Summer at last

The days go to 30 Centigrade under a blazing Sun, which means it's summer... But we are expecting another winter low this coming weekend with a few doses of rain.
Is it climate change that is forcing the Arctic Air Mass to lower latitudes such that the Jetstream is taking a very wavy path creating heat waves below its north loops, and winter style storms, monsoons perhaps, during its southern loops?

I have flown six times so far this month, four as passenger, more than many but wholly insufficient to maintain my own standard of proficiency.
Hopefully I will check out in a Super Cub in the next few days and then bring myself up to scratch again.
If I am unable to do this, maybe it's time to quit flying for a while as if I am not doing it to a high level of competence then I'd rather not do it at all.
Money of course is short, and I am wondering what I should be doing in life.

"Get a proper job" I've been told many times.

A friend of mine advised me that I could train to be a truck driver, there's a shortage!
I hate driving... I drove too much on Vancouver roads, a horrible experience even compared to driving in Bangkok. At least off the motorways it is mostly pleasant to drive here in England with many interesting things to see along the way. It's especially fun driving the MX-5 with the roof down.

I did the Class Rating Instructor rating, but so far this has not produced any business for me... Flights in the Auster could have been, but these were made during the time I was uncertain as to whether the CAA would issue the rating to me.
It's a bit like when I did the TEFL course in Thailand, how often have I used it? I use it a little now, writing English words using Thai script to help a friend to learn. She reads Thai better than Roman script, and I can write in Thai!

I have never been sure what I am supposed to be doing in this life, I fell into flying instructing naturally, but it never produced a proper return for me. What should I have done to produce a comfortable life for myself; one which attracted someone else to make the effort to be a companion perhaps?
Never mind, time goes fast when you're past retirement age, so make the best of it.

Flying with Geoffrey Pilgrim from Redhill, 3rd July

Geoffrey is a friend of a friend in Canada, he went to BCIT, and for a while he worked at Boundary Bay.
Now he is an engineer working at Heathrow. I took him for a flight in the Warrior from Redhill; 'can't do this too often as the aeroplane rental combined with a 25 landing fee really cuts into my funds.

For three days in July I had the responsibility to look after these three cats

Years ago we had a Christen inverted oil system fitted to the Decathlon.
To test it I rolled the aeroplane while looking at the oil pressure gauge, it didn't move, and I was happy.
The next modification was to fit a spin-on oil filter to replace the original gauze screen filter. I rolled the aeroplane again... This time the oil pressure dropped off, and only recovered into the low yellow arc when the aeroplane was inverted. I was not impressed.

I am so unimpressed I would not modify an aeroplane of mine from the original gauze screen to the paper spin-on filter. I never had any problem with O-200 engines making their time with the original screen filters, and fifty hour oil changes.
This spin-on filter mod proved to be unviable in the A65 engine. When the engine was hand started the oil pressure refused to rise and so the engine had to be shut down before any permanent damage was done.
The culprit appears to be a non-return flap built into the filter, there to prevent oil emptying the filter drum and thereby not feeding the engine bearings soon after engine start.
This non-return system is perhaps too strong for the oil pump to be able to pump the oil through on start, and so whereas the oil would be well filtered, the chances are the bearings would soon begin to "make metal"!
With the system returned to standard, the oil pressure returned to normal.
Not all good modifications are good for all engines.

Here's a good idea

It's been many years since I saw Rich Wald and that was in Vancouver... Before that I visited him and Alison in France, and before that we were partners in a Condor and a Slingsby at Goodwood.
He flew into Headcorn while John and I were there... Perhaps one day I'll get to fly his J3 Cub again.

Tiger Club

With the oil pressure restored, John took me for a flight over to Damyn's Hall which is the home of the last vestiges of the Tiger Club.
It is not the Tiger Club I was a member of in the 1970's and early 1980's though it has a couple of the aeroplanes we flew back then.
After decades of argument G ACDC (version # whatever!), has had anti spin strakes fitted. This Tiger Moth has been spun for more than seven decades without a problem. Since it does not have bomb racks fitted below its interplane struts, it has never needed anti spin strakes.

Once again as we flew across Kent and the Thames Estuary into Essex the cancerous plague of new housing estates blotted the landscape. For whom are these millions of new houses?
Can England sustain this huge population growth?


The plan was to do some Austering, but the reality was that Michael was unhappy about the dribble of fuel in the bttom of the tanks... This meant a trip to the petrol station to add enough fuel to go to Headcorn with a reasonable reserve. Time consuming.
Headcorn has Avgas 91 which is unleaded and so a lot healthier for most light aeroplane engines designed before the age of TEL.

Travels in Kent

Monday to Thursday I took on the huge responsibility to look after the pussy cats and water the garden in Dover.
During this time I went on day trips out.
First to Folkestone for essential Thai food, and onwards to the Romney, Hythe, and Dymchurch railway.
Next to Sandwich where I stopped for tea and a sandwich before continuing to Manston and its museum, and then to Margate for the sea side.
Finally I went to Hawkinge where there is a museum commemorating the Battle of Britain airfield now occupied by a housing estate. Unlike Manston, this museum does not allow photographs to be taken as criminals have used this to target their valuable collection.

Manston allows photography, Hawkinge does not.


I was not pleased with my flight in the Warrior, we flew in a little bit of a hurry straight after I had arrived. My performance was not optimal, but then I am not flying often like I used to.
The last flight in a Warrior from Redhill went well, with no problems and a nice smooth landing.
My landings in the Auster were all smooth, and likewise in the Cessna 185... Sometimes I am off my game, and in these strange Covid times we need to take our time.
In my mind were the noise sensitive areas, and woe betide if you get a complaint... The pilot is considered at fault. It's a distraction, and some UK airfields have a lot of areas to avoid when flying the circuit.
Nevertheless I can rent a Warrior from WLAC if and when one is available. It's a busy fleet.

Back to