Monday, 31 January 2011

A fear of second thoughts

Trouble is, if I don't sell it quickly I just know I will have second thoughts!

God help me if I fly it soon.....


Sunday, 30 January 2011

Another yellow aeroplane

According to G-INFO this aeroplane changed hands at the end of last year - (why don't people update AFORS!!! grrrr). It looks great in this shot and even better in the one the new owner has on G-INFO (below):
I want one like this. It was marked at £2,800....that's the kind of price I like!
Love those wheel spats!
Anyone know what it is like to fly?

Friday, 28 January 2011

Fixed wing conversion

Not the one, but something similar. Ugly, but what a great flier!
Today I flew for an hour with Neill in an AX2000. Nobody would call it a pretty aeroplane by any stretch of the imagination, but what a stable aeroplane it was, despite taking off and landing with a 16kt cross wind which made my planned hour in a Quantum quite impossible. 

I was flying the one hour with an instructor which I will need to have by the end of this year to revalidate my licence. But I now want to go the whole hog and take a 3-axis conversion, which anyone who has been reading my blog could have seen coming.

I am going to sell the Dragonfly to make the conversion and investment in a second hand AX-2000, or similar, possible.

So please get in touch if you have a 3-axis share for sale, are interested in selling one out-right or want to buy (or part exchange for) a Dragonfly (details below)

Dragonfly G-CFKK For Sale

G-CFKK  For sale
I don't believe you will ever be offered a newer one for less. 
For anyone who wants to enjoy SSDR this summer.

which includes my narrow gauge wheel system for manoevring it through front doors, into vans, along narrow pavements, etc. Engine serviced by Paul Bailey. New, stronger monopole, new nosewheel set-up, new foot throttle, new front strut, newly fitted quick-release propeller boss.

An extremely sexy looking machine and flies like a dream.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Dragonfly for sale -pics

Test-flown by Judy Ledden
me landing at Sywell
Narrow gauge attachment for easy ground handling and transportation 

the single bolt, quick release propeller boss is extremely sexy


I just got myself a multimeter on ebay for a miraculously low amount and have been testing the continuity in my wiring and it is all sound.

The question now is whether, with EC3s being rated for only 65amps, continuous load, they can survive a start-up which draws as large an amperage as Ben suggested - though I am now reliably informed that the figure suggested would melt everything - so presumably Ben was pulling my gullible leg.

What reassures me is that the wires and spades on the trike are themselves so small...and in fact the EC3 pins seem more substantial than the spades the trike came with.

Baileys are sending me a link to their recommended supplier of connectors, so I may need to reconsider my set-up
. But for now, I'd like to know if I am close to a solution.

Encouraging update.
I have just heard from Bruce at Bailey's and they recommend some components which are rated at 30amps!!

It be lighter still

Yesterday I got an email from Kathy Wiebe, wife of James, designer of the Belite range, announcing the launch of their new SSDR aircraft, targeted directly at the British market.

Belite Aircraft of Wichita, Kansas, is introducing a Single Seat Deregulated Sub-115kg Microlight for the UK market.

The introduction continues the innovative design and technology which is making Belite Aircraft a leader in the ultralight market. According to James Wiebe, President/CEO of Belite, "We knew we had one of the few aircraft designs that could be easily modified to meet the stringent wing loading requirements of UK SSDR regulations. So we did it! Belite's new product offering is state of the art, with carbon fiber spars and increased wing span, and is fully compliant with UK SSDR Microlight specifications."

Also see my blog below

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Belite SSDR

Belite, an American aircraft manufacturer in the USA (known better here for their cute little microlite instruments - LED fuel gauges, etc) have just flown the maiden flight of their 221lb SSDR monoplane with 4130 Chromaloy steel fuselage and carbon fibre wings.

It looks clean and light and a lot of fun.

Thanks to Kathy Wiebe for permission to use their photos.
For full details see

Monday, 10 January 2011

is the Eurostar the flexwing pilot's best fixed-wing?

The following was written for my blog by my former instructor, Neill Howarth:

I am a committed flexing pilot and really got into the light end of flying due to the early flexwings. Having flown them for many years I converted over to fixed wing. It's reasonably simple to do, you already have a licence, air law and hopefully a couple of years of flying experience. Most fixed wings are dull as ditch water as you are so isolated from the outside elements, but the Eurostar (me pictured flying it) is a brilliant compromise between flexing views and fixed wing comfort, performance and usability. A 40 degree turn, right or left descending really does give you a view that rivals a flexing... get out there and try it.

Back to me (thanks Neill). At Sutton Meadows during the summer I heard some kid rubbishing microlights and said, "See that plane there [pointing to a Eurostar], would you be proud of your dad if he flew that?" He said yes and before he could say, "But that's a REAL aeroplane" I flabbergasted him by telling him it is a microlight. They have come a hell of a long way. If you are a ridiculously well-off microlight pilot, you could even go for a Dynamic, which would make any pilot at all salivate.

Dynamic (£60-something grand) - note the absence of undercarriage!

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Electric experiments are proving tricky. I think I will stick to spades on the battery and engine...with EC3 in between..on my custom components, mainly because soldering wires on the plane itself is problematic; how do you hold the soldering iron, solder and brass cup, heat everything up, pick up the brass cup without burning yourself, put down the iron safely (not setting fire to the plane, the carpet or the cat and slot the brass cup of solder on the end of a wire before it cools (which happens almost instantaneously)?

It just can't be done.

On a positive note, my prototype jump-start contraption fits the trike well and I have high hopes of it doing the job.

Monday, 3 January 2011

power connection experiments

Following a friend's advice earlier (and having watched this youtube instruction film), I have this afternoon been soldering EC3 connections, which seem pretty solid.

One thing I did slightly differently was rest the tubes in a hole in a piece of wood instead of holding them in pliars, as the latter would tend to act as a heat sink.

I have connected the female plug to the battery using standard spade connectors, which will be wire-locked (permanently).

This is a work in progress, but the intention is to have a plug-in board (below) for jump starting from a battery booster. This could also be used for charging the battery using crocodile clips. But I'd prefer to plug a male EC3 with a Tamiya/Kyosho socket on the end into the battery one, connecting it to the charger that way.
The board (wood because it doesn't conduct) has steel bolts secured through it and wires clamped in place (see crude drawing). Each pair of wires will have an EC3 plug (a male one to connect to the battery's female; a female to connect to the engine EC3). This provides something really solid for booster jump leads to grab on to. It is crudely drawn but will be tidily constructed. (HTML problems, so can't shrink this bit of text!)

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Persevering for the sake of pure flight

Thanks everyone who has written urging me not to give up; not that I planned on giving up flying - just Dragonflying. But I am not giving up just yet. I have to try a new battery, check valve clearances, spark plugs, renew my battery connections etc.

If I do end up selling, she is newer now than when I bought her (as I have replaced lots of parts) so I know I will get my money back, but I must admit that I do love flying her and she'd be very hard to replace.

So, I am ambivalent, but ultimately I come down on the side of persevering and overcoming obstacles, so that I can enjoy pure flight.