I finally got the RV-8 airborne again today. It's been ready to fly for almost a week, but every time the weather was suitable, I had to work, and the weather was terrible when I wasn't working. I was supposed to have a simulator session today, but the sim schedule got all scrambled, and that session couldn't happen. The weather forecast was not too bad, so I took a day of comp time.

I zipped out to the airport first thing this morning, only to find a fair bit of snow between the hangar and the taxiway. Fortunately, Ron, the hangar owner, has a snow blower in the hangar, so it only took about 20 minutes to get things cleared off.

I did another short engine run, then gassed up and flew for just over an hour, running at high power for the cylinder break-in. The engine appears to be working well.

I also did a bunch of autopilot testing, as this was the first flight since installing the Trio Pro Pilot autopilot. Its control was very sloppy at first, but I increased the gain in several incremental steps, and it was working quite a bit better by the end of the flight.

After landing, I pulled the cowlings to check for leaks, etc. There might be a tiny leak around the base of the new cylinder, or maybe that is just some of the oil we used during the assembly that is being squeezed out. I'll check again after a few more flights. There were also a few drops of oil in other places, completely unrelated to the cylinder change. Maybe the engine didn't like sitting for three months. I'll ignore these tiny leaks for the moment, in the hope that they will stop if I fly a bit more regularly.

After lunch, I flew for another hour, doing more cylinder break-in and autopilot testing. I fiddled with the gains some more, and got it working quite well when tracking the GPS flight plan in level flight. The vertical speed mode is still pretty sloppy as is capturing a selected altitude. The indicated airspeed mode has some pretty ugly porpoising. I'll tweak the gains some more on future flights to see if I can improve the performance of these modes. But, even if this is as good as it gets I am still happy, as the big thing I need is tracking of the GPS flight plan and altitude hold, and both of these seem to work very well. Vertical speed mode, indicated airspeed mode and capturing a selected altitude are "nice to have" extras.