As published in the March/April issue ofthe recreational flyer”- published by the RAA.



Book Report by Ed Lubitz


“Flight Test Checklist” – Homebuilder’s Flight Test Guide by Jerry Milek


This book is directed toward those who have completed their aircraft and are now preparing for the first flight.  The author states that this book is a compilation of existing material for flight testing, which has been condensed into a format that is easy to use during the first flights of your homebuilt.  To this end, the book is remarkably successful. – Avoidable test flight accidents are too common in the homebuilt movement.  To avoid them the test pilot must follow a discipline that will reinforce his or her judgement.  The test pilot’s primary job is to determine honestly and accurately the flight characteristics of the aircraft that is being tested.  If there is a flight manual for the aircraft, the test flight confirms the projected performance.  If there is no manual, the flight test data provides the information from which a manual can be developed.  While much has been written about general flight characteristics of aircraft, very little is available to the amateur who does not have an engineering back-ground.  Afraid of mathematics?  Fear not, the author has done everything he can to make test flying clear to those of us who are math challenged.      –Jerry Milek approaches the test flight by using a series of checklists which spell out in detail the order in which you should attempt each task.  He offers valuable tips on how to accomplish this within the confines of the equipment you are likely to have available.  Also included are Test Cards for each task; the cards are to be filled out during the flight.  Following the directions in the book will keep you on task.  This will prevent your enthusiasm from over-riding your judgement, a common cause of test flight accidents. – The book, FLIGHT TEST CHECKLIST, is 115 pages long, spiral bound and printed on a 4” by 8” format.  You can use the book on a kneepad during a flight to enter data on the appropriate test card, or you can stuff it into a pocket as a handy reference guide.  The soft cover and spiral binding make it portable and practical. – The book has 7 sections and 5 appendixes.  Section 1, PRIOR TO FLIGHT, leads you through the following tasks: Pitot Static Test, Power Plant Test, Taxi Test, Before First Flight, and Emergency Procedures.  This section takes 12 pages; it is clear and to the point.  Subsequent chapters are similarly laid out. – From my experience in the past 25 years of test flying various amateur-built and ultralight aircraft, I find that this “how to” manual will not only lead you through a successful test flight program, but also give you general, practical information.