Frisky Baby

By Johnnie Bullens
Posted September 2006, Reprinted by permission

Hello gang,

I just came back from a late afternoon flight, checking out the early Fall, Kentucky countryside. Kinda cool mid 60s temp but very refreshing. N65FB just purred along enjoying the flight as much as I did.

Then I get on here see Ron's link to the old newsletters. Then it hit me, I've never given a flight report on the list. Thought I'd correct that. First I'll apologize for this very long mail.

Thanks very much Ron, I really enjoy reading historical accounts of flybaby flights, do's and don'ts and builder tips.

Like I said, I've not posted much information on my Fly Baby activities. I owned a single wing baby back in the early 90s. I flew her a few hundred hours of simple, low cost, pure fun. Right after I sold the baby I knew a major mistake had been made. I muddled along with a Stinson voyager, a 225 Navion a couple Grumman's then a fast glass, Varieze. At that point I figured out what the problem was. They are just transportation. So got the "back to basics, grass roots" flybaby bug again two years ago and heard Jerry David's cute little Blue and Yellow bi-wing baby might be for sale. I bugged Jerry for 8 or 9 months before talking him into selling.

After dragging a trailer to Maryland and looking her over I knew that baby was changing her address and coming home with me to Kentucky, the Bluegrass state.

I bought her without a motor or prop. Lucky for me I had a good 89 hr SOH 0-200 just doing nothing,  sitting around parked on the back of the Rutan Varieze taking up space. The Varieze had served me well during her good days but I had to ground her a year earlier for main wing attach plate corrosion, (common on coastal built vari's). This was discovered during annual inspection.

Installing the 0-200 on a 65hp baby is a pretty straight forward project or so I thought. I quickly discovered nothing fits, or hooks up in the same  place as the smaller motors, it's all about compromises.  One good by-product the 0-200's weight, it helps bring the C/G forward. Every baby I've flown so far all seem very tail heavy.

I'm one of the very lucky guys, with a supportive (working) wife who can cook, a very cute little simple and cheap to operate airplane and a back door hangar, on my private farm airstrip (05KY).

I named her Frisky-Baby after my second landing. First flight for me in was in late July from I-39's 4500' asphalt runway. She hopped off the ground quickly but needed plenty of forward and Right stick due to my rigging. After a few quick stalls to get an idea what "V" speeds should be and a high oil temp, 210 degrees I figured I'd better get her back in the pattern. The first landing with the usual skip brought back the old flybaby feel. My second flight after working on bafflin and cowl was an adventure ending with a side to side swirve and a 5 mph ground loop. Both tailwheel springs had jumped off the rudder. Guess my tail first touch down was a tad firm.

After flying her to her new home, re-rigging, working on baffling and installing a new mag she's flying happy now.

Today I taxied to my usual takeoff spot. After a quick before takeoff check I lined her up and smoothly slid the throttle full open. The motor was turning up 2400 romping, stomping ponies, dragging me and Frisky, thumping-n-bumping along for our adventure. She broke ground in 250 feet. Holding 70 showed a smooth 800 fpm climb to 1000 agl for some enjoyable, 85 mph cruising turning 2200 r's. The motor sounded happy, the gas gage didn't move, all needles were in the green, the wires were singing their wind song and the airframe was drumming in rhythm with the wires. The very Green Kentucky landscape is quite nice to view from such a lofty perch.

After an hour of weaving, turns and cruising, the sun begins to drop below the horizon and I felt a slight chill as well as a slight hunger pain. I figured it was time to head back

I lined her up for my usual, wave at the neighbors, "skip-n-hop" landing right as the late afternoon shadows stretched to their Maxinum. Man, my 1260 foot hillside runway sure looks short at 65 mph. I'm still trying to teach Frisky to slow down on short final. Guess we'll have to compromise on that.

To top off a great flight the wife was waiting at the hanger with a fresh cup of coffee and a  "come wash up, supper is ready" notice.

Now, all U guys building or modifying, but on an extended vacation from building, go blow off some dust off, "n get-er-done"! It's worth it.

US Navy/DOD retired

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