Tuesday, 28 July 2009

my licencing master-plan!

It has been frustrating waiting for a slot in the weather to do my Sutton Meadows qualifier. So I I have been to see Paul and we have done the paperwork to restrict my licence. It isn't silly. The fact is that a couple more weeks bad weather before I go away could mean me coming back and finding one of my exams has expired and has to be re-taken. They are only current for a year.

Going restricted means that my exams and solo hours are protected. And the way it is going with the weather, doing the paperwork now shouldn't delay my flying of the second qualifier, which only can't be flown when you do not have your logbook (while it is with officials). I could easily have my restricted licence in my hands only a matter of days before I send away to the CAA for the unrestricted one.

I expect to hold my flying licence in a few days' time :)

van in my DRAGONfly colours

I have bought the perfect little van for the trike. It is a diesel Ford Fiesta Courier Combi (combi, I think, because it had factory fitted rear seats, but I have taken them out). I am chuffed with it. Need to put in a few security features and make a minor bulkhead and support for the trike front wheel above the passenger seat (which only has to be folded flat), and I am ready....oh, except that I need to make a front support of some kind for the front of the wing-supporting ladder. Any suggestions?

Mk2 rolling

Today, after the hammerite had dried, I fitted Mk2 and it works great. Last minute I had to make a bogey for the retract cord to run over to stop it rubbing.

see Ramped and System to see progress with the narrow gauge undercarriage.

also: chock-trolley and Mark 1

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Mk 2

I'd noticed some distortion in one of the joints of the prototype... so I have started a MK2 version, which is substantially stronger. The bracket, which will be fixed, semi-permanently, to the Dragonfly is heavier as a result, but I think the price is worth paying.


Friday, 24 July 2009

Aborted run

This wet and windy weather is so frustrating. Why is it always glorious in term-time, then awful once we break up?

I have been planning a cross-country (my final qualifier) from Sywell to Sutton Meadows and back and have a pretty clear idea of the route, the features I will look out for, distances, bearings, etc; and I have been interpreting the TAFs daily and liaising with Neill in the hope of getting an evening flight in.

Finally, when I was all set to forget it this afternoon, Neill convinced me that it was worth the gamble (about 50:50 -Squally showers around Sywell and pressure rising with winds dropping....though winds around Cambridge had been forecast at up to 15kt, gusting 25 ...but would now be improving). So I leapt into the car about 4ish and headed up the A14....(well, that's once I got to the A14, which took half an hour!).....then, two hours later, when I'd normally have been arriving at Sywell, I was still only half way there. Traffic was murder. I stopped at the services and told Neill there was no way I'd be there soon enough to do my flight plan and get going, with only a little over two hours spare before sunset.

I aborted the dash, turned around and headed home.

I have decided that if I don't get a decent gap to do the cross-country in the next fortnight, I will get a restricted licence so that at least everything (solo hours and exams) is protected (exams are valid for a year; solo hours for 9 months). I can always do the qualifier later in the summer . . . .

. . . .What summer?



I put the panels on the trike, retracted the main gear (will have to be careful bringing it down, without the tensioning bungees in place) and ran it up and down my ramp and it works well. There are some finishing touches to be made to the system though.

I want to put a castor restraint at the bottom of the inside ramp, so that I can pull the trike to the ramp on the chock-trolley and have it stop at the bottom of the ramp and let me pull the trike off it and on to the ramp.

I also plan to stick wheel guide tape on the ground and on the ramp, as some accuracy is needed to get the track right, without wiggle.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

The Eveleigh Dragonfly trolley system Works!

It takes 30 seconds to bolt the narrow gauge wheels to the bracket (which is fixed in place on the rear of keel). Roll narrow gauge wheels up on to chock trolley, which lifts the whole rear of the trike up, thus lifting the undercarriage clear of the ground. Retract undercarriage.

The whole trike can now be pushed easily across the floor and lined up with the front door. Pull the trike by the foot pedals, stepping out the door....lining the wheels up with the door (mini ramp to be made tonight)

The trike goes through the door ....

....and round corners, with ease

What the pics do not show is that, of course, I will be able to transport the trike in a small van with the monopole folded forward and with the prop and all body work (apart from bottom panel) left in place.....saving valuable time and my back!

Before fitting wing, put main gear down, remove narrow gauge wheels
and bolt bottom panel on.


Monday, 20 July 2009

Steve made me green with envy when he sent this to my mobile on Wednesday. He is in the Shuttleworth Collection's Sea Hurricane, which I saw flying on Saturday.


Once finished, this trolley, which I have have been working on in the last 24hrs, will enable me to raise the main gear off the ground for retracting, and will then make the rear end manoeuvrable in all directions on a flat surface; mainly so that I can move it easily in a hangar or in my front room. I am working on a single castor for the front wheel.

My problem is that I have a bad back, so I am devising kit which makes it possible to leave the trike fully rigged, while still being able to store and transport it easily.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Passed my last exam

I passed my Met exam with 84%.


Neill says less than 100% is unacceptable.


Right, that's the lot done now. I just need to do that final cross-country flight, when the weather is better, and I can then submit the paperwork for my unrestricted licence.


Sunday, 12 July 2009

Narrow Gauge Undercarriage for Front Door Access

I have been working on this narrow gauge undercarriage to enable me to retract the main gear and trundle the Dragonfly through my front door etc. I have to make the triangulating fixing yet, but then it will be pretty much done. The main bracket, which fits it to the rear of the keel, will be fixed semi-permanently in place without any alteration to the aircraft at all (no holes etc). The trolley link will then just be offered up and bolted to the aircraft on the ground. The trike will then be rolled onto seating chocks, which will lift the main gear off the ground fractionally, so that it can be retracted.

This will mean that the trike can be kept fully rigged (with panels, seat, etc in place and monopole folded forward). The only part which needs to be removed for fitting the wheels is the underbelly panel. I am planning on running the retract cord through a plastic tube to stop any possible friction and chafing.

So far, so good. You can't see the means of fixing the bracket to the keel, but I have tested it and I am pretty sure there won't be any turning strain on the bracket - there will be nobody in the trike when it is moving, after all - and the kit is only going to be used with the wing already off.

What do you think?

Thursday, 9 July 2009

"Peter the Pilot" is one of the sweetest, most thoughtful presents
a pupil has ever given me.

Thank you so much!