December 9, 2023

Laser first flight report

A year and a half after I got it, I finally flew the Laser yesterday evening. The weather was beautiful and the field was full of pilots and planes.

Transport and setting up is a breeze with the removeable stab and plug in wings. After fueling and checking that all was well with the controls I just clipped on the glow, spun the prop once and there it was – the mighty 1.60 idling like nothing else mattered.

With the help of a club member who had to hang on for dear life, we revved the engine and adjusted. It sounded well but repeatedly it died at mid-throttle after a moments idling. Typical O.S. I thought, being sour at mid-range. After trying both lean and rich settings we concluded the plug must be changed so I swapped the OS #8 for an OS-F and that made all the difference. The O.S #8 is not hot enough to burn all the fuel and it makes you have to adjust the engine too lean but the F-plug is so hot that you can run rich and it still burns off all excess fuel at mid-range. Time to fly!

It’s no fun to watch the plane taxi for the first time, and I had to share the airspace with two other planes, an electric Cub which flew very low and a 1.20 size fun flyer who was hovering over the field making tons of noise, blah! But once the Laser was rolling I immediately knew I’d be allright. It just took off and flew straight at half throttle, like the rest of the world didn’t matter to it. Wind, torque and a nervous pilot was all in a days work for the wonderful Laser!
After one circuit I trimmed it three clicks down and that was it. I was flying a 2-meter for the first time! 6-sided loops, half clovers, immelmans, four-point and slow rolls, cuban 8’s and inverted loops, all handled with the grace and elegance worthy such a fine looking plane. Even at 5 kilos it had lots of power and the engine handled like a dream, not even having been broken in. And too all you sceptics – It ran GREAT without a pump, just a pressurized fuel tank from the header and it kept going smoothly in inverted loops.

Having the time of my life I didn’t see it coming when the plane was out of fuel going up on a half-reverse cuban 8 upwind of the field. I pushed forward, turned downwind, and started a very hard turn towards me and the upwind direction of the field. I kept thinking it would flick over but as long as I still had a little more stick I kept going and it was the right decision, it landed smoothly on the field. On inspection, the tank was bone dry!

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