Caravelle SE-210 – June 2020 – First flight

After working on the project in the morning, and having a nice barbecue with family in the afternoon, I decided to take the Caravelle for a little trip in the evening.

Although she is not nearly finished, by a long run, most of the basics are present to make a flight from A to B. or in my case, from Lelystad in the Netherlands to Bergerac in France.

For flightplanning I use Skyvector and the performance tables from the Aircraft handbook. I plan on departing at maximum capacity so I choose FL330, cruise numbers that roll out of the table are: TAS 403, IAS 245, Fuel flow 2600kg/h

Skyvector takes into account the winds aloft and gave me a trip fuel figure of 4400kg. This number goes into my excel load-sheet and spits out the payload weight, CG and fuel per tank to set in X-plane.

On the ramp I connect the batteries, the bus-tie bar and the external power unit. The real electrical system is far more complicated than x-plane is capable of handing, but within it’s boundaries I’ve a workable setup now.

I call for the pushback truck and start the engines on the ramp. Although you can start off the batteries, it’s always better to use the external cart. Because I haven’t built the start panel yet, I can choose to start with CTRL-SHFT-E or use the dataref-addon to start the engines.

After the push it’s a few minutes taxi-time to runway 05. The flaps are set to 20 for taxiing to save the engines from any FOD intake. Whilst keeping the aircraft on track with the nose-wheel steering, I glance in the checklist to see today’s take-off figures.

At 45 tonnes, the time for 90kts is 23 seconds, V1 120 and V2 is 127. On the backside I find the trim at 5 units for a MAC of 30%

The wind is 8 knots from the east, and the weather is fair so we can do a noice-reduction take-off.

Flaps are set to 10, trim is set, 8150 RPM and stabilised, “Rolling!”. Simultaneously with releasing the brakes, I start the timer. Below 70 knots the rudder is not effective enough to steer so small corrections on the tiller may be required, be careful though not to overseer.

“Time” at 23 seconds in the run I check the airspeed. It’s 85 knots. close enough to 90 to continue the take-off.

“V1”.. “V2″… I gently pull the nose up and set 15 degrees pitch up. tap the brakes for two seconds and select the gear up.

When the brakes are retracted the call “Flaps up, seventy four hundred”. This is a reduced power setting to reduce the noise footprint of the aircraft somewhat. but at the cost of time and fuel.

At 150 knots I climb to 2000 ft where the throttles go up to 7700 RPM climb power and the pitch is lowered to accelerate. The optimum speed is 265, but I stay below 250 due to local restrictions.

During the climb I am treated with the gorgeous ortho-scenery of the lowlands.

Because the overhead panel with all the radio’s is not built yet, I have to tune the radio’s for navigation using the x-plane moving map. Even with just two RMI’s, with ADF and VOR information, (No DME, or ILS yet). It is possible to navigate and find my way to France. Sadly this is not allowed anymore, nowadays navigation is only meant to find the places where you cannot fly, not your destination. But in the sim it’s can be 1960 again if you like.

The thrust levers need small adjustments every now and then to maintain our IAS of 245 knots, the fuel flow is close to the predicted 1300kg/h per engine.

There is even time for a quick visit to our first class cabin.

Finding an exact point of descent is pretty difficult without a DME, but about halfway between Amboise and Limognes I reduce the throttles to 6000 RPM and lower the nose about 4 degrees to start the descent. I was planning on flying the NDB approach, but when I saw the field i opted for a visual approach instead.

On final the Caravelle is pretty hard to fly, it requires hundreds of tiny control inputs on all three axis. this laminar flow airfoil is clearly not designed for flying low and slow.

On the ramp I’ve used 4700 kg instead of the predicted 4400. It’s 7% more than planned; partly caused by the extra visual circuit that I flew. But I must say, pretty close!

I hope you enjoyed the series, let me know in the comments if so!

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