SHP-1 Flight Review
Wow! That is a magnificent flying machine!! Add another 2:30 in the logbook.
I took a 3K tow behind Leslie, then spent the rest of the day between 5 and 7. Real tough, but someone has to do it. Ship climbs great with 0 to +5 flap, +10 seems too much. Thermaling speed can be anything from about 37 to 50 kts. I have never flown a glider that had such a huge latitude for efficient thermaling. It _easily_ climbs away from the club gliders. I found the handling to be superb. Low, but positive pitch stability, essentially no trim pressure, well harmonized controls.
Cruise performance is okay, but not great. 5 mi/1000' appears to be about right for a 50 - 60 kt sort of cruise (1500' from Claremont to VSF). When cleaned up and sealed, I think it will be more like 6mi/1000'.
Even as is, it makes a pretty fair XC machine.
I practiced a dozen or two "landings" at altitude with various flap settings and approach speeds. From this I concluded that 50 kt speed on final would be fine and that a low energy approach could be made at 45.
My actual landing was complicated slightly by a pushy Piper that caused me to extend my pattern and get slightly distracted. I got back in the groove more or less where I wanted to be on final with about 45 degree of flap @ 50 kts. It floated a bit, so I cranked on more flap and this proved effective. I put it on the runway in a level attitude at about 32 kts and then discovered that the tail skid offers no directional control what-so-ever (at least on pavement). I had about 4 kts cross wind component and this was enough to overpower the rudder at the end of the rollout. It's not a big problem, but the combination of poor directional control and ineffective brake caused a moment of worry as the ship wandered towards the runway lights, but I stopped safely short.
I think speed on final (light wind conditions) should be no more than 50 kts IAS.
I did a couple of things that you should know about: 1) is obvious: I added a yaw string. This ship cannot be flown with a ball, as you have found out. The polar moment of inertia (yaw axis) is big and the fuselage is skinny. The ball does not respond sensitively or quickly enough to be useful. You'll like it much better with a yaw string. 2) I hooked up the vario to the static ports. It works well, but this ship really deserves a probe. 3) I removed the brake cable to take measurements. There's a bike shop in Sunapee I found on the way home that is open Sunday, so I should be able to get a replacement installed tomorrow. See you tomorrow if you can make it.