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Top of the World


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I've been having a few engine issues over the last week or so. Engine has run pretty much ok for quite a while (30 minutes or so) then started to very gradually lose power. This has been a real pain in the bum, and led to the land out, followed by the prop/SPOT interface I have posted about elsewhere. Together with my mate Roger, we were pretty certain it has been a fuelling problem.

It has looked like I have been getting air in the fuel line, leadsing me to thing that I was getting frothing and a lean situation. So I'd done some mods, changing the priming circuit and eliminating nearly all joins in the fuel line. Still this failed to solve the problem, as found out yesterday during a very quick shakedown flight.

I was going to give the chap at Rowena Motors a call to order a service kit for the Walbro carb, but in the mean time, Roger let me borrow a WB 37 carb, in place of my standard WB 32. The 37 Roger pulled off his old back up motor which also uses a Solo 210 engine, so there was no reason it shouldn't work perfectly. Only hiccup was that the operating arm on the 37 acted through a different arc to mine, leading to some head scratching over the possibility of re-routing the throttle cable. I then discovered that the 32 and 37 share a common body, so I was able to do a straight swap of the throttle arm/spindle and butterfly. This meant that the change over became quire literally a fifteen minute job (well, maybe twenty if you factor in cutting a new carb gasket out of the weetabix packet).

So, up to the field today. The engine was a bit hesitant to start, but I put this down to the completely dry carb taking a bit of extra priming. Once the motor was started and warm, I was able to do some basic setting of the mixture controls. Wasn't too bad, and I got a good idle, and a really clean pick-up to full revs (which seemed stable, at least during the ground run). The breeze was perfect for a launch, so I decided to go for it, and after one botched attempt it was up and away.

To start with, I just climbed in the overhead above our field, taking care to stay away from the nearby quarter horse stud. They've got some touch animals there and I didn't want to hang around over them in case they got a bit spooked. Anyway, all seemed well, and although not quick, I had climbed to over two thousand feet and the engine seemed sweet. I decide I might as well go for a blast around and make user of the altitude. The wind was about south easterly, so I continued to climb as I headed out east from the field, keeping the danger area of Beckingham ranges to my south. I had a squint at my map, and decided to fly over to overhead Temple Bruer airfield, another one of the many WWII legacy field in Lincolnshire. This is a bit further east of me, and well into the combined MATZ of Waddington and Cranwell. As I wasn't kitted with my radio on this flight I just carried on climbing, and was well over three and a half thousand feet by the boundary of the MATZ. By the time I was O/H Temple Bruer, I was at about five thousand two hundred feet, the highest I have been on a Paramotor to date. Blinking fantastic, and I could probably have seen the coast were it not for the layer of crud at a thousand feet or so. As it was, I could see the fast jets lining up on final, way below me, and I was way up in clear air, with more visibility than you could shake a stick at.

It took me about an hour against the wind to get there, so I had about 40 minutes fuel left for the downwind homeward run, which with the wind behind me was plenty. Just to be on the safe side, I backed off the throttle and kicked on the speed bar, so I was in a gentle decent, aiming to go through the appropriate altitude as I exited the MATZ. As it happened, I had plenty of fuel in reserve and the return journey only took me about thirty minutes. Only problem on the whole trip was a slightly unsteady 'arrival' as I pitched forward due to excess speed. It was my own fault as I'd forgotten to trim for landing in all my excitement, hopefully one of those errors that doesn't get repeated :oops:

Sorry for the lack of photo's, but it wasn't the most photogenic day. I hope instead, my words have painted an adequate picture of my trip to the top of the world.

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