Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Bath time, armed (and dangerous?)

After some considerable time, the ladies I felt needed a bath -and what better time to do it than in this Indian Summer that we seem to be enjoying here in Marlborough! So out of the hangar they came (accompanied by the rest of the aircraft resplendent in her new official rego letters) for a bath in cold water. I didn't have time to find a goat to milk nor a heater, so cold it was.

Having done that it was time to mount the Lewis gun which proved once again a saying I had from my work time: "Nothing is ever as easy as you first thin."  I thought I had lined up all the holes correctly and that all the bolts would just slip in like -well, use your imagination, I'm sure you can come up with something appropriate. So, some couple of hours later with both audible and inaudible imprecations, it has all come together.  But I suspect it will have to be revisited (in fact, I'm sure of it!) in order to get it properly aligned. Well after the time I'd allotted for the exercise I left her to regain the shelter of the hangar and the tender mercies of Jay and whoever he can inveigle into getting her airworthy.
 
Here's to the next episode. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The paperwork has started!

We are now the proud owners of the reserved registration letters ZK-XVI.  I'm sure you can all work out the reason for that particular combination!  So we have two years to complete the aircraft and get it officially registered.
 
Still a bit more work to do, of course, but Jay (and his team?) will no doubt get round to it in that timeframe...
 
I must say that this is starting to get a bit exciting now that we are getting that close and we'll be able to find out just how successful we were in its build.
 
Here's to the next phase!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Boo Hoo!

My training on the Cub has come to a sudden halt. Nothing to do with me I hasten to add! At our (MAC) recent 'Healthy Bastards' flying competition, someone borrowed the Cub for the Short Take Off and Landing competition. It appears he got a bit overenthusiastic in the Landing bit, braked too hard and put the aircraft on its nose. So, it needs a new prop and engine but how long this will take no-one yet knows.  Meantime the aeroclub is hunting around for a temporary replacement since that was the only taildragger on the books. Bummer!

However next month (March) I have to do some flying on the Dynamic to maintain my microlight licence so the birds can't relax just yet!

And the paperwork for the Nieuport has started: I have just paid for the reservation of the rego ZK-XVI (valid for 2 years); it should be flying well within that period (I hope!). No guesses needed for why I chose those letters.....

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

One small step...

My, how time flies! I see it's some time since I last posted anything -let's put that down to the holiday season and a few other things.  Like our main wing man went down with severe back pain and has been 'hors de combat' ever since. In fact so bad that he has had to pull out of the completion of the project.  All is not lost, however, as the aircraft has been moved to JEM Aviation's main hangar for completion.  I'm hoping for this Southern summer but will have to see, of course.
 
Meantime I'm working on completing the Lewis gun fitting for the top wing. As well as giving my CFI a work-out for his heart as we continue to strive to reach the required standards in the Piper Cub. I'm somewhat proud to say that progress is in fact being made! So his heart rate doesn't have to suffer quite so much as it did during my first attempts.
 
And, of course, I have to get down to the question of the paperwork; it seems it's not as onerous as I first feared (according to our Sports Aviation people).  I just have to register our preferred registration letters with the Civil Aviation Authority and the Sports people take over from there. So, onward and upward!
 

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!