Sunday, 29 March 2009

Tintin saves the day! (almost)

A work in progress, but nearly done. It is on my kitchen wall and reaches up towards the ceiling. I painted until 2 a.m. (eeeeek, 3a.m.!) before a hot bath. I wanted to get the face right. You'd be amazed how hard it is to do a Hergé face...with its mere five blobs; that man was a genius! I stippled the flushed cheeks last. Just need to paint the rather tricky wing root line and fillet line- tricky because I want them not to wobble (which is not easy in housepaint) but can't use masking tape because the lines arc over the wing shape.

Incidentally, I don't know why Hergé had Tintin climb out the front of a tandem cockpit! He was usually very accurate with details. I don't know which story this is (the image was on a card), but whatever that aeroplane is, is almost certainly inspired by an actual model. Hergé did a lot of research.

Of course, it is another yellow aeroplane!

Click the Chippy to read about my tandem cockpit experience. The fact that the spinner and leading edges are yellow really tickles me.

News from my own cockpit

I cancelled today's bookings so that I ration my flying; the fewer the hours, the more each one will count for in my revision - it is far too easy to blow time. It is now feeling incredibly expensive. One more hour of not quite getting it right is another £100 spent (plus petrol and accommodation). So frustrating and I am flying on vapour in the wallet department.

Flying tomorrow. Must make sure I am completely focused and have read all my notes, while at the same time, must relax. Another student boosted me with the assurance that Neill had told him that my flying is now "brilliant", but that what lets me down is thinking about it too earnestly. Hard not is in my make-up.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Greetings to Kevin

Kevin in Norway is 17 and keen to get into microlighting and, like me most of my life, is daunted by the cost. But I have reassured him that if he goes for it now, training will take him a heck of a lot less time than it does for older guys like me. Ben Ashmen reckons that people should expect to take a minimum of one hour's training for every year of their life, which means that if the Norwegian licence is anything like ours, he will finish in minimum time, and can then spend any left over savings on a cheap, second-hand machine, of which there are several on ebay for under three grand.

Thanks to Kevin for providing this link to someone who flies somewhere near him.

Best of luck, Kevin. I envy you, mate, because you have a full lifetime's flying ahead of you!
Go for it!

Monday, 9 March 2009

Flying near Ipswich

I shall soon have my licence, and once I am de-restricted (having completed my cross-county flights, which I intend to do after my GST), I shall be looking for an airfield / club to operate from, closer to home. Neill is quite keen on me joining Sackville, which is an enormously friendly club with huge appeal, but being near Bedford, it is still an awfully long way from home, even if closer than Sywell.

When microlighting, and especially Dragonflying, offers flexibility to fly from anywhere practical (trailering, storing at home, even transporting with a family car), it seems a bit silly to go a huge distance to fly. So I am looking at fields and clubs closer to home.

Can anybody recommend somewhere, please?


G-INFO pics

I don't like the picture they have of my Dragonfly on G-INFO, as it looks very stripped-down. So I have asked them to put these three on for me instead.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Quantum of Solace

This is the Quantum I have been doing my flying revision in, both for dual and solo, having consolidated in the Dragonfly; the Quantum is what I will be tested in. It has a glorious wing, which is far easier to land than the GT450...and quite honestly, if I had started in the Q'tum, I think I would have soloed a lot earlier. Mastering the GT flare and round-out is a bit of a rite of passage , and probably a very good place to start. I sort of feel that if you can land a GT, you will probably be pretty good on anything else.

The GT 450 is a bit of a thoroughbred, so appeals to both schools and students. I am not certain why schools like it, but students will undoubtedly think that they are getting the best machine available and at twenty-something grand a piece, this might be their only chance to fly one. I imagine that being a top of the range machine gives it kudos in any school's hangar.
Whatever the merits of the GT450 - to my mind a Formula 1 machine, I have always been a Ford Prefect kind of bloke, so give me something less full of itself anyday. To be fair, though, it wasn't so long ago that the Q'tum was top of the line itself and it has certainly proved itself and holds its value. If I was going to get a two seater and didn't already have a Dragonfly, I would get one of these.


The cross-wind yesterday was very challenging and a friend of mine who must be due to solo soon, didn't, and as I landed, I thought to myself, "Phew, that was really tough, you wouldn't want to solo in that"...and then realised that I just had done....which is a measure of how far I have come! Each tricky approach made me feel like calling it a day.......but as my wheels touched down on the numbers, I felt an urge to do rolled again.

Neill seems pretty confident that if the weather is kind, I shall get my licence this month.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Flying Watts-its!

A highlight of this weekend was watching two successive days of tests by Flylight's designers on their electric aircraft: a Lazair with twin props and a Dragonfly with a feathered prop which unfurls on start-up and feathers when turned off. Unfortunately, as I was taxying a Quantum during the Lazair test, I didn't have a camera to hand to catch it, but I later got a few fuzzy pics of both aircraft in the hangar with my phone camera. Photos of the Dragonfly in flight, taken by staff photographers, Mark and Dan, however, were excellent and these come courtesy of Ben Ashman.

My hangar shots are below: