Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Thank goodness I left SSDR behind. I know SSDRs who haven't flown in weeks, yet I flew today despite rigging in some of the scariest conditions...all the time imagining being struck by lightening or my trike being blown over. No way at all would I have got a Dragonfly out in such circumstances, yet when I was ready to fly, the wind dropped and I was off.

I had decided not to fly today after a promised 5mph wind turned into a 14mph, according to XC Weather. I'd been given the afternoon off in lieu of a meeting I have to chair on Friday, a day I am not contracted to work ordinarily. So I was gutted when the time off was wasted. Then, around 5 Sam rang and asked why I wasn't flying. He even suggested I don't have passion, which got me fired up, and 10mins later I was on the road.

I had a heck of a time trying to start the Quantum and needed Craig's expertise to get it going, but I am glad Sam nagged me because my SSDR reticence might otherwise have got the better of me and I might have missed another evening's flying.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

My first ever aerial shots

Images look clearer if you click on them

Towards the Orwell bridge, Ipswich

The Royal Hospital School, Holbrook

sailing on Alton Water

Well, after all that build-up, I aborted my Rougham jaunt when I had radio problems (you can't do a MATZ penetration unless you can talk to the ground), so while Doug and Sam went on, I went back to the hangar and tried helmet number three and my Microavionics headphones. Success.

Then I flew over to the Orwell, via Mistley, back to where I had my engine problems on the edge of Ipswich.....kind of a case of getting back on my horse, which makes it an especially worthwhile trip, which more than made up for missing out on Rougham.

And this time, on the way, I took several aerial shots...and trust me, it is NOT easy flying flex and taking pics. These are my first attempts. I know they wouldn't win prizes, but I don't think they are a bad start.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

I am rusty with navigation, I said. Take WD40, she said.

Tomorrow a small squadron from Great Oakley - Sam, Craig, Doug and myself - are flying over to Rougham for the West Suffolk Country Fair, where, once we are parked, there will be an airshow. It is only really a short jaunt, but I have spent all afternoon reminding myself how to do proper navigation...even though Sam rang to say, "The rest of us will be on GPS. Just follow us".

It is absolutely ages since I worked out triangles of velocities, headings magnetic, etc; calculated fuel use and endurance....and all that stuff. It will be interesting to see how accurate my figures are.

I hope the wind doesn't go and make fools of the forecasters, or I will be re-working all my figures in the morning.

Or maybe I will just follow everyone else.

Flying through the desperation barrier!

Colleagues and friends think I am clever, being able to fly. But honestly, I feel like a complete numpty most of the time. All the blokes I come across at Great Oakley really know their stuff, while I am someone who simply cannot retain info once an exam is passed. It worries me how much I have forgotten, and the number of times that I say stuff, in all innocence, which shows me to be a complete idiot!

I wonder if other pilots feel, as I do, that it is miracle they stay alive up there, knowing so little....and apparently in danger of forgetting the little they know?

Is this a phase you have to go through, as a post GST novice?

I reassure myself that it is very much similar to the feeling I had just before I finally cracked the landing business. After yet another dodgy landing, I threw my hands up in the air, metaphorically (thank goodness for that), and swore that I was never going to get this. At that point, Neill (instructor) tells me now, he knew that I had gone through the wall.....that next time I would have it!


Friday, 24 June 2011


Am not used to announcing my new registration over the airwaves yet and in stumbling this evening, I called myself "Winkey" Tango instead of "Whiskey" Tango.
I will probably never live it down.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Keep your flashy car and your drop kerb; I'm going flying!

A friend came to the airfield yesterday and said what they all say, "I really envy you, Pete. I wish I could do this", and of course I said, "Don't envy me, do it!" and they said, "I can't afford it".

And I have been thinking about that.

It isn't cheap. No flying is cheap, as such. But microlighting is the "affordable" end of flying...because the costs involved equate to the price of a car, and not necessarily an expensive one. My plane, for instance, just cost me a bit over five grand. Hangarage takes a hundred out of your pocket each month. Then there's oil, fuel, insurance, BMAA and CAA fees, landing fees all mounts up.....but then it can in any hobby. And while it can be a lot more expensive than other hobbies, it is a question of priorities. I have never had a new car; I always have a banger. I don't have expensive holidays and I don't have kids.

My very territorial neighbour keeps trying to persuade me to get a drop kerb. He hovers by his window, ready to spring out of his chair and harangue any neighbour who encroaches on his territory by parking across his drop kerb..and I just think, keep your bloody drop kerb and your flashy car (I could have got a Quik for what you paid for that) . . .

I am going flying!

Friday, 10 June 2011

I flew my Quantum

Thanks to Craig, I flew my Quantum today. I don't mind admitting that not having flown a Quantum for two years, almost to the day, and then with a 912 rather than my 582, I was really very anxious about climbing into one and flying it without at least a decent briefing. But Craig did much better than that. He fitted his training bars to my A-frame (he is going to be an instructor) and flew in the back...thus talking me through everything.

I felt a whole lot happier about things after that. So when he and Sam suggested I flew up to Bentwaters with them, I decided that I would. But unfortunately my radio battery was low and I couldn't transmit, so I stayed close to the airfield and just did some familiarisation for 45 minutes. Later I did a further 20 mins before packing up. Sam and I are going to fly on an expedition somewhere tomorrow, though to be honest, I am not planning on making it too ambitious to start with; I'll just be satisfied with flying over Ipswich via the Orwell Bridge...and seeing my house.

Monday, 6 June 2011

MW6 progress

God, what an ugly dash!

I have received details of the MW6 from the seller, including line drawings of the parts needing replacing. And none of it feels too daunting at all.

I have also heard back from the designer of that really clever trailer, Grant Sandiford, who is happy for me to use his pictures and who says he would be willing to help anyone, free of charge, who would like to build a trailer like his.

Now I am just keeping fingers crossed that I can get somewhere to work on it; space is always a problem, isn't it?

Wouldn't it be great if this came off! I really do like this quirky little aeroplane.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Thank you for proving my girlfriend wrong :)

I started the stats thing out of curiousity, as my girlfriend teased me that people don't read this stuff. Granted, it isn't popular on an ebay or Facebook scale, but I have been astonished by the recent surge of interest: about 400 hits in the last eight days!

The software I am using, because it is free, does not allow for real analysis...but it is fun reading the blog and getting alerts that someone in Moscow City or in Nordhorn in Germany or Bosnia, or wherever (expand the globe to see the hits yourself) is reading it simultaneously.

Over 1,000 hits per month can't be bad.

You are ALL very welcome! Many thanks for reading....and proving my girlfriend wrong ;)


Saturday, 4 June 2011

Amazing MW6 trailer

copyright Grant Sandiford

Readers know how much I love clever ground handling kit. Well look at this truly ingenious trailer-cum-hangar. Be sure to click to see the whole article.

(I wonder if "mine" will have easily detachable wings?)

Rang the owner to discuss buying this!

I just couldn't help myself...I rang the owner of the previously mentioned MW6 to discuss possibly buying this quirky aeroplane. It turns out that its inspection a month or so ago discovered corroded main spar brackets, which need to be replaced (fabricated from drawings) and I thought to myself, Sam and I could easily do that....what with his skills and my enthusiasm..., and though it transpired that he won't be in on it (not as a shareholder, anyway) as he has other fish to fry, I am still interested, not least of all because without a permit, and with all that work involved, it is going to be VERY cheap.

Many here know that I did A levels at Filton Tech, across the road from BAe Systems, or as it was known then, British Aerospace; and that I now collect anything and everything to do with Bristol Aeroplane Company (its fore-runner). Well, interestingly, Mike Whittaker, who designed the MW range of kit-build aeroplanes, was an engineer at their Filton plant. It is jokingly said that the MWs were the last complete aircraft produced at Filton...

. . .which is another reason why I'd like to have this MW6 (however tenuous the BAC link)

My check-pilot tells me it would be "good fun for a bimble on a calm day"- very strong, low wing-loading, slow...and will burn about 17litres an hour....which is high!

I did a search on Google and found these images and contacted the photographer, Wallace Shackleton, to ask if I could to use them. They appear here now with Wallace's kind permission.


Friday, 3 June 2011

Bloody cheek of the Red Arrows

News on UKGA that we are being reminded not to infringe Red Arrows airspace this summer reminded me that while I was taxiing to the hangar on Monday I was over flown at about 100' by the Red Arrows. They flew straight through our circuit, straight over the airfield....and no radio call was made beforehand.

Bloody cheek!

Though, to be honest, I was just thrilled.


Thursday, 2 June 2011

incredibly cheap old aeroplanes

I can't help being tempted by little aeroplanes like this one, which don't seem to sell. People are so sniffy about old microlights. Yet they are bound to be great fun...and isn't it incredible to think that you can have an aeroplane with a new permit for £1,500!?

Dragonfly propeller covers

Would anyone like to buy my completely brand new and never used propeller covers? I got them on ebay. Have a look

I will save you £5 and do them for £22.50 plus postage.

Shortly after ordering them I sold my Dragonfly, so they are surplus to requirements.