Saturday, 26 September 2009

The transporter works - I got my wing and trike home with ease.

In this pic, taken through an upstairs window, you can see the ramp carried alongside the wing carrier

Phil tells me he knows someone who might make me a lightweight ramp, which could fold out of the back of the van. That would make things a lot easier. The prototype works, sure, but is crudely made and means lots of hassle and added weight.

When I'd asked for some reassurance about whether my roof-rack system was going to survive, Ben said, "No, . . . in 24 years it will show signs of rust" :) 55 miles later it was holding up just fine, and by then I was happily motoring along at normal speeds with next to no worry.

The bonnet is open in this picture to demonstrate the fact that my carrier mounting allows for this, whereas the bonnet mounting which inspired it (an elegant American project) made this impossible. I was a little worried that the weight of the wing would make the structure bow slightly, thus lowering it and making bonnet-opening impossible.

This morning I also enjoyed meeting Will, a software engineer and fellow Dragonflyer who knows Steve Wilson (and who reads this blog: Hi Will !). I include this picture of his wing-load because it shows the elegant simplicity of a folding ladder for carrying a wing - very practical if storage space at home is limited and if you have an estate car or saloon.

My front support was needed because the van part is to the rear of a long sloping nose. The front of my van is a disadvantage in this respect; but the advantage, which Will highlighted, is its high back, enabling me to roll my trike in without having to dis-assemble it, as Ben, its designer, originally intended.

I am absolutely delighted with the Dragonfly transporter's performance and that I now have my aeroplane at home and the freedom to take it anywhere.

Many thanks to Ben at Flylight for sorting out my undercarriage bungees and for helping me load my wing; and to Phil for taking the photos of me loading up.


Sunday, 20 September 2009

fighting a cold

As I am starting a new job tomorrow, teaching at a special school, I want to be fighting fit, so I have been drinking loads of water and fighting a cold this weekend...and, unable to sit watching TV or whatever else you are meant to do when sick, I have been down in the workshop.

I took an aluminium ladder, cut it in half, bolted the halves together and made sloping landings and hooks...and now have a ramp which hooks safely over the steel bumper, and which fits comfortably on the two roof bars next to the wing ladder on the roof in transit. There are a few bits of finishing off to do, not least of all adding some narrow strips (15cm wide) of aluminium treadplate.

the ramp sits next to the wing ladder and over the roof bars

The paint on the front support and brace is now dry, so I did a dry run this afternoon and it all feels fine....though I do worry that the strain on the van's front wings will be bad. Lizzie is giving me some old flippers so that I can dampen the load. The roof bars are said to hold 75kg, but it is not clear whether that is per bar or pair, as sold. The wing will be 38kg, the al ladder is 10kg and the ramp will be another 15, max (est), giving a total load of 63kg, so it really doesn't matter whether the limit is per bar or pair, especially as the front support will be taking about 24kg (eek, seems a lot!). The dummy run seemed pretty sound.

Next Saturday we will see how it copes, as I will collect my wing, having postponed this weekend's trip to nurse this cold.



Tuesday, 15 September 2009

I have now painted my roof-rack red and it is looking good. These are earlier shots, before I shortened the verticals and finished welding the front support up.

You are responsible for your own hours; don't assume your instructor is monitoring them

This is one of the best bits of advice I can give you, if you are learning to fly. Not only should you not assume that anyone else is monitoring your minimums, but you should make sure that you are keeping them current. I learnt this the hard way.

My application for a full licence was sent back with an issue which needed sorting out. Despite having flown several more hours of navigation training than are needed, I was found to be ten minutes short of the minimum required for ex18. For want of ten mins, I couldn't get my licence.

Having thought I'd finished, I had to go back and make up the time.

Ah well, it is all done now and I have received my logbook back, together with the letter of congratulations from the BMAA. In the next few days, they say, I should receive my licence in the post from the CAA.