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Head in the clouds

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Head in the clouds last won the day on March 7

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About Head in the clouds

  • Rank
    Well-known member
  • Birthday 09/10/1957

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  • Aircraft
    Lea Kestrel
  • Location
    Gold Coast, Qld
  • Country
    Australia

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  1. 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.
  2. Bugger - really sorry to hear that Ian. Eyes are so critical to just about everything we do. I second danny's comment about finding a flying buddy so you can still escape the 'tyranny of petty things' from time to time. All the best, Alan
  3. Cessna 310 I'd say, based on the small size of it, for a twin, and the shape of the tip tanks.
  4. Presumably this 'approach sector' is a 'collection point'? If so, shouldn't aircraft incoming to the approach sector be making radio calls before they get there, indicating their height, intentions and arrival time?
  5. More info needed from you about what surface you are polishing, but ... Depending on which primer you used ... most of them wash off easily with methylated spirit. Did you use Alclad or 2024 or 6061 bare sheet? Alclad surface is very soft because it's pure aluminium, consequently it polishes very easily by hand. Typical products readily available are Solvol Autosol and Reflection. I prefer Reflection. Follow the directions on the package or you can probably find them online. If you used bare high tensile sheet then it's much easier to use a polishing machine and just do the final finishing by hand. Don't buy the cheaper small ones, they make you work harder. The ones that look like a 5" angle grinder are the go, about $90 on ebay. Better still, see if you can find one that's random orbital rather than just spins. But, the random orbital's real advantage is to help prevent 'swirls' which are more of a problem with dark colours than light ones, swirls don't show up much on white or silver colours. On black they cause all paint polishing people to have nightmares ... so you don't really need a random orbital unless you can find one easily at the right price (probably not). Make sure you buy a multi-speed polisher, usually 6 speeds, something like 600-3000rpm. You'll start at 600 and end up using about 2000 once you gain confidence and experience. Watch online (Youtube) videos of how to go about polishing. Start very gently. Don't even think of using a lambswool type of polishing head, they are very aggressive. Use the smooth orange foam type, add a tiny spray of water from a spray bottle to keep the polishing gentle. As the polish dries out it starts to work harder and do a better job but beware the sudden 'bite' as the surface gets hot. Run a piece of wood across the (spinning) foam surface every now and then to clean off built up polish. You only use the polisher for putting on the polish/cutting, the actual 'polishing' (wiping off the polish) is done by hand. Many people think the lambswool buff is for wiping off the polish - it's not, it's for aggressive cutting of old and faded/chalky paint surfaces. I finish the job with Starbrite Premium Marine Polish, do it twice within thirty days for a finish that lasts 1-2yrs. Tip - practice on some metal offcuts securely screwed/clamped to the workbench, beware them getting picked up by the polisher and flung at your midriff like a spinning blade! EDIT - another tip - if you get completely hooked on polishing (it's very satisfying once you work it out), it's all to do with the fineness and the type of abrasive used and the type of material being polished. Ultimately though, the finest abrasive known to man is Rouge (yes, the stuff the Parisians discovered makes the young pale ladies' cheeks look prettily flushed - and the colour in the first lipsticks). Anyway - it's properly known as "Jeweller's Rouge' and is what jewellers use to polish gold to such a fine lustre. You can buy it on ebay from time to time, it's a red powder, usually comes from UK, not expensive. You can mix a little in with the Marine Polish, to really give the final sparkle to the job, and if you rub the polish in straight lines instead of circles, you'll get rid of the swirls which can only be seen in bright sunlight anyway.
  6. Sounds good to me, I'll plan on bringing the Kestrel in its trailer.
  7. Moyes Dragonfly - for towing hang-gliders.
  8. It's certainly pretty ... but every photo, and also the video, shows a lot of reflex in the elevons which would be concerning me about CG position if I was the test pilot. Unless they presently have the cockpit heavily static-ballasted I'd hate to think what the consequences of a second pilot/pax would be. All flying wing stuff I've ever come across indicates the stability reflex needs to be built into the airfoil and control surfaces should be neutral in level flight. With the CG where it appears to be at the moment, that one could well come badly unstuck during a landing flare if the speed was allowed to wash off too much. Just a matter of getting the ballasting right, but I wonder why they didn't do that before flying it. The Rego looks fake to me, I can't find any reference to G-EBWB (or G-E8WB) but to TWITTs (flying wing enthusiasts - The Wing Is The Thing), BWB is usually for Blended Wing-Body, so perhaps they're just having a play with it on the quiet before it has an official rego. Very much looking forward to seeing their progress in future, nonetheless. Thanks for posting Phil - and for finding the additional references pmccarthy.
  9. I don't think there's anything more important than having a good instructor. It makes the difference between being a safe and confident flyer, or being forever slightly on edge because of the things you were never taught ... And there's only one other instructor I know who is even remotely in the same class as Peter. He has so many years of experience and yet never seems to tire of teaching, as so many do. And that's often the problem - the new/young instructors are often full of enthusiasm and goodwill but don't have the depth of knowledge, varied experience or the skills to pass on, and unfortunately by the time they become 'old hands' they are often weary of instructing and become unenthusiastic, impatient and lazy. There are many exceptions, of course, but Peter is one of the bright stars in the sky (and on the ground in the classroom). If I was you I would definitely use your caravan, choose a few days' window of good weather and do some block training at Peter's school, you won't regret it. You'll learn all the basics of course, but also those invaluable skills of finesse and survival under pressure.
  10. You're welcome Marty. Not meaning to put words into Marty's mouth, but I think his intention is to run it on condition as long its critical signs bear up well. The 'Peter' referred to is Peter Reed, formerly of the Skyflyte flying school at Kooralbyn, Qld. I've known him for 33yrs and worked several years with him as an instructor at Skyflyte, and I can safely attest that he is one of the very most diligent engine and airframe maintainers I have ever come across. When Marty said he was looking for an engine I knew Peter had one coming up for replacement so I called Peter and asked him about it. As has been the case in the past for as long as I can remember, Peter has been having the oil spectrum analysed at each oil change to detect any abnormal changes to component wear rates and he has been fastidious about the gearbox maintenance - and also running the engine on premium unleaded mogas. If my memory serves me correctly, Peter was one of the first, many years ago and well before this engine, to report the effects to the gearbox clutches, of using Avgas. Consequently he has avidly avoided the use of avgas whenever possible, and on the odd occasions where he has not had an option, he always flushed the engine at the first opportunity and refilled with new oil. In the USA there have been countless reports of well maintained 912s running faultlessly to TBO in excess of 3000hrs in non-commercial operations, and several cases of them even exceeding 4000hrs. Naturally I can't offer any absolute guarantees, but I will say that I would not have any hesitation in using one of Peter's ex-school engines, and just keeping an eye on suspended elements in the oil, oil consumption rate, and compressions of course. I will also mention, as Marty did, that Peter is one of the most generous public-spirited people you are likely to meet, freely giving his time and absolute wealth of hard-earned knowledge, (of both planes and flying - he'd have well over 10,000hrs by now, most of it instructing), to anyone who asks.
  11. I don't know where you got this information about "limits were set 40 years ago", because they certainly weren't. Actually the Kooralbyn airstrip was built in 1979/80 by the developers to accommodate Learjets and Citations which conducted champagne flights from Melbourne and Sydney for prospective home buyers - they weren't using any displaced thresholds ... I was working as an instructor in the Kooralbyn Skyflyte flying school from 1987 to 1989 and there certainly weren't any displaced thresholds then either. BUT - even then, problems were starting to show up with the airstrip because the resort had been sold several times and none of the new owners had any particular interest in the airstrip, some of the owners were more interested in asset stripping the place than using it as a resort, and others never should have got involved because they didn't have sufficient funds, so the airstrip never got any maintenance and the surface progressively began to break up over the next ten years or so. By around 2000 to 2005 the surface at the runway ends was so bad with potholes (there were plenty you had to dodge along the rest of the runway too) that the operators there decided to move the threshold to avoid knocking wheels off planes as they were landing. It had nothing to do with "keeping pilots and their aircraft safely out of trees and associated high terrain" - those of us who became very familiar with operating there were quite used to almost bumping wheels on the new resort roof approaching to 12, and at the other end, approaching or departing close alongside Mt Kooralbyn, looking up at the ridge ... If you can avoid letting the visual picture of the surrounding hills, lakes, resort building and parallel road spook you, and just concentrate on the runway itself, it really isn't as bad as some would have you believe. With the experience of thousands of operations there, the best advice I can offer - - has to do with wind which has a northerly component - if the wind is northerly use a left hand circuit to runway 30, track along the ridge of Mt Kooralbyn on base leg, or just to the west of it (avoid the rotor behind it), and land short on 30 to avoid turbulence on the ground about half way along the strip. If the wind is north-easterly use a right hand circuit and either land on 12 extremely short and completely stop before the cutting, or land long to avoid severe turbulence on the ground at the cutting halfway along the strip. Also - keep that RH circuit tight, approach over the LH side of the oval track/polo field, straight towards the resort then turn right onto final. Pilots making long low straight-in approaches are asking for trouble if they have an engine problem on final, there's nowhere to go, so if you must use a long straight-in approach, keep it high and scrub off the height very late, once you're sure you can glide to the strip. When the wind is Easterly, Southerly or Westerly there are no particular turbulence hazards, other than what you might expect at a valley airstrip.
  12. I think we still have four refineries in Australia - at Altona Vic, Lytton Qld, Geelong Vic and Kwinana WA, producing about 55% of all the refined fuels we consume domestically. Australian Institute of Petroleum Factsheet 09/2017. That was 2017, but is supported by the more recent July 2018 ABC update of the Australian Petroleum Stocks Fact Check. I think Bulwer Island Qld was the last to close, in 2015. With each of the previous closures, the remaining refineries become a little more profitable - Roger Montgomery - why our oil refineries are shutting down.
  13. 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.
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