Sunday, 18 October 2009


Compass pillar slots neatly into the hole-saw cut hole in the binnacle and is secured with velcro. This places the compass low so that the rear digits can be read easily and, unlike other solutions I have seen, cannot be bumped by the speed bar.

The outrigger bar performed well today, enabling me to load the wing single-handed at the airfield, though Steve did help me get it to the car, which I think might be easier if I made a skid or golf-trolley type affair.

Much of Saturday was spent getting last bits and pieces ready for today, which was to have seen my first flight from my home field since I qualified. I finished my outrigger for wing loading, cut a hole in my binnacle to mount my compass, tweaked my roof-rack, put pipe lagging on the rungs of the ladder and made a monopole support (for transit), which secures in place with velcro.....

and felt ready.

Loading up today (including erecting the roof rack), took over an hour, though I was grateful for a hand from my neighbour, David, in lifting my wing on to the roof of the van. I had an uneventful trip to Rougham, where the gate was opened by an aeromodeller and where another told me my mate was waiting and asked if I'd call up on Rougham Radio to let them know when I was taking off, so that they could ground their models first.

I met Steve and then discovered that he had turned out, just home from a trip, not intending to fly, himself. I'd imagined that he was going to be rigging his Dragonfly too. Very generously, he came just to help me, though he would also say that it gave him the chance to try out a half-tension rigging, which we concluded was not really easier and which created its own problems; we had to de-batten 8 and 9 to release sufficient tension to be able to locate cam cups over the wands; I found camming-over a lot easier today, both on half tension and no-tension; and tensioning at the keel (in both modes) was a lot easier today, too, which bodes well for the future.

But lifting the wing so that the monopole located was murder and Steve is adamant that it is a process which is best suited to hangar rigging. He watched and was very unhappy with the twisting that he observed in the plates either side of the monopole. Eventually we got it rigged, but only after a bit of surgery on the plastic sandwich, which had become rucked in the process. This is a bit worrying for me....

...but not as much so as the fact that I couldn't get the engine to start. The simple fact is, we later discovered, the filter was dry. I tried and tried to start until my battery was out of juice. I am guessing this is down to that fuel pump problem which Ben designed the modification to deal with. I have never encountered a problem with mine, but before I try anything else, I shall do the mod (and recharge the battery) and try to start it again.

This is the second week in a row that my plans to fly have been frustrated. Last week my van failed its MOT, now sorted. This week engine problems.


Huge thanks to Steve for turning out and sticking with me through it all. Ah well, I expect I have learned quite a lot anyway and my rigging times are bound to be improving. Tell you what though, I can see why Steve has dispensed with body panels. I think life would be a lot easier without them. For pragmatic reasons, I reckon I will leave them at home next week.

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