The weather turned to rain
and wind as the effects of a former tropical storm, now a deep
low cyclone, affected the British Isles.
This has not been a very good year to fly in the UK.
We should not pine for days
gone by when there were many more enthusiastic people for what we
do... Now those are grey haired old men for the most part, and a
few grey haired women too who we knew in their youthful
We should get on with it until our final gasps.
The Aircoupe continues to
provide enjoyment to a lot of older people, with a couple of rare
younger ones too.
It hasn't sold yet, and I must consider what I do with it over the long deep dark winter ahead. I will offer it at a reduced price for two weeks, and see if there are any bites. But the Certificate of Airworthiness is the problem, it is supported by Univair who provide parts, and who have the Type Certificate.
I ordered a Nosegear Service Kit from Univair, the "Pending charge" showed on my credit card account but then disappeared. I have asked Univair about my order and they have not replied, so perhaps they can not support this aircraft after all?
There were three days of satisfactory weather to fly last week and so it was drive to Goodwood on Thursday and Friday to fly the Sherwood Ranger biplane with Mike, and on Saturday I flew the Aircoupe there to fly with Ginny. Both needed their 'One Hour With An Instructor' flights to revalidate their SEP ratings.
On Sunday I had a flight to
do in a Warrior at Shoreham, but the weather turned bad in the
morning with heavy rain and gusty winds... Back in Henfield for
some home cooked Thai food and enjoying a beer, the weather
turned unforecasted pleasant!
'Will try again tomorrow.
Radio troubles plague the
Ranger... The Icom portable radios work best with the short
rubber aerial attached, and so I think we need to look at the
airframe attached aerial connections. The short rubber covered
aerials do not seem to give enough range. I looked at another
Ranger which is based at Popham that has a properly fitted panel
mounted radio and a transponder! They have no trouble.
The new Icom radio of current design had to be replaced with an older model, and this worked well enough for us to fly.
After talking to the owners of the Popham Ranger, both of the Sherwood Rangers have turned out to be very very very expensive aeroplanes! I can think of many types that would be cheaper to build... I have a set of Hatz Biplane drawings if anyone wants a project.
Though slower than a BE2, you can get the effect of being in a WW1 spotter plane.
We flew the Ranger once on
the 14th and twice on the 15th. The rate of climb was better
using 60 mph than using 65 mph, with a bit over 3 minutes to
climb 1,000 feet (800' to 1,800') at 65 mph, and 2 minutes 50
seconds or so at 60 mph. Not the best rate of climb I've seen.
The glide is steep, with Mike questioning my high approach to runway 14... Even so power was required to overcome the sink on short final... That first approach and landing was greeted by the chap in the Tower saying "You made it".
Like landing on an aircraft carrier you need the airfield to move towards you, and this is difficult.
The Ranger is a very strong
aeroplane and very steady in the air at it's cruising speed of 65
mph, sometimes I saw 68 mph on the airspeed indicator!
Being in the back seat I received a lot of buffetting, especially when Mike was not flying straight with the ball in the middle.
Right rudder was needed all the time, even in a left turn where 'less right rudder' was required.
For the second flight I stuck a piece of bamboo split into a half circle to the port side of the rudder. This cured the excess right rudder requirement the ball was now in the middle during the cruise with feet off the rudder pedals.
I liken flying the Sherwood Ranger to flying the Forth Bridge, it's steady and strong.
On Sunday I took
Koko with me to fly the Aircoupe to Goodwood.
I climbed to 2,200 feet enroute, and just as we approached the South Downs I spotted an Aquila on my left at the same altitude and on a converging course. It's pilot probably did not see me, and Koko was surprised when I rolled the Aircoupe into left bank to pass safely behind the other aircraft.
On the ground I say "There's always one" as I approach a roundabout... There may be no traffic for miles around, but if you enter the roundabout without looking you will collide with another vehicle... Same in the air where, in millions of cubic feet of air, two aeroplanes can be so close to each other if one or both pilots are not looking!
Ginny was a former
Condor pilot who rented from me in the 1980's.
She even visited me in Canada where we flew a few different types. On her last morning in Vancouver we took a Beech Musketeer up over Mount Baker (10,800 feet) and down into Chilliwack for brunch.
Then it was back to Pitt Meadows, into the car, and over to the airport to catch her flight back to London. A proper use of time.
Once, when I was going to Vancouver from Gatwick, I went to the airport, checked in, and dropped my bags off. I still had two hours to wait, so I went back to Redhill with my brother, pulled the Super Cub out of the hangar, went for a quick flight, then drove back to Gatwick, and walked onto the plane...
Out of Goodwood I went for an hour and seven minutes airborne flight with Ginny... We did some airwork, and a Practice Forced Landing, and then a couple of circuits to complete three landings.
After tea and a
bit of cake at the flying club Koko and I flew straight back to
Popham with a tailwind from the south most of the way. At Popham
the wind was from the north, and so we landed on 03.
Even on windy days you can not rely on the direction you took off in as being the direction you force land in. Always check wind indications as you fly.
Back to mpaviation.com