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329. Back home

09/10/2017

Sunday was a day of rest, flying a new Rans aircraft from Shobdon to Milson and helping erect a new bed for my grandson, but on Monday I was back in the Hilux cab again to take 1264 to her natural home at the Shuttleworth Collection.

I had planned to be there by 1100, but was about half an hour late, by which time I’d had a phone call from Theo, and I found him and Chil sat in the cafe tapping their watches.

We set to immediately to get her rigged and signed up for flight, and after a short lunch break we rolled her out onto the grass to carry out a short engine run to assess the security of the cowling which has at some point come into brief contact with the rocker gear on the engine.

The engine run went fine, and neither hand pressure with the engine off nor the stress of running at full power appeared to move it at all, so we decided to fly her as the weather was starting to improve, and I’d been complaining for a couple of weeks that I’d had no chance all year to make a pleasure flight.

The 20 minute flight was, as always, delightful, and I tried steep turns in both directions to see if I could co-ordinate them better. I couldn’t, and came to the conclusion that precession wasn’t a major factor in the whole business, and that the twitchiness of the rudder was actually the major culprit, and I simply needed to feel the seat of my pants a bit more carefully.

I also did a couple of vols plané – glides with the engine shut down – and timed them at around 850ft/min – which is very comparable to the 700ft/min I get from my Escapade microlight, with the engine ticking over, and therefore providing some residual thrust.

I also tried a timed climb, and the result – about 650ft/min at between 45-50kt – was somewhat less than I was expecting. But I have a feeling that we might actually do better going a bit faster, and next time I’m going to see if I can get some figures at different speeds.

The landing wasn’t the smoothest, but it was a westerly which creates quite a bit of turbulence over the trees of the Swiss Garden and the hangars, and I managed to get her down in one piece, which is the important thing!

So she is now sat in No. 1 hangar with her WWI contemporaries, looking thoroughly at home, and I’m hoping we can get her back in the air once or twice more before the end of November.

Since Thursday morning I’ve driven 530 miles, over 400 of which were towing the trailer at about 16mpg. No wonder flying is considered so expensive!

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