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Blake W. Thomas ~ Nieuport 28 {Full scale} and Flight Report


Pilot Report Nieuport 28
(meets LSA criteria)

Kit:  Airdrome Aeroplanes, Holden MO - Robert Baslee, Owner

Engine: Rotec R2800 7-cylinder radial, 110 HP

Equipment List:

Radios – Micro Air M760 Transceiver, T2000 S FL Transponder w/mode C

Navigation GPS – Garmin 396/XM Sat Radar

Elevator Trim

Steerable Tail Wheel – MATCO

Hydraulic Disc Heel Brakes – MATCO

Taxi, Landing Light

Position/Strobe Lights – Kuntzleman Electronics, Inc.

Propeller – Culver 47X79 (Cruise)

Carb Heat

Cabin Heat

Fuel Tanks – Fuselage 20 GAL/upper wing 10 GAL

Total: 30 GAL (Approx 4 hrs/15 min duration)

Oil Cooler (Heavy Duty)

Halon Fire Extinguisher


Smoke System

Test Profile:

1.                              Engine starts/operations/shut down.

2.                              Taxi aircraft with/without brakes

3.                              High speed taxi

4.                              Takeoff, climb, cruise, turns, descent and landing

5.                              Stalls, power on/off

6.                              Lazy 8, Chandelle, combat maneuvers, upset and unusual attitudes

7.                              Max performance takeoff/shortfield landing

8.                              Emergencies – engine failure/malfunction, electrical failure,
propeller failure, trim failure, failure

Background:  We started the Nieuport 28 on 16 March 2008 in Holden, MO.  The DAR signed off the aircraft 15 December 2008 with a test area of 25 SM radius of either Robert’s airport in Holden, MO, or Covey Trails airport in Fulshear, TX.  The Phase One Test was 40 hours due to an experimental prop and engine. 

I asked for two test areas in case the weather was too poor to test an open cockpit airplane in MO in the winter.  It was, so I decided to ship the aircraft to Fulshear, TX, arriving 1 February 2009.  It took one day to put the aircraft together after shipping, one day to do ground testing and then the first flight test was 3 Feb.

Ground Handling Test:  This was accomplished on a 3300 foot long, 150 foot wide grass runway.  No wind.  Without brakes no problems were noted.  It took 80 – 100 feet width to make a 180 degree turn with rudder and steerable tail wheel by running the power up opposite aileron input to turn the other direction (right aileron for left turn). The surface winds increased and this made the taxiing more difficult without brakes because the aircraft would weather vane into the wind. With brakes the handling improved, 180 degree turn took 30-40 feet width.  The brakes work well for ground operation on modern runways.  I believe brakes are a must if you are going to operate on a modern runway or in semi windy conditions.  You still have to plan your turns as the airplane cannot make an instant 180 degree turn even with brakes.  I only use the brakes for taxiing, not takeoff or landings.

Flight Test: 

Takeoff:  The Rotec R2800 engine worked well.  On the initial takeoff, I allowed the aircraft to accelerate to 60 MPH and rotated at 800 feet down the runway.  Climb speed was 55-60 MPH with 600-800 FPM climb.  Rudder and ailerons were very responsive.  When the winds became gusty, it was better to climb at 65-70 MPH at 400-600 FPM as the controls were more responsive to counter the wind gusts at low altitude.  The strongest winds I’ve flown in were down the runway at 16 gusting to 33 KTS.  I would not recommend flying in these conditions, it was absolutely miserable with turbulent 2 G forces in the bumps.   And, without brakes it would have been impossible to taxi safely.    So far, the maximum X-wind takeoff is 10-12 MPH.  I believe any more than that and you will run out of rudder.  I do not use brakes on takeoff for directional control.

Climbs:  Climbs were accomplished at many speeds.  The best seemed to be 55-60 MPH.  Any faster or slower would substantially cut climb rate. Elevator trim worked well. 

Max Altitude:  Max altitude so far is 10,000 feet which I reached in 30 min.  I recommend you take oxygen above 10,000 feet.  Indicated speed at 10,000 feet was 57-62 MPH.  Take a jacket/long underwear—it is cold up there even with a heater in the aircraft.

Turns:  Turns were responsive with coordinated ailerons and rudder inputs.  This is the most difficult input to make because the ailerons feel normal, but the rudder drifts on you in a turn and becomes more difficult to control the more rapid your aileron input is (keep the ball centered).  The rudder wants to skid or slip on you so you have to dance on the rudder in your turns.

Cruise Speeds:   Cruise Speeds with 3100 RPM Max is 87-90 MPH, 3000RPM is 85-87 MPH, 2800RPM is 80-82 MPH, 2700 RM is 70-75 MPH, 2600 RPM is 60-65 MPH.   The elevator trim is a must.  It allows you not to have to hold stick pressure in cruise flight.  It also allows you to let go of the stick to accomplish other things in the cockpit.  It is a poor man’s autopilot.  Also works good in climbs and descents.

Descent:  Descents are normal reduced RPM and adjust elevator trim to maintain 80-85 MPH, if it gets bumpy, 70-75 MPH works better.  The faster you want to descend, just pull more power and the faster you come down.  Again, elevator trim is wonderful.

Landings:  Landings are really nice when wheel landed.  I used my visual takeoff attitude as a reference for my landings.  A full stall, 3-point landing is difficult because you cannot see out in front of you.  Recommend only wheel landings with a normal final approach of 60-65 MPH or if winds are gusty, 65-70 MPH.  Touch down speeds vary 48-52 MPH.  Roll out distances vary between 800 to 1700 Ft.  On roll out after landing, when I am slowed to a taxi speed I use brakes if required for taxiing.

Stalls:  Stalls just like a Champ/Cub.  Straight forward and does not fall off on a wing as long as your rudder inputs are good and smooth; power on or off.  Stall speed power on is 38 MPH and power off is 42 MPH.  To recover out of a power on stall, just release a little back pressure.  To recover from a power off stall, just add power and the additional airflow over the tail allows the aircraft to recover almost instantly.

Lazy 8s, Chandelles, Combat Maneuvers & Upset and Unusual Attitudes:  The challenge in any of these maneuvers is to make the proper rudder input for the roll rate you want while at the speed you are going, which is always changing.  I am glad I have a slip indicator in the aircraft as it does help in building good habit patterns for proper rudder use.  This is a stick and rudder airplane.  It is not difficult to fly but, you have to be flying it all the time.

Maximum Performance Takeoffs/Shortfield Landings:  Max performance takeoffs, depending on temperature and winds, run 650 – 900 feet.  I have a cruise propeller so it does not jump of the ground.  Short field landing rolls vary also with temperature and winds, but run 800 – 1000 feet.  I believe with no X-wind, and a three point landing you could land in 600 feet (if you had to).  This is just a guess on my part as I’m not planning on landing in that short of a distance.

Emergencies:  Nothing unusual about these airplanes.  They have simple systems.  Do no panic and remember speed is life, do not stall the airplane.  Fly it all the way to the ground. 

Summary:  My first flight was 3 FEB 2009 and I completed my 40 hours on 14 APR 2009.

Total build hours for me was over 1000 hours because of what I added.

Things I added to my kit that were extra:

Carb Heat

Cabin Heat

Lighting System for Night Flight


GPS Navigation System

2 ¼” Instruments   Aircraft/Engine

Heel Hydraulic Disc Wheel Brakes

Heavy Duty Wheels

Aircraft Step

Steerable Tail Wheel

Elevator Trim

Culver Propeller

Rotec R2800 Engine, Engine Instrument Kit and Oil Scavenge Kit

Oil Cooler (Heavy Duty, Warm Operations)

Emergency fuel shut off handle

Motorcycle Tires and Tubes

Halon Fire Extinguisher

ELT (Not Required)

Smoke System

I think Airdrome Aeroplanes kits are excellent and the support is outstanding.  They always came up with a “simply elegant solution” to any problem I had.  Robert Baslee sells a kit that is easy to build into an airplane that meets the LSA criteria.  He has blended modern technology into historical replicas that have the reliability of a modern aircraft at a reasonable price.

Blake W. Thomas

The Nieuport 28 (N.28C-1) was a French biplane fighter aircraft flown during World War I, built by Nieuport and designed by Gustave Delage. It was the first fighter airplane flown in combat by pilots of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) in WWI. Its second armed patrol with an AEF unit on April 14, 1918, resulted in two victories when Lts. Alan Winslow and Douglas Campbell (the first American-trained ace) of the 94th Aero Squadron each downed an enemy aircraft. Although the Nieuport 28 was considered obsolete at the time, American pilots maintained a favorable ratio of victories to losses with it. The Nieuport was more maneuverable than the sturdier SPAD XII that replaced it, but it had a reputation for fragility and a tendency to shed its upper wing fabric in a dive. Even so, many WWI American pilots such as Quentin Roosevelt, the son of US president Theodore Roosevelt, as well as American aces like the 26-victory ace, Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker, flew the French-built Nieuport at one time or another in their careers.
The kit you get from Airdrome Aeroplanes is complete in every way up to your final color coat. The kit and the excellent builder support you will receive from Airdrome Aeroplanes will get you in the air in a fraction of the time needed to build other WW-1 replica aircraft. No hunting for parts or waiting for shipments. Airdrome Aeroplane's kits have it all!! All nuts, bolts, rivets, gusset plates, machined plugs, tubing and any other hardware are included in the kits. You can get much more information about this kit... just give us a call.


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