A new Defiant flew for the first time today. N403R took flight this morning about 10:30 AM
from West Bend, WI airport (KETB.) The Defiant performed as expected, with no surprises.
Ground crew estimate the plane was airborne in about 500 feet, definitely much less than
1,000 feet. Rotation speed was in the 65 - 70 knots range. A climb speed of about 120
knots and climb rate of 1,500 fpm got me quickly to 3,500 AGL. I maintained 135 knots at
altitude, checked control response and then started reducing airspeed and rechecking control
response. As expected, aileron response was reduced at 75 knots but the plane was
controllable. I increased speed to 110 knots, circled down to pattern altitude and landed.
It was a good landing. Landing distance plus roll to turn off to taxiway was about 3,000
feet. Total air time was about 20 minutes.
The purpose of the first flight was to answer these questions: does N403R fly, can I fly
it. The answer to both is YES! I will get more accurate rotation speed, performance
characteristics and trim response in my next few test flights.
Thanks to all who provided knowledge and supported my project over the past 25 years. A
special thanks to Jan, my wife and best airplane building partner, who supported me through
the entire project.