Dave's CX4 In The Air



Dave's CX5 In The Air

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As of July 25, 2014, there are 557 CX4 builders in 20 countries and 42 CX4's have flown the nest (with 2916.9 fleet hours reported).
There are 45 CX5 builders in 7 countries and Glens CX5 prototype has over 60 hours of time on the Hobb's.

Do you have any news to share? Please send us the details!

Date Description
Fri
2014/7/25

The 42nd CX4 Has Taken It's First Flight!

Earnest Martin (N414CX, #173) notified Dave that he finally got around to flying his CX4 about 7:00 this evening!

"I had no airframe problems, but some instrumentation and new engine temp problems. Everything went very well, as first flights go. My biggest problem was my airspeed indicator. It seemed fine on T/O roll but once I lifted off it didn't go any higher, just varied up and down around 30 to 40 kts. I'm wondering if I got the pitot and AOA tubes crossed somewhere. 

The oil temp calmed down once I leveled off, which was hard to do , I had to reduce power several times. I was at pattern altitude before I could think. The plane feels rock solid in pitch and roll, but the rudder seemed a little sensitive too me. I'm going to recheck my bellcrank measurements.

I used GPS ground speed on approach and to land, which turned out not to be a problem. It was very easy to tell when it was ready to land. I would have been in big trouble with my Q200 on the first flight without an A/S indicator. All the previous pilot reports were a tremendous help in knowing what to expect. I'll get out more information when I've corrected a few things and have a few more flights under my belt.

Thanks Dave for a great design and Glen for all the pilot reports. 
 
Earnest Martin    
40 Glen Cove Drive
Arden, NC 28704-3219
828-230-5378
martinerni@aol.com

Editor Note: Earnest (who supplies us with beautiful fiberglass cowls, wing/elevator tips, wheel pants & wing fairing kits) notified us back in January that his plane was "almost finished" and that he hoped to fly it in spring. Well the temperatures still feel like spring here in Wisconsin, so in our opinion, Earnest has kept to his timeline!

Earnest reported that his CX4 is powered by a ULPower 260I engine. He added some structure to allow for more HP so his empty weight is at 633 pounds. The plane is equipped with a 10" Dynon Skyview system with a Mode S transponder, GPS, EMS, ADS-B in, and will have ADS-b out when the GPS gets certified. It has 18 gallons of fuel in wing tanks similar to RV6 tanks. The only controls in the cockpit are control stick, throttle, and trim.
 

Fri
2014/7/25

Here's the first CX5 builder report update!

We hadn't heard from an old friend in quite awhile, so we were really pleased when Peter Beck sent us this update on his CX5 build progress.

"Just sending along some construction progress on CX5's other than Glen Bradley's - with thanks to him for all the pioneering work and videos!



This one (#22) is well along and will be receiving its Revmaster engine after Oshkosh.  Actually begun a couple years ago using preliminary plans from Dave Thatcher, and was initially intended to be conventional gear.  It has been reconfigured to a nose gear and updated per Dave Thatcher's final plans, released earlier this year.

Not shown in the photos, the tail surfaces are all finished, wing parts (like outer spars, ribs, fuel tanks and skins) also finished and jig drilled, but just not assembled yet due to lack of space.  Control installations are being completed in these photos.

Engine (R2300) will mount a Revmaster 4-into-1 exhaust manifold.  Greater cost, yes, - but in my opinion, the most effective way add effective power and thrust without tweaking or goosing up the engine itself.  Boosted power (as much as 4 HP I'm told) and reduced noise, because the exhaust is tuned and better exhaust gas scavenging.

Delighted to know that the CX5 is undoubtedly one of the sweetest flying and best performing planes available currently. (Useful load as a percentage of gross weight is the highest I am aware of in its class. And it is still flying at 120 + mph while burning 4 gph of mo-gas.) Magnificent achievement by Dave Thatcher!

I had to fight my son (and still the youngest CX4 pilot ever) to convert to nose wheel.  He wants a conventional gear because he is sick of putzing around in Diamonds  Ted just finished college majoring in aviation and mathematics, is a senior flight instructor and check pilot in the school (Mid Tennessee State U) has all the ratings, and is working to enter the Navy with a flying assignment. I keep telling him that aircraft carriers are the perfect cruise ship for the Baltic or Black Sea.  I have little doubt we'll have a presence there soon.  (Predicted by a Cold War and Southeast Asia Air Force vet)  And Dave Thatcher and the CX4 are the real instigators.  Thank you and much admiration for you, Dave.

Hope to see a couple (at least) CX 4/5'ers at Oshkosh"

Peter Beck

PS - #22 is based in Louisville KY, and shop is always open to CX5 / CX4 fans and coffee always on. Phone ahead 502-599-4885

Editor Note: Thanks for the Update Peter! It will be great to see you again!
 

Fri
2014/7/18

Unable to attend Oshkosh 2014?
Here are a couple of video & audio links that may help ease the pain:

(NOTE: These links should be active for the duration of the convention.
They may take a short time to load due to the large volume of web traffic they create!)

Live Streaming Video:

Warbirds - North Webcam
Vintage - Central Webcam
Ultralights - South Webcam
Airshow Webcam (Active during airshows only)
One Week Wonder Build Progress
Theater in the Woods Webcam (Active during scheduled evening programs only)
AirVenture Museum (4 Interactive Webcams)
 

Live Streaming Audio:

EAA Radio

LiveATC.net - LiveATC.net is the original source for streaming audio from Oshkosh. Use the link to go directly to their website, then choose the stream of your choice:

- Tower 9/27 (North)
- Tower 18L/36R (South)
- Tower 18R/36L (South)
- AirVenture Air Boss
- Arrival ATIS
- Fisk VFR Approach
- Milwaukee Approach

Fri
2014/6/27
Pat Panzera, Editor of Contact Magazine!, is seeking some help creating an ad
in his upcoming book titled "Alternative Engines - Volume 4."

He just posted the following on the Yahoo CX4 group site:

"Friends,

I need a little help from our pool of creative individuals. Mr. Thatcher was kind enough to purchase a full-page ad in our upcoming book, Alternative Engines Volume 4.

We need a little help creating a timeless ad for the CX4 and CX5. The book will be in print for decades to come, the same way our other three volumes have been since 1995, 2000 and 2008 respectively. (Roughly every 5 years we compile the engine articles that appeared in CONTACT! Magazine and publish a 330+ page soft-cover book.)

Anyhow, to make things interesting, we're having a competition. I'll be awarding the best submission a free subscription to CONTACT! Magazine. If you already have one, your subscription will be added to by the new subscription. Everyone who submits an honest ad will receive the current issue featuring the new CX5 on the cover.

If you already have that issue, you can select another one from our list of back issues: http://contactmagazine.com/backissu.html
(sorry that it's not up to date) or our next issue, which is also a special, an all Pietenpol issue.

We need to move fast on this as we plan to go to print at the end of next week so I'll need all submissions by next Tuesday (July 1) at the latest. Even though I'm offering a reward for your submission, don't do it for that reason - do it to help promote the Thatcher CX4 and CX5.

Thank you!
Pat"

Editor Note: The Thatcher CX Community is made up of many creative people. Let's see who can develop an ad Dave and the rest of us can be proud of!     Send your ideas to Pat directly at editor@contactmagazine.com
 

Sun
2014/6/22
Load testing of a CX5 wing has been completed

Greg Westberry (Westberry Manufacturing, LLC), with Dave's involvement, has completed testing of a CX5 wing.
The wing was mounted on a test stand and loaded to both 3.8 G and 5.7 G levels.
The wing passed both tests.

Photo's of the testing can be seen on Dave's website (http://www.thatchercx4.com/load_test.htm).

Editor Note:  We have posted the load testing photos on the CX4 & CX5 Specifications page of this website
(Scroll down to the bottom of the page).
 

Fri
2014/6/20
Dave has released an updated CX5 Material List.

The line item containing 10 ft of 1/2" x .058 4130 tubing has been removed.
Dave reports that it was used in the engine mount, but he has gone to a bigger tube for the mount.

Here's the link:
Thatcher CX5 Material List - June 20, 2014

Editor Note:  We also have a folder in the files section of the Yahoo group site where the most recently updated CX5 Material list is available.
 

Sun
2014/6/15
Most of us know where Dave got the idea for the naming the CX4.

We put together this short clip so everyone could hear for themselves!

 

Thurs
2014/6/12
Dave has released an updated CX5 Material List.

Here's the link:

Thatcher CX5 Material List - June 12, 2014
 

Sun
2014/6/1
Glen has made another video with the CX5 on the subject of stalls.

I took a 25 min video and took the 2 min of it that I was demonstrating stalls in the CX5. I had several but they all look the same on video.

Like the CX4, the CX5 does not like to stall. It tends to just mush down and lose altitude slowly if you don't force it. About 5 mph before the stall break (which is felt more than seen) it starts to "nibble". I call it that because it is much less intense than a buffet, but very obvious. It is a more rapid buffeting, if you will, and of smaller amplitude. It is felt through the controls as well as the seat of your pants.

It is very obvious but in no way intense or severe. Can't be seen on the video though.In the video, I release the back pressure just a little as it stalled to show you how little forward stick is required for recovery. The CG was near the forward limit for this stall so it stalled at a higher speed than it would with a more normal or rearward CG.

A full stall landing in ground effect takes place at about 40...depending on CG.
 

Sun
2014/6/1

Brandon Burgdorf mounted a GoPro on his left wing tip
to give us all a new perspective of flight in his CX4.

 

Wed
2014/5/28

Greg Pixley continues to explore the country with his beautiful CX4.
He captured the details of his latest adventure in this PIREP:

"Memorial Day weekend provided the perfect opportunity for me to take N347CX on a road trip from the panhandle of Florida to Washington DC. I logged 16 hours and flew over 1700 miles with 10 lbs of baggage and despite the attempts of two lines of thunderstorms, she performed flawlessly and got me there and back without a hiccup.


This video is from the last leg Of Greg's return flight.

I've now got 88 hours on #347 and its great to finally be at the point where everything is still working after each flight and the only time I spend on MX is changing oil, doing inspections, or doing elective aircraft mods.

I plan to do a more detailed with some pictures for Todd's website to include video of the thunderstorm drama and how Stratus/XM weather saved me and got me home. For those of you building now, I'd say it important that you add a power source for your Iphone/IPad/Stratus or other portable electronic devices you plan on using in the cockpit.

Power management was key for me on this trip. I added a cigarette lighter receptacle in the cockpit and bought a plug-in adaptors for two USB cables. That got everything running, although the cockpit was a spiderweb of cable.

I planned five legs each one about 175 miles long. There were several valuable “lessons learned” I should share from this trip. The first leg was to Butler Municipal AL. When I finally found the airport I noticed there was NOTHING there! A quick look at the AFD showed no fuel available...maybe I should have looked at that before during planning!

Now with just over 1/8th of a tank indicated fuel remaining, I'm flying to the next airport hoping I have enough gas...

Lesson Learned #1: Have a good idea what your engine burns going X-country before going X-country! I was using 5 GPH as a planning number to keep me safe, actual turns out to be about 4.3 at 3000 rpm and 120 mph. First leg was 1.9 hours and 8.2 gals.

The rest of the trip to DC was pretty uneventful with the exception of a line of thunderstorms around Charlotte NC. It was dark and nasty underneath some bumpy weather but with the help
of XM weather I was able to navigate around the rain and made it to Richmond Executive airport just before sunset.

The next morning I flew the last leg to Bay Bridge airport which was inside the 60nm DC ring but just outside the SFRA. I used ATC for the entire trip going north. The reason I couldn't do the entire trip in one day was due to a late start on Friday. The plane burned (leaked) about half a quart of oil that I added along the way.

The return trip Monday showed weather pretty much CAVU for the entire trip so I was confident I'd have no problem. Departed at 0700 and flew to a different set of airports designed to over-fly some of the controlled airspace at Charlotte and Richmond.

My first stop was at another small town airport in Lawrenceville VA. This time I thought I'd vetted the airfields...this one said “open Memorial Day” but when I landed, there was nobody there! The fuel pump required someone to run the credit card. Called the airport number on the building went to a county number (which was closed).

I called the airport manager and heard the phone in the building ring! As I started walking down the road to the nearest farmhouse, a man showed up to mow the grass...turns out to also be the airport manager!

Lesson Learned #2: Self Service gas! With only 10.5 gallons, I didn't have the option to comfortably takeoff and fly to the next field on 3 gallons.

The remainder of the trip was flown VFR without talking to ATC. At Eufaula AL I added about ¾ quart of oil (had to buy a quart) and flew the last leg where I hit a line of thunderstorms I wasn't expecting.

Selecting the least ugly option on XM, I was able to avoid the heavy rain and limit exposure to light drizzle. The storm pushed me down to about 2000' and way off course. Fortunately, the last leg was the shortest and I had lots of gas.

Got the plane back in the hanger and drove 45 minutes home for a total time of 12 hours! Total cost for fuel, tie down and one night in a $40 cheap hotel was $475, more than my wife flying on Southwest but man did I have more fun!"

Greg
Niceville, FL, USA
N347CX, CX4 S/N 347


Greg replied to several questions raised on the Yahoo group:

Did you use 'Airnav' to locate fuel stops ? I depend on it for my trips.
You mentioned XM weather. I thought Stratus/IPad (I assume Foreflight) was supposed to provide WX for no charge ?
What route did you use to circumnavigate DC. Did you go out over the bay to go around Andrews ?

What engine/prop.
What temps did you see for oil, CHT. Where is your oil cooler?
Do you add STP or other additives to your oil. What brand oil ? Weight ?
Did you use MoGas or AvGas ?

Will,

You busted me...Stratus uses ADS-B weather data sent to Foreflight via wifi. I have not used Airnav but will give it a look. I figured using 100 LL self service airports would keep me going but prefer 93 ethanol free. I'm pulling the plugs this weekend to see how 16 hours of 100 LL impacted the plugs.

For avoiding Andrews AFB and the 30 mile ring, I flew west of Pax a River NAS and up the coast over land/water using two geo points to keep me out of trouble. All was done under control of Potomac then Pax ATC.

The engine is the GPASC 2180 with an Ed Sterba 54X46 propeller. Oil temperature is dependent on OAT but I rarely see more than 185 degrees except on summer days during climb. This trip oil temp was never an issue with the oil cooler on top of the engine venting out the top per plans. CHT never exceeds 300 and stayed around 250 after climb. The VDO sender has been suspect to me and seems to read low, but I've had no valve growth during the last 25 hours so it's not overheating. I'm using Valvoline racing oil with ZDP (30W summer, 10/30 winter) and have never tried STP.


 I had a 10 mph tailwind going and was able to average about 135mph ground speed (120IAS). Flew most at 3500', 20" MP and 3000RPM. 7.9 hours going out and 8.1 hours returning but the routes were slightly different. Fuel was 4.34gph going and 4.39gph returning. There was a headwind on the return. Oil pressure on the motor has been great maintaining in excess of 10 psi per 1000 RPM.
 

Sun
2014/5/25
Dave has received several requests for the CX5 Material List.

He asked that we post the list here and on the Yahoo group for everyone. It is in a PDF format that can easily be saved to your local computer and printed. Here's the link:

Thatcher CX5 Material List - May 25, 2014
 

Wed
2014/5/21

Mick Wright (19-7872, #235) sent us this CX4 update from Australia.

2 of 36 builders in Australia (Mick Wright & Kevin Osborne) have completed and flown their birds. Mick reports that his bird (19-7872, #235) has now completed approx 50 hrs trouble free.

The ranks of flying CX4's is about to grow once again. Dennis Martin (19-8461, #505), Ridgehaven, Australia is about to have its preflight final inspection.

In a rare moment, this photo was recently taken of 19-7872 and 19-8461 parked alongside each other at the Barossa Birdman Club Fly-in in Gawler. The Barossa Birdman Club owns and operates Truro Flats Airpark. It has an east west runway measuring over 1,000 metres. Many recreational aircraft operate from this airfield including Powered parachutes, Trikes, Ultralights, single and two seater high and low wing homebuilt and kit aircraft. It is the oldest and largest (ultralight) recreational flying club in South Australia. Visiting aircraft are always most welcome.

Mick

 

Mon
2014/5/12

Thom Riddle took his CX4 up today for a scenic flight over the Niagara River in New York state, and captured some highlights to share with us all!

"For those not familiar with this area:

First part is flying west along Niagara River's north side (in NY) approaching the Falls. Ontario Canada is on opposite side of river.

Part way through this part I turned the camera looking southward for a quick moment with Lake Erie in the distance.

After turning northward, you can see the Hydroelectric power plants and supply reservoirs. Two plants and two reservoirs, one of each in New York and second pair on left across the river in Ontario.

Once I got past KIAG class D airspace, I descended to about 2,000' msl where it started getting bumpy so I quit recording. Lake Ontario is in the distance."

Thom Riddle
N254RM - CX4 s/n 398

 

Sat
2014/5/10

Glen Bradley takes us on a brief tour of Thatcher Aircraft.

"I know some of you might be concerned that a lot of special tools are needed to build Thatcher aircraft. Even though several people have said that you won't, I know seeing is believing so here is a video of Dave's shop and his tools.

Near the end of the video I am showing the paint section and there is some large square tubing standing there....this is what Dave takes and makes into the nose gear mount. I failed to show the box of 1x12 form blocks that were cut out of shelving material. Anyway. I thought you might like to see it in person. Very low tech."
 

 

Wed
2014/5/7

Join Brandon Burgdorf for another flight in N147HL

 

Tues
2014/5/6
Another day we've all been patiently waiting for has arrived!
Glen and Dave took the CX5 up today in Pensacola!

Here is Glen's report on the new milestone:

I have been waiting for a perfect morning to take Dave on his first flight and this morning seemed to be it. I went to the airport early and checked the plane over and called Dave. NO answer. ugh He always answers, is he sick? Something else wrong???? I'll know at breakfast if he shows up.

I had exactly an hour so I decided to go flying anyway- it was gorgeous and silky smooth. One of those perfect mornings- cool, still air, unlimited visibility, not much traffic. You can tell exactly what the control inputs are doing on days like this. I loved it- I am very sorry Dave missed it.

AS usual, Dave and I meet for breakfast about 830 at Chik Fil A. I was a little concerned that he might be sick or whatever and not show up. But he did and he was fine. We talked about the usual aircraft things and I told him what had happened re the early morning attempt to call.He said, "Well, we could go now!"

I hesitated because it was now 80 degrees and a little wind had come up. We drove to the airport 3 miles away and ultimately, the beautiful day won out and I said "Let's GO". In a few minutes we were both strapped in and cranked up. We have a intercom built in the radio and it is voice activated --- worked well. I love the ICOM radio.

I taxied out and could tell almost no difference from solo. I was ready at the end and smoothly pushed in the power. Liftoff took about three seconds longer than usual and climb out was brisk. We climbed at 80 mph and got a good solid 600+ fpm at all times (thermals made it vary some)....by the time I turned an early crosswind I had 700 feet and was just over the end of the runway. What a performer!!

On crosswind I throttled back to cruise power for climb and on downwind at 1000 feet was grateful the tower ask us to do a 360 for spacing. Dave and I had discussed that I might ask for one anyway so he could fly the plane for a while. I gave the plane to him and I could feel him feeling out the controls during a very nice 360. It made me smile. We have both waited a very long time for this day.

I took control again for landing and came in a little high just in case the rate of descent was greater. There was no need to....it glided normally (which is incredible) and I had to slip to a landing. Flare was normal and we had a smooth touchdown. Mission complete.

Dave said there was plenty of room in the rear cockpit- he is 6 foot 2 in. and, to my surprise he said the visibility was GREAT from back there. I did not expect it to be that great from the rear seat but he said it was excellent. It was a very solid flight and we were both very impressed with the performance. The climb out was, in fact, exactly what I had expected ....600 fpm plus some depending on thermals.

So, IN SUMMARY, we flew the CX5 with two big people- (one tall, one huge) and almost full fuel on a warm day (density altitude about 2000 feet). I weigh 270, Dave weighs 180 and we had ten pounds of baggage in the back and very close to full fuel plus headsets etc. Other than slight trim differences the airplane flew very much the same as solo. Total weight for the flight > right at 1300 pounds. I am constantly amazed at the performance of this airplane.

All in all a GREAT DAY!!!
I will be smiling all day. I'll bet Dave will be too.

Glen

And Dave was quick to add his comments:

Yea, it was great. The excellent visibility, out the sides & from the rear seat was unexpected. I liked the feel of the controls, too. I feel real good about this airplane.

Best regards to all who have plans to this airplane. You are going to like it.
Dave Thatcher
 

Tues
2014/5/6

There has been another exchange on the Yahoo group lately regarding design load numbers for the CX5. In response to those that have contributed to this discussion, Dave posted the following on the Yahoo group site earlier today:

"Gentlemen:

A load test of the wing has been in mind from the start. I can not do it.

Mr. Greg Westberry, who makes the kits for the CX4, and will be making the kit for the CX5, and is going to do the test. He will prove out his wing kit as well.

This means making a wing and center section, taking it to 3.8 g's, then on to 6 g's. I have sent him the funds to do this. Now give him a chance. He is a very busy man. The CX4 is still a very popular airplane. Is every one straight on the wing bolt question now?

The design limit load factor is 3.8 for the CX5 (like Piper and Cessna) and the ultimate load is 5.7. (A safety factor of 1.9)
I used 6 as my design figure because the sand bags come in 50 lb bags. This makes the math easy and includes in the safety factor, plus some.

Mr. Anderson thought I was using 6 g's as the limit load factor and needed to add 1.5 g's more for safety. The bolts would not hold 7.5 g's.

I apologize to him for this miss understanding and appreciate his contribution to the Yahoo Group."

Best regards,
Dave Thatcher
 

Mon
2014/4/28

There has been an exchange on the Yahoo group lately regarding control surface travel
in the CX4.

Dave has gotten involved, and asked that anyone having difficulty with getting the desired travels contact him directly via email. Expecting the same topic to be raised with the CX5, Glen recorded a brief video showing the control surface travel he has in the CX5.

 

Sun
2014/4/27

Glen made another video available showing two people entering and exiting the CX5 cockpit.

"After a pleasant breakfast with Dave this morning, I went back to the airport and enlisted the help of a couple of line crew at Pensacola Aviation to help me make a brief video of getting in and out of the CX5. It is attached.

I am 5' 10" and the other guy is 6' even. He had never gotten in the plane before. Note: We are both sitting on 2 inch cushions."


 

Sat
2014/4/26
According to Brandon Burgdorf, we all live in a small world. Here's his latest story:

"It is a small world indeed. I am in South Bend, IN, USA for an apprenticeship contest. I am a sheet metal worker by trade and our apprentices are competing in a statewide contest here. I helped yesterday all day and today my time was free. So I went to the Elkhart airport which isn't to far to bum around and talk to some folks.

I found an EAA sign and went in to talk and the lady had just got done cooking breakfast and said the guys were down in the hangar working on the Cub. She told me how to get there.

I poked my head in the door. There were several guys, 6 or so. I told them I was just bumming around and they were all very friendly. Got to talking about the Thatcher CX4 I just built and it just so happened that a guy spoke up there that had built a CX4!

It was Dennis Hackbarth, the gentleman who built the first CX4 fastback, I believe (Editor Note: Dennis built S/N 241, N938DH, and it was 17th CX4 to fly for the first time on June 4, 2010). We talked for quite a while and compared notes and so on. It was awful neat to be part of such a small club (41 complete & flying around the world), and run into a fellow builder like that. It is indeed a small world."

Brandon

Dennis & Brandon                   
 

Wed
2014/4/23

Glen took the CX5 up for another early morning flight!

Glen asked us to get his new videos online. He took advantage of another beautiful morning in Pensacola to go flying. Here's a recap of his arrival at the FBO.

NOTE: These videos are in High Definition. Click the icon in the lower right corner of the YouTube windows and enjoy them full-screen!

He added his in-cockpit narration to the video of the early morning flight, including slips and several touch & go's.

 

Sun
2014/4/20
Brandon has posted his first PIREP on his flight experience with N147LH

You can read his full post on the Pilot Reports page.

Fri
2014/4/18

The 41st CX4 Has Taken It's First Flight!

Brandon Burgdorf (Evansville, Indiana, USA) started the build of N147HL (#519) on August 18, 2012, taking a spar cap from raw stock to a finished part in one evening. He compiled the following video recap of his build progress since that first evening:

Fast forward to today, and Brandon is excited to report that his bird has just taken its maiden flight!

"Tonight I flew # 41 for the first time! Very uneventful other than a heavy left wing and the CHT gauge not working. I will post more info when I have more time, but for the meantime I wanted to post some videos. More to come!   Thanks group, for all of the support and help along the way!!"

Brandon captured the flight details on video, as seen from both the ground and the GoPro he mounted in the plane:

Editor Note:

Brandon, With your excellent blog, many have watched your build progress from day one. With your first flight today, you've realized a dream we all share in an incredibly short amount of time. On behalf of the global CX Community, our congratulations go out to you (and your family for giving you their support throughout the process)!  Your bird is beautiful!

Thanks for sharing all the details since that first night in your workshop and the video of the first flight. We all look forward to your future PIREPS as you begin to fly off the initial 40!

It was great that you were able to squeeze Sun n' Fun into your busy schedule. We all enjoyed meeting you in person!

Todd
 

Sun
2014/4/13
Sun n' Fun 2014 Recap

I want to apologize to everyone for the delay on getting this information on-line. I was able to have web access at the booth, but the volume of people that came through was high and I ended up spending a large amount of time trying to talk to everyone. Over the years, I have come to know many names of the regulars on Herb's Yahoo group site. This year, I was able to meet many of them who stopped by the booth in person (as well as countless others who expressed a strong interest in both of Dave's CX designs).

Since returning home late last Sunday, I began and have been working non-stop on a special project that should be of interest to anyone starting or planning a CX5 build. Those that already have plans (or anyone one else planning a future plans purchase) will note that Dave compiled a five page material list for the plane, containing approximately 182 line items. Of these, 139 are sourced from Aircraft Spruce & Specialty company.

For those not familiar with Aircraft Spruce, they have an excellent website (Aircraft Spruce) devoted to most needs of homebuilders world-wide. One page on the website (Building Materials & Kits/Kits & Plans) lists many of the kits they support, and many kits listed have a order form that has been pre-filled with all the current parts they can supply for the kit. This form can be edited to adjust desired quantities for one, several or all parts associated with the kit.

With Dave's approval, I spoke to Josh (the Aircraft Spruce Product Support Manager, responsible for this section of their website) at their booth this year and inquired if we could develop this ordering procedure for the CX5. He thought it was a great idea and agreed to help make it happen once he returned to his office in California after the show. I've been working to configure the material list into a format that will be most easy for Josh to incorporate into his system.

I don't know how long it will take before it becomes available on their website, but I will notify everyone here and on the Yahoo group when it gets up and running. If this project is well received, I'll discuss with Josh expanding it to include the CX4.

I want to personally thank Dave, despite his feeling less than 100%, and Glen for making the trip down this year. The efforts they have made taking the CX5 from a design on a napkin to a completed aircraft with it's initial 40 flown off in such a short time has been remarkable, and the information they've shared along the way has been appreciated by everyone.

I had the privilege of spending a large amount of time with Greg Westberry during the week, and he's another person I've developed a huge amount of respect for. The caliber of work with the CX4 kits he's developed so far is exceptional, and his plans for the future CX5 kits will be no different.

Greg Pixley (aka Pix - not Alan) flew his CX4 down, and offered to park it at the booth for the duration of the week. Greg is another great guy, and much to my surprise, won the bet with his other half on going over to Universal in Orlando during the week.

In speaking with Glen just the other day, he mentioned that this "Community" website was appropriately named. With all the people I've had the opportunity to meet over the years, I couldn't agree more!

Thanks,
Todd

(Scroll down - There's much more!)


As everyone already knows, Glen Bradley had planned on flying the CX5 to Lakeland, but despite his and Dave's best efforts with all of the preparation, were not able complete all of the tasks required. For this reason the CX5 was not at Sun n' Fun.

Greg Westberry, Glen Bradley, Greg Pixley and Dave had the booth setup by the end of the day on Monday (3/31) in preparation for the expected stream of visitors throughout the week.


Greg Westberry (Westberry Manufacturing LLC) coordinated the booth setup this year, where examples of his CX4 wing and tail kits were displayed. Samples of all the CX4 composite parts available from Earnest Martin were also shown.

Note:  We've added photo's of Greg's CX4 kits to the Westberry Manufacturing LLC page on this website.


Greg Pixley, Niceville, FL, USA (CX4 S/N 347, N347) flew his beautiful CX4 down for the show, and it was displayed at the booth. It did attract a steady stream of visitors, several people tried it on for size and everyone was kept busy answering questions.

Note: Greg has posted two flying videos on YouTube. Here's the links:

http://youtu.be/2hQrbnHiIA4

http://youtu.be/j2feRHnYg40


Tom Stallings of Garden City, Kansas who holds the title of having the first CX4 to fly into an EAA AirVenture convention (July 2011) flew down to SnF this year and camped next to his plane. Tom came by the booth several times during the week, and it was everyone's pleasure to meet him and visit in person.

We stopped by Homebuilt Parking to get several photos of Tom with his plane, but just like Oshkosh several years earlier, he was once again wandering the grounds. Note: Tom did make the maiden flight of S/N 0200 on Aug 23, 2009.

 


The Thatcher/Westberry booth was visited by various media representatives during the week. In the photo below, Greg Westberry is being interviewed. As we learn of these interviews being made available, we will post links to them on this page.


Dave, Glen and Greg hosted a forum on two separate days during the convention. Both were well attended and many questions were asked. Everyone was disappointed that the CX5 wasn't able to fly down, but everyone we spoke with understood the circumstances and felt the right decision had been made.

We were able to get a video of the entire forum held on Friday (4/4) and pending additional edits, will have it on-line
(YouTube and the top of this page) ASAP.


With so many people coming through the booth everyday, it was tough to sneak away to grab a bite to eat. Brandon Burgdorf (Evansville, Indiana) made a food run and came back with a snack (OK - lunch) for Glen.

Brandon snapped a quick photo and sent it to us for posting. We'll let each of you come up with your own caption - but don't forget: Despite being a bigger guy, Glen has over 200 hours in the CX4, has loved every minute of flying it and is looking forward to flying it many more!

 

Mon
2014/3/24
Glen Bradley and his son compiled another video, showing close-up details of the CX5, followed by a flight around Pensacola, Florida.
Note: Click the icon in the lower right corner of the window below to see this video full screen!

Sun
2014/3/23

Another CX4 is getting close to its first flight.

Brandon Burgdorf, Evansville, Indiana, USA just made several photo's available of N147HL (#519) as he transferred it to the local airport (with the help of two eager assistants) for final assembly and DAR inspection on April 4th.

Brandon's bird is another example of a very good looking CX4!  He started building in August 2012 and has made remarkable progress in a very short time. Click here to visit his builders blog. 


 

Fri
2014/3/21

Before heading out to our day job early this morning, we asked Dave how many plan
requests he has received since his release announcement on Tuesday.

As of this morning, he had already shipped out 21, including several sets going to international locations:

• 17 sets throughout the US
• 2 sets to Australia
• 1 set to Turkey
• 1 set to Thailand

On behalf of builders everywhere, we'd like to thank Dave and Glen for their efforts in taking the CX5 from concept to reality with plans in builders hands in a very short time, and for keeping us all informed throughout the process!
 

Tues
2014/3/18
The day people around the world have been waiting for has arrived!
Dave Thatcher has released the plans for the CX5!

He posted this message on the Yahoo Group earlier today:

"Gentlemen:
The plans and manual to the CX5 are ready. The price is $475.00 and I pay for the shipping.
Dave Thatcher"

Contact Dave via email at ThatcherCX4@cox.net or give him a call at (850) 712-4539 if you're interested in purchasing a set!
 

Fri.
2014/3/14
U.S. Senate Introduces GA Pilot Protection Act, Companion to House Bill

Three U.S. senators earlier this week introduced the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act as a companion bill to one unveiled in the House of Representatives in December, which includes a provision that would reform airman medical certificate standards while maintaining safety.

Sen. John Boozman (R-AR), Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) co-sponsored the bill that provides a solution to a long-standing hurdle of burdensome medical certificate standards for pilots who fly recreationally. In March 2012, EAA and AOPA requested an exemption that would ease third-class medical requirements for pilots flying certain types of aircraft, but the FAA has not to date taken action on that request despite more than 16,000 comments received in favor of the proposal.

"I urge the FAA to work with our pilots, respond to these reasonable petitions, and provide additional flexibility," Sen. Boozman said when introducing the legislation. "If the FAA continues to delay, this bill will start the discussion toward a legislative solution."

In announcing the bill, Sen. Boozman also noted that current regulations require private pilots flying aircraft for recreational purposes to have a third-class medical certificate. Over the last decade, 60,000 pilots left the industry, many due to the costly and time consuming process of obtaining a medical certificate. This bill expands on the success of FAA's sport pilot regulations that were adopted in 2004 and allow pilots to fly many types of small, light aircraft without a third-class medical certificate but require that all pilots undergo a flight review by a certified flight instructor every two years. During these biennial flight reviews, instructors will continue to evaluate each pilot's physical and cognitive condition, as well as his or her ability to safely operate an aircraft.

The proposed legislation would allow pilots to use a valid state driver's license in place of the traditional medical certificate if the flights are:

  • Not for compensation

  • Conducted in VFR operations only, at or below 14,000 feet MSL

  • No faster than 250 knots

  • In aircraft with no more than six seats and no more than 6,000 pounds gross takeoff weight.

In addition to allowing pilots to operate common GA aircraft for personal and recreational flying without a third-class medical, the bill mandates that the FAA prepare and send a report to Congress detailing the impact of the bill's passage on general aviation safety within five years of the bill's enactment.

"We appreciate the senators' attention and action on this issue that has negatively affected many pilots," said Jack Pelton, EAA chairman of the board. "It is time to use the positive safety experience gained from a decade of sport pilot activity - as well as such flying activities as gliders and ballooning - to establish medical certification reforms that will sustain and grow general aviation in this country."

The House bill, H.R. 3708, was introduced in December by Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) and Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO). To date that bill has gained 52 co-sponsors and continues to gather support.

For Our Friends in the US - Please Take Action: Rally Congress!

On the heels of this week's introduction in the United States Senate of the bipartisan General Aviation Protection Act, EAA has activated its Rally Congress website to make it easy for members to contact their elected officials and urge them to cosponsor this important legislation.

S2103, which mirrors to the House's HR3708 introduced in December 2013, widens the pool of recreational pilots who can enjoy flying their small aircraft without the expense and regulatory burden of third-class medical certification. The House version of the bill is gaining traction with a bipartisan coalition of 52 cosponsors. There are currently two cosponsors of the Senate bill.

Please take a few moments and Rally Congress to support the General Aviation Protection Act!

Sun.
2014/3/9

Glen Bradley had the opportunity to take the CX4 up today. He posted the following PIREP:

"I have been busy and haven't flown the CX4 much lately but this morning was perfect weather so......I was there at sunrise even though the clock said it was 7 instead of 6 as usual (DST).

Well, it was SILKY smooth and visibility was good too. It was one of those flights where there is absolutely NO movement of the plane that is not input from the pilot. It was a true gliding on air experience. Wonderful. Just a gentle vibration from the engine and mind and plane became one. It was such a neat flight. Mesmerizing!

As I was tooling around I couldn't help but think of the incredible efficiency of the CX4. Here is a REAL airplane (not as my old National Aerobatic champion friend called ultralights--"flying lawn furniture") that was FAST and efficient with GREAT control response. It is the best of all worlds and I had to reflect on the genius of the plane. Wow.

I flew for about 45 min and made a mental note to stop by the gas station later in the day and get enough non-ethanol fuel to fill it back up--- about 2 gallons. Amazing.

Here is a plane that does exactly what you want it to do, has awesome visibility and can outrun C172s on 50HP and costs about 1/6 the cost in fuel. Doing all that while handling like a miniature fighter instead of a school bus. Don't get me wrong-- C172s are one of my all time favorite factory built planes but.....there is no comparison at all in the way they handle compared to the CX4.

I thought about all you guys building a CX4 (and those soon to build the CX5) and thought I should just remind you of how wonderful it is going to be to takeoff in the plane you built and experience what I did today (and you will have WAY more HP than I did). It is truly something to look forward to. A flight to remember.

Dr. Glen Bradley
Pensacola FL
 

Sun.
2014/2/23

Greg (Allan) Pixley (Niceville, FL, USA; CX4 S/N 347; N347CX) recently completed his initial 40 hours and has begun over the past several weekends to expand his travels.

Check out his PIREP on the Pilot Reports page!

 

Sun.
2014/2/16

There has been an interesting thread on the Yahoo group regarding both the CX4 & CX5.
Glen Bradley posted this yesterday:


"I know some of you CX4 builders feel kind of left out lately because the CX5 is in the limelight right now. Well, I am here to tell you that BOTH airplanes are awesome. Don't feel the least bit left out. (incidentally, the Forums will cover BOTH aircraft).

I say this because----- I flew Dave's 4 today for 45 min. I hadn't flown it in a very long time and it was like putting on an old comfortable shoe. With almost 200 hours in it , I felt at home immediately, of course. Even better, it was FUN to fly...an awesome airplane. (and Dave's has only 50 HP).

Yes, the two planes are a little different in some ways- but clearly have the same genes. One sits somewhat more or less IN the CX4 and ON the CX5.... a higher seating position. Not radically different but noticeable if you are paying attention. The nose is low in cruise in the 4 and even more so in the 5....both FAR superior to nearly all planes I have flown. The 5 has absolutely the BEST visibility of any plane I have flown and the 4 is almost as good. Awesome on a blue sky CAVU day like today. Stunning.

If you even ask me which I like better I won't be able to answer that question. Not because I am holding anything back, but because they are both so good but slightly different. OF course, some guys need a two place so the question of which to build is answered automatically for them. Some guys DON't want a two place....they WANT to fly alone (and not have people asking for rides). It's a personal choice. Fortunately, it is a choice with NO bad options.

Your choice is AWESOME or AWESOME.

Glen Bradley"


Mark Waldron replied with the following:

"Glen,

As always, thanks for your posts. As the only guy with time in both airplanes, any further thoughts and comparisons of flying qualities would be very welcome. For instance, I'd be interested in your perceptions of roll rates (I'm guessing the CX5 might be a little slower in roll given the same input?), stability (static and dynamic), differences in techniques to manage airspeed/altitude on final approach, etc. Obviously, not a treatise or hard numbers, but any subjective opinions you've got at this stage.

Thanks again,
Mark W."


And Glen's response:

"Well, you are exactly right- the CX5 roll rate is a little slower as it is now (we are changing the aileron linkage to speed it up a bit) but it is mainly a matter of the aileron being a little heavier since it is so much bigger in surface area. It is not something that a new pilot would even notice but with a lot of hours in the 4 I noticed it. Don't misunderstand- compared to a Champ or Cub etc it is like power steering.

Speed management on both planes is essential on final because they tend to float. The 5, with just me in it and full fuel, floats more than the 4. Not sure how it will do with a heavy passenger but it floats a good bit now. So, just keep final approach speeds down and it will be fine. If not, you can always slip it down final or land a little hot. I try to land near stall- a taildragger habit-- but there is absolutely no problem putting it down 10-15 mph above stall and let the nose come over to plant the plane. The speed brake on the 5 does help but I tend to not use it simply because I don't need it and I slip to adjust for a high approach. I will be using it more so that I can report on how well it works.

Dave's 4 is only 50 HP and does fine so I can imagine what a larger engine would do. I'd love to fly one sometime. Therefore, I can't compare climb rates in any meaningful way. I will say that the 50HP CX4 vs. the 85HP CX5 comes out with the 5 climbing way faster....nearly double the rate with the climb prop it has on it now. We have ordered a cruise prop and should have it in two weeks, so then I can report on it. Now at 22in I get 3100 rpm in the 5 for a cruise of 115. The photo plane said I'm much faster than that. (my 90 indicated was their 97) I am expecting to indicate around 125 w the cruise prop....maybe more.

The nose position is lower in the 5 for a little better forward visibility but----both are so good that to say that might mislead one into thinking the 4s visibility is not nearly as good. IT IS SUPERB too.

I have driven a Miata and a Nissan Altima. The 4 is most like the Miata>> smaller , nimble, but with not much extra room. The 5 is like a Sports Sedan (Altima)...handled almost as well, a little bigger, and lots of extra room. Both are wonderful but different. I hate comparisons like that but maybe it will help. THEY ARE BOTH AWESOME FOR SURE. So I think it probably comes down to whether you want a two place plane or not and if you are going to do lots of cross country flying.
The fuel capacity in the 4 is 10.5 gal. ---- 20 useable in the 5. I think I can easily slow down a little from 75% and use only 4gph in the 5. Since Dave's 4 has only 50 hp it can't be compared to what most builders have in their 4s....but I can get it down to a little under 3 gph at very low cruise.

Both aircraft track well on landing and both need L rudder on takeoff. They are very similar in that regard. Of course, at over 250 pounds I have more room in the 5 but I never felt cramped in the 4 either.

Both look almost the same and people rave about how nice looking both airplanes are. Two superb winners. Your choice.

Glen Bradley

PS------- IF the 4 is a Miata and the 5 is a modern Sports Sedan....then a Cessna or Piper Cherokee are like an old Buick or Cadillac."
 

Tues.
2014/2/11
The next issue of Contact! magazine will feature the CX5!

 
Glen Bradley flying Dave's CX5

Pat Panzera just announced that the next issue of Contact! will have a feature article on the CX5.

Individual copies of the magazine can be ordered through the following link
(Scroll to the bottom of the page):

http://contactmagazine.com/backissu.html

Subscriptions are available through the following link
(This will be the first issue of the a new subscription if started immediately):

http://www.contactmagazine.com/subscrip.html

If you have any questions, contact Pat Panzera directly at editor@contactmagazine.com
 

Sun.
2014/2/9

Glen Bradley has officially flown off the CX5 initial 40 hours.

His latest in-flight videos with PIREP's can be viewed on the CX4 & CX5 Prototype Updates page.
 

Tues.
2014/1/28
Greg Westbury (Westberry Manufacturing LLC) just announced that a matched hole
CX4 Wing Kit is now available!

Available with or without pre-assembled spars, simply deburr the holes, sand the edges smooth and you're ready to rivet. Either version comes complete with all parts and hardware, and can be upgraded to include flush rivets.

Pricing information is available on the Plans, Parts and Engines page!

Contact Greg at flybgair@visioncomm.org or call 423.667.9708 for additional information or to place your order today!
 

Fri.
2014/1/24
Dave Thatcher and Glen Bradley will showcase the CX5 and Greg Westbury
 
(Westberry Manufacturing LLC) will have examples of his CX spars,
wing kits and tail kit in booth N57/N66 at Sun n' Fun this year.
 
Tuesday April 1 - Sunday April 6, 2014  (See maps below).

Dave and Glen will also be hosting a forum on two days during the convention:
"
Building and Flying the CX5 LSA 2 Place" (and the CX4 too, of course)
• Wed. April 2, 11AM, Room 11
• Fri April 4, 9AM,  Room 11

For those flying in this year, click here for the 2014 Sun 'n Fun NOTAM

Click here for a printable PDF of the maps below.

Glen Bradley flying Dave's CX5


Glen Bradley flying Dave's CX5
 

Wed.
2014/1/15

Earnest Martin (N414CX, #173) sent us this update on his CX4.

"I've attached a photo of my plane. It is almost finished and I hope to fly it in the spring.

It has a ULPower 260I engine. I added some structure to allow for more HP so my empty weight is 633 pounds. It has a 10" Dynon Skyview system with a Mode S transponder, GPS, EMS, ADS-B in, and will have ADS-b out when the GPS gets certified. I have 18 gallons of fuel in wing tanks similar to RV6 tanks. The only controls in the cockpit are control stick, throttle, and trim.

This was my first exposure to sheet metal and it didn't turn out nearly as nice as my Quickie. I learned a lot - of course and could do a better job if I built another. The only award it will ever get, is for most money spent! Almost all my flying is cross country, and I plan to fly a lot, so I equipped it for that purpose. The only way to ever recoup my money is to fly it forever, but that should be fun..."

Earnest Martin
Arden, NC, USA


 

Tues.
2014/1/14

At first glance, you'd think that Glen Bradley had really expanded his CX5 flight envelope...

Yes, that's Mt Rainier in the state of Washington (USA). An active contributor to the Yahoo CX4 group, Shawn Duffee of Renton, WA, USA performed a little Photoshop magic and put Glen and the CX5 above the mountain (at an estimated 20,000 ft.). OK, It's a stretch, but it sure resulted in a beautiful photo. Nice job Shawn!  


It appears as though Shawn has started a new thread. Another Yahoo CX4 group contributor, Robert Kent, also of Washington state, has Glen practicing "Valley Flying" around Mt. Rainier. Robert added that the altimeter reading of 2,700 ft is none too high in these mountains. 


Glen asked for a photo of himself and the CX5 over Monument Valley (Utah, USA). Shawn didn't waste anytime...  Another beautiful photo! 


Someone else was wondering how the Chicago (IL, USA) skyline would look from the CX5. Robert Kent has answered that question for us all!


 

Editor Note:
Thanks to Shawn & Robert for sharing the photo edits! As we wait for Glen to fly off the 40 hours and for Dave to finalize and release the plans, the ingenuity of pending builders is not a surprise as they envision flying the CX5 in their local terrain...

 

Sun.
2014/1/12

As he continues to build time on the CX5, Glen Bradley has made two more videos available:

"Again, I was half way to Alabama as the day began to get light. I was there by daylight and ready to go.

The weather guys had said it would be a nice day but they underestimated it. It was GORGEOUS - we get only a handful of days this nice per year. Silky smooth cool air (engines and wings like cool air) and visibility to die for. Awesome!!

I took off and at 3000 feet could see Pensacola and beyond to Ft. Walton (70 miles) in one direction and half way to New Orleans in the other. I could see the gentle curve of the Gulf as it nears New Orleans. The Gulf had not a single ripple. Wow. And it was so smooth I kept hitting my own wake when I flew big circles. I tried holding the Sony Cam in my hands for some short videos and it worked well. It does distort the wings - they ARE straight on the leading edge, I promise. And they look a bit more slender in the video than in real life.

Dave and I know the prop is way too fine and are going to order a new one soon. Full power at level flight puts me past the engine redline before I can even get all the power in, long before the plane has time to even accelerate so.....it is WAY too fine. At cruise power (21 inches) I get 110 mph but am turning too many RPM so we expect a LOT faster cruise speeds with the new prop. We are consulting with a propulsion engineer recommended by Joe at Revmaster to see what he says about the prop and , of course, we have a pretty good idea from what performance we are getting with this prop. It is a Tennessee prop 54/46. The new prop will have much bigger numbers."


Low Cruise Power
"Power is at low cruise at about 3000 feet. This is a very low cruise that, if my figures are right, means I was running about 18 inches of manifold pressure. That is LOW power for sure."


 


Low Cruise Power & Climb
"You will notice I am at cruise power, actually a somewhat low cruise setting, and climbing at about 500 fpm up to about 3000 feet. Airspeed varies from about 90-95. I see no need to push the engine at all (fuel too) to get the 40 hours and since I am not going anywhere, I just kind of "slow cruise" around. Why not. I am using about 3 gph at this low setting."


 

Sat.
2014/1/11
While Glen Bradley is working to get us more in-flight video's, he just posted this still photo taken from the CX5 over the Gulf Coast:


 

Wed.
2014/1/8

The Pensacola News Journal (Pensacola, Florida USA) published another great CX5 story, written again by Kimberly Blair with photos by Ben Twingley, in their Tuesday, January 7, 2014 edition:


Pensacola aircraft designer's experimental plane soars
Dave Thatcher's two-seater aces first round of flight tests

Experimental aircraft test pilot Glen Bradley is prohibited from taking passengers along for a ride during the test flights of the two-seater Thatcher CX5. But he’s giving them a taste of what it was like to have the wind beneath the wings of the two-seater experimental plane in a video posted on YouTube on New Year’s Day.
 



Ride along on test flight: Glen Bradley takes viewers on a test flight of the two-seater Thatcher CX5.

The video is of the first test flight of the aircraft on Dec. 23 at Jack Edwards Airport in Gulf Shores, Ala., one of the few airports in the area at which an experimental plane can be tested. Bradley took it on an abbreviated flight on Dec. 17, but had to quickly return to the runway when a gauge displayed a faulty reading. But as soon as weather permitted, he launched from the tarmac for a flight free of anxiety from a pilot’s perspective.

“The goal of a first flight is for it to be uneventful,” Bradley said. “This one was. It was perfect. The aircraft performed exactly like we expected it to.”

Named after its well-known designer and builder, Dave Thatcher of Pensacola, the CX5 is the brother of Thatcher’s first experimental plane, the CX4, a one-seater he designed on a McDonald’s napkin in 2003. He designed the 5 model amid public demand for a two-seater and spent the past two years building it with Bradley. A story about Thatcher and his new plane design was featured in the Nov. 6 Pensacola News Journal.  Both of his planes are like sports cars with wings that are propelled by modified Volkswagen engines but designed to be stylish, safe and affordable for amateur pilots.

At 81, Thatcher’s test flying days are behind him. So he wistfully watched the test flight in December from the tarmac at Jack Edwards. “It felt wonderful,” he said of watching the aircraft fly flawlessly. “It’s was a long time coming, so I was very pleased it flew as well as it did.”

Although, he was at Jack Edwards Airport on Thursday ironing one small issue. “The oil temperature got up pretty high, and I’m making a minor modification to a lower area of cowling to let more air out (of the engine),” he said. Such minor adjustments are to be expected, he said.

Demand growing
As soon as Bradley logs the 40 required test-flight hours, Thatcher will be the plane’s first passenger.“ It has dual controls so I’ll fly it if Glen lets me fly,” Thatcher said with a laugh. “He loves that plane so much; he might not let me fly it.”

Since first taking the controls, Bradley has been logging reports for the experimental aircraft community, which the EAA industry online magazine says has been eagerly awaiting news on the details of the flight. “We were hoping it would (gain) 1,000 feet a minute, and it did,” Bradley said of the rate of speed with which the plane gained altitude.

While he described the plane flying very much like its brother, the CX4, Bradley said there’s no comparison to the CX4 when it comes to visibility. “The canopy in the 5 is more rounded and higher,” he said. “The 4 has great visibility but this has even greater visibility ... with the fact the wing is about a foot or so further back.”

Bradley intends to take the plane through vigorous testing over the next few weeks, clocking about three hours of flight time a day. He’ll coax it into routine stalls and recoveries and takeoffs under different weather conditions, noting the details for a pilot’s handbook he’s compiling on the plane.

Meanwhile, Thatcher is polishing off the plane’s plans for a growing number of pilots who are waiting to purchase a set for $475. He sold 574 plans for the CX4. The 5’s plans will be available after Bradley completes testing the plane, which he expects to be sometime in mid-February, weather permitting.

Once he’s completed the test flights, the Thatcher CX5 will return to Pensacola International Airport, where the plane was built in a private hangar. “And I can take people up for flights,” Bradley said. “I already have way too many people to give flights to than I can give. Everybody wants a flight.”
 

This was printed in a sidebar to the article:

Two experimental aircrafts, the CX5, foreground, and CX4, were designed and built by Pensacola resident and airplane mechanic David Thatcher. More than 500 copies of his first aircraft design the CX4 have been sold to builders all over the world. Both planes utilize a Volkswagen engine and can be run on premium automotive fuel.
Ben Twingley/btwingley@pnj.com
 

Sun.
2014/1/5

Glen Bradley continues to build hours in the CX5. He went up again today - twice. Here's his latest PIREP:

"It is 3 PM...just got home. I was half way to Alabama when the sun came up this morning.  Got the 5 out and ran it to determine which way the idle mixture was off.  It wasn't running smooth enough at idle. Using what Dave taught me it was simple to find it was running lean.  So...off came the cowl and a gentle Little turn of the idle mixture screw, less than a 1/16th turn.  Cranked her back up... better but not enough.  Another couple of small adjustments, less than 1/16 turn and she ran much better.

Cowl on, wash hands, hit the bathroom, check the weather and FLY.  A bit gusty but not too bad and pretty much down the runway.  Ceiling maybe 2000 .  Nobody flying yet... hasn't been all morning...g ood time to go.  Strapped in, checked everything and ready to taxi out. Doesn't take but about 4 minutes... and found I was number three in line to take off. ha  Amazing. 

I flew for over an hour and a half....around the airport.  I checked all kinds of stuff but mostly just relaxed and watched the view... and the instruments... and the other airplanes landing and departing.  Cyl Hd, oil temp, and EGT all settled down after about 5 min.  I then flew at reduced power settings for a while to see what airspeed I would get....and lost amazingly little airspeed. 

All the time watching the students below taking off and learning to fly.  I keep my eyes OPEN around airports.  Beach, condos, water, ships, birds on the airport, cars, inter-coastal waterway, golf course, a few steep turns, dodge the cloud layers coming in off the Gulf.  Notice the updrafts and bumps when under the layers coming in... reminded me of my glider flying days.  

Announce descending and entering downwind.  Came in high on purpose, this thing floats and floats but...lands at 45 if you wait long enough.

Taxi in,  Check plane over, fill w fuel, take a break and eat some airport food - not very healthy but right on the field and only a short walk down the ramp...and free. Nice people here at Jack Edwards.   Talk to the instructors that are thinking about letting some new solos go up.  Weather improved a lot.  Still at 2k though, but some blue sky every now and then now.

Take back off, same things, a little tired now after almost two hours aloft.  Beach, condos, water... uhhhhhh CESSNA 150 descending out of the sun... VERY close and closing on a 45-60  degree collision course... this requires IMMEDIATE action.  I pull right into a tight climbing turn thankful for the 5s control responsiveness.  They whiz past under me somewhere... I turned WAY too sharp for it to be a problem but thank God I saw them coming when I did. About 5 more seconds and we would have been VERY close, maybe would have missed by 50 feet but... I come around and see then on their same course... no changes.  I call them on Unicom and ask if they saw me...they SAID "yes, you were averting." No kidding!!!!!!!  I would not want MY pants on fire in a C150....ha.  THAT is why I keep my eyes open and scan. They were 800 feet above pattern entry altitude and cutting across midfield descending to a downwind on the other side of the field.  They may have seen me AFTER I averted a few seconds away. I'm sure the big white bottom on the 5 looked huge to them as they looked up, astonished.  

This was a flight WITH an instructor I think.  

Reminded me of the time decades ago when I was AT pattern altitude on downwind in my Tcraft when a strange vibration/humming sound began.  All instruments looked normal and no engine vibration then the sun went away.  I look up about 20 feet to see the oil streaked belly of a Mooney descending on top of me.  He slid past rapidly. Fortunately he was as fast as he was or neither of us would have known what happened. AGAIN>..he was breaking the rules...just like the C150.  Most of the rules have good reasons behind them.

Anyway, I am tired.  Supposed to get VERY cold here...in the low 20s and very windy...25 plus knots the next few days so that is why I tried so hard to get some hours on the 5 today. It's a tough job but somebody's gotta do it......"

smiling
Glen Bradley
 

Wed.
2014/1/1

Glen Bradley had added a Sony Action Cam in the CX5 for Mondays flight, and following a great edit of the video by his son, just posted it on YouTube. This is his first in-flight video in the CX5, and we're certain he will be posting more as he works to fly-off the initial forty hours.

"This flight was about 30 min but mostly flying around the airport, so my wonderful son edited it down to 7 min. I am flying over Gulf Shores AL, a nice community about an hours drive from Pensacola. Phase I test flights are not allowed in Class C airspace so I will fly the 40 hours off there.

The canopy was covered with fog for the first bit of the video but it cleared. As soon as I take off I fly off on an angle to the runway so as to make it easy to lose altitude on the remaining runway (two turns are required and each one loses altitude). Then as I near 800 feet or so I am in a great position to make a 180 back in the opposite direction to land without the extra turn to line up with the runway. I try to stack the cards in my favor on test flights.

I level off at 1000 feet and get up to cruise speed but was also climbing a little so I just let the altitude creep up to almost 2000. The airspeed indicator is one that straight down indicates about 122 mph so I was not far from that at cruise with the Climb prop.

I lifted off in about 750 feet (displaced threshold is 500) and came in high and hot on purpose even though the plane felt totally solid- it felt a lot like the CX4 but a little heavier on the ailerons. I slipped most of the way down final (notice nose is offset to the right) and still had way too much speed so I floated a long way past the video crew. My actual touchdown point is hard to discern from the video because it was so smooth (smiling) but it was WAY down the runway and well below 50 mph.

The 5 is very stable on the ground and in the air. I had to taxi in on a service road instead of a taxiway so it was very narrow. Notice that even with almost no time in the plane it taxied so well I navigated the narrow road easily and with a good speed. I was smiling and quite happy all the way home...and beyond.

Now that my son has learned how to edit the video footage I will be uploading others of things like steep turns, stalls, etc. I hope you enjoy the video."
 

Editor Note:

Glen, The video of the flight turned out great. With it, you're sharing the excitement of these initial flights with potential builders all over the world. On behalf of everyone that will be watching, Thanks for your efforts! 

Kudos to your son for his edit. He did a beautiful job!
 

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