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Phils' Phirst Phlights


Phil_P
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Well, rather than posting in the general section, I thought it was about time I started a bit of a training 'blog'.

I've had my share of untoward occurrences, and yesterday seemed to be continuing the trend.

SWMBO had decided she wanted to go and ride the horse after she came back from doing a bit of shopping, but I persuaded her that she wanted to let me go fly early in the afternoon instead.

I packed up the bit's that weren't already in the car and shot off to one of my farmers' local fields Everything set up and the motor warmed up and we were set to go.

There was a nice breeze, although it seemed to keep shifting direction a bit, but the space I had available let me have a run into wind whichever way it was blowing.

Following my last abortive attempt in too gusty conditions, I had been left with very bent 'comfort arms' in the harness. A trip to a local tube supplier saw me kitted out out with some new stainless parts, drilled fitted and pop riveted into place. As I was struggling to bend them to exactly the same shape, I was actually left with a set up that allowed me to get into the harness rather easier than previously, which was a bonus.

Well to cut a long story short, I had three really good take off runs, and failed to get off the ground. Everything seemed to be in my favour, but I got the feeling that my motor was just running a little short of peak performance. I stopped trying and had a look at the motor. Everything seemed to be as it should, but I was right. A check on the tacho at full revs saw it only turning at 6700 rpm, quite a bit short of the normal level where it would be creeping over the 7000 rpm level. Those missing 300 rpm might be making the difference for my oversized body.

Suffice to say, I decided to have another go, despite the shortage of revs, and of course this was a mistake. Not because the motor played up ironically, but just because I had a very dodgy inflation that saw the wing coming down hard and fast and my thumb was a fraction slow on the kill button, and two of the 'D' lines had a close encounter of the propeller kind. One line was severed completely, and the other received a nick, going about half way through. Thankfully the prop was unmarked. Anyway, pack up and off home prematurely.

I suppose the upshot of all this was that Nikki got to go for her ride after all.

I sat myself down once I got home on the back doorstep, and started to pull the carburettor apart. I already had a full service kit for the Walbro, so decided now was a good time to fit it. I left the needle and spring in place, as I didn't want to have to set up the pop off pressure again. Everything else, including the various filters, diaphragms and gaskets were replaced and the whole plot put back together again. I also fitted a new spark plug, as these are notorious for letting down two stroke motors. By the time I had finished it was getting a little late, and I didn't want to start it up to check it, for fear of disturbing the neighbours youngsters, so a test was deferred until this morning.

Once my young 'un was off to school, I dragged the motor out, primed it up and it started but died straight away. I wasn't too worried, as I guessed it might take a few turns to get petrol back to everywhere it was meant to be. I pressed the primer another couple of times and restarted. Again the engine started, and this time with a little throttle juggling she kept running. After a couple of minutes warming up it settled into a really even idle, a little higher than previously. A bit more warming up at mid rpm, then I decided to give it full throttle. Much to my astonishment it shot straight up to 7200 rpm! this was the best I have seen from the solo, although probably about what it should be generating. I'm not sure which bit of the maintenance did the trick, but I'm more than happy with the results.

Also, a phone call to Aerofix this morning saw two new lines ordered, with a promise of them being in the post this afternoon for delivery tomorrow.

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  • 1 month later...

Had a lovely fly today, up the Trent valley and playing in the steam from the power stations at about 2000'. For one magical moment there was a circular rainbow with the shadow of me right in the middle, a real photo opportunity missed. The Red Arrows were playing over Scampton in the east, and I felt honoured to be sharing the sky with those guys.

My fuel usage seemed really light, and as I had been beating into wind on the outward leg, I felt safe turning for home with what I thought was four litres left in the tank. Suffice to say, there was nothing like that amount, and it must have been a trick of the light that made it look like there was more in the tank. Anyway, about ten minutes into the return leg, there was a cough and splutter and the engine died, with about four miles to run. I cranked it a couple of times, but I guessed maybe my fuel consumption was higher than I thought. I had pretty much been tracking the Newark to Gainsborough road, as it runs almost next to the river, so from two thousand feet I had plenty of time to chose a landing spot. I had one change of mind when I caught sight of the shadows of some fences, but my second choice looked fine. A faultless landing had me only about twenty yards from the road, so I bundled up the wing and parked it and the motor in the bottom of a hedge, barely visible unless you were looking. Then it was out with the Mark I thumb as I started trudging along the road. After a mile or so, I picked up a lift to within a mile of my field, and then another for the last 3/4 or so. Drove back out and loaded up the motor and wing, and was pretty content all things considered.

So if anyone asks me how long I can fly, I can say with some measure of accuracy that it's about 90 minutes, give or take a splutter. Mind you, I was using quite a bit of speed bar and having to run at almost full power to maintain height. In still air, I could expect quite a bit more as I could fly much closer to minimum sink.

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