First taxis and flights

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This page shows my first taxis at home without wings and later flights with the test pilot Evan Belworthy at the local airfield in Rangiora, New Zealand: NZRT.

And a link here to a Evernote document were you can see the logbook of all my test runs, taxis and the test flights.

First taxi at home without wings

Have been taxing the Bleriot at home, getting it ready to go to the Rangiora airfield. The engine runs nice at idle, but something’s not right as it doesn’t want to go faster then 30% of its power…..
I will do a bit of taxing at home to get used to “driving” a tail dragger.

The two ply front panels are not on here at the moment, but that’s the only thing missing apart from the wings obviously…..
I have a bag of sheep nuts on the fuselage to give it the same “weight” at the stick as when the wings are mounted
Look how well the stick is absorbing the bumbs in the grass 🙂

Two short movie clips at probably 30% power:

Into the wind, the rudder is nicely working I can “drive” in a nice straight line. Only going slow, maybe 10 – 20 km/h max, will go faster sometime soon, when I have more guts 🙂

First attempt

Evan came around today to check out the engine and possibly do some fast taxi’s. He was quite happy with the engine, so had a look at the wind and decided to try a few taxis !!!!!! EXCITING !!!!!


After a few minutes taxiing along the main runway we got to a shorter one, facing into the light southerly. The video quality is not so good, but it gives you a nice impression of how things went today 🙂

First fast taxi:


Close-up of Evan:


Back at the hangar:


Coming back after first fast taxi:


Nice sound, bad video:


Also have a look at this video, taken with my new camera from under the fuselage. I got the camera for my birthday 5 days ago :-). It shows the first taxi:


Here he is turning into the runway and does the first fast taxi, and back again. Have a look at the main landing gear during this first fast taxi. You can see the plane going up a bit (wheels dropping down).

The first fast taxi goes quite well, during the second one (not on this video) he (Evan) basically gives up, something wrong with the engine. I know that the mixture control is not doing anything, so we suspect that the mixture is rich all the time. So rich that one of the cylinders gets to “wet”. We checked the spark plugs to confirm that.

So I have a bit of homework to do; adjust the mixture control valve, by extending the mixture needle. From what I remember, it has some thread, so just a matter of unscrewing a bit, until it touches the valve seat when in the lean position. We suspect that the engine will run a lot nicer and possibly faster after this has been fixed.

During the first run the engine went up to 1600rpm, which is what the propeller is designed for, so that’s great!
Later during the second taxi I suspect that the prop only went to 1500rpm, which is what I saw last week. So everything is consistent.

Just need to adjust that carburetor and things will be fine !!!!!! (I hope, because you never know whats next with planes, but getting very close now !!!!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Second attempt

Before Evan came today I 🙂 !!!!!  did 1 full length runway taxi (on the taxi way).

Evan did another 3 fast taxis on the long runway at NZRT today, see video below:

Basically he says the mixture is still to rich, mainly at the full throttle position. The engine gets up to the speed that the propeller is designed for, but its not enough power or torque to get the Bleriot off the ground…….. So I don’t know, just little steps now.

So I will start looking into maybe modifying the jet’s inside the carburetor to improve this.

Yes we are flying

Evan waiting to get onto the runway:

Ready for first flight



Yes we are flying !!!   🙂


Not high though, still more work to be done on the engine and maybe the propeller….

The engine is now running at about 1700rpm, but that’s not enough.

After the 3 short flights today here in Rangiora (NZRT), Warren and I started measuring the valve timing, and came to the conclusion that there is something wrong….

The exhaust starts opening tooooo early in the power cycle, when the piston is not even halfway down. So maybe there is a way to change that and not loose all that power.

So coming weekend I am going to measure and draw a nice graph with the valve timing and see what is wrong.

First proper flight with video

Yes this morning was a perfect day !

Evan made 3 test runs on RW07, tried all the controls and played with the engine. On the 4th run from RW07 he kept on climbing, not that fast but definitely no more runway left to land on. Evan made a gentle turn to the right and landed safely on RW28.

Was hoping that there would be enough power to fly the circuit, but there is only just enough to take off. But no safety margin at all, and today was perfect; a high pressure weather system, no wind and cold.

Just means I need to find more power. I have a few idea’s, but this is going to take time 🙁

Ah well a step in the good direction.

keep trying for other solutions, NEVER GIVE UP !!



Here is the video evidence 🙂 The engine runs at 2000 rpm and the Bleriot flies with an air speed of about 58 mph:


And from underneath the plane it looks like this:


Earlier today: Evan’s warming up the engine. Need that today, we had a good frost.

Took quite some time for the engine to come up to temperature. Also the oil pressure what quite high, more then 80 psi, as the oil was thicker I suppose.


Builder, me (left) and test pilot, Evan (right)  🙂


Another run over the runway

Today was another day to see if anything has changed with the engine. The static run shows the same 1800 rpm, but in the air it looked like it was running faster then previously, just over 2000, Evan said afterwards.

We had a little incident, the stick (at the back of the Bleriot) snapped off after the landing. A little thing to repair, not hard !

But the good thing is that Evan want’s to do some more flying once the tail stick is fixed. Measuring how fast its climbing and maybe other measurements, so that’s promising !! But I still think I want to increase the compression a bit by putting new pistons in, increasing the power output…