bertie's blog
bertie's blog
Age: 46
Home: Bournemouth
Occupation: pilot
Blog Description
A successful 2007 Rally! Flying in France again.
My Aircraft...
Description: Luscombe Silvaire, 8E, Nov 1946. Silver/Blue.
Location: Near Compton Abbas, North Dorset, UK.
last days
September 2008
April 2008
August 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
February 2007
January 2007
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
Flying Moments...
First solo in Hong Kong.
First visual approach in a 757.
First display.
Managing to attract 28 Luscombes to the first ever Luscombe Rally!
Too many to mention!
Additional Information


Tuesday, 30 September 2008
It's been far too long since since I've blogged but this summer has seen the lowest number of flying hours I've ever accumilated on Brug. Only 40 hours this year! I've fallen into the trap of allowing the general apathay that is about and this has been generated by high fuel prices also.

Having said that, the Luscombe and Friends Tour went well in May with some hairy moments regarding overweight Luscombes {and others!} in unusualy humid conditions...This is well covered in many magazines and on the website with some 'interesting' comments which I will take on board for next year's Tour.
We had so many a/c that we needed to operate in three groups with myself leading the first {and all} to their next stop. Too succesful!?? It really brought all of us together over the weekend, espeacialy over the evening 'do' at Sywell, expecting 30 people, ended up with 45 for dinner! The press covered this well.

The Rally was a washout and broke my heart. It just summed up the Summer we've had but the 'boys' showed great perseverance and determination and a lot drove up for the night resulting in a great night but looking across at the half dozen Luscombes sat in the rain! Well done to them and to the team for making it a great success! I can't wait for next years Rally as the weather will be perfect!!??

I've noticed my own skills becoming more rusty, with the cosequence of just potering around, so 3 days ago, in stunning weather,{??!!} I put myself under pressure to 'shape up' and flew Brug as I've always done, hard and fairly low with low level navigation, in and around the trees, a practice display or two and some severe strip flying combined with engine failures down to 2 feet. After an hour I felt back to normal with slightly shaking hands and a big grin on my face whilst driving home. On reflection I took the usual calculated risks with her and myself but felt always at peace with each other. I contributed to an article for GO-FLYING recently regarding this but when I read about this style of flying and out is a poor substitution for the real thing. My ambition is to film from the inside and out, with the intention of putting this across to pilots and media from the Luscombe and my own perspective. The strip flying would, I belieive, be quite an eye opener. There are so many articles about strip flying I feel there is little I can add. It's more of a demonstration/ hands on style of instruction with little room for error and this must be one of the most exillarating forms of flying we have today. When asked what is it that I like about the strip flying programme,{certain cliches come to mind!} it's the very nature of 'hands on, mark one eye ball, seat of your pants flying, maintaining spatial awareness, keep looking outside that window and feel the a/c around that "circuit", and turn that bloody radio off - you need as little distraction as possible!' You have to adapt to the changing scenario around you and topography can be a real challenge, so conventional circuits as one may operate at grass airfields, such as Old Sarum, Popham and Compton Abbas can be thrown away{thank God!} with this style of flying.. That sort of sums it all up, oh and know your aeroplane too! {there is a lot more that can be said about this subjuct along with poor weather Nav..}

I mustn't let my style and standard slip if we are both to servive.... Now poor weather flying - that's a great challenge and I love it! But one must be up to speed on that too. This is where my colleagues and myself, will have to practice more often if we are to beat these increasingly poor Summers, or our own standards and enthusiasm will suffer with potential safety implications..

I can't wait to fly Brug and the Cessna 195 again soon! Safe and fun flying all!

Nige posted @ 08:34 - Link - comments
Sunday, 20 April 2008
Brug has been unwell, misfiring and poping around the slow running RPM. After sevral hours with engineering speacialists, the carb was fully overhauled. It then ran fine after fitting it 2 days ago.. I set off today in foul weather to Turweston but ended up at Bister due to weather. Had lunch with a close friend but keeping an eye on the weather... Fired up Brug and immeadiatly noticed the misfire again!! I set off and limped back to Ranston feeling utterly P'...sed off! Back to sqauare one... Could I have two tired Mags?

Not a good day, I describe the conditions!

Nige posted @ 19:35 - Link - comments
Sunday, 19 August 2007
The 2007 European luscombe Rally was a near miss regarding the weather! The Summer has been one of the worst I can remember and major contingincy plans were in force regarding the evening entertainment in case of rain.

However, the sun came out, 25 Luscombes, 20 visitors and 70 plus made it for the evening, which is a success! Achieving that 30 Luscombe figure in such lovely weather is exasperating!

I flew my Oaksey display routine, playing with the trees, which always goes down well!

I flew down to Quiberon to visit a friend and enjoy the jazz night at the flying club which was some of the best Jazz I've ever heard - stunning!! I was joined earlier by Steve, Dave and Keith and , along with Gaud, a local 'gal' we toured around the Isle on pushbikes and even braved the sea! This sort of distance, travelling in a Luscombe, is about ideal - 3 hours from Dorset to Brittany.

The weather on the way back was fine, until I passed abeam North of Dinard and then sat on instuments over the Cherbourg Bay, passing South of Jersey, for 40 minutes, to descend just before the coast line and land at Cherbourg. Keith and Steve had diverted into Lessay due weather.

The flight back to Compton Abbas was cavok across the sea - I could even see the white cliffs of the Needles, Isle of Wight from the French coast! Brug perfomed faultlessly..

Now we're back to poor weather again - very frustrating! Nige.
Nige posted @ 08:53 - Link - comments
Monday, 18 June 2007
Saturday Afternoon found me firing up all 7 cylinders of the 'Shakey' Jacobs Radiial, producing a little under 300 hp of this fascinating Cessna 195 B. model. This was it's first {and mine!} flight in 18 months and after clearing away the blue smoke I taxied out and onto Bournemouth's runway on a wing and a prayer! can't see anything ahead, as the the engine and Cowling are in the way.. the T/O was fine, with just me on board and 2 hours fuel I rose into the air within 200 mtrs in a 15 knot h'wind! I then flew up to Compton Abbas to check myself out in a 10 knot crosswind from the south, spicy! One can only judge the flair by looking out of the side windows and she wants to ground loop as soon as we touch down, a most difficult aeroplane to land, a challenge but a wonderful aeroplane all the same! Makes the Luscombe feel like a Pussey cat!!

The run and and break is fun; Run down the runway at 170 mph, pull up {2G's} turning climb to 1300', having started at 50' speed back to 85 miles an hour, drop the Flaps and continue the turn, sideslipping onto the runway, flairing bling again - great fun! But she will bite! Jack, a budding PPl, joined me and I flew down to Old Sarum to team up with Martin's Luscombe, 'NM'. Hard work in this 3000lb 5 seater, flying along side a Luscombe but we completed a formation flypast, nevertherless! Having dropped young Jack off back at C Abbas, I managed a lovely landing back at Bmth airport and went down to the Pub to celebrate! What a lucky lad I am!!

The next day found myself and Martin flying down to join Mike Cross, in his Luscombe, to visit Goodwood for their Vintage Classic Fly-in family event. We arrived in style, in formation and on landing we taxied off to enjoy what was one of the best fly-in's i have been to for a long time. The family's got up close to the aircraft and we proudly showed our Luscombes off to all, which attracted a great deal of interest. We were supplied food free of charge! The whole event was exremely well organised and being Father's Day, well attended. The Mustang, Decathalon,Enstrom and other's produced a wonderfull dislpay and your's truly will be hoping to display next year!! Martin and myself departed in style again and I landed back at Ranston, after completing a display at Compton Abbas, with a big grin on my face! What a lucky lad I am!
Nige posted @ 09:31 - Link - comments
Tuesday, 29 May 2007
Last Friday, after arriving at Compton Abbas and joined Mike Cross {G-BTCH} and Steve Martin {G-EITE} we then settled down, with cups of tea and cofee, to await a clearance of poor weather in France, the destination being Cherbourg, After a few hours things 'seemed' to be improving and we fired up our engines to find Steve's exhaust broken , so we bade him fairwell and Mike and myself set off to Cherbourg.

On arrival it was covered in fog {RVR 300 mtrs. } and had deteriorated as we'd crossed the Channel. I elected to wait, circling around the area with Mike attached to my tail. I spoke to Brest Radar checking the weather at Caen and it was fine but had no fuel! I then turned south, having received the weather for Dinard, which was ok, to find I'd lost Mike. However, I called him on the radio and told him to meet me at Lessay, which I wanted to look at as possible diversion! As we met up I spoke to Mike about plan C and we set off to Dinard but their weather closed in too { 2000mts, ovc @ 200' }, so turned for Avranches with Mike firmly glued to my tail! We arrived over head, just on the edge of the fog watching our fuel gauges and I cleared the sheep of the runway which were guite stubborn - guess they're used to aircraft.. Later we enjoyed a well earn't beer!

The next day was suuny and warm {typical} and with lots of fuel, we departed for St Bruiec for lunch but on arrival found the airfield to be a ghost town! So we set off for Quiberon and with ground speeds of up to 110 kts we arrived in style, with a run and break in formation, and enjoyed the rest of the day 'taking' in quiberon. the Hanger dance was great fun with a Pig roast and lots of fish food, Mike ate every ones!

The final day, pilots greeted us at Quiberon flying club, with worried expressions regarding the British weather and so we elected to get away early and sit at Dinard to refuel etc and asses the weather across the Channel. After two hours of P.....g about at Dinard, we set off for the south coast and 'enjoyed' [Single engine across water??] the flt at 2500' but descended rapildly due foul weather. Mike had split from me earlier as he was off to Popham. I was now down to 300' 10 miles from land looking for a way in, in heavy rain and on application of Carb heat, Brugs engine faltered which gained my full attention and so left it pulled out. At the same time I knew the cliffs of Durlston Head, Nr Swanage was due to appear shortly but the heavy rain made the view ahead difficult.{great way of cleaning your plane by the way!} I crawled pass the cliffs, around the hills of the Purbecks{which were in cloud] and battled my way up to Compton Abbas. Compton Abbas was very quiet, strangely enough, so I set off back South 3 miles away to Ranston Fm, my base, in thick rain and somewhat relieved, put Brug {bless her] to bed.Later, I recieved a phone call from Mike saying he was unable to make it past the Isle Wight and diverted to Bournemouth.

All in all, quite hard work but the visit to Quiberon was worth it! Brug performed beautifuly and I was espeacialy pleased with all the tailwinds we had across France - a great place to fly! I went up to Brug to check her over yesterday and was giong to clean her too but could'nt find a bug in sight, funny that....
Safe flying all! Nige.
Nige posted @ 08:02 - Link - comments
Wednesday, 02 May 2007
The Spring weather this year has been outstanding and as a result, I've grabbed every opportunity to take advantage of it!

I've been working hard on the creation of a North/South runway at Ranston with 70 Ton rollers to towing very speacial 'Gang' mowers and the runways are now some of the best grass examples in the country! Only suffered one cracked Rib and a few cuts!! The Luscombe now taxies around on 1100 rpm where before it was around 1500 rpm, consequently cutting down on Carbon Emissions {!!!}.. A greaser really can be enjoyed on this strip now- looks good too!

I've been quietly practicing my display with the addition of a 180, flat turn, yet to video it to gain an impression.

Met up with Mike Culver, editor in chief of the Continental Luscombe Assc and learnt a lot about the continued politics going on in the states regarding spare parts for Luscombes, we don't seem to suffer that over here, thank goodness! I flew close {Too close for Mike!??} formation with 'SA', flown by Kieth Old and were later jioned by Charlotte in G-NIGE, Luscombe 8E, all in glorious sunshine at Sandown on the Isle of Wight. We departed for Popham, in heavy haze, in a loose 'gaggle' {to the relief fo Mike} and enjoyed the additional company of Rats in Luscombe 8E, 'DJ'. All in all, great day, and confirmed to Mike Culver that the Brits are doing a great job! He owns a Luscombe 8E powered by 125 hp Continental. Must go well!

Of today to Oaksey Park to finalise details regarding the August Luscombe Rally, in glorious sunshine again and looking forward to this weekend as there's lots going on!!

Safe flying all, Nige.
Nige posted @ 07:38 - Link - comments
Monday, 09 April 2007
Yesterday found 6 Luscombes and one Piper Cub at Enstone in glorious sunshine, getting stuck into our BBQ! Easy flying and Brug was whistling along in those thermic updrafts, achieving a true 90 knots at 2250rpm.Later, I set off alone to visit the PFA Rally at Henstridge which had seen 180 odd visitors, including 3 Luscombes. OAT peaked at 19'C and England looked stunning from 1300', passing over long cues of traffic below, this is the way to travel!

I landed back at the strip, and smiled at just how smooth the runway is after myself and Martin's efforts! Organising the mowing gear next! Nige.
Nige posted @ 07:47 - Link - comments
Sunday, 01 April 2007
Spent 9 hours rolling the East/West runway,parking area, Taxi area and creating a new North/South runway at our strip in Dorset. I towed a 5.5 ton roller, which vibrated to produce 50 Tons, travelling at 2km/hr!!

This turned out to be a valuable day off well spent, as the results are breathtaking! The surface, somewhat 'Tuffty' and with loose stones, will slight undulations, is now smooth to the point of being able to push a Luscombe, full of fuel, with one hand over the grass! Must save on wear and tear too! Martin 'Christened' the North/South Runway, landed on the main East/West runway and commented on the huge improvement, we're all smiling now! Martin's keeping up the good work today, look forward to 'feeling' the results on my return next Friday! Alas, I'm off to a disruptive week of flying ahead, just as the weather is improving!!?

Look forward to the Enstone fly-in{one Keith created} next Easter Sunday and enjoying the 'New runway'! safe flying. Nige.
Nige posted @ 11:28 - Link - comments
Wednesday, 28 February 2007
Another nice day's flying! { Thats 3 days this year} Popped into Chilbolten to pick up paperwork regarding annual then onto the Wyllie valley near Warminster for the Inspectors final signing off- that strip is interesting as the down slope is about the same gradient as the luscombes glide angle! So took a 10 knot tailwind along with 15 knots across landing uphill, which made it quite interesting really. Blue skies and Skylarks were chirping, roll on summer! Brug humming well. Never flew above 5oo'!

Nige posted @ 10:33 - Link - comments
Thursday, 08 February 2007
I took off from the strip on a quiet calm sunny day - i was in shock!! No battling with the controls, sweat pouring from my forehead and even Brug sounded happier! witha big grin I completed my first dislpay practice and generaly enjoyed the view.

After landing, I prepared her for her Annual, always a nerve racking time in case they spot something that would send my wallet shivering! Oil /filter change, panels off etc.The next day four of us, including the engineer who has known Brug for 16 years set about examining and inspecting her. Maintainance was also the theme of the day. After 9 hours she was all back together with the engine running, warming up for the compression test, [78's all round - Millenium Cylinders] and a very proud grin on my face as the engineer pronounced her in very good 'Nick'. He's particularly keen on the spars, U/G, Fin attachment and tailwheel assembly. I also sprayed her with ACF50 internaly[every 2 years] and the engineer states that this Luscombe 8E is a very good example and is very spoilt! { I'm not married..}.

All in all, a good day and I'm all set for another year's fun I hope!

Nige posted @ 10:19 - Link - comments