Thursday, 31 July 2008

Flying at Sywell

I have now flown about two hours, yesterday's flying having been cancelled because it was too gusty; and as a consequence of being grounded, I have had an hour and a half of ground school with Phil, my instructor.

Phil is an easy bloke to get on with. He knows his stuff, having flown on various types for 15 years. He was a paramedic before becoming a flying instructor and among other things, has been a professional musician, so an interesting guy. What I appreciate about him most, though, is his thoroughness, which appeals to me, as I am someone who likes things logical and tidy. After the rogues I have dealt with in flying instruction in the past, it is good to be dealing with someone very professional (and I am not just saying that because he will be reading this!)

I really feel I made progress today, mainly because I managed to get my head out of the cockpit; I have a tendency to try to fly by instruments rather than looking at my aircraft attitude etc in relationship to the horizon, etc. That was a lot better today. But the biggest breakthrough, in my opinion anyway, was that I understood for the first time why we adjust the trim, which is done on the GT450 with an electrically powered adjuster! State of the art stuff - this aircraft is a Formula 1 compared to the stuff I flew before. My first hour I got her up to 98mph.

At this point I must stress that nobody should use this blog as a manual. I may be writing complete bollocks....and the reader who knows anything about this will probably spot any misunderstanding straight away. About the trim: if the aircraft is flying too fast when you are flying at optimal revs, you'd normally push the bar forward, increasing the drag on the wing....but if you do this you may find the wing very heavy, so you adjust the trim, which adjusts the wing by pulling on bungees attached to the struts to tension them (increasing the camber, I think. Is that right, Phil? - "No" - please see link)

Until today's lesson I could adjust the trim with the toggle switch, watching the LED to see if we were going to speed up or slow down, but I wasn't sure WHY we were doing it. That may seem obvious, but the fact is that when you are new you are thinking about loads of stuff at the same time.

And to think, you have to be fresh and fed, which brings me on to life on the airfield. I am camping - effectively living out of boxes stored at the back of the hangar and out of the back of the car. Everyone has been very accommodating; I have mooched around quite a lot and I must be a bit of a nuisance (watching structural tests on the Dragonfly (which is the one I am thinking of owning), "helping" Bernie, who is building something similar to a Dragonfly (about such things, more later), etc, when they are all trying to get on with work. I have cycled out a bit - intend to do much more - let them all get on.

Also camping, in a hammock in the hangar, is Dr Paul, an engineer contracted to do some scary maths and fun testing (will provide a link to YouTube, when they go live on the latter). Really nice chap.

I will let you know about what goes on at Sywell and at Flylight in particular later. It is an absolutely fantastic place. Incidentally, I didn't bring the drivers for downloading pics, so can't do that just now, but will later.

Watch this space

(will sort typos later)

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