Monday, 28 March 2011

after-school flying time is here!

I was all set to get off work and go flying today. But felt crap most of the day, so didn't in the end ....but it is now part of the masterplan. With daylight saving and living only 40 mins from the airfield (and working closer to it still), after-work flying is a viable proposition.


Sunday, 27 March 2011

I flew today

I started the day wanting to sell the Dragonfly.

....but the price went up as the day went on; as it started and failed, then started again...and finally, after the intervention of friends, started and kept going. And now I want to keep it and spend the summer enjoying it...

....but regular readers know I will change my mind tomorrow! (still want to do 3-axis, still fancy having something which can fly on windier days, etc)

But at least now I have a plane which will sell!

Incidentally, my problem was caused by the fact that the grub screw which blocks the bottom of the pulse drain was missing, thereby affecting the differential pressure in the fuel lines (I think). Doug, a very experienced engine man at Great Oakley, cut the end off a bolt (to remove the thread) and stuck it up the drain, securing it with a zip-lock! Nice, simple solution...but the genius was in spotting the problem in the first place (as he chatted it over with a fellow Dragonflier on the phone).....sparing me hours of shooting in the dark.

I started the day feeling low but ended it on a high (though not too high, because the viz was awful above 800'!).....I flew for an hour....all in sight of the airfield....taking stock of my new home field and its surroundings.

Many thanks to Doug! It is great to be flying again!

Saturday, 26 March 2011

inching closer

I couldn't get a spark yesterday, so went off to old Harwich, to a motorbike shop, and got one...and a box spanner to fit it. Progress. Got back and still no didn't seem to be drawing fuel, so I did something I have never done before...I blew into the tank ( by reversing my syphon) and that did the trick...filled the carb. But still no joy.

Craig, a heating engineer who flies a Quantum, tested continuity on my magneto with his multi-tester and that and all the other wiring seemed ok, so that we wondered if it might be the ignition unit, which would have been a simple replacement (and hopefully cheap)...but finally we tested the start again and it fired up....but I impatiently killed it by moving the throttle before the automatic choke knocked off. My problem is I hate the vibration at that cold stage.

So we tried again and it fired and held for about 35 seconds before stopping again...and then I was running out of time; I had a date to get showered for!

So I packed up....but am now optimistic for Sunday. I presume the old spark plug was why I got no start at Xmas. All else is just because it has been standing for three months.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Great Oakley

Yesterday I moved my wing from Sutton Meadows to Great Oakley in my new van (pleased to find that the wing-carrier fit it, being a variant of the same model), and today, having taken two hours stripping the riveted bulkhead out, I did the same with the trike.

At Sutton Meadows Dave Broom wished me well, and I was rather touched when Dave Garrison came out especially, as I tied my hi-viz dishcloth to the back of my wing, to wish me bon voyage. I'd had a rather satisfying afternoon in which the packing of the wing went very well indeed (am really quite skilled at it now; good teaching on Steve Wilson's part), and I met retired Lt Colonel Bryan Smy, now a BMAA inspector. He realised I was ex-TA when I apparently said "Clear; ease springs" when detensioning my tip-wands.

Today I rigged the wing (am getting good at this, too) and put the Dragonfly together. I found that my electrical connections are fine, but the engine did not start, so spark plug and valve clearance checks will be necessary next time I go up...possibly Friday.

If it had started I might have squeezed in a flight...I was rigged by 5pm. Still, I am well on the way to a great Easter and summer..and in good company too. The chap who helped me carry my wing into the field owns the aeroplane behind mine, a Cherokee which was impounded for smuggling guns and drugs. Also chatted to Doug, Craig and Sam this evening, all three of whom were very welcoming - we share the hangar - and very complimentary about the Dragonfly. Flying at Sutton was rather a lonely business to be honest, but this lot are very keen. I have already been promised a back seat next time it is too windy to go up in my Dragonfly.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

a great Easter, flying

I have bought another van...and after the cambelt went on my old one, I am getting its cambelt changed, as I write. No mean expense, but a wise investment. It is a panel van version of my old "hearse", so will be more secure...and because it is the same type, I have salvaged light units, mirrors, 4 tyres, tow bar and roof bars....

And I know that my ground handling gear will all still be compatible, so I will be able to do my move to the hangars at Great Oakley at the end of this month.

So I am back on track...and getting ready for a great Easter in the air...and a marvellous summer ahead.

Friday, 4 March 2011