This weekend was beautiful in East Tennessee, with temperatures that felt more like a September afternoon than the dog days of summer. I took time out to fly my P-51 and shoot some video. Actually, a friend shot the video, and he was bold enough to get take-off and landing footage from the ends of the runway. I assembled a 3-minute video and set it to music. It’s hardly professional caliber seeing as how we had no tripod and I had to lower the resolution to reduce the download size, but it’s fun nonetheless. The download’s 11 MB, so if you have a high-speed connection, it shouldn’t be a problem. Note the sheer power the plane exudes as it screams down the runway in the head-on shot!
The plane performed extremely well this weekend save for one little glitch that resulted in a wheels-up belly landing in the grass. On that flight, I couldn’t get the landing gear down. I flew circles for a couple of minutes flipping the gear switch up and down, to no avail. I even tried diving the plane and pulling up abruptly–a trick that will often dislodge gear that are stuck in the wheel wells. Turned out the nut that holds the retract air valve in place had vibrated off, so activating the servo that actuates that valve moved the whole valve rather than just the valve piston. I replaced the nut, applied a liberal amount of lock-tite to keep it from vibrating off again, and enjoyed three more flawless flights before calling it a day.