Monday, 25 April 2011

Update - Karl is going to learn to fly!

Stopped, window to window, alongside Karl's car this evening and he was obviously still buzzing; said he'd been telling everyone about it. He says he is budgeting to learn to fly this year!


Sunday, 24 April 2011

methodical fuel consumption calculations

I forgot to mention. I wanted to work out how much fuel I use, accurately. So I calibrated my tank by emptying it, then pouring in a half litre at a time and marking it off.

On my last run before packing it up to go to Bailey's, 15 mins running (including run-up, taxi each way -quite a long taxi-, take off and landing) took 1/2 a litre, which equates to 2 litres per hour.
Much of that time I will have been doing about 4-5,000 revs (running on grass), whereas in the air I generally hold my height by flying at about 6,000 revs, climbing with a bit more (taking off with 8,000). I idle now at just over 3,000. Of course the way to get real economy is to turn off and thermal, but I am never as confident as others that it will restart after my engine failure last year. When I DO turn off, I don't often leave it off for building up my confidence.

When I get it back from PB, I need to do some more methodical calculations and get some really reliable data.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

The enthusiasm of a new convert

Karl has been absolutely buzzing all the way home from the airfield; he is a convert, no doubt about it. Sam gave him the most fantastic flight, which took in Bentwaters, Woodbridge and Ipswich, including over-flying our road. They flew at 2,000' mostly, but also did some low level 500' coastal flying. My pics weren't great....the runway in use was 09, so both on take-off and landing the sun was in my eyes.

It is great hearing someone else with as much enthusiasm for it as I have. He totally gets it.

Thanks a hell of a lot, Sam.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

taking mates flying

I am not flying this weekend, as my Dragonfly is being serviced by Paul Bailey, but I have fixed it for two mates to go up. Sam has very kindly agreed to take them flying in his Quik. I have been promising Karl, a neighbour and electrician who has been very good to me (wiring my workshop, for instance), and John, former teaching colleague and great friend (whose birthday is on Monday), that I'd take them flying. But that isn't easily achieved when you have a single seater.

Many thanks, Sam.


Sunday, 17 April 2011

Going to sell! (buy it before I change my mind, please!)

I know we all take the mick out of hotships, but they have their advantages, and to be perfectly frank, I am finding myself increasingly seduced by some of them. For instance, my jaunt to the Orwell Bridge the other day felt like an expedition, but was only twenty or so miles, and while I am a lover of bimbling, I do sometimes wish I could keep up with Craig, Doug and Sam and cover their great distances.

My girlfriend keeps saying I should sell, and that if I don't I will never be able to afford to do three axis, which is also on the cards, so I think I have finally got there. I am going to ask Paul Bailey to service G-KK because I am having problems with its carburetter,which cause it to stop over the Orwell, then put her on the market. There is bound to be lots of interest. I should be able to get what I paid for her, at least, especially as she now has some higher spec kit on her.

But, dammit, I hope I can do this before I change my mind!

Saturday, 16 April 2011


Flynano (click for details)
I don't know how far they have got with this. Will study it when I get home tonight, but first impressions look exciting.

Thanks to my sort-of sister-in-law for sending me the link this morning

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Aerial photography

The jetskier is at the east end of Osea Island in the Blackwater Estuary.
The channel is between Wallasea Island and 'mainland' Essex.

Fellow Dragonflyer and experienced aerial photographer, Steve Wilson, has lent me a digital camera fit for the job for me to experiment with, and gave me an introduction to it and to editing software this afternoon.

Here are two great shots of his from the last week.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Really must get a good camera which I can use in flight. Flew to Ipswich this morning, via Mistley, and hovered over the Orwell Bridge, ticking another box...but wish I could have photographed it.

Next time I want to carry on round the town and find my house....and snap that too.

1hr ten mins, bringing my total since I moved to Great Oakley, three weeks ago, to 5hrs 15mins! ......making this the best month of flying since I got my licence.

twilight flight

Just before sunset this evening, I went up for a half hour bimble. I had watched the weather numbers all day and was surprised when I turned off my car engine and got out, to discover that far from there being the 7mph of wind forecast, the air was perfectly still.

My engine idle is very much improved, though I am still rather tentative about backing off the revs that far in flight; fearful that it will die and not re-start. That is another area for confidence-building. When I switched off it was idling at about 3,200.....a little high, but better that that considerably lower and more vibey at 2,500.

Got home tonight to find that tomorrow's horror story of high winds has been rewritten with a pre-mid day calm, so I am going up again in the morning, though this time I will not be airborn before 0830!

That means a lie-in until about 7a.m.

I am on a roll!


Saturday, 9 April 2011

Pitsford (FAO Sam)

Sam, this is the Pitsford film I meant. Mine is the red one, but the pilot is Ben Ashman, its designer. Follow this link for the time I flew in there.


Manoeuvrable trolley and kit cabinet

A truly terrible quality film, granted, but it shows how easily I can move my trike between other fit it in a tight space...without having to do a twenty-point turn!

The weekend I moved-in, I brought over this filing cabinet and all my other gear. It means that I can turn up without too much hassle, pull my pre-rigged, readily fuelled aircraft out . . .

and go flying!


Dawn Patrol bollocking

Heavy winds for the foreseeable future (or so it appeared last night)....except for a window of opportunity this morning between 4 and 10 a.m., so I grabbed the time, taking off at 07:20, only to get a very tactful bollocking when I came down an hour later, as I had broken the out-of-hours restrictions, which limit take-offs to between 08:30 and 21:00. If I'd known about that I'd have thought twice about Great Oakley, as I love dawn and dusk flying, but I mustn't complain as I am flying far more frequently now.

I climbed to 1,000 much more quickly than in recent flights, then turned and headed downwind to Mistley, then back up the river again. I climbed to 3,000, where the wind was stronger and had backed, so that I barely felt I was moving, but tentatively tested the down-wind scuttle (occasionally turning back), selected an emergency field on the bank of the Stour, then made my crossing ...but there was no way I was going to make sufficient progress to get to the Orwell Bridge, so flew south, a bit, along the coast and back change my radio battery. (Must charge both of them).

I went up again at about 09:00 for 35mins, then landed to do some maintenance. With Doug there to lend an expert hand, I adjusted some wires which were twisting and adjusted my tick-over so that the plane now idles at 3,000 revs. It sounds sweet.

Looks like I might get an hour or two in tomorrow, mid to late afternoon.This is already looking like a great school holiday :)

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Today I more than doubled my hours in the air this year!

"My god, she is beautiful!"
....she burst into life in a split second when I pressed the starter.
I flew for over an hour this morning...out to Ardleigh (on the edge of Colchester), down the River Stour to Harwich, then back to Great Oakley.
The engine sounded great.

I found this old trolley in the hangar and nobody knows who it must belong to, so I have borrowed it. It enables me to push the trike in any direction, so that I can tuck it away without having to do a hairy 27 point turn! The front trolley has been lent to me by John who bought it for his Rans Coyote, but finds that it doesn't work well enough for him on his much heavier aircraft on the uneven floor.

After flying I did some maintenance...checking the valve clearances. The inlet valve needed to be closed by 0.05mm. I have never done this before. As the Dragonfly was by then tucked away, it will be Friday at the earliest before I will know whether the adjustment has affected my engine idle.

Then, Craig and Sam suggested we go to the clubhouse for a coffee, and on the way Sam suggested that if I wasn't in a hurry to go home, I go with them on a jaunt to Damyn's Hall, an offer I leapt at. Unfortunately, Craig had problems with his engine and turned back. Sam and I flew on in his Quik....which really IS bloody quick indeed. Great flying.

A really terrific start to the week!

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Home from Home

I have been studying the charts and enjoying Great Oakley's proximity to home. Will have to get a photo of my house from the air!