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


Saturday, 21 October 2006
A good day from my friends point of view.

He is now back up to Luscombe speed at the strip! Only consistent problem encountered was the Trees on the approach which tended to result in a high and faster { 10mph } approach to 25, gobbling up precious runway. The circuit is over undulating ground, with an unecessarily high hedge just before the hedge, causing him to be around 10 feet higher than normal. However, with practice, this height should reduce, just be careful if you're heavy, with a slight tailwind, and its a hot and bumpy day-plus you're tired!

Once I was out of the aircraft, he found the Luscombe 8A an easy and absolute delight to fly- another happy Luscombe convert!! [ Was he saying I'm fat?... } Well done matey! Now keep practicing- er not circuits there though..

Off to Cuba.

Nige posted @ 08:02 - Link - comments
Friday, 20 October 2006
I awoke, yesterday, to a wet and windy morning, my first day off back in Blighty, typical! Today, I was to meet a friend in the avaiation world due east of my Strip that Brug is based on. He was driving and I was flying!

Later that morning, the rain was replaced by patchy blue sky but the wind still howled..

Having arrived at the strip and observed the wind sock, which remained horizontal, I considered the conditions; A gusty 20-30 knots from the SSE, runway alignment 25/07 again- typical!

I entered the hangar, hugged Brug and told her I'd missed her. { I know, that's sad.. } Reglardless of the conditions outside, I sensed she was up for it .

With the engine now warming up she rocked considerably in the gusty conditions and I thought about how to approach the challenge ahead. I noticed with some dismay, that my Pitot tube cover was blowning back and the ASI registered 30mph without moving, hmmm..

I decided to take advantage of the 5 mph headwind and elected to take off on 07 which, although was turbulent, proved uneventful. Rather than get caught out on my return, if conditions deteriorated. {the f'cast was of further rain later..} I decided to execute a couple of approaches onto either runway end. flying downwind to 07 and observing 30' of drift confirmed about 30 knots from the south, this will be interesting. Turbulence was moderate all the time, so I flew at 80mph to reduce loads. On turning onto finals, adding 5mph to improve roll control and maintaing a slightly highr profile it bacame apparent that turbulence had increased to severe in gusts. The ASI was fluctuating by as much as 20 mph and RPM was up and down by 300/400 to try and keep her stable. Having studied the topography when aloft it came as no surprise that the hangars were causing the trouble. At around 50' even with full aileron to control roll, the right wing was still lifting and only rudder could bring the wing down, thank goodness wev'e got some Dihedral! Once on the deck, the Luscombe has no problems {true consswinds reduce by a 1/3 generaly }. I took off and completed another approach with similar consequences and felt very uncomfortable and came to the conclusion that this was Brugs' absolute crosswind limit, determined by turbulence { generaly unpredictable conditions} resulting in a touch down point 50' in length! I then approached from the east onto 25 and accepted the 7 mph tailwind and, due to the absence of buildings, turbulence remained moderate and roll control improved but still unable to exactly pinpoint the touch down point, now down to 20' in distance, again Brug was a beauty on the ground. I then flew off to meet my mate for a cuppa and returned later in rain but much more at ease{ no surprises } to complete an unevenful landing on 25, still with winds of 20 knots or more. I gave her a huge hug, put her covers on and put her to bed. { and no, I didn't say goodnight.}

What did I learn? Well, this was first time I've flown her in strong SSE wind conditions at theis strip and now have adequate knowledge of all strong wind conditions around this strip. I'm fortunate that I know Brug well and relieved that I practice flying her in all conditions but I never stop learning! It seems to me,that, under these conditions to question whether the journey by air is necassary as the take off is always so much easier than the landing, it must be quite frightening to discover that the landing will be twice as difficult once you are in the air! One can't keep adding more and more speed to improve roll control, as you'll never land anywhere near the correct touchdown point. Don't be afraid to use lots of rudder to maintain control- essential.If roll control is still difficult to control near the ground, say below 50' {even using rudder } then go around- even if it entails a turn {unable to get the wing down}. Using the opposite end, is, with a tailwind, a common remedy to a safe landing. In hindsight the taxi way {check out the photo with the Luscombes, this shows the strip, hangars and Easterly approach well } which is about 200' long, in these conditions might have proved helpful but wasn't sure as to how much the smaller hanger and tree were blanking it, so I didn't. As it turned out it would of worked. The final option, would be to divert, although, unfortunately most airfields are east / west! Or even better and safer , find a large, dry field [Lots of them around } without Cows in it {and near a pub} and land into wind. Again I've learn't a lot, conditions do change from departure time to arrival time and I now know what the Luscombe and this strip can produce. The field option, not too far away, is well worth considering. Flying from on top of a hill, on a shortish strip which has steep rising terrain from the western end, is a challenge and conditions change quickly during the day. I passed on my experiences of yesterday to Martin [G-KENM} by phone, to pass onto the others at the strip, as this type of turbulence {highly unpredictable} from the SSE is some of the most violent I have ever experienced. Hope to Polish off my Auster/ Luscombe friend today, as it's a breeze compared to yesterday!

Keep those wings level!


Nige posted @ 08:05 - Link - comments
Monday, 16 October 2006
About 2 weeks ago, at the request of a luscombe chum of mine, I phoned another flying chum, an Auster pilot, to see when we could convert an Auster 'mind' to a Luscombe mind!

Basicaly he'd sold his Auster and brought a half share in a lovely 1940 8A and the owner asked me to get him up to speed on his Luscombe and on the strip it was based on.{ also the same strip as Brug is based on as it so happens}

He and I had done quite a bit of tailwheel work in the past, converting him on the Citabria and the Auster, so we've known each other for a long time and had struck up a good repore.

After a thorough brief comparing the Auster and the Luscombes' different characteristics, both on the ground and in the air and also knowing that he'd been well briefed by the owner regarding the starting procedure, fuel system and, importantly, the 'hot start' procedure, we set off into the air on a thermic and breezy day to a long grass strip which would be less demanding than the strip we'd taken off from. On the way we explored the 8As' stalling charactistics both in the turns, power off and, importantly, power on and discovered she would drop a wing only to the left but in a reasonably beinign fashion but, never the less, a relatively serious drop if one was on the approach with a sideslip nose right and left wing down close to ground.Recovery is instantaneous when releasing the controls.

His flying was 'rusty' as he'd not flown for several months but quickly got the hand of it. The in cruise 'step' was determined by speed, trim and picking a spot on the cowling or winscreen to determine where the Luscombe nose sits whilst riding this 'step'. { similar to the Auster but more difficult to 'pin'. } He'd admitted that he'd not practiced engine failures for a very long time{ very common } and proved this by being caught out several times from various hieghts;1500' to 500', each recovery being initiated at around 30 feet. Although a good 'glider', the Luscombe will be caught out on a windy day, so if one was looking to undershoot the field, then the stick must be must be pushed forward aggressively to penetrate{ providing you have the height, no lower than 400'agl } and he soon had feel of this, proven by a big grin on his face, after lots of practice- he was now becoming Luscombe..

On arraival at the easy strip and having demonstrated an approach and landing, I hoped he'd memorise the flatter approach and the power setting required for a stable approach {quite a challenge for me} as this was a major area that the Luscombe differed from the Auster. This proved frustrating for him as the flapless and much cleaner Luscombe resulted in excessive height and speed related approaches{very common on conversions} ending with a long, consuming landing roll, unactceptable for the strip {1500' long, on top of a 550' hill, with a rise to meet you on landing as it stretches over a significant blind brow}} at which the Luscombe was based. However, as always with practice, his landings were becoming shorter as we could comfortably approach at 65mph, similar to the Auster- ironic all of this, as the Auster is built for short field landings. Side slips were demonstrated and he soon got the feel of these, as I believe, the Luscombe, with it's powerfull rudder, executes this maneouvre very well indeed and will generaly get you out of the 'Poo' than into it!

I looked across to my friend and was agasp at the colour of his face! When I asked how he felt, he replied not well, I agreed and we elected to fly back asap. {It later transpired he had food poisining} On the approach to the base strip he could see the wisdom of what we'd been practicing, as the strip looked quite a bit smaller.. I must stress at this point that he'd flown into this strip in his Auster 3 or 4 times but with full flap and good bit of drag around him and remarked at how different the Luscombe is to the approach and landing compared to the Auster.{ but I think he prefers the Luscombe now!}

Although we'd achieved a lot, my good friend{and I thank him for his candidness,} realised just how rusty he's become and this had not just been a 'simple' type conversion. We will be polishing it all off shortly, concentrating on the base strip, with a gentle crosswind, {again the Luscombe is excellent in this area} and will be only too happy to write{ briefly!?} on how we've gained another Luscombe pilot!

To sumarise the problems encountered, from my friends' point of view, was A, holding her onto the deck far to long- she'll fly at 55mph, we were still on the deck at 60 plus{again, suprisingly very common} B, flying an accurate rate of climb speed, 70mphs' just fine, similar to the Auster, but I just put it down to a new attitude, being rusty and new type- not the end of the world really. C, finding the step,this is awkwerd and requires practice to someone not used to the Luscombe, Try making a mark on the windshield or the 'V' struts, the lighter the Luscombe the more effective the step will be in reducing RPM and, consequently fuel burn. D, Visibility, compared to the Auster, is poor and my friend found himself more aware that lifting up that wing and using that overhead window is a must. E, glide approaches, either in the engine failure or to normal landing scenarios have to be practiced regularly. I'd rather see a higher approach{remember that sideslip!} plus having two fields for the overshoot or undershoot scenario. Remember, the luscombe glides further in still air than the Auster, I can't stress how important it is to practice this.70mph in the E & F, 65 in the As', all slowing through 60mph over the numbers. Speed and and height control are essential to a good landing {on all types} and practice, again, {not espeacialy due to differences in the Auster] cannot be overstressed-espeacialy at his new base field. Short field landing technique hasn't been practiced yet but I will recommend 55mph on both types, with what ever power setting is required, and this is where the Luscombe differs a lot from the 'flapped' Auster, as visibility in the Luscombe, due to the higher nose attitude, is poorer.I will point out to my friend to aviod stricking the tailwheel onto the ground first, on this type of approach{again, common}.This is generaly caused {on many types} by flying through the stall and into the drag curve and is not really necassary as touching down at 48 mph{ on the Luscombe} and reasonable braking, should ensure a short landing roll- about 300'.{dry grass}. A three pointer, at this speed should result, protecting the poor old tailwheel. Pulling the engine before touching down in this scenario is not recommended, only on touch down.

All in all a good work out for us both, great fun! Both types are very capable, the Luscombe being a little more practical for non-civilian flying, proving that the addition of flaps, as Cessna and Bellanca know{ and others} are not required in these general circumstances.

Bearing in mind these are just my opinions and point of view as a result of my experiences over the years, I hope this might help someone, at least put them to sleep! I never stop learning..

Keep practicing and safe flying all,

Nige posted @ 09:59 - Link - comments
Wednesday, 04 October 2006
Just a quike note to say I flew the B 767 back from Mombassa. She's a beauty to fly compared to the B757, more stable and rides the Turbulence better but she 'aint as pretty! 9 hours later I managed to grease it on{rare as it, unlike the 757, has a forward tilt undercarriage and is not so forgiving} before it sets of, 2 hours later, to Cuba. Later I'll be flaring Brug a little lower to the ground with, no autopilot, GPS, poor brakes and mark one eyeball- real flying!
Nige posted @ 07:19 - Link - comments