Maiden flights are nerve-wrecking. Always. We usually do them in aerotow, which is the safest option (during the tow it’s unlikely that something will happen and after release you have enough height (time) to correct something that’s wrong). As I did not put a towhook into the Ventus, the next-best option is to launch it using our bungee.
Before the maiden flight we always get a colleague to double check programming and settings – which more often than not finds a smaller or even bigger “issue”. The Ventus decided to “release” the propeller and spinner during the standard “full throttle test” – even though I checked and tightened it while preparing the plane in the morning. No other issues turned up during the check, so after reaffixing the prop and passing the “full throttle test” it was time to launch it.
The moment of truth is right after the plane releases from the bungee. This is when all the hours of work either turn into a success or – when you’re very unlucky – catastrophic failure. The Ventus was a great success. It flew off like it already had dozens of launches behind it. No trim needed, just perfect. Even better was that after a short burst of motor to get to 100m above ground (where usually the thermals on our airfield start) it flew straight into a thermal and started rapidly gaining altitude. My flying buddies, impressed with the launch, half-jokingly told me how cool it would be to have a one-hour first flight.
Their “prediction” was way off. After a full two-hour first flight, with a grand total of 25 seconds motor time, the pilot’s batteries were empty. I also wanted to make a number of minor changes in the programming (reduce elevator throw and add a bit of down elevator with the throttle) and check these in a second flight. The second flight also lasted a full hour and was ended only by my need to head back home.
The Ventus 2c is a really nice all-rounder. The handling very much feels like the JS3 – although of course not quite at the same level. The weight of 4.66kg is also just right. A floater, easy to hand-start and perfect for those light winter, spring and autums conditions.