July-August-September 2012

It Runs!

Flabob – Saturday July 28, 2012

Today we ran the engine in the airplane for the first time on a scheduled work day, in front of the project team. Described by our intrepid leader, Fred Culick, as “the most important day since we arrived at Flabob,” the run was a success. So as not to leave anything to chance, the engine group made a practice run the day before. Our instrument and wiring volunteer, Bruno DeBacker, couldn’t attend Saturday but he had set everything up for me to make the battery connections. After I’d made several embarrassing attempts to start, Bob Sechrist discovered that the lead to the starter solenoid was disconnected. I must have pulled it loose when I connected the battery. Now, with things connected as they should be, the airplane became a living thing. Not just a static display of the efforts by dozens of volunteers since Howard Marx conceived the project originally.

We ran it up to 80% of our planned operating speed with surprisingly little vibration of the airplane. In the words of our visiting expert, retired Honda engineer Bob Young, it “sounded happy.”

In the coming weeks Bruno, Dave Jorgensen and Robert Jordan will tie down the loose ends and the engine will be ready for taxi tests.

Keith Folkerts

Keith holding the battery cables with Fred observing and Dick Edwards standing by to monitor temperatures.