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KOBUS DE WET'S AVIATION AND KR-2 PAGES  

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are too poor to afford it
and
too proud to beg.

FIRST FLIGHT IN A KR-2

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Thank you for taking the time to visit MY FIRST FLIGHT page.

At last, after 3 years and 3 months of hard work and endless arguments with the local Civil Aviation Authority, the day came that I could get in behind the controls of my very own aircraft and fly it.
The take-off was nothing new as I had done hours of high speed taxi runs, on the runway, up to speeds in excess of 45 knots. So I knew more or less what to expect up to the point of unstick. The problem was I did not know much of what to expect after that. Louis Frouws (See KR-2 Page 3 )had flown her before me and had told me that she is very stable and handles very well. But as we all know the endless talk, on the KRnet, about the very sensitive nature regarding the pitch control of the KR-2, I was slightly worried about digging the nose in directly after take-off. Well this never happened.
At 55 knots I eased the stick back and she lifted off smoothly. For the first few seconds I just held her there in that attitude until the speed built up to 70 knots and then eased the stick back slightly more to hold the speed. As the gear had never been retracted we had decided that I would get to that on a later flight, so the "Lambs" were left dangling out in the fresh air.
At 70 knots was climbing away at 500 Fpm and I started doing a left turn onto the down wind leg to climb to 2400 ft.
At 2400 I leveled off and allowed her to slowly pick up speed at 2800 RPM which was all I was getting out of the 2 Lt. type IV with the 54 X 46 prop. The speed increased to 90 knots and stayed there. At this point I decided to test the pitch sensitivity of the beast. What a let down. Sensitive "NO" Responsive "YES". I had always imagined that because of the very short length of the beasty,  the pitch will be more responsive than the Citabria and it was exactly what I had thought it would be. The secret is not to fly from the elbow, but from the wrist. The roll response of the beasty is normal, so the roll will appear to be sluggish compared to the pitch.

    Louis and I had decided that I will familirise myself at that altitude with the controls and do some engine RPM changes to get the feel of the speeds corresponding to the RPM for level flight as well as determining the sink rate for the 55 knot approach speed that we had decided on. Let me tell you something, at 2400 ft with the nose pulled up and the noise cut down to 1200 RPM, 55 knots feels very dangerous and it appears like she is just sitting there and not sinking at all.

    The controls at this stage was very light and the feed back forces very low. This is where the novice must be on the look-out, not to over respond with control inputs.

    After 45 minutes of pure orgasmic sensations the moment of having to end the flight came on to soon. Even though I still had fuel for another hour, the instructor on the ground was due to fly with a student in 30 minutes time.      Oh I forgot to tell you that I was doing a single seat conversion and had never before flown in a KR2.

    We had decided beforehand that I will do the first approach at 55 knots and as I go over the numbers I will increase the noise back to full power and go around. The reason for this was to allow me to get the feel of the aircraft during the approach and not having to worry about the landing at the end. This only worked perfectly on the second approach. On the first approach  I lined up at 600 ft above the runway height at 1 mile out, as I would have done with the Citabria, I ended up 200 ft above the runway as we screamed over the numbers. The next approach I started at 1.5 miles out at 600 ft and pegged the speed at 60 knots. This worked out almost perfectly and we were at 10 ft over the numbers. With the normal drill of carb heat "ON" with throttle closed, on a VW with carbs, I did all that on the final leg, the only problem was that when I opened the throttle to go around I forgot to close the carb heat......... Oh SHIT I'm losing power, what's wrong, Ah! the carb heat you idiot!! (Idiots = People from the land of Id) This, I think, is one thing I will not forget again soon.

    The final, final approach was started at 1.75 miles and at 600 ft. This worked out even better than the previous approach and over the numbers I was slightly on the hot side (55 Kts and should have been at 50) and floated forever over the first halve of the 800 meter runway. The landing was done as we had planned with the nose coming up as the speed bleed off and holding the beasty inches above the ground. The tail wheel touched a split second before the mains and I held the stick back to hold the directional control until she had lost all her will to fly. I then lifted the tail up for better vision over the nose (not that I cannot see over the nose 6'2") I just like to do this ( But never in a cross wind) as  she is very responsive to the rudder, as long as you can keep the tail up. With a cross wind as all tail dragger drivers know, you hold the tail on the ground from the moment it touches and concentrate on the pedaling until you lock the hanger doors, then only can you relax.

over numbers.jpg (36585 bytes)

Over the numbers

    On Friday 31/3/200 I flew her again and retracted the gear easily, even though the members on the ground thought there was a Porpoise behind the stick while the wheels went up. The secret is to be able to do the whole retraction with the left hand while concentrating on holding the aircraft level and at the correct speed. To bad the engine had a slight miss fire and I was not prepared to wait and see if it goes away so I only stayed up for 40 minutes and did the greaser of my career, I am so glad there were people on the ground who actually saw it.

Now the test flying starts in all earnest to bad I have a cold.

Impressions of the flight

    The aircraft is a fun machine to fly, but will not allow you to pick you nose or doze off. The torque from the engine at high power settings require larger inputs from the rudder than on an aircraft with the engine installation done with a offset to counter the torque. With a relaxed grip on the stick and flying from the wrist you can control her very easily. With the beasty being so clean, you only have to put the nose down ever so slightly and the speed increases dramatically. Further more if you have no tail dragger time on you license don't even think of flying a KR-2, you will be sorry and it could be an expensive mistake.

Overall impression.

Get on with it and get your butt in the air, you are waisting flying time by not finishing that project.

Weather.

The wind was calm from the South with an OAT of 25 Degrees C. Clear skies and no turbulence. The runway in use was 19 which runs at a very slight incline of approximately 2 degrees uphill towards the South. Very nice for slowing down and not having to use the brakes. The only problem is the taxi way  runs down hill and chews the brakes.

 

My flying experience

I have the following flying experience on micro light and conventional aircraft as pilot in command:

                        Micro light                               MAC CDL three axis    =   195.0 hrs
                        Conventional                             Citabria                         =     21.0 hrs
                                                                       Cessna 152                    =       1.5 hrs

                                      Not forgetting 15 hrs of KR-2 taxi time plus one propeller.(She nosed over on me)

I also have 3210.0 hrs as Flight Engineer on various military helicopters and fixed wing types.MyAirforceCareer

 

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My
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Last update 03 April 2000