Dad and I met at the hangar at about 0630 and began a thorough preflight.
Shortly after 0700, there seemed nothing left we could do to delay the flight any longer, so I began strapping on the plane.
The engine started on the third blade, and I gave it plenty of time to warm up as I methodically performed all the necessary systems checks.
I called clearance delivery and informed them of the first flight attempt, and requested to orbit above the Class Charlie airspace at 5,500 MSL. Goals for the flight included a safe takeoff and landing, engine break-in, and basic handling qualities evaluation. I wanted to run the engine at 75% power for as long as possible, but I wanted to make sure I could glide back to the field if anything went awry.
Taxi out was uneventful, ground handling was good, and forward visibility was excellent, requiring very little S-turning to clear the taxiway in front of me. I completed a runup check in the non-movement area, then requested a departure from runway 13. Winds were less than five knots and right down the pike.
The Garmin avionics performed nearly flawlessly, and the engine ran well. I primarily flew racetrack patterns to the north and south of the airfield, at a range of airspeeds and power settings. I tried to keep the engine above 75% power for at least 30 minutes.
Toward the end of the 1-hour flight, I performed a few power-off stalls and did some maneuvering in the landing configuration — half flaps and about 80 KIAS. I even tested the autopilot briefly, even though it wasn't strictly on the test card. Then I requested and flew a wide pattern (for traffic spacing), followed by a go-around. Finally, I landed on runway 13 at half flaps with a full-stall, three-point touchdown.
I was glad to get the Eagle back to the barn in one piece! I had the RV Grin from ear to ear. It was quite an accomplishment, both for me and for Dad. I certainly couldn't have gotten this far without his help. Thanks, Dad!