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Am I the only one who writes in these blogs?
Quick test - The Cessna 120 is a better and nicer looking airplane... Now if no one comments on that then I will know that no one reads these...
Spent the weekend tinkering, changed the mag switch, checked one spark plug (just to make sure), mucked around with tyre pressures and then I went to Enstone to test my tarmac landings - first one not good, second one great. So I went to Old Sarum to take my brother up as I figure that I will probably be safe enough not to wipe half the family out now...
So Monday I flew to Southampton for a meeting. Bnio looked a bit out of place on the huge concrete apron and I amost got in trouble on my return as I sauntered up to the security guards and said 'I need to get onto the ramp, how do I get past security?' Probably my appearance and my bags and approach was not conducive to normal treatment (luckily I did not say bomb, even though I always get the tremendous urge). But they were nice and saw the funny side of it.
So I now feel sort of comfortable with tarmac.
Nice quick flight last night. Flying back I thought those horses are weird, then I realised they were sheep - perhaps thats how you know when you are too low...
Used the microlight field again today. It is actually about 230-250 meters and only used about 2/3rds max today - quite satisfying as so far I have used strips that are 600 metres+ and Oxford where I learnt was something crazy like 1800.
Landed in the microlight field today - its about 250-280 meters. I measured it twice to make sure I could do it and compared that to my normal landing distances. With the southerly strong winds, this gave me a good margin and I used about 2/3 of the field. Bit of a scary moment though and had to make three approaches to get it right - but if I had overrun there are no crops in the adjacent field and no obstructions so would not have been a problem.
Landings are now spot-on which reminds me of a story I heard.
A friend of mine was working at Harwell as a builder and a friendly, but also cheeky relationship formed with the egghead scientists. One day they started talking about accuracy, when they turned to the builder and said 'well we work to so many thousandths of an inch - what do you work to?' The builder replied 'you would be no good in my game mate, we have to get it spot-on'.
Terrible, I have not flown for 4 days now and it feels like 4 months.
Not sure if anyone reads these blogs, bit self-indulgent writing my little bits in here, but helps clear my mind.
Anyway, lately I have been landing badly. I have only missed three weekends this year, so it is not currency, but bad habits. Last weekend it became too much when I had 2 bad landings (poor beany) one where I actually made about 4 touchdowns and felt like I had to apologise to everyone I saw... I thought that this weekend I would try to get back my control, so I sat down and had a good think.
My problem was that I had begun to come in high and fast again (seems to be a recurring theme - but at least me on a bad day is high and fast rather than low and slow). Then this combined with my other habit of gradually losing the discipline of looking down the far end of the runway in the flare, produces a nightmare of overcontrol and pilot (or plonker) induced oscilation (can't spell that, but you know what I mean). So I did a quick circuit where I planned my approach better, rather than my usual 'whoa, there's the airfield, dive quick' approach. I then maintained speed better as I have a tendancy to sideslip at 90 and approach at 80 then land at 70 - this time I actually flew the approach at 70 and could not determine the landing speed as I was so fixated on the far end of the runway rather than looking at instruments. The consequence was that I pulled a greaser - so I went to Enstone and did the same with people watching and received my first compliment - ever. The third was a bit of a drop, but okay aqnd the fourth was one of those where you hear the wheels spin up, but don't feel the touchdown.
So I guess the moral of the story is that my basic mentality is safe (high and fast), but that if I do not keep that habit in check, then it becomes bumpy and embarressing. The other moral is that to have fun, we do not want to be constantly under pressure to perform with 100% accuracy, however every so often (preferably before it gets bumpy) I need a reality check where I return to basics and rather than accept faults, try to iron them out. Finally I have now down Beany's other leg fairing extension, so I can now finally paint everything - which will be good especially as I am now beginning to get cheeky messages after departure from Enstone about the pyschodelic nature of my Spats.
Yesterday, I got to the Isle of Wight at last. Landed at Sandown and had a nice walk down the sea front to see where my Grandmother lived.
If you go to Sandown, then walk down to the sea front (cliff top), it is about 20 minutes max (they give out free maps at Sandown) and when you get to the cliff top there is a nice little cafe type place where a pot of tea is a pound and they have lots of cakes.
Awful landings both there and back at the strip, but then it was 10 knots plus straight across (I suspect it was much more as the 25knot windsock was at times almost straight). Trip back was lovely, went straight out over the sea and cruised back round Chichester. Looked to France as I went and got tempted to turn South... Soon. Quite fun being over the sea.
Another valuable lesson in aerodynamics and drag learned this weekend. You know how a girl with long hair in a convertible car will have her hair swepped forward as if you driving backwards very fast? It is to do with the drag and low pressure caused behing the windscreen and is the reason why lorries are very inefficient. Well I landed BNIO the other day and thought I would remove some weight before I took off again, so I stood behind the aircraft and remembering the adage of not pi**ing into the wind, I pointed downwind from the propwash and let go. Unfortunately the gusty wind and drag effect of my broad shoulders and impressive physic created the same low pressure area in front of me. At least I dried off quickly in the propwash.
I went to Popham at the weekend and there was loads of snow covering the hills. Got to Popham and slid around on the mud, then sideslipped her to the pumps (mud again). Now she is filthy and I am too lazy to clean her. My neighbour got to Popham, went down the slope to the pumps and slid for about 12 yards, he had to shut the engine down to avoid running into the fence.
Oh well, another weekend mission done - feel fat from the all-day breakfast. Still not gone to the IOW and still have not managed a nice landing at Popham (I always come away with a feeling of amateur stupidity).
Seriously considering an artifical horizon and one of those collision avoidance thingys - reason is simple, weather might fog me up one day and with the current panel I would be pretty much in the brown messy stuff, but with GPS and horizon I can at least get to somewhere like Brize and try to land properly. As for the collision, well it is a worry with our lack of windows etc. No point getting Mode S as it is in 80-90% of cases useless for collision avoidance (need to have ATC in attendance, be in contact with same ATC and other plane to also be in contact etc.).
Wished I could fly today with all the snow - 6 inches here of the stuff here (allthough some have been saying its 8 inches, could make a comment on that...).
At weekend I met a guy who taking pictures (he took the one on this page). So I offered him a ride (which was quick as I only had half an hour). He took some great pictures in infra red which I will put on here. But this got me to thinking: Every weekend I fly 2 or 3 times and most of the time have an empty seat beside me. Sometimes this is good as it lets me experience the raw power and performance of BNIO, as well as listen to music in a world of my own. But sometimes I think it would be nice to give somene else the chance to see what it is like from on high. So this got me to thinking about how we could form some kind of taster sessions for others. It may help bridge the gap between the Nimbys and ourselves and could offer some great memories for children.
Obviously the health safety freaks have destroyed much hope for our children, but aviation is ironically one area where the plethora of signs and responsibility need not enter the 'Risk Assessment' as insurance is there and money can not be accepted. Perhaps a waiver to the effect of 'don't sue me' would be needed, but how cool would it be to share our fun with others and possibly inspire some to fly or of course just do more than sit watching that tool of evil - Eastenders...
May approach a school or Blue Peter and see what happens.