Wednesday, 27 October 2010

CAP 413 supplement 3 - How to get sound

When studying for my RT I found CAP413 Supplement 3 very useful - mainly because it has audible examples of text-book exchanges between controllers and aircraft. But when Steve Wilson suggested I use it to brush up on my RT I found that the sound links no longer worked. So I got in touch with the CAA help desk and Kevin wrote back to say that there is a mismatch between the latest version of Adobe Acrobat and their file.

The solution is to download the file to your computer and run it from there (rather than watching it in your browser). When it opens in your browser it doesn't have an immediately apparent save button. But I discovered the solution to this by accident. At the top-right is a button "Exit"-Home. Click this and a menu appears along the top. Click on the Floppy, as usual, to save.

Many thanks to
Kevin Crowley at the CAA

pitting hope against the fear of disappointment

Apparently Paul is away on holiday. So that puts paid to any plans to get flying for a week or so.

But in a way that is a good thing. When there is a chance of a gap in bad weather or a chance to go and get something done on the plane, or whatever (when you are dependent on others or other circumstances) you play a waiting game; forever on edge, forever calculating likelihoods, forever watching the wind, forever mentally pacing up and down waiting, forever pitting hope against the fear of disappointment.

At least this way I know that for the next week I will not be disappointed....and can spend the time more productively: in this case, glazing my workshop.

My plane will get sorted out and there will be a gap in the weather and I will fly.

But not this week.


Saturday, 23 October 2010

RT revision Nav-pot

It is all very well having my RT licence, but apart from calling Sutton Radio circuits and the odd mayday (ahem), I haven't actually talked to ATC at all . . . and feel afraid of doing it, despite reassuring pep talks from Carol and being called a poof by Neill.

So last night I re-jigged my Nav-pot to incorporate all my RT scripts and a moveable scribble board + pencil (yet another use for velcro!)

It is prototype number 2. It does look rather fussy, I know. But I think it will make life easier until I get the hang of RT in the air.

Wayne Lofts' trike

On a positive note, I saw Wayne Lofts' trike today and was able to send him some pictures on my mobile. In reception, when I arrived, I found Cath polishing the top panel with turtle wax - never occurred to me to do that, but what a great finish you get!

Wayne and I have been friends since he got in touch with me some months ago to ask me about the Dragonfly, as he has had a hankering to try SSDR, particularly with its advantages in terms of owner-operating costs. He had just sold his Quik and was looking for something which wouldn't feel like it was costing him loads when he wasn't flying.

What makes Wayne's Dragonfly unique is that it is adapted for use with two prosthetic legs, as he lost both of his in a motorbike accident when he was only 17, in 1987. The devastating crash also left him with a severe head injury, which meant that he had to learn to talk all over again (it doesn't show at all..and interestingly he has both air-to-ground and ground-to-air RT licences now)

Ben has designed some really nice features, including strapped pedals and a hand-brake, using the draw-chord and jam-cleat system he originally used for the retracts (which are electrically operated on Wayne's, as on most everyone's, these days).

I know Wayne is going to LOVE his Dragonfly. He has the newer engine and the grey powder coating which I thought I'd hate but which looks superb. Ben has done a really great job on it....and is delivering it on Monday.

I shall look forward to knowing how Wayne gets on with his new machine and will hopefully be able to put up some photos of it in use, as we plan on flying together soon.

Feeling discouraged

I collected my trike from Flylight today, but was rather disappointed that having fitted the throttle, Ben hadn't tested it, fired up. He said he couldn't without the prop...but I had deliberately left it behind the seat and he had overlooked it.

So Ben agreed to try the engine with me but we couldn't get it to start. Ben kept trying until it drained the battery. He checked all the lines and all looked right - I had put it all back together after cleaning the carb, but couldn't convince him that I hadn't somehow managed to block the idle jet while cleaning it.

Fuel was definitely being drawn up, but the lack of a smell of fuel didn't seem right. So Ben has said that I should take it back to Paul Bailey, who has always been very good to me, but who may not feel as magnanimous a third time. Ben has emailed Paul and hopefully he will get back to me Monday.

This is really getting beyond a joke now. I am not blaming anyone....these things happen and are clearly all part of owner-operating a plane, but for a plane which is meant to start every time (so that you can turn off and be sure of starting it again in flight), I seem to spend a hell of a lot of time trying to start it and keep it running.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Car Trek Voyager

Latest addition to my trike transporter is this bit of metalwork (I made from scrap), which bolts to the one-time back seat member, making a support for tool locker hatches behind the front seats (discreetly extending the back of the van bed over some storage space) and incorporates a drinks bottle holder. More pics when the project is finished, but for now....

When I took this photo the metalwork looked like
a distorted Starship Enterprise - do you see it?

G-CFKK goes home to Flylight

Before heading off to see Neill at Sackville, today, to look at his engine, I dropped my trike off at Flylight to have its foot throttle fitted

It was good to see Cath, Bernie and Paul.

There was a lot of activity....the Harvard showing off, an autogyro refuelling, a Tiger Moth...and lots of flexwings on the grass.

I wished I was flying too :(

an EXTRAORDINARY engine failure

the offending nut - well mallered!

see description below

pitting in cylinder head

goughing in the top of the piston

I had the privilege of being present, today, at the post mortem of Neill Howarth's 912, 48hrs after he brought himself and his student safely down, after it shuddered violently and stopped on take-off.

Amazingly, it turned out that the nut which held a cowl over his air filter's heater had vibrated loose and was sucked through the carb, through the inlet manifold, through the inlet port and was trapped between the piston and the cylinder head, where it was hammered violently. We think the washer must have broken up on the filter cowl bolt, easing the nut so that it wound free...and that the bits of washer got caught in the carb (where we found them). Some debris went into the rear cylinder head too with less catastrophic consequences. The gouging and pitting in both the starboard cylinder heads, just near the valves, and on the pistons is very clear.

It is hoped that the cylinder heads can be cleaned up, the pistons replaced and stress testing done...and that these steps alone will put things right. It could have been a hell of a lot more expensive.

effing celebs in Spits etc

Is anyone as sick as I am of celebs and other TV types getting rides in Spits and Lancs, etc.....because it is part of some programme or other about the war?! Half of them don't even realise what they are being given.


Saturday, 16 October 2010

Back to Ben

The carb went on fine...along with the electrical re-connections etc....but that frayed throttle cable was a bugger, so I rang Ben, thinking that maybe if it needed a new cable, I ought to bite the bullet and get a foot throttle fitted too...and as I'd be asking Ben to fit them, he'd set up my idle power setting properly for me too.

Ben was delighted to hear that I had been so daft as to remove the brass thingy on the end of the cable, saying, "This is all a bit beyond you really, isn't it" :) Apparently, he insists, I could have removed the throttle without undoing the brass thingy.

So, I am taking the trike to him tomorrow and picking it up again next Friday, at the start of half term.....solving a bunch of problems.
At the end of this crisis, as was the case at the end of the last lay-up, I shall be left with an aircraft which is better than before. It has been odd flying on a hand throttle alone...especially when landing. I think a foot throttle will give me far better control - it is a nice little design too.

p.s. Thinking it through, I can see now exactly how I should have taken the brass thingy out without undoing it. It is just the same as dismantling bicycle brakes. What a numpty! (I feel embarrassed)


Friday, 15 October 2010

Here's the plan

OK, here's the plan. Saturday, SM to do mechanics.
Sunday, go back up there to fly!

(providing I can shake off the last of this cold...and get everything back together satisfactorily)

Sunday looks great, with 3mph winds forecast.

For reference purposes, I have loaded pics of my carb assembly on to my GPS :)
and made up a sheet of them, just in case the battery dies ;)

-It sometimes seems like, no matter how many tools etc I take up with me, I will always have forgotten something...or failed to anticipate a need. But I am getting there.