50 hours engine up

Flew the other evening and after some more fun, but weak attempts, at stall turns.. evidenced by the go pro footage review … I have reached the 50 hours of engine run.

Landed back and drained the hot oil into an old baking tray I found in the back of the hanger .. it was large and flat enough that I could get a good look at the oil and see that no foreign objects were in and also that, after all this time it had finally started to blacken … my previous early changes at around 5 and 10 hours showed it almost clear. So I have been working the engine .. which Jabiru recommend .. they say not to ‘nurse’ it and also not to leave it at a set RPM for long periods .. no chance of that 😉

Oil drained and eventually managed to get the old filter off .. thanks Graham for the loan of the thinner metal filter grabber vs my bike chain one .. which simply won’t get between the filter and the cylinder head fins which protrude just too much downwards to allow space.

Next will be the distributor caps, rotor arms and all 8 spark plugs. I checked the plugs around 4 hours ago and they all had the good healthy brownish tinge to them showing they were burning well.

I also plan to

– Remove all wing inspection panels

– This will let me check the aileron belcranks, clean and grease them

– I added numerous clip in access discs during the covering (small alloy disc – around 5” dia) .. will pop these out so that I can see all the turnbuckles and wire securing etc

– I grease the wing bolt/pegs regularly but have made a new one up as one of the alloy arms has bent over time with my man handling

– I have a new screen to put in P2 up front following the lady exiting problem ..

– I also aim to put a hoist under the engine and lift the weight off the undercarriage to I can remove the wheels and clean and re grease the brakes .. these got quite mucky last time .. partly as one was over tightened and rubbing but partly cos that’s how they work !

– Good clean up of the tailwheel which, of course, picks up all and sundry and then re grease.

– I’m also planning to get her trestles up and re check the wing alignment ,. Not because I think anything has moved but because it’s a relatively quick and easy check to ensure all is well.

– I have a landing wire to make up as one was just on the edge of its turnbuckle adjustment and so is minutely slack compared to all the others

– P1 panel has a quick removable centre section that holds all the primary (doesn’t have many !) instruments .. I hadn’t left this just clecod in as it takes about 3 seconds to gain full access to the rear of the panel. Now things have settled I can rivnut where the clecos are and then have proper stainless Allen bolts securing .. still will only take about a minute or so to gain access but will look neater

– Then a general hoover out .. amazing how much dust and grubs find their way into the bottom of the inside

– Following a problem with the Fuel filler cap – most prob user error, I’m going to put a retaining chain so that it stays close when filling .. the temptation to put it down somewhere else is too great

– The new (Big Tundra style) tyres are wearing really well .. miles better than the first ones which I guess had age hardened over the 4 hot and cold years build in the barn .. will give these a good check over but very pleased with how they are behaving on the hard runway

Aileron bellcranks .. cleaned and checked for tightness and then freshly greased .. also hoovered our grubs and  dust that had collected over the previous 9 months

You can see how grubby it gets under the plates .. so good chance to clean it all up

Top bolts checked as well .. and checked turnbuckle security

Pre label both ends of the cables at plug and distributor cap … yes, I know .. Port and Starboard .. but good old ‘L’ and ‘R’ never hurt anyone 😊

Reminds me of the old David Gunson after dinner speech recording … “I get in the plane and pull on my leather gloves with an L and R on the back … I don’t need this information .. it just prevents me asking stupid questions later “ 😊

Natty little cheek saddle brackets hold each side of the distributor cap down

Old and new rotor arms … classic pitting but oh so small compared to my old MGB Roadster

Cap pints were immaculate .. but change anyway 😉

Second cap however … showed signs of light dusting ..  looked like it could have been powdered rust .. but not much at all … on removing the rotor arm I could see the same just under the arm. After a brief a message with PHS we felt it worth checking the Service Bulletins as these may shed light .. I know there was one earlier for Defective Jabiru rotor arms but this looks like it may be the drive shaft may be ‘dry’

Will investigate online

(Later update .. got email from Gary C and it looks like it might simply be excess glue used hold the arm in place..very stiff pushing the new one back on so all good)

– The she definitely needs a wash again

Master switch

I have had a niggling problem with the master switch which very occasionally seems to lose connectivity but, using the standby bypass works fine if this ever happens airborne.

I had ordered a nice new quality switch from LAS and, last Sunday, when it was F7 forecast and generally rubbish outside set about removing the old one .. investigating it and it’s connections and putting the new one in place , re using the red cover flap.

It turned out to be a really easy fix and the old switch which I def feel was suspect felt nothing like the quality positivity of the new switch … you do pay more for anything aviation but you can soon feel the difference.

Took about 30mins to replace and test

Now I look at these photos quite critically and I MUST get the rivnut gun out and replace those cleco panel insets with nice stainless blind Allen bolts ! 50 hour is up in 2 more engine hours so a list will be added to 😉

Been a bit quiet .. but busy

Its been a while since I posted as it’s been so busy at work and life’s in general ..

My mounting commitments, offering ‘that different raffle prize’ has kept me busy trying to plan various hops around the island in PA28s butlast week I did my first 2 separate sessions in the Sherwood .. all for good causes.

The first was a lady who just loved the sheer volume of fresh air and turn rates … and it taught me that I need to  have a good aircraft exit sequence for when we land. We had flown along the South of the island for around 20 mins and headed back in to land. Squeezed in ahead of a landing FlyBe Embraer jet I was asked to keep the speed up .. interesting challenge in a slow biplane …

Challenge dutifully accepted we did a lovely curving fast approach and a slightly springy arrival .. but all great fun in the setting sun.

On shutdown and exit all was going well with the standard Sherwood exit manoeuvre when I advised on the supporting your body weight as you ease ‘up and out’ at which point there was a slight involuntary move of the head forwards .. dead centre of the small wrap around front screen … CRACK … split about 8” down the middle ;((

I messaged Paul at TLAC before the engine was even cool and it’s in the post ! Handy anyway as I had cleaned the front screen with some non standard liquid months before and the edge had crazed … so good to replace .. should only take about 40mins .. need tweezers to hold the minute nylons whilst tightening the small stainless Allen bolts.

I had another flight planned for two days later so made up a small alloy support flange and two clecos had it firmly in place am not looking to dissimilar to a Spitfire rear view mirror mount !


Blog posts

Hello all .. I seem to have a few viewers and I’d be really keen for any feedback .. good, bad, indifferent to help me steer what sort of content people would like to see … happy to carry on rambling but feel free to let me know ..


Just on holiday and drafting a story for Pilot magazine about the build .. got some nice air to air shots planned for those summer days ahead for the story 😎

Permit renewal coming up

So checked with my local friendly Chief Engineer , Bob …

The repeat form looks fairly straightforward …

Well .. the form is … it was a problem with the ‘part’ holding the pen !

Having sent the form off duly signed up I got a nice email from the LAA engineering advising that I hadn’t quite completed it correctly … on re checking I had managed to take the figures from the empty weighing page on the LAA Weight and Balance workbook instead of the page that brings all that together with the variable weight elements .. ie fuel, me, pax, etc  !

As I was about to get on the boat for a rare holiday I thought this would be a painful delay as I would only have 1 week to complete in return before the permit ran out … and .. on checking the form it is easier to keep it IN permit than let it expire …

Anyway .. Jerry (Parr) from LAA engineering acknowledged my apologies for being a dummy and entering the incorrect figures (advised an apology wasn’t necessary .. which was nice touch) and accepted my correct figures via email

Got an email back that afternoon advising it should all go through later that day

Many thanks LAA .. very efficient service




GDPR …Data Protection stuff

WordPress have just kindly offered me the ability to set my default settings for GDPR

I do have a number of posts that have people either shown or named or both and it was all part of the general fun and sharing of the entire build. Now it all starts to look very serious ….

So .. my general override is that any picture blog words notes etc are there in good faith and not to be used for any devious or underhand reason .. but happy to remove if anyone  is worried 😟

Now that said .. here is a little story about the utte stupidity that this law has engendered …. so .. there we were .. flying back from a sunny Luxembourg in a very old but solid PA28 … the bad weather everywhere West of Paris was set to clear around 13:00 local and we were set to arrive around 14:00 local … weather didn’t clear and in fact stayed pretty much until around 18:30 local …

Anyway after a divert to Beauvais on the way .. wait 2 hours and then a second divert on the next leg to Alderney because Guernsey dropped about 30 miles before we got to it .. we were standing in the small check in building on Alderneys small airport filling in the gendec

For those who haven’t visited Guernsey or Alderney .. they still use carbonised gendecs that you fill in by hand … have done for years so I can fill them in almost blindfold now.

I filled it in with the duty fireman telling me the landing was free (thank you local Jersey resident Charles Strasser for arranging that at 90% of UK airfields … to save diverting pilots worrying about cost of landing when making a divert decision …such a sensible and Very English arrangement) .. Beauvais will charge me 😉

Anyway .. gendec duly completed I handed it to the very friendly chap … he held his hands up and said I can’t see or touch it …. WTF …. I said to him .. don’t tell me it’s GDPR .. and yes, it sure was … what an utter load of Bxxxxxxx !!!!

So yes, .. the pilot has to tear off the top page fold it and put it in a secure box … And effectively it is not checked until someone comes and opens that box at the end of the day

Not unsurprisingly Guernsey and I guess Alderney are getting badly completed forms .. I guess I could have put D Duck and M Mouse had arrived from Botswana in a Boeing 777 and declared yes we did have goods and yes they were semi automatic …. the world has gone mad .. I for one would be more than happy that arriving at a non local field I am checked .. for the good of ALL

France wouldn’t put up with this crap … every airfield in France you are met by minimum 2 sometimes more, gendarmes .. armed to the teeth … and checked and smile and wave .. they are generally friendly … Beauvais had around 20armed troops patrolling the airport .. perhaps .. given the numbers of people traveling through that place and to a massive range of European cities it’s seen as a far greater threat …

The world we now live in …

Evening flying

So Will .. no 2 son .. had been saying it would be nice to get out and do some evening flying when the sun was going down …

Eventually .. one evening .. we had the chance to get her pulled out and ready just after 20:00 and the sun was just starting to head to the horizon and drop into the beautifully flat sea

We called up for pre taxi clearance and asked for a bad weather circuit first .. to try to get one squeezed in before the sun dipped … Jersey ATC are really really helpful and will bend over backwards to try to get me into a nice close bad weather circuit if they can .. if it doesn’t work out I always make it clear that I will happily pull away and or it or simply go out and wide into a normal circuit.. the mutual acceptance works so well and they understand the speed and manaouveability of the Sherwood well now so slotting in and around and in front and behind of much bigger faster jet or turbo traffic is really very neat.

The first bad weather circuit .. on go pro .. gave me one of my nicest stills fro it with the banking turn that Will performed caught beautifully against the setting sun.

The whole movie footage shows the Sherwood lines really nicely as the sun catches the various angles and tips ..

Film footage here


100th landing up !

A nice landmark … 100th landing came up

A cloudy bleak looking day with low broken cloud …

Jersey ATC were stupendously helpful and tried their best to slot me in between a busy Saturday lunchtime sequence of arrivals and departures .. quite a few A320 Airbuses and wake turbulence avoiding

I did get a ‘Land and Stop’ request … which, to be honest, is not something I had heard before ! … so, on short final I asked if they wanted me back to the threshold and was advised no .. clearer touch and go …

I chatted with someone after this and we realised that ATC were making sure I had good timing separation from the preceding jet … I hadn’t realised I would have been inside the 3 minute departure window .. so could have landed, taken off and then flown into a whole load of wash at around 300’ … Good call tower !

(Land and stop would have been simply land and wait on the runway for the vortex to clear and then full power)

Some nice tight circuits and close bad weather circuits meant I could squeeze in a few every Few minutes

Nearly lost another cap by looking sideways and then leaning back in the banked turn and the peak just clipped the slipstream ! .. managed to arrive next to me inside the aircraft !


Photo from a friend on the ground

A colleague at work (David Buesnel) said he had seen me flying the other day and had taken some photos from the ground at one of the turning points in the standard right hand circuit off runway 08 .. Noirmont

At this point you can do some nice banked turns to turn onto downwind ..

Looks like it has retracts ! .. also looks like I am just unwinding the right turn with the ailerons indicating a left turn initiated …

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