I'm happy to say that both the first and second flights are now behind me, and that there will be more to come. The winds were pretty low on Sunday so I bit the bullet and trucked off to my local flying field with Phoenix in tow. I briefed my launch crew on what to expect and the madness began...
As it turns out I had too much down trim on the first flight, and coupled with taking off with low rates and a smidge of head-wind the first flight quite nearly became the last. Just 2 seconds into the first flight I was nolonger climbing and fighting to get the nose up. :y: In a panic I managed to find the rate switch and set it to high and recover from the power-dive all before crossing the 0-foot altitude threshold, then still managed to atain 250 feet or so of altitude before burnout. Into the landing circuit and all the way to touchdown I was under control, but the nose felt very heavy. Despite all this I did manage to put here down within 50 feet of where I wanted it and no damage done. Upon recovery I quickly discovered part of the reason the "nose felt heavy" - After the excitement of nearly duffing it I completely forgot change the trim from "launch" to "flight" when I entered the landing pattern. :blush: Regardless, any first flight that results in a controlled landing is still a good one in my books.
The second flight almost seemed like it wasn't going to happen, the BlackJack caught but then just hissed and smouldered for what seemed like an eternity on the pad. (This is my first experience with any composite motor, and may be perfectly normal for the BlackJacks, but is all new to me.) After 4-5 seconds of this I was getting ready for the worst, but the thrust finally built up enough to lift the Phoenix from the pad and off she went. I'd lessened the amount of down trim for take-off, and coupled with taking off in high-rates allowed me to get much more altitude out of this one, probably on the order of 450 - 500 feet. This time I remembered to kill the launch trim after burnout, and a short but much more comfortable flight ensued. After landing I noticed I'd dialed in a considerable amount of up-trim to keep her to flying level (3/32" up) so I may look at taking some weight out of the nose to shift the CG aft by 1/8" or so for the next flight. I should still have some margin to play with as I'm currently in the middle of the range shown on the plans.
All in all I'm very pleased with the result. I can't wait to try riding a G-motor up to altitude and I'm looking forward to see how much better I can hone my spot-landings with the spoilerons deployed, but I think I'll save the serious wringing out like that for warmer conditions. In the mean time I'll bask in the warm fuzzy feeling derived from a pair of successful test flights and the anticipation of what spring will bring.