This flight continues to build time on the Panther and now has 30.3 hours on the Hobbs. The flight departed Haller Airpark at 0945 for a local flight with a fellow RV owner and Panther support member on the wing. A series of light aerobatics were completed with general wing work for Chris Smith in his RV 4. The flight terminated at Palatka, FL for fuel. Even with the 100 HP Corvair the Panther easily provides a stable and speed sufficient platform for the larger HP
RV-4. The second sortie was high altitude work with cruise altitudes in the 6-7000 feet range. At low cruise the, the Panther easily maintains an indicated airspeed of 120-130 MPH at 2600 RPMs. After some 50 minutes of flight a 170 MPH descent into the pattern was completed.
As I entered the pattern my neighbor and RV 4 owner was taxing out for a local flight. After a quick in flight radio brief it was decided that the next 7 minutes would be an all out tail chase. The Panther entered the engagement with a 500 foot altitude advantage which I hoped would overcome the 80 HP power advantage of the RV. Fuel load was 24 gallons and most of the next minutes would be between 2-3000 feet AGL. After the initial slicing head on pass the Panther’s turn rate, low wing load and 3.8 Gs allowed me to achieve a tail tracking position. For the next 7 minutes the Navy attack pilot was stop to stop trying to lose the Panther. I will have to admit with the throttle and mixture against the stops I had to use all of the Panther turn, power and G loading to stay with the RV. Both aircraft were in full control stop use but the RV was unable to shake the Panther. Only when the RV used it superior acceleration and speed did any separation occur. Vertical and horizontal turn capability was the key to staying with the RV. The Panther could match the vertical and horizontal turn rate and except for the horizontal speed acceleration it held its own with 100 HP available.
Hidden in this airframe and design are high performance genes that the lowest to the most experience pilot can exploit.
Bob Woolley – Panther test pilot and Sport Beta Builder
Here are some ground to air photos shot by Rachel over the past few weeks. The pilot in these photos is Dan (I think).