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Head in the clouds

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Head in the clouds last won the day on August 23 2018

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About Head in the clouds

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  • Birthday 10/09/1957

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  1. Head in the clouds

    Dramatic mountain helicopter rescue

    That's right. And they did a great job but it does look more impressive than it really is. Even with an old Jetranger or Hughes 500, neither of which have any artificial stability augmentation, if you stick a leg into a snow or mudbank it's not difficult to hold the machine stationary even in gusty conditions - you just gently fly the machine at the point of contact. Much harder in turbulence is to hold the machine just away from the surface. At first it's a bit unsettling running the blade tips really close to objects but if you're going to be doing a lot of confined areas ops you practice with an external observer calling out clearance distances to you and very soon you realise that before you're going to do any damage it almost appears as if you could reach out of the door and touch the cliff face with your hand. With a bit of practice it's not too difficult to work with your blade tips within a metre of obstacles. Tailrotor clearances can be a lot more disconcerting though, where you're working from spatial memory rather than visibility.
  2. Head in the clouds

    Spill Resistant Refueling ??

    I think I've now solved the issue satisfactorily for my purposes, but it wouldn't suit everybody. First I bought one of these - from China for $8. It works very well and pumps a 20lt jerrycan in about 5mins to a head of 800mm. It uses 2 D cells and they supposedly last long enough to pump about 2000lt of fuel. the Chinese reckon they're safe for petrol as well as less combustible liquids and they're certainly very convenient because they only weigh about 400g with batteries so can be taken along for the ride if required. BUT - I was standing next to the plane which was parked next to the boat and pumping petrol and thinking about the little cheap 3V electric motor running madly with its cheap little commutator and sparking brushes when I imagined the whole lot catching fire and that would be the end of plane and boat and a painful way to go for me, so I decided it just wasn't a good idea. I now use the pump to pump diesel into the 4WD, and to drain the spa filter and similar things, so it was a good purchase anyway ... The next plan seems to be a lot better. I bought a couple of these - and some fuel tubing, 1/4BSP barbs and re-arranged the onboard fuel pump/filter plumbing like this - it ended up looking like the following pics if you can work them out - and so now I can open the shut-off valve, place both 2 way valve handles in the down position, dangle the suction pipe in a jerrycan on the ground (therefore grounded) next to the plane, switch on the onboard fuel pump and the contents of the jerrycan end up in the fuel tank. Once the refuelling is done I place both 2 way valve handles in the 'up' position and hook on the spring as a safety device to prevent accidentally closing one or the other of the valves, and I am ready to go 'up' flying. Closing the shut off valve at any time or configuration isolates the fuel tank as normal. The onboard Facet fuel pump draws just 0.6A under full load and the onboard battery is 18AH, so the battery can run the pump for 30hrs continuously. It takes 10 mins to pump 20lt into the tank and the tank holds 55lt so to fill the tank from empty would take 30mins but uses only 1/60 of the battery capacity, so there's no worry about flattening the battery. In reality I usually only pump 20lt or so at a time, it would only be more than that going on a longer trip when there is usually plenty of time getting prepared. Naturally when pumping fuel I need to stay around the plane so I have made a point of using the time to good benefit by conducting more thorough airframe and engine inspections than usual and it's paid off already, I checked the prop bolt torques between routine inspections and found they needed a little adjustment, and I took some slack out of the elevator controls which was immediately noticeable inflight. The pumping might be a bit slow for some people but it works for me and now avoids quite difficult refuelling because the tank access inside the fuselage is not easy.
  3. Head in the clouds


    And then there's this - Or this, which would probably scale up rather well, into a VTOL with speed and range - And then there's ... well the list is endless, from outright crazy to brilliantly high-tech state-of-the-art. It's well worth joining the group if you want to tease yourself about the possibilities.
  4. Head in the clouds


    Much as I love the Drifter, who needs the airframe if you're going to go electric? This would be an awesome toy, just add a ballistic parachute in case things go awry and what a heap of fun you could have. With the auto-stabilisation systems developed for drones it would be incredibly easy to fly and totally intuitive. As good as a small helicopter at 1/10 the price - EDIT - and for anyone interested in ultralight electric conversions there's a great Facebook Group called ultra-electric: do it yourself electric ultralight conversion just click on the link and then request to join the group. They'll join you up in about 24 hrs or less and there's a wealth of info about everything aero-electric for the enthusiast.
  5. Head in the clouds

    Some advice about fuel contamination (Water)

    Water can get into your tanks from a number of sources. If you don't keep your tanks full, condensation can form on the inside top of the tank overnight and end up as a few drops of water found during your next tank drain check. Always do your drain check on level ground, move the plane if required. Always rock the wings before doing your drain check, that will help any droplets to move to the very lowest point where the drain is, and it will also dislodge any droplets that may be hanging on the top surface of the tank - ones which came about from condensation. There's really no need to be overly concerned and drain your tanks completely, that's what your fuel drain check is for (to remove any water that has accumulated), don't forget that the fuel pickup point is above the tank sump where the drain check is done from. Also - the very reason for having a gascolator is to trap any water that might have been missed during the drain check, or which has accumulated since, by condensation. If you drain all your fuel out, you may then be certain that there's no water in the tank, BUT tomorrow there may again be water in the tank, from tonight's condensation, so it's not a case of getting rid of all the water forever, it's a case of constantly removing whatever water might have accumulated for whatever reason. Water can also get in through tank vents, tank fuel filler points and I had an interesting experience where more than 2 litres got in the tank overnight during heavy rain, it took a while to find the culprit, the flexible plastic/rubber tubing of the tank vent line had developed an almost invisible vertical split which allowed water running down that tube to enter the tank freely - that was on a Drifter with external tank and breather line.
  6. Head in the clouds

    Guess This Aircraft ?

    Yup, Ed Fisher design Micro Mong
  7. Head in the clouds

    Killer Gas

    This has been a very timely and useful thread for me, thanks for posting it Admin. I wasn't even aware that portable/personal CO detectors were available, let alone at a reasonable price. In GA I've always had the 'black spot' stick-on-the-panel type but have often suspected it wasn't worth the cardboard it was printed on, interesting that the OP article also suggests that. Flying the new (to me) Kestrel of late I've been rather concerned about the amount of exhaust smell. The muffler and tailpipe is well up above the cabin and in clear air but I suspect that either the exhaust is coming back in behind the wing or alternatively perhaps the exhaust manifold or the 'eye-socket' type exhaust joints of the Rotax 503 setup are leaking. I do have a ventilator in the door which blows fresh air in my face, so that's probably a help, but if I can smell exhaust there must be CO present, I suppose. Anyway, I just bought this portable/personal CO detector for $38 on ebay, looks like a good investment. When it arrives I'll let you all know what I find out.
  8. Head in the clouds

    Guess This Aircraft ?

    Interplane Skyboy
  9. Head in the clouds

    Marty d's CH-701 build log

    IBob - in thin sheet metal you don't cut the countersink, you use a dimpling tool to form dimple recesses in both (or all) sheets. If you cut the countersink or oversize the holes you will massively weaken the joint. When you press dimples into the sheet metal you need to start with undersize holes so that when the metal stretches to form the dimple, the holes end up the right size (start with about 2.8-3mm for 1/8 rivets). If you only have a few holes to do you can make a dimpling tool using a pair of dies (male and female) turned up in a lathe and drawn together with a 2.5mm SHCS and nut. If you have a lot of them to do then you make a similar pair of dies and draw them together with a hardened and headed mandrel in a standard riveter - naturally you don't break the mandrel each time, so that you can use it time and again, and it's hardened so that it doesn't get chewed up by the jaws of your riveter and so that it then releases easily when you take the pressure off the riveter handles. Note - don't pull the mandrel any harder than needed to form the dimple (which isn't very hard at all) with the riveter or, if the mandrel is properly hard, you will flatten the teeth of your riveter's jaws. Alternatively, and perhaps more easily for most folks, you can use a rivnut tool and screw the mandrel into a nut (instead of a rivnut) on the other side of the dies for each hole you want to dimple, takes a few seconds longer per hole but it's no big deal in the scheme of things.
  10. Head in the clouds

    Guess This Aircraft ?

    J3 Pup ...? I'm getting older mate. My memory is fine, it's just all the other baskets around me can't remember a thing ... or hear anything ... what? I heard that ... 😂
  11. Head in the clouds

    Guess This Aircraft ?

    Just to show there are plenty of others of us following ... but T88 is just too good for words! Is it a Karaone? Or maybe ... I think they were called N3 Pup? Nice looking little plane, whatever it is, well done for finding all these red750, you're a champion!
  12. Head in the clouds

    DooMaw - building a STOL

    Many thanks apm and rgmwa! I'd seen Oleg's thing before and completely forgotten about it, and QwikEFIS is new to me, so I'll have a good look at both and see where we go from there. Are there any more like this out there that I should be considering?
  13. Head in the clouds

    DooMaw - building a STOL

    Another crappy weather day, 7am and gusting 20kts already, so regardless that it's Saturday and the club Christmas BBQ is at lunchtime, the Kestrel will be staying in its trailer yet again. It does handle the strong winds quite well, my flight before last was in 25kts, gusting 35kts and it was all quite controllable, which is pretty good for a 150kg ultralight, but at 55kts cruise it's a long time getting anywhere, or back, depending whether 'anywhere' is into wind or downwind ... It's not even that, so much, but with the light wing-loading it can be quite a rough ride and that takes a lot of the fun out of it. Anyway, it's probably a good thing, if the weather was always nice I'd be flying a lot more, but there would be even less progress on DooMaw. So - having had the big tidy-up and all the various half-done parts of the project have their own project box on its own shelf in the relevant steel cabinet among the line of steel cabinets (oh, joy, I can find everything in an instant now), so it's time to get back to productive work. Here is what I think of as rather an historic photo of the work-bench - taken yesterday, and historic because it's ancient times since the bench was last completely clear - Right now there is just one thing on the whole work-bench, so even I can't confuse myself and start wondering what I was working on last! Here is a photo - That is how far I got with building the instrument panel about two months ago. The instrument positioning looks a bit unconventional because they have to be located where they won't clash with the truss which resolves the landing gear loads, which is directly behind the panel. There's only about 3mm clearance around each instrument, so they have to be placed quite accurately, especially since the panel is rubber mounted, though it doesn't move more than about 1-2mm each way. Down the track I will invest in a pair of MGL digital instruments and do away with most of the steam gauges but for the moment, due to their $6-7k price, they will have to stay on the wish-list. The angled flat portion of the panel is for a nav tablet and the pieces sticking up will be folded over and trimmed, to hold the tablet in place. Next stage is to make up the parts to complete the flanges at the corners and weld them in - I suppose I can still remember how to weld ...
  14. Head in the clouds

    DooMaw - building a STOL

    No, actually wiring of a test rig I had set up, and they chewed a lot of the exposed 240V wiring under the house as well ...
  15. Head in the clouds

    DooMaw - building a STOL

    So - ten weeks ago I said I was back on the case, then I found that I simply couldn't do another thing at all because every square inch of the workbench was piled high with 'stuff', mostly bits and pieces left over and not sorted and put away from previously completed or partially completed parts of the project. I started to make the instrument panel and drove myself mad because every time I put anything down I lost it among the other detritus on the bench, or I didn't have room to set up a jig or a hand-rest. Consequently I embarked on a 'quick' clean-up, but I have this problem, with me it's all or nothing, so I ended up searching the net and travelling far and wide to get hold of as many steel 'Brownbuilt' style cabinets as I could ... oh, I forgot to mention we had a minor rodent plague here as well and they crapped all over the work I'd been doing and chewed some wiring and other bits I had to re-do so I also spent long hours buying and testing the whole gamut of rodent annihilation devices. For anyone who's curious - they all work but though some are better than others, you need all of them if you want to win. We don't use poisons here because we have 4-500 birds that gather daily to amuse my good wife, and some of them would eat a dead or sick mouse and die as a result, and because of the birds and the occasional mouse we also have a number of friendly pythons and they might suffer a similar fate, and neither would I wish a nasty end on the two large eastern browns hanging here looking for a free feed, even the one which took a swipe at me a couple of weeks ago ... so it's all about trying to trap the wily (rodent) baskets - the ones the pythons and browns and kookaburras don't get, that is. Best result so far has been with the 9000V rodent zapper, though any roach will also trigger it and it's therefore harmless until reset in the morning - the magpies love the zapped roaches. The Nooski seems like a lovely and easy trap concept but with two of them and three months has only produced one casualty so far. Snap traps are a waste of time here, the rodents' great grandparents have told millennium mouse all about how to raid them unscathed, and the self resetting box trap that will catch 'up to ten mice at a time' for release or drowning, hasn't caught anything except a very apologetic cane toad who had an irresistible urge to sample cat biscuits and dried baitfish. The winner? The walk the plank and fall in a bucket thing. In the meantime I've been itching for much more flying the lovely little Kestrel. I've done lots of maintenance and replacing worn out things on it and it gets better and better, a few flights back I came home each time trailing long lengthens of gap strip (the fabric strips that close the gap between the wing trailing edge and the ailerons). It looked like a fair bit of hassle to replace them but I couldn't ignore the itch so ordered new fabric and the adhesive tapes and stitched them up and cleaned off the old adhesive and finally got it done - and wow, well I'd almost convinced myself it wasn't worth worrying about because the ailerons were so sluggish anyway ... but now the roll rate rivals anything I've flown, so I'm delighted. BUT - since then the weather has been totally crappy for weeks. Okay, next post I'll tell something about the progress on DooMaw.