Strip flying in and out

So … learnings from the flight from glorious titled Little Snoring and back over last couple of days…

  • Boy you get used to caring helpful ATC staff and feel a bit lost without them when taxying around for take off in small grass strips
  • Small remote strips have more wildlife on them than the local zoo !
  • Lifting off into what are basically huge playgrounds for C130, Stratotankers , F15, Ospreys, Apache etc keeps you on your toes
  • Done about 5 MATZ Penetrations in 48 hours vs 2 in the last 30 years
  • Farnborough N extends a good way up Norfolk and are a good option when Benson have locked the door and gone home and you are asking for a direct through their overhead … which you can’t have as the ATZ stays active EVEN when they are closed due to helimeds
  • Equally … if you are a little low and IOW is blocking your comms to Southampton .. Bournemouth are great at pre empting and SAM overhead transit
  • SkyDemon is just and always will be the BEST especially when you are going new routes
  • Lakenheath are super laid back and helpful but really after 1700 on a Friday .. clearly burger night is calling 😊
  • Lakenheath can give you MATZ pen through themselves and Mildenhall … but don’t assume that covers Marham … which I did … then thought 5 miles out I would just check …. and yep it doesn’t cover them but Marham was closed anyway
  • SkyDemon gives you a hugely long straight in fan for my little hare covered strip …
  • Do all your blind calls when approaching your quiet home strip … just on touchdown a beautiful big bright blue air balloon lifted off
  • Taxi back around the hares, pheasants, and seagulls 😉
  • So so so much fun
  • oh … then on the drive home …. Shxt …. no ATC to auto close the flight plan.. literally NO ONE knows u have landed … well apart from some wildlife and ballon man …. call Jersey ATC and lovely chat with Jo who kindly did it for me … Note to self … close with Norwich before touchdown next time

Always stuff to add to your skills …

Safe flying all …. and anyone up this way .. please feel free to get in touch ❤️

BIG distance to unload 😀
Usual Brown ‘small’ load

Little Snoring – First UK flight since move May 2021

Through the great help of Paul Hendry Smith of TLAC and the kind permission of Rob Hunter I am now able to use G-SOOT .. a PA28-180 for the wonderful Little Snoring

Today was the first flight in ‘OT to familiarise with both the aircraft and the local area

Exploring towards the Wash and the North Norfolk coast … avoiding the numerous bird sanctuary’s

And back to a few practice circuits … seagulls … a pheasant .. and even a Hare … great countryside 😊

Presentation at the girls convent school

As part of the STEM .. Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics studies and to help discuss their studies around entering a technology competition I was invited to present to orotund 100 youngsters at the local girls convent.

My usual slide presentation, given to various older groups was edited down … partly to make it shorter … re attention span and partly to make it more interesting for young children … oh .. to remove the photo of my finger top chopped during assembly of the tail and blood everywhere !

we had 2 classes of COVID spaced children .. 50 each group … and around 30 mins of slides and chat and then 15 mins of airborne video turning tight circles low over Elizabeth Castle before heading back to the runway for landing

What a lot of really interesting and eager questions there were … such a pleasure

Post 100 hour flight test

After the work on the engine flywheel it was good to get it all put back together and start at FIRST press of the button

Then directly overhead the airfield to 2000′ (nearly !) For safe engine check at all rev settings including stalling

Nearly there …

Last few bits of the 100 hour …

New set of plugs put in for the 100 hour
Pre tap to get rid of old solid Loctite

Had a slight problem with 1” bolts vs 1 1/4” bolts …but all out now and new 1 1/4” in place with Nordloc washers and torqued up to 30nm initially

Letting his nestle for a few hours and will then torque up to 39nm

Then plan a ground test run up to 2,300rpm then fill up and a flight overhead the airfield to get comfortable that all is settled and solid

Polish up a bit ..

Been a few weeks offline awaiting the bolts for the flywheel … so good time to get some of the grime off from winter flying and smoke oil sessions …

Screens coming up nicely with proper screen polish

Rear battery replacement

The front battery had gone flat during a prolonged gap in lockdown so decided to replace BOTH as, for £100… it’s not worth the hassle of them going down on you when you least expect it ..

Front was done a few weeks ago … rear needs either a bigger opening or cut open again …

Having cut on a joint … it was still a bit of a fiddle to get the battery bolts to pick up … classic short bolts .. and, if you pop another ring on … then it becomes an art to push a flat screwdriver under the nut … and lift it just enough to help the thread bite ..

I have a direct negative feed from the Trig radio … which I had forgotten about … and also have a charger adaptor wired so it’s easier to just pop the access plate off and put it on charge.

I’d forgotten the direct earth lead that Trig recommend …. just wondering if this could be that niggly noise on the radio … let’s see at next engine run 😊

UPDATE … yes … it was … the original earth from Trig unit all the way to the rear battery negative post …had a bad (single) crimp .. so allowed movement .. recrimped and next flight really clear … just need to sort wind noise,squelch for optimum pilot, pax chat now

Oratex is just awesome … cut on the joint … glued overlap edges .. and got the pinking shears out after 4 years of not using them .. then heat gun and iron to tighten it back up

… and yes … i did clear out all the dead flies and cobwebs before I sealed her back up for another 4 years

Cloud playing – Heart over Field – Nov 20

Before I lose the pictures I wanted to capture them in the blog

I took off towards the end of the day with a tank of smoke oil and some still air … so thought it would be good to try some heart shapes over the field.

Getting a decent shape is def going to take some practice but I think I have now worked out the method in a slow draggy biplane …. you start at the top and make the first turn … normal part of a circle then widen it out to make the elongated bit towards the bottom end of the heart … then smoke off …

The trick is to then turn your head AND the ‘plane as quickly as you can .. tricky when you are strapped in 4 ways … to get the aircraft back to the start point … before the smoke dissipates …

The video below picks up the start of the ‘2nd half’ …once you get to where you THINK you started its smoke on and bank the other way to complete a matched half

My friend Pam just happened to be in St Ouens bay car park with her kids when she saw it and kindly videoed.

Thanks to Pam for this awesome footage

The lights was rapidly beginning to fade but the flying was great …. I don’t have lights fitted but have pre run wires in the wings for strobes should I want them ever. The panel lights looked great but really emphasised that it wouldn’t be long before technically it was night !

I asked for my ‘usual’ last bad weather close turn circuit to land and it was at this point that a local photographer was apparently down on the coast just nicely lining up his camera for the large shot of the moon with trees just in the foreground. Then this little yellow thing buzzed through his shot on a close circuit !

Amazing luck to get the shot and great that someone s passed him my details so that he kindly sent it to me.

New battery,s – 4 years in

Four years on … and I noticed the starter was a little sluggish after a month of idleness … this could simply be the battery needs charging but, give they are basically motorcycle batteries and 4 years stuck outside cranking a 2,200cc engine every so often .. it’s not worth the hassle .. which I sort of live with when a bike battery starts to go dickie …

The replacement battery comes in a 5.3kg

I replaced the front one in about 30 mins … you have to be a bit athletic as it involves head first into the front cockpit for about 15 mins .. undoing and separating cables ..,then undoing the clamped securing belt …

Just bought the new rear one today and … will either cut away the Oratex at a joint overlap .. as per last time … or.. as Lars from Oratex ..if I can put a larger access panel ..bigger than the standard O rings … or a zip … of just a removable panel

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