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177. All set


At the beginning of the week, I wasn’t at all sure we were going to make it to Bicester.

Having written off my Octavia towing the trailer, I’d bought a second hand Land Rover Discovery 3 which we were confident would do the job. When I took delivery, the engine hunted at certain power settings, so, having driven it down to Banbury and back on Monday and demonstrated that there was nothing temporary about the situation, a friend took me to his local Land Rover repairer with a diagnostic computer.

As I got out of the car, I dropped my mobile phone and the screen cracked.

When he ran the diagnostics, it indicated that the Exhaust Valve Recycling valves were the culprit, and I passed this information on to the car sales agent in the morning.  Their faces fell, as this is an expensive repair, and they had committed themselves to sorting out the problem.

But things got worse. When their own LR agent ran their checks, they indicated that the entire gearbox & transmission unit would need to be replaced! I spent a sleepless night worrying how anything was going to get fixed in time to get the aircraft to Bicester for the weekend, but in the morning the car sales agent said they would lend me a Discovery as a courtesy car, complete with towhook.

In the end, it turned out to be a Discovery 2 with a manual gearbox, but I was grateful for what they’d done, and I took it straight to the trailer and hitched up.

Driving it proved to be a considerable challenge. The engine seems to be pretty gutless until the turbo cuts in at about 2000rpm, which make hill starts something of a challenge, even without a 1.5 ton trailer. As it was, there were several miles of single track roads to navigate, and on one or two hills I had to engage low ratio to get up there.

Once on the main roads, I found that the trailer started wagging at speeds in excess of 35mph, though I could creep up to 40mph on the motorways unless an artic came past, in which case I was back to 35. Still, we got there in the end, and the I heaved a huge sigh of relief.

Theo was there to meet me, and we started to rig it. Unfortunately I’d forgotten to put the wing struts in, and so I got a telling off from Theo who said he could have been sat out in the sun reading his book instead of driving all the way to and from Bicester. By this time I was so tired and so relieved at having got it there, I wasn’t about to argue with him…

And now, on Thursday evening, the car is all packed with everything we need for the weekend, and we’re off first thing to finish rigging the aircraft and to meet up with Dodge Bailey, Chief Test Pilot for the Shuttleworth Collection, who is getting ready to carry out the flight testing as soon as we get the word from the LAA.

You don’t get better than that!

Then in the afternoon we’ll be sorting out how the weekend will work, where we’ll be and so on.

The forecast is looking a bit wet for Saturday, and we’ll need to decide how we deal with that, but Sunday is looking great, and if you haven’t done so yet, check out the Bicester Flywheel event website and come and see us, together with all the other mind-boggling stuff on show, on the ground and in the air.


From → Technical

  1. stevenpj10 permalink

    Dodge, the professor. Right chap for testing.

  2. Graham Whitehouse permalink

    Glad to see you’re nearly there. You have written a great article and I have particularly enjoyed it as my son and I are building an r/c model of a Bristol Scout. I hope all goes well for the first flight.

    • Thanks very much. All went very well, thanks, and we plan to run the engine again tomorrow.
      Let us know how your model is coming along.

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