LAA paperwork

Time to collate all the figures and complete the paperwork for the Light Aviation Authority (LAA)

The LAA provide a series of checklists and forms that you need to complete so got the main form off to them early last week

Their super efficient office got back to me pretty much same day to advise that I had forgotten to send the original test authorization certificate. In all the business of test flying I’d forgotten about that one BUT had made absolutely sure that my local LAA examiner (Bob Wright) had authorized the continued testing so all was good and just needed to complete the update on what had happened since last test cert was issued

I also needed to complete a new worksheet to cover those small changes since the last certificate was issued namely,

  • Increased oil cooler size
  • Additional battery added
  • New tailwheel

Forms duly done I checked the LAA office advice and they also require a completed Avionics checklist

This needed me to confirm that the Trig radio ( TY91) and Transponder (TT21) all operated to prescribed specification AND at a range of 20nm

Now,on an island 9 x 5 miles that’s quite tricky  and also trying to go out the LAA note on NOT operating more than 25 miles from your start base under testing …

This meant that a hope to Guernsey was the best way to do all this

Two flight plans were duly setup in SkyDemon using ZZZZ as the aircraft type and then using the ‘TYP/’ code to state it as a Sherwood Ranger.

The 21 miles to Guernsey that I have flown so so many times in a PA28 suddenly looked like a lot of water away !

Having spoken with the great team at Jersey Air Traffic I advised them it was a final radio test and could I have 2000′ and also switch frequency early .. they switched me from Jersey tower 119.45 to Guernsey Approach 128.65 almost on take off .. so test done !

Still well worth the trip over to the other island  though and great service from my friends in ASG over there

Nice touch as I taxied out for the return when the crash crew drove their land rover up alongside and jumped out to take a picture !

Endurance and VNE

Been a very busy Easter weekend 😀

Filled her up to the top and set off for the endurance test .. the wind was a cool breeze varying 12-14 and around 30 degrees off the 26 runway

Knowing how cold I got in the stall tests the other day I had my full ski gear on underneath.. long johns and top as well as a T shirt plus a fire retardant top I bought ..Same one Williams used for Bottas last year and then a jumper and then the flying suit !

Feeling a bit like Michelin man I clambered in .. some people pay a lot of money for gym membership .. I get in and out of this ‘plane in seconds exercising both legs, arms back full upper body .. and not a trainer in site 😀

The breeze made the tail lift in a nanosecond and airborne in 2 nanoseconds …

Up and away to the SE corner of Jersey and decided to re run the power climb tests .. the sea looked Caribbean (shame I hadn’t cleared the go pro down as the next 2 hours of wing over shots to show the island in all its glory were lost as the camera stopped before I actually started taxying ! Doh ! )

Climbed up to 3000 and then decided to throttle back and just ‘mooch’ I think is the word at around 2600 rpm and she just floats around and around almost losing no height at all

I then thought I could use the descent to check the VNE handling … so wound down a bit … told the tower my plans as I didn’t want them worrying me suddenly dropping off radar !   Then pushed gently forward … I eased the throttle back so as not to overspeed the prop

As usual .. first attempt .. I was too timid and she went down but nowhere near fast  enough .. the ground .. well sea .. loomed and at 800′ I abandoned it and elected to go back up and try again

Back up to 2000′ and pushed again .. it needed to feel more vertical and the classic view of the world filling the screen ! Lots of rocks and sea !! The speed wound up and she felt absolutely solid .. the Stampe used to whistle as it had solid aero shaped bracing wires and these used to ‘sing’ as you plummeted .. it’s not something that I particularly enjoy .. as you start thinking of those dinky little wing bolts and those bracing wires you made 2 sometimes 3 times .. until you were happy but THIS is the moment that you made and re made them for … this 10-15 seconds !

I eased out of the dive and the ‘plane felt a dream .. my EGT had gone haywire and I need to check with PHS why that might be .. one theory is that the mixture leaned on the dive ?I did get a face full of fuel on the initial pushover as the nearly full tank exited through the breather hole but had that happened once before and it’s no big deal as it stops as soon as you level out

I then proceeded around the island to crank up the 2 hours …so around and around I went.. the EGT eventually settled down and all other indications were fine

About an hour in the tower asked if I was wanting to come in from the NW corner for landing but advised another trip around was needed. SkyDemon says I did 86 miles .. ok a lot of it was straight up and straight down vs flat in line 😀

At the 90 min mark I couldn’t feel my toes as it was pretty cold so pulled my legs back in turn to flex them and get the blood moving !

Eventually I thought it might be prudent to get back into the circuit – even if not to land – as I don’t know the exact fuel burn yet

Did a go around and then as the 2 hours came up called for landing .. guess what .. you are number 5 to land ..

Its not often I have made the next call .. in fact never ! I didn’t actually call a fuel emergency but said that this was an endurance test .. it was now at the END of that test and pretty please could I NOT be 5th !

Tower were great and I got bumped up to no 2 and asked to follow the ATR in … i was zigzagging to make the 4 mile vortex spacing but stay as close as I could to the beach ..

Rolled onto final as the ATR vacated at the end and purred down the final approach .. tower kindly gave me two wind checks as the wind was now a steady 14 slightly off

Side slipped down hoping my toes would not behave like the blocks of ice that they felt and I could get her in wing down and hold off for the landing .. on checking I reckon I had 30 mins fuel lefT

Footnote – 24 hours later – got her fillled and she took 30 litres .. proving I had 10 left in the 40 litre tank .. so looks like endurance of2.5 hours although will probably normally do 1 hour stints then fuel up 😀

Stall tests

After a couple of quick tests at stalling I thought I would setup a proper session and remember to turn the go pro on this time !

The weather was pretty rubbish but I had a 2000′ base and then a solid bank of cloud above. There was also broken bits of cloud lower around the North of the island and boy was it cold !

Powered up to just below the cloud base faced her into wind and partly closed the throttle .. now I probably left a bit of power on .. it’s still relatively early days and closing the throttle so far offshore over so much sea doesn’t really appeal 😉 anyway … she just didn’t want to stall.. in the end the stick was so far back hat it reached the stop and then she just floated on with an indicated airspeed of about 40 then about 35 !

By then… with the associated Northerly breeze AND the fact that I had started from the South I was getting a bit close to the 08/26 centre line of Jersey’s runway so broke off for a retry

The second one I did cross wind so I would run out of space but decided to be a bit more ‘manly’ with the throttle .. down to around 900 this time … I keep forgetting that the Jabiru spring loading on the throttle wants to keep it open so you have to tickle it down but hold it down, against the ‘return’ spring

This one did remind me of the old Stampe days where, through 100’s of these you get to know the characteristics and ‘feel’ braver or I guess just more experienced in how to handle things

Pulling back positively she slowed much quicker and, although I could have taken a few more RPM off she slowed nice and steadily and then just bobbed the nose .. I almost didn’t notice it it was so benign !

I did a few more and, with a bit more breeze up there managed to get 2 of them to fractionally drop a wing … again not something you want to overly push over the sea but she is just so so gentle .. minute move of the aileron and push forward NOT in that order and all is restored.


To Regulate or not to regulate …

I lost the RPM signal a couple of flights ago and have been going through and through the wiring trying to locate what might have come loose or what continuity might have been lost but nothing seems obviously wrong !

I then went to test fly on Sunday and got as far as the threshold and then my Trig radio flashed up a very small warning saying ‘Warning – Low Voltage’ …. Now, I didn’t realise the Trig even had this feature but, as we had a very very busy circuit with the local spot landing competition in full flow – I though the last thing they want is me having a radio failure in the circuit … so abandoned the planned flight and went back to the hanger to investigate further.

On putting the rear battery on charge it sure did indicate it was down .. so then put 2 and 2 together and suspected that a failure in the RPM readout (which splits from the regulator feed) and no charge could only be the regulator …

Changed it to the spare I had – took about an hour as the lead adaptors in my wiring harness I had made to be handshake connectors for ease of removal .. the new one was car bullet type connectors.

Popped it in situ and test ran the engine … BINGO .. nice fat RPM reading and voltage now looks good but will monitor over next few weeks

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