Vol. 5 November 2007
Velocity's Quarterly Whenever-We-Get-Around-To-It Newsletter
This is a ListBox

Al Gietzen

Brett Ferrell

Fred Anderka

Hiroo Umeno

Richard Gwinn

Bob Trent

Craig Woolston



Richard Gwinn and Philip Lee

Sometimes people ask how we would describe our overall experience in building a Velocity.  After thinking about that, we decided that, we decided that a good brief description would be, “A series of astonishments!”  The first one was that we would actually attempt something like this, but the assistance and support we received at the Service Center quickly put that to rest.

We decided to build the panel ourselves, which was also an astonishing decision, but in retrospect I am glad we did.  We had a chance to carefully think through what we wanted and we gained a great deal of knowledge in the process.  We decided on a fairly conventional, but complete, panel design with everything in the “right” place.  I will always remember the sense of accomplishment when we attached the completed panel to a temporary power supply, and turned it on.  All the lights and indicators came on in the expected places.  All that was missing was the…uh…the airplane.

Our astonishment was renewed when we finally completed the installation of the engine, and the Velocity personnel looked it over and said, “Looks ready to me!”  With great trepidation, we turned on the master switch and pressed the start buttons, and to our complete amazement, the Lycoming roared to life on the first try.  Philip commented, “Well, that was easy!”  And then we both laughed as we realized that “easy” meant the last 800 hours we had spent grinding, filing, sanding, plumbing, studying diagrams and pulling wires!

The next astonishment was the day we realized that is “looked” like an airplane.  I think that was the day we put the wings on.  I remember commenting, “Wow.  It sure is BIG!”  And it did look a lot bigger with 30 or so feet of wing.  That was the point at which we began to think that it might someday actually leave the ground.  That renewed our determination to systematically make sure that everything was exactly right, so that whatever came back down was still in one piece.

The ultimate astonishment was of course, after about 1700 hours of work, the day “TZ” lifted off for the first time. The FAA inspector went over it and issued the “pink slip.”  To our amusement, his only comment was that he was glad we had secured the battery, because the last aircraft he had inspected didn’t have any battery restraints!  After checking and rechecking, and rechecking again, we could find no further reason not to try it.  Since I had no recent flight, experience, Scott Swing kindly agreed to take the aircraft for a high speed taxi test, which turned out to be a few feet off the runway!  He declared “TZ” ready for flight testing.

We had not quite recovered from our amazement that the Velocity had actually flown, when the remaining details were complete for flight testing.  I cannot quite describe the feeling of that first flight, except to say that the most amazing thing was that as a result of all the preparation, it was not really as amazing as we expected.  It flew perfectly, just as it was made to do, and by that time, it was what we expected!  All of the hard work, guidance, testing, inspection, and care had carried us past through all of the various phases of astonishment, and we now had a kind of cautious confidence that all was well and that we could rely on the aircraft to perform as expected.  A few months ago, our first cross-country to Key West proved that to be true.

The chronology of our project and our analysis of the panel design decisions can be found on our web site at http://www.rggmd.com.