Chapter 27 - Section 4

First Flight


After 12 years, 2 Months and 10 days, N574CZ took to the sky at Chino Airport, CA. Bill Ortel took the control and made the first flight. It was a beautiful Monday morning when the wind was calm and light traffic at the airport. Doug Pitzer took me up in his Cozy (chase plane) to monitor the first flight once we got an all clear signal from Bill. Susann (my wife), Cassandra (my daughter), Doug Pitzer and his wife, Patti, were there for our special occasion.


We decided to do the first flight at 8:30am  in the morning because we generally get cool calm winds and light traffic. We did not want to have traffic in the pattern in the event Bill had to return immediately. I also fueled both tanks up to 15 gallons the night before. I arrived the airport at 7:30am and performed one more pre-flight inspection before rolling the plane out of the hangar. Bill, Doug & Patti, Susann & Cassandra arrived shortly after.


Bill jumped in my Cozy for a last minute familiarization with my Instrument Panel and controls. N574CZ came alive with the first crank. As we watched all the gauges during engine warm up, we noticed CHT #4 started to shoot up though everything else was within the green zone. We considered shutting it down and abort the first flight. Bill (besides a test pilot, is also a very experienced A&P) felt the high temperature was erroneous (faulty temperature probe) because the CHT could not have reached 350o+ in such a short period of time. We decided to monitor that CHT temperature closely while taxiing to the run-up area - no hesitation to abort at the first sign of trouble.


[Hindsight] It turned out that Bill's intuition was correct. The temperature fell back in-line with the others throughout the first flight. Upon later investigation, the erroneous reading was due to a crimped wire inside the 25 pin Sub-D connector. I over tightened the wire bundle clamp (inside the Sub-D connector) that broke the coating of the temperature probe wire, causing an intermittent reading.

Bill performed a high speed taxi on runway 26R and N574CZ lifted off the runway under its own power for the first time - 10/10/2016 9:05am . It was an awesome sight...


Bill made 5 circles over Chino Airport while checking out the engine performance, flight controls, CHT, EGT, oil & fuel pressures, oil temperatures, etc. I was happy to learn (later on) that they all performed reasonably well. Once satisfied, he signaled Chino Tower to head out to Lake Matthews area (a pre-assigned test area) with my Cozy such that he can perform the first stall test.


With that communication, Doug took me along in his Cozy to meet up with Bill. Since Bill was still over the airport, he spotted us right away as we took off runway 26R. He actually caught up with us from behind instead of the other way around. Shortly after we joined up and looked over the exterior of C574CZ, Bill climbed up to 7,000' MSL and performed it's first stall. He communicated to us that it is around 65 knots - which is within the design parameter. With that accomplished, we both returned to home base. Total first flight was ~1 hour.



Picture 1:    N574CZ ready to go for its first flight

Picture 2:    Engine running with final engine performance check before launching first flight

Picture 3:    Doug and I in his N433DP, waiting for "all clear" signal from Bill before launching the chase plane

Picture 4:    Received an all clear signal from Bill (Test Pilot) and caught up with my Cozy on its first flight - heading south along the California coastline

Picture 5:    I didn't realize "taking a closer look" means that close...


You can join us in viewing our first flight below:   


Post First Flight Squawks:

Three suggested refinements from the Test Pilot...

1) The arm rest is too low: I have the Infinity stick, which is relatively taller than others. Bill felt the pilot's arm could get tired in extended flight. Arm rest needs to be raised by ~2";

2) Instrument Panel cover reflects too much glare: At this point, C574CZ has white primer only - no paint. I need to paint the instrument panel to a darker color to eliminate any    glare to the pilot and passenger;

3) He likes to re-set the timing of my Slick Magneto for a no more than 100 rpm drop between my Electronic Ignition vs. the Slick Magneto.


Other than that, "Don't change anything" says Bill.


With over 12 years of building and not flying, I now need to get current with my pilot's license, before I can get trained to fly these fantastic travelling machines!


It was a GREAT DAY ...