Thursday, October 29, 2015

Sopwith Camel

NO!! This is not my next project, so you can rest easy and get your breath back.
I had often read that the famous Sopwith Camel was possibly responsible for killing as many Allied airmen as its opponents. Having now had three lessons on the Piper Cub taildragger I can now better appreciate what the writers were getting at!
Despite my CFI being kind enough to praise my efforts, there were occasions when things started to go a bit sideways and he had to take over control. And this on a rather mild type of aircraft. The Camel was a completely different kettle of fish, basically being like a modern fighter -completely unstable. And there was no dual cockpit trainer version either. So the pilot had to listen carefully to what he was told, memorise it and out it into action when required -if he could.
But the challenge is good and each lesson does see an improvement which is not something to be sneezed at. Here's to the next one!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Tail dragging

Image result for Marlborough Aero Club+ERB
No, this is not the Omaka airfield!
Had my first experience in the Cub since about 4 years ago - boy what a difference to the Dynamic and its conventional' undercarriage! Much slower (so there is more time to think about what you're doing -at least in the air...) but landing is much harder work.  My CFI congratulated me on managing to stay on the runway rather than careering off into the long grass, but have to say it's pretty hairy trying to keep a straight line.  I must consciously train my legs and feet to be a bit more mobile than they have been up to now!  Next lesson next week so will see how we progress on that.

Meantime Rex has managed to put his back out while shifting furniture for his house move so there could be a bit more time in the hangar than I was hoping for. Still, Rome wasn't built in a day -I wonder what the Romans would have thought if they'd been confronted by aircraft such as ours.  A basis for a fantasy novel, perhaps? 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

What's been happening over Winter?

Actually not a great deal. Basically it's been too bloody cold to do anything and now that Spring has sprung Rex is in the middle of downsizing houses. So not much can be done until that is completed.  Marty is manufacturing the bottom panel to take into account the air filter (which wasn't in the original plans).

However - I have been getting back into the saddle (OK, pilot's seat) and today I passed my BFR (Biannual Flight Review) so that I can now get my licence back.  Next step (in a couple of weeks) is to get some taildragger experience in preparation for the first flight.  I'll not give a date on that just in case someone above has a different idea....

Talking of Spring, the days are warming up even if the evenings aren't and we have a couple of wee lambs chomping through the paddocks with their mums.  Not ours but it does save me on petrol mowing them!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Make that a feather or three.....

Had my 3rd flight the other day and was told that the rust is starting to disappear.  Seems I'm getting to grips with the Dynamic rather than the other way round.....  But there's going to be about another 5 hours odd before I can get my licence back.  After that it'll be on to tail dragging.
Rex has started to deal with the flying and landing wires and I have yet to complete the engine cowling fixture.  I also have to source a turn & bank indicator that will be small enough to fit somewhere handy around the cockpit.  It looks like the back of the upper wing may be the only place left for it!
The weather has been somewhat cold lately which is a bit off-putting for doing any work in the hangar. I guess it's a time of hibernation for lots of creatures and the older you get the more inclined you are to follow suit. I cam across an article the other day referring to an elderly man of 72 -I'm two years older than that and don't feel elderly at all.  I wonder what criteria these people use to deem a person "elderly": it can't surely just be age, can it?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

I have wings!

Managed my first flight in 3 years this morning -in a Dynamic.  Just as well I had the CFI with me as it's a lot more complicated than the Tecnam since it has a constant speed prop which needs to be handled. I always thought that the words meant that the engine did all the controlling of the prop pitch but, no, it's the pilot that has to deal with it.  Met up with a Nanchang pilot at lunch who explained it to me in terms of a car and having to change gear which made things plainer -apart from the fat that there are infinite combinations of engine and pitch! But at least I get the idea now.  It's a slippery little beasty with almost too much power for its own good.  Rather glad that I didn't have to start off with from the very beginning!
So today was an introductory flight with the CFI congratulating me on my performance after a 3 year gap. I didn't have enough time to watch his face or body language as I was dong the circuits, which was probably just as well. So next week we'll hopefully start in earnest so that I can get my Microlight Licence back -and then start to think about tail-dragging....

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Nieuport Accessories

While we wait for Rex to return from OZ to finish the rigging I thought I'd tackle a couple of accessories: a mount for the Lewis Gun that I made some time ago and a 'truck' for the rear end to make it easier to manoeuvre in and out of the hangar.

 I'll be trying to copy the French Moreau mount -with some help from Ryan Southam in the welding department:

As for the rail wheel truck, I'll be seeing John Evans on that one as he made one for Graham's N11.  But I do have some of the parts which is a good start I guess.....

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The ladies on public view

Well, we managed to get everything sort of attached and looking pretty good for the Classic Fighters Airshow here at Omaka.  The ladies went to support Paul Chernikeeff on his ROTEC stand and received a great deal of attention.  No surprises there! Chris Boyce produced a great explanation of history behind our Nieuport 16 and its colour scheme.


Where to from here, though? As it's nicely assembled we'd like to get it weighed to make sure it comes under the microlight category. Then we need to do a bit of surgery - the very nice under panel aft of the firewall no longer fits now that we have installed an air filter! Words were said. After that it's a case of getting the correct hardware for attaching the panels to the under surfaces, having a test run of the engine, get a proper inspection performed and then face the paperwork. We still aim to have it flying this year but who can tell?  You will of course be kept informed.......