News release: 12 Nov 2007, Test flight
David Barker and Richard Meredith-Hardy flew a test flight from Ince in Lancashire up into the airspace over Warton with a limit of 20,000 ft. With increasing thin cloud takeoff was just before 2 PM and Richard established a steady 700 fpm climb. It became apparent at about 16,500 ft that the prop was set a bit too fine and Richard had to throttle back to keep the engine below the red line. As a consequence the climb dropped to about 350 fpm.
Nevertheless, 19,429 ft, a height greater than Kilimanjaro, was reached just 32 minutes after takeoff from sea level, an average rate of climb of just over 600 fpm.
Despite the propellor problem, had they continued another 45 seconds at the current rate of climb they would have reached 6000m in 32 min 40 sec which would have handsomely beaten the current World record of time to climb to 6000m of 33 min 15 sec.
So we are definitely on for some World records in Tanzania....