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Great Gonzo

May 02, 2015

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Airfield Models ( Gonzo Flight Videos

In December 2002 I enlisted Mike Phillips to pilot Great Gonzo so I could shoot some flight video.  As much as I try to describe the flight qualities of this aircraft, there is nothing like seeing it for yourself.

I learned that I have a lot to learn about using a video camera so this is not the best cinematography you will ever see.  I hope it is not the worst either, but I am sure it is close.

Recommended clips show Great Gonzo at her best.

Great Gonzo Video Clip - Flying in the wind
(837 KB)
Great Gonzo flying around in a slight, buffeting wind.  The engine noise you hear at the beginning of the clip is not coming from Great Gonzo.  Listen towards the end of the clip and you can hear how quiet the O.S. .15 CV-A engine is.  The aircraft is flying at approximately 1/4 throttle for the duration of this clip.
Great Gonzo Video Clip - Slow Fly-By's
(685 KB)
Great Gonzo on 1/4 throttle fly-by's.  Convincing Mike that Great Gonzo can fly slowly did not turn out to be as easy as expected.  At the speed the aircraft is flying here, she just wasn't going to lose altitude.
Great Gonzo Video Clip - Small Field Flying
(1.3 MB)

* Recommended *

Great Gonzo has excellent small field potential.  Her slow flight capability coupled with her ability to make tight turns without losing altitude allow her to be easily and enjoyably flown in a confined space.

Great Gonzo Video Clip - Fly-By's
(1.7 MB)
No really, Mike... she'll fly a lot slower than that.  Seriously... just pull back the throttle some more...  umm.... you are not listening to me are you?

These are Mike's first attempts at landing Great Gonzo.  He's beginning to understand that she can stay airborne at a very low airspeed and the most difficult part of flying this aircraft is getting the engine idling low enough for her to come down.  In the first fly-by, the engine is at a high idle and the aircraft is gaining altitude.

Great Gonzo Video Clip - Fast Landing
(878 KB)

* Recommended *

Mike does a great job landing Great Gonzo.  This is a fast landing for this model and I am still not sure how he managed to get her down at the speed she was flying.

When I designed this model I did not expect she would do much more than taxi in a fairly straight line.  I had no reason to believe a V-Tail model couldn't taxi, but I didn't think it would work that well either.  The model also has a tail-skid which doesn't help much, but she still does a fair job.

Great Gonzo Video Clip - 1/4 Throttle Take-Off followed by Full-Throttle Climb-Out

(673 KB)

* Recommended *

1/4 throttle take off followed by full-throttle climb-out.  The 1/4 throttle take off is just to prove that she can do it.  A normal full throttle take-off has her airborne in about 5 feet - less on a hard surface.

Someone told me once that using an engine like the CV-A is wasted on an aircraft like this.  I entirely disagree.

I feel it is the perfect engine because the aircraft can climb to altitude quickly and throttle back to idle and putt around.  The fuel tank is approximately three ounces and I have had flights of almost an hour using this engine.

Great Gonzo Video Clip - Slow Fly-By followed by Slow Landing

(1.6 MB)

* Recommended *

A slow fly-by followed by a slow landing.  This one is my personal favorite. Build a Great Gonzo.  You know you want to.  All your friends are doing it.  Don't you want to be cool like they are?



Great Gonzo Photo Gallery

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Copyright 200 Paul K. Johnson