One and all eagerly await the chance to use the plane in the research for which it is intended.