The Lightning Panther Build Team from Titusville, FL had a successful maiden flight over the weekend. Congrats to Bob Rychel, Ed Brennan and Les Boatright!
This team of guys have been excited about this project from the very beginning. They really did a great job, not just on the airplane, but on being a great team of friends working on a project together.
Here is a note from Les:
“We took delivery of our kit from you in mid January; Airframe was mostly completed by Sun-N-Fun in early April; First engine start at end of June (168 days after picking up kit); FAA inspection and airworthiness awarded on day #228, and first flight on calendar day #246. That was just about 8 months start to finish. Of course, a homebuilt is never really finished. We still have some little fresh air vents to install, and also the wheel pants, and a fresh air blast tube for the alternator; and then as we fly more, I know we’ll find other things we want to work on or improve upon. All part of the Fun!
You asked how the first flight went, and in summary I think it went very well!
I could probably write a few pages about it, so I’ll save those details for our EAA Chapter newsletter for next month, and send you a copy.
In short, we safely accomplished our prioritized list of test objectives and landed. I logged about 1.5 hours in flight, and one 3-point landing on the pavement.
(We have a nice turf runway here at Arthur Dunn, but it was still pretty wet from the recent weather, so I avoided it)
We did 360 turns at altitude (4,000 feet) directly over the airport, and with gradually increasing bank angles for each turn, then a good bit of slow flight, approaches to stalls (both clean and with 10 & 20 flaps), a simulated landing approach at altitude, a few pre-planned low approaches to get the sight picture & to see how the approach airspeeds worked out, and to practice Go-Arounds, then landed and enjoyed the moment.”
Here is a photo of the build team – from left to right – Bob Rychel, Ed Brennan and Les Boatright. You can see more about Panther Completions here.
Panther Build Team – Bob Rychel, Ed Brennan and Les Boatright