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Whitters diary 24 03 09


helimed01
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Dave is doing very well with handling the wing and is putting the rest of us to shame with his energy levels. He is amazing for a 60 year old.

Lunch and ground school before more ground handling. Dave has got the reverse launch technique off to a T but on forward launch he has a tendancy to pull down and forward on the A risers causing frontal tucks and upsetting the launch. He has an old shoulder injury and I think having his arms out stretched and hands behind him puts strain on his shoulder so we adjust the technique to suit but this needs a bit more work. He is getting better at the forward technique tho.

Late afternoon I left Dave alone to practice while I set off to get 2 of the remaining 3 unclaimed turn points from the 20 turn points Piers had provided. My navigation has improved greatly, despite fairly strong conditions and long legs between turnpoints i manage to track streight to them. The wind has now swung to the west so the turnpoints are upwing of me now which makes the return journey a pleasurable fast ride.

Flying upwind out to the turn points I remained 500 ft AGL and had to navigate arround a large earth work quarry for fear of engine out over it with poor landing options. On the return leg I climbed up to 780ft AGL to make use of the stronger down wind run and decided to fly over the quarry. Arriving overhead I selected landing options downwind just in case, then suddenly just as I was surveying the fields below that horrible sensation of the engine dying behind me occurred right over the middle of the quarry. I headed strieght for the field I had chosen arriving overhead with plenty of height. The field had a road on its border, the road went to a small town 1km away but had power lines on the upwind edge. Hoping I might be able to fix my engine and take off again I chose to land in a field a little further down wind from the road. This field had no fences posts or upwind power lines so would be better for take off.

However I would not be able to test that theory because the engine had seized. We suspect it has been sucking in air from the crank somewhere and had been running a bit lean which I had adjusted my carb to a richer mixture to compensate. The landing was fast but good in nil wind ground conditions caused by the slightly higher ground up wind causing greater variation in the wind gradient. I have been flying with an injured left ankle and this running landing caused me to twist it again. I then had to walk to the village carryng the motor and wing. Arriving there I sent my position to Pierrs who arranged the retrieve.

Whilst walking I was approached by a lovely old French man approx 80 years of age who described to me that he had been watching me through his binoculars, he couldn't speak English but was using hand/body language to communicate. His face was beaming with pleasure to see this flying machine up close. I took the machine off so he could have a proper look, he was delighted. I got to town a bit later followed by several fascinated locals, it was dark by the time I got t the town centre, the walk had loosened up my ankle again reducing the pain to a dull ache. Pierrs and Allan arrived within an hour which was great.

Flight=17 miles 39-mins Average ground speed 23.9 Max 64.4.

back to the house for food and sleep and to see how Dave had got on.

TBC

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