The Bank Holiday week-end has come and gone with barely any flyable weather at all here in the South-East. I was lucky to have got the short flight in from Headcorn to Linton on Friday because I think that’s more than many other microligt pilots got over the whole week-end in these parts. And lucky too that because of John’s help, I didn’t have to leave it until Saturday because if I had done, I doubt that I’d have got it done.
The reason, of course, were the old enemies, rain and high winds, but this time with a real vengeance. I’ll tell more later, but I was working outside on MYRO on the field yesterday and the wind was so strong it was hard to do things and stand still in one place, the wind was blowing so hard. As I type this, of course, it’s now sunny and almost calm, but a bit too late once again for all of the microlighters here in the South-East who just wanted to get a bit of relaxing time in the air.
It didn’t worry me in that respect, of course, because without my Permit I still can’t fly MYRO, so knowing that I should have it this week, hopefully by Wednesday, I thought after my recent experiences I’d better get my comms setup installed. I’ve actually had an aerial for quite a long time. It’s one I bought on Ebay – brand new, ex MOD and very good quality as you might expect. I trimmed the whip down to the correct length ages ago and have been waiting for the right time to fit it. Well, that was this week-end.
There was only one small problem, well not a problem really, just something that I had to deal with. The aerial was intended to be installed onto somewhere like the roof of a vehicle so the cable connections had been left exposed. They couldn’t be left like that because they would then have been totally open to the weather on MYRO so before I could fit the aerial, I had to carefully encase the connections in silicone. Dave Smith had advised on the BMAA forum that your common-or-garden kitchen or bathroom sealant wouldn’t do because it makes acetic acid while it cures which then begins to corrode the connections. To prevent this, you must use a special non-corrosive silicone sealant. So Saturday saw me nipping across to Maplins to buy a tube of Servisol red cap which is commonly used on printed circuit boards to do exactly what I wanted, albeit on a slightly smaller scale 🙂
So Sunday saw me out on the otherwise deserted field installing MYRO’s aerial and as I mentioned earlier, was it blowing a real hooley! I got the job done though, including stripping out the old aerial cable Rosie had left in (but sans-aerial) and running the new cable right up to the panel. I even temporarily fitted the radio aerial connector and was able to try it out before calling it a day and leaving for home, and I’m glad to say that I could hear Headcorn and traffic in the circuit there very clearly (not that there was much of the latter given the conditions) although they could not hear me when I tried a test transmission. But that was not too surprising.
Today I went over to finish the job. The wind was still blowing everything around including MYRO’s doors and I noticed this evening when I shut up shop that as a result, there is now a crack in the door plastic beginning from one of the pop rivets on the pilot’s-side door. This is so annoying when I’ve hardly even had a chance to fly MYRO because I think I’ll have to find a way to catch it before it spreads too far.
All I had to do today was shorten the aerial cable, clip it neatly behind the panel so it couldn’t come into contact with any controls (eg rudder cables) and try it out. So that’s what I did. When I’d finished and put the whole system in, I could here Heathrow Approach and the traffic going into runway 27R as clear as a bell and when Bob arrived a bit later, I was able to do a proper test with the engine running. I think there’s a tiny bit of noise, from a plug cap probably, but before I dash off and buy four new ones I’ll wait to see how the system performs in the air. So for now I’m more or less ready to go, and here’s what the panel and comms setup looks like.
I wasn’t going to, but I just can’t resist showing just one of the original old pics from when I first flew MYRO back in July 2008 which shows MYRO’s panel as it then was, and I hope you’ll agree it’s really quite an improvement 🙂
On the top right hand side of the panel I’ve mounted my GPS system. This isn’t any old GPS system – it’s actually an aviation system hacked onto a cheap car sat-nav. I’ll explain a bit more about that sometime in another post but for the time being, I’m just glad that this little job is now done.