Monday, 29 November 2010

fingers crossed for Friday

Friday's forecasted wind has dropped from 11 to 6mph! That is the kind of trend I like! I don't work Fridays, so I am keeping fingers crossed.

Sunny, 0 degrees (could be worse, could be -3 like yesterday) and very good visibility. Anything could happen before then, of course. But I am staying positive.


Sunday, 28 November 2010

But for Dave Broom, I'd have come home without flying

My battery was flat. After all that!

I could have anticipated this: nearly three weeks without starting the engine and freezing air. I tried using a powerpack but couldn't get the crocs to hold on to the tiny contacts on my battery, so gave up, de-rigged, packed up and was resigned, completely, to coming home and salvaging what I could from the day - doing some guitar practice, or something.

Then Dave Broom landed and said, "get rigged, suit up and pre-flight and I'll pull your prop over". But I was already in give-up mode and tried to thank him most sincerely and carry on home, but he said, "you need to get flying. you need to stop fucking about". So, I completely re-rigged, strapped my balloonist's altimeter to my leg, donned my motorbike helmet (warmer than a flying helmet and headphones) and strapped in with minimal kit (no vario, radio, compass, map - nothing)

As it happened, the prop just slipped under the reduction belt, so Dave went and got his own battery out of his Shadow and jump-started me....and I went flying - the first time with a foot throttle, which makes life a hell of a lot easier.

It was glorious flying but doesn't begin to compare with Steve Wilson's story; he always tops me...and has fantastic photos to show for it; he should have a blog of his own! (Steve, take note)

I kept fairly close to Sutton Meadows (just in case. Need to re-build confidence) and climbed to about 1,800' and just bimbled. I did about 50 mins before landing for a cuppa to warm my hands. Switched off and then restarted immediately, just to see if I could. I had a coffee and a natter with Neil, Dave's student, then had another 20 mins in the air, in time to de-rig before it got dark.

But for Dave, I wouldn't have flown. He really saved the day.

Lesson learned. I need to get some quick release battery connections. Neil says the ones I used to wire in my GPS are not man enough for the job and he is going to email some good links. Currently I need to snip my lock-wire to remove the battery and re-wire it before flight....bloody-silly waste of time. I should be able to take my battery home and just click it into place and be ready for take-off. A spare battery wouldn't be a bad idea either.

I also need to slacken off my throttle cable, which wasn't returning to the stop, when closed. The engine was revving slightly high at idle and I was forced to do a go-around on my first landing.
4mph wind

going now

Saturday, 27 November 2010

sub-zero, shnub je'ro! I want to go up!

The internal debate this weekend is, "will I get up in the air tomorrow, or not"? Am all packed and ready (bought a fishing bag at a carboot for only £20, new, which has room for everything in well padded pockets and is much lighter than my wheeled tender).

So, ok, it is sub-zero...but the snow will have stopped and wind is just 7mph at its worst for the day. Should I risk the drive (snow, ice and idiots) and a blowout on the snow camouflaged, crater infested off-road track? And what will traction on the runway be like...and how easy to spot it from the air, covered in snow?

I think I will just bimble close to home and go through all the drills, some practice forced landings it has been two months.

Just praying the wind might drop just a wee bit (been rising) and the tempreature creep up even just a degree (been dropping)!
Yes, I will undoubtedly be miserably cold, but I know the scenery will be stunning and I will be aviating!

I want to go.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

about time I had a droolingly nice shot of my trike at the top of my blog again :)

Friday, 12 November 2010

I look like a fool, but I get the last laugh

I have just unloaded at Sutton and logged on to the flying club computer, having come here straight from Paul Bailey's farm, where he ran through all the checks on my engine and found the source of the problem in about twenty minutes flat. The price? To be the butt of a joke Paul will share with Ben Ashman....

My wiring of the auxiliary power socket was the source of the problem. I had wired the positive up correctly, but my negative should have been earthed through the chassis and not connected to the black wire.

My initial embarrassment was saved, however, when I remembered that I'd been completely oblivious to the very existence of the two wires until Ben Ashman pointed them out and suggested I plug my GPS into them. He seems to have been as unaware as I was that the black wire is commonly used by paramotorists for a KILL SWITCH!