It’s just gone midnight as I type this so I have to refer to ‘yesterday’ rather than ‘today’.
I managed to slip down to the airfield on Boxing Day (the 26th) to get MYRO ready just in case it would be possible to have the test flight done the next day (yesterday) but in the event it didn’t happen. But one bit of good news was that when I put fuel in for the first time since I modified the tubing connecting the second tank, the transfer between the tanks was fast enough to be totally usable. That was a big relief as at least all the current messing around will eventually be worth it, as I’ll have over 3 hours-worth of fuel on board with both tanks filled up.
I got a text message saying that the test flight wasn’t going to happen while I was on my way to the airfield but I decided to continue anyway. And I’m glad I did because I ended up having a great time. First I had a cuppa tea and a chat with Chris which I always enjoy and afterwards I got a chance to go for a flight in Chris’s SLA with his son-in-law flying it. We went off to the east over the north of the Isle of Sheppey and then south as far as Linton before turning to head back via the west of Rochester. I got the chance to get a bit of stick time in from the right hand seat so as well as this being the first time I’d been in an SLA, it was also the first time that I’d got to fly one. And I found it to be really good – light and responsive on the controls, well balanced and even with this one’s 80HP engine we were bimbling along at over 75mph. So it’s also a pretty good aircraft for touring when you want to. All in all I came to the conclusion that the SLA is a very under-rated aircraft and that there should be many more of them flying around than there actually are.
When we got back to Stoke, we landed shortly after two Vans RV8s and Dave Stephens’s Mini Mustang had flown in. This was the first time I’d met Dave and found him to be a great bloke, chatting about his Sirocket twin jet engine SSDR that has caused so much of a stir just recently. I had my camcorder with me and took some shots of them all leaving which I added to the video I’d shot earlier of my flight in the SLA. It’s now posted in the Video section or you can view it by clicking on the pic below.
And in the meantime, MYRO is still tied-down on the airfield, airworthy, flyable, insured and ready to go. But I’m still being strangled by the ridiculous system we have in the UK that treats microlights in almost the same way as Airbuses and Boeing 747s. I don’t want to say what’s causing the problem although I probably will when things have finally been resolved. It has to be test flown in a particular state and the test pilot is not going to be available until after 27th December, so despite all my best efforts, that’s finished any idea of my flying MYRO again this year.
Petty officialdom in this as in other areas in the UK delights in using ‘The System’ as a blunt instrument to frustrate and beat those who come into contact with it into submission. It’s no wonder that we’re falling down the world rankings for efficiency and productivity when our attitude to most things is – the answer is ‘No’ … now, what was the question? A chap called Dave Stephens has just test flown a Single Seat Deregulated Microlight that is powered by two small jet engines. Totally impractical as it uses 47 litres of Jet A1 fuel per hour so it can’t be flown anywhere within range of its home airfield unless the owner has a fuel bowser of the stuff waiting at the other end. But Dave did it just for fun and to prove that it was possible and in the process has achieved world-wide recognition. I notice that he posted on the BMAA forum yesterday that he’s already received a letter from the CAA and now has a lot of explaining to do, presumably because someone in that organisation thinks that ‘The Rules’ for SSDR microlights are being treated with contempt by having jet engines rather than a piddling little two or four-stroke that whoever drew them up originally assumed would be the case. What’s the bet that they’ll be amended to stamp out such flagrant disrespect in double quick time!
We’ve had some awful weather in the past week. A couple of very deep Atlantic lows have passed through bringing with them some very high winds with gusts of over 60 mph. Stoke airfield unfortunately took a bit of a pasting and I’m told a couple of hangar roofs were blown off damaging a few aircraft. Ken went down there because he received news that the X’air, despite being tied down, was blown backwards into a fence and has sustained some damage to its elevator and operating mechanism, which is a shame because Peter passed his GST just before Christmas and is now able to fly it. His maiden flight as PIC will have to be put back a few weeks by the look of it, so for different reasons, he’s in the same position as me with MYRO. When he phoned, Ken said that MYRO hadn’t moved an inch despite the winds so that’s something to be thankful for and I’m hoping to get down there later today to see for myself.
Being patient and still waiting. MYRO still not permitted but doing everything I’m being asked to to achieve the desired end result. It’s now been over a month, I ask you. The UK system has to be the most over-regulated in the world, strangled by petty rules and red tape. We don’t lead the world in very much nowadays but when it comes to bureaucracy we are still second to none. Oh well, I’ll keep a low profile for a little bit longer and just see how I get on 😐