Saturday, 26 November 2011

second thoughts

was going to sell and syndicate on another plane but that fell through.....and part of me is plane is lovely. How can I sell?

Sunday, 20 November 2011

3-ax-ease control

Confidentially, I think flying with a stick and rudder is easier than weight-shift!

After weeks of 6 a.m. rises, I have just had a Sunday morning lie-in, thinking about flying (the cat, aware that I am stirring, sitting impatiently on my chest). And on reflection, flying a stick is a lot less hard work and far more stable and responsive; lightweight, less jerky and far less of a fight.

Not hard to see why converting to 3 axis from weight-shift is a lot easier than converting the other way.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

What a superb day!
I flew for just under an hour....three sets of circuits, interspersed with time on the ground waiting for cloud to clear through. On my first take-off I hit a cloud bank at about 600', turned and scuttled downwind and lost sight of the runway in cloud, only finding it again at 300' on base leg! That was hairy! There was a lot of sink near the threshold of 09, requiring power-on, so that my approach was rather heavy -but I didn't bounce.

After flying at Great Oakley and packing away (which now takes far too long, the way the land-owner is packing planes in), I drove over to Wormingford Airfield to do some gliding. And, without having to wait almost any time at all, was taken up in a Ka13 by the CFI. There'd probably been talk of my disappointing intro to gliding and someone may have felt that I needed a boost, which was very good of them. Anyway, I did three launches, the second of which had a cable break at 600' (they are designed with a weak link, designed to break cleanly - I have seen them being made), which was quite dramatic.

(I flew 9 mins, 2 mins and 6 mins......there is little thermal lift this time of year to speak you generally just take off, fly cross-wind, fly down-wind (parallel with the runway), fly a base leg and finals (though it is diagonal for gliders...and I need this bit clarified)...and land. You are quite busy, but it is over in minutes. And then you queue up for another go.

The CFI said we were packing a lot of lessons into my intro
because he knew I already knew quite a lot, so I flew my last circuit mostly unaided, with him taking over for the touch-down. It was fantastic. I asked if he could judge from my three flights how long it would take to go solo and he said he really didn't know, but that it wouldn't be very long. I am definitely hooked.

(I was so busy gliding that I didn't have time to take pictures - except for this rushed one of packing away. Will do better next time)

That canopy is new. It cost the equivalent of about 85% of my entire microlight!


Sunday, 13 November 2011

One's own discretion; the advantage of being licensed

Today I saw the merits of licenced flying. Jump through all the CAA's hoops and you are given freedom to decide when you fly (albeit within the limits of your rating). Gliding, for all its freedom from licencing, on the other hand, only happens if the CFI says so.

I was at the Gliding club today on a non-foggy day, with the motor glider out, fuelled, checked and on a tow out to the field, when the CFI drove over after his latest launch to tell us in gentle, tactful terms that there would be no further flying due to poor visibility.

Now, clearly this man knows his stuff and obviously he was being very responsible and very safe, but I looked up and just knew, without any question at all, that if I'd been at Great Oakley today, we'd have been flying. I suggested hanging about and seeing if visibility improved....low but broken cloud was blowing West and there was none behind it, and it had been getting better all day. And after all, several launches had gone off in poorer conditions quite happily.

But no, apparently at Glider clubs, once the decision has been made, that is it...whatever the weather goes on to do. And I seemed to be the only person who was disappointed.

I told my instructor that next time it isn't flyable for gliders, I will take him over to Great Oakley and will take him up in my microlight. Next weekend I am taking my Microlight stuff with me, just in case.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

In the end, there was no flying to be had today, as the airfield was fog-bound, at least until 1pm, when the CFI "declared". But the morning wasn't wasted: I spent some time helping de-rig a glider (and amired the cleverness of the de-rig kit and trailer), shot the breeze with a lot a interesting folk, including a chap who used to be on submarines (including one dating from WW2!). And Paul very kindly walked me round the hangar, talking about types of glider I might like to own one day, including a K6 (the likes of which can be had for two grand, trailer included!), and found me a parachute so that I could try out a cockpit.


Thursday, 10 November 2011


I am excited. I have a new goal: to learn to glide. I am booked for an hour in a motor-glider on Saturday. It is a winch-launch glider with an engine used, once in flight, to gain height. It means that unlike other glider launches which would generally be brief (this time of year, anyway), I can go up for an hour, giving the instructor plenty of time to assess my potential and to lay some foundations.

I am told that winter is a great time to start learning to glide, when the air is a lot more stable than it is in the warmer months. I will be honest, I want to do this principally because it is a very affordable way to convert to 3-axis control. But I do have to say that I am attracted, also, to the intelligence of gliding...the fact that you have to read the sky and get your judgements right; the fact that when it comes to landing, for instance, there is no such thing as a go-around!

. . . . .

Meanwhile, Craig has very kindly offered to re-wire my trike, which has an appalling embarrassment of a loom under the dash. You only have to look at the elegance of his own lay-out to know what kind of a job he will do on my aeroplane.