written by Paul R. Jorgenson - Copyright 2001-2011

The BG 12/16 Sailplane - N7438 - 2nd First Flight

by Paul R. Jorgenson - KE7HR

Here are the pictures of the 2nd First Flight of N7438. It had been a heated basement for 25 years since it's first series of flights. Four flights in all - for a total of only 2 hours and 45 minutes.

After buying the ship and bringing it to Phoenix, I went through the process of getting it "airworthy". This process included an inspection by a certified mechanic (thanks Bob Nicholson and Bob Westlake!), a weighing (the original weighing paperwork was lost), and an inspection by the FAA to issue an Airworthiness Certificate and Operating Limitations. With all of this completed in a six week period, it was time for the first flight in 25 years for "Old Yeller", N7438.

Gwen, my wife, helped me assemble the glider and took the pictures for the occasion - even though she had a nasty cold.
This flight happened on a pleasant Sunday afternoon, February 18, 2001, at the Pleasant Valley Airport, northwest of Phoenix.

Here I am finishing the flight prep, canopy on, ready for the first flight in 25 years for this old ship.

The wing is about to be leveled, ready for takeoff.

Here I go! The tow plane leads the way...

On tow. By this time I knew that the old bird could fly.
I took the tow up to 4000 feet above ground.
I thought it was wise to take some time to learn to fly it before learning how to land it...

After 42 minutes, I am on final. The flaps gave me no problem in glide path control.

TOUCHDOWN after 42 minutes of flight.
I was able to roll out to right in front of the trailer.

From some comments, it appears that I am landing in the weeds. This is NOT the case! Gwen was taking the pictures from across the three runways and I was landing on the one furthest away. There are bushes and grass between the three runways, not on them!

After the flight, the light was good for some ground shots.
Here we have the wing up.

Here we have the wing down.

There were a couple of minor problems (canopy, trim) that showed up during this first flight. Nothing severe enough to call an early halt to the flight. I was very impressed with the handling of the ship and its quietness. After the 10 hours that I will have to fly within 25 miles of the Pleasant Valley Airport for the FAA flight test period, I should have a very good feel for what the ship can do. I was able to do some thermaling during this first flight and found it very comfortable. I am going to like this sailplane!

The other pilots in the area during the flight were impressed with how the old ship looked. They want to get some air to air photos sometime soon. When we do, I will paste some more here on the web.

Created 21 February 2001.
Last updated 18 November 2011.
Copyright 2001-2011 by Paul R. Jorgenson

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