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ABSTRACT:     Article about the 1961 test flight of the Franklin 90hp powered Gilbert/Parker Knight Twister N99G aka 'Tiny Tiger'
Knight Twister - First Flight
Gilbert/Parker Franklin-Powered Knight Twister 'Tiny Tiger'
(From Experimenter, 07/1993, Page 21)
By Bob Gilbert EAA 4900

This article was reposted at and from the July 1993 Experimenter. Knight Twister N99G by Bob Gilbert (1967). (EAA lists the same article in the July 1993 edition... may be a follow-up, clarification, or editorial?) The following text was taken from the website above.

First Flight

An excerpt from an article written for the July 1993 Experimenter.

May, 1964. I had "lost the toss" and got to make the first flight. We had hoped to keep it low key but with so many support people involved, it proved impossible. Channel 12 News showed up. Volunteer firemen in hooded aluminum foil suits, a chopper with an external litter and on-board cameraman and my partner and a friend in a Swift rounded out the support group. In addition, a number of fellow workers with their wives and kids showed up. It was like a circus!

The FAA representative finished his final inspection, handed me the freshly typed airworthiness certificate and settled back to watch the fun. Everyone else stood back with morose looks on their faces as if watching someone in the last moments of a terminal illness.

My mouth was so dry as I taxied out that I couldn't have spit if my life depended on it. The 90 hp Franklin bellowed through the short stacks and I was on my way. After leaving the ground at around 100 mph, a shallow climb was initiated. Control pressures were light and sensitive as expected. A gentle left turn allowed me to locate the Swift and the chopper as we headed for the practice area.

At altitude some turns, coordination rolls and wing overs were performed to assess control pressures with speed bleed off. Next came landing attitude stalls. A quick check of the chute harness and a glance at the chase plane and away we went. The last figure I saw on the rapidly unwinding airspeed indicator was 85 knots....then the airplane pitched down so violently that I was thrown against the straps, fuel squirted out of the vent in the gas cap and I found myself looking at the ground over the top wing. This was coupled with a violent roll to the left. Full throttle and a rapid (3.5g) recovery was made with a loss of 800 feet. I was sure I had missed something so I climbed back to altitude and did it again. Same results! It was obvious that the approach and landing would prove to be a very educational experience.

As descent and pattern entry were in progress, the rescue chopper was spotted hovering near the approach end of the runway. The Swift was just behind and to the left. Initial approach speed was 100 mph, but it soon looked as if I might overshoot. The nose was lowered and power reduced. The six foot propeller acted as a drag chute and I lost 200 feet before I could get the throttle open. Not wanting to experiment further, I settled on 115 mph for final and wheeled it on at 95 mph. After a long rollout I taxied back and dismounted. Everyone just shook their heads.

Subsequent flights confirmed that the stall came at around 90 mph. The vicious rolling pitch down was a permanent part of the airplanes personality. The spin tests, six turns in each direction, showed the spins to be fast and that the nose would begin to come up a little after the fourth turn. Recoveries were positive and took a full turn to a turn and a half after the control inputs.

Even with its built in "attitude" the little Twister was a dream to fly; a real thoroughbred. We did Cuban eights, snap rolls, aileron rolls and barrel rolls with it and cut a lot of toilet paper with the inter-plane struts. Once it earned your respect it was thoroughly predictable and a delight to fly.

If you have any additions or corrections to this item, please let us know.

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