By Michael Stephan
Chris Smith RV-9A flew for the first time on May 26 at Hicks airport with Roy Greer as the test pilot.
Chris took his first flight in N682TX on July 2nd. Chris’ work keeps him very busy and he is diligently working on the phase I test period. Without the wheel pants installed, Chris reports a full throttle, fixed pitch prop, speed of 138 KIAS.
I first visited Chris’s RV-9A project in 2014, which you can see in the April 2014 newsletter In that article I predicted that he would fly within the year (I’m terrible at predicting). Well, Chris travels often for work and that slowed progress. He moved the project to Jay Pratt’s hangar at Hicks to help get over those last hurdles and the RV-9A is still currently there as Chris puts more test hours on it working towards the end of Phase I.
So far, without wheel pants it needs right rudder. If it is still that way after the pants are installed, he will install a trim tab to take away that need for rudder input.
The plane may not stay here for long as Chris has taken a job transfer which will send him to California for a few years. We hope he is here long enough to get his Chapter 168 First Flight plaque and be able to tell us more about his journey through the project and update us on the flight testing.
I hope that his flight is the first of several first flights we have on the horizon. We have about 6 projects skirting the edge of completion. I think they are just a few months away, but I don’t have a strong history of making correct predictions.
I am proud of Chapter 168’s history of producing flying airplanes, and we have another project flying thanks to Chris’ hard work. It is a good looking RV-9A.