When I had a trip round the houses in the flying club’s Cessna 152 last November, it was fun to be back in the air again but not in the 152. In the first instance, it’s quite a small cockpit and with a non-adjustable seat back, I found it all rather cramped and uncomfortable. Secondly, it’s high-wing and doesn’t afford anything like the visibility of a low-wing aircraft. So I’ve elected to continue the revalidation of my license in the club’s Piper Archer.
I thought it would be prudent to go and sit in the cockpit for 15 mins and see where everything was as we were socked in for 3 days and weren’t going anywhere. It’s just as well I did as the whole layout (and half the instruments) were completely unfamiliar. And that’s only the half of it!
Here’s the other half. One of the things I’ve got to master for the flying test is the use of VOR’s as aids to navigation. They’re beacons on the ground dotted about here and there, sending out a signal on each of their 360 radials. You can tune into a particular beacon (the frequency and morse ident is on your chart) and establish yourself on, or navigate to a radial or VOR of your choice. The matter of whether the radial you want to use is ‘to’ or ‘from’ is the tricky bit and until I got things sorted out in the old hay loft, there were some spectacular gaffs in the nav department. I think I’ve got the hang of it now but for a simple fellow like me, the various explanations I both listened to and read of how VOR’s work and how to use them, were just so much static. In the end I managed to reduce the whole manual to two words: ‘to’, and ‘reciprocal’. If I’m asked to fly to a beacon, I dial up and fly the reciprocal heading and, conversely, from a beacon, the actual heading from the beacon. Intercepting a radial has an added complication but the same rule applies. Can’t go wrong.
Staying with a flying theme, I blew through the Hillman radiator matrix with a compressed air tool. Now I know where they get the filling for Eccles cakes.
Chap ordered a couple more stainless steel manifolds which helped to defray costs at the flying club and, as I was at a bit of a loose end – I’d hoped to have the discs back by now but they’ve not yet materialised – I took myself off to see what Awkward and Leon were up to.
Awkward was cleaning the Avon’s Model A block ready for re-assembly with its new self-balancing flywheel fandango.
Leon had added a few lightening holes to his Climax-engined A7 and, in his enthusiasm had decided to polish the bodywork – a decision he was beginning to regret because if you start polishing, you’ve got to finish and it’s not hard to find something more interesting to do than polishing.
Like giving a Mini head a bit of a clean up and renewing the oil seals on the inlet valves. Once the valve spring compressor is in place, all you’ve got to do is turn the head over and the collets fall out.
Over and out then.