January 11, 2015

First of 2015

It was such a relief today to have a break from the incessant foggy/damp/sopping wet/raining weather that we’ve had for the past fortnight or so. I bought a 13 litre plastic container yesterday to place on the floor of my wood store beneath where rainwater is coming in until we get some dry weather, so I can repair the damaged roof joint. To give some idea, when I went out this morning, it was filled to overflowing.

Shortly after lunch time, I grabbed 56NE’s new battery and my small step-ladders and went off to Galinat. My idea was to fit the battery and test the engine with what I now know are actually old plugs and all being well, prepare for a flight tomorrow after fitting the new plugs that I now have.

Today’s forecast was for no rain after the early morning, broken cloud and bright spells with winds gusting at up to 20 kmh but tomorrow’s looked to be for slightly brighter weather and more moderate winds. However, after I’d finished what I had to do and the engine started easily and ran smoothly with the old plugs, as the wind was less strong than the forecast, I decided to give it a go anyway.

I still had the route in my satnav for my last flight on 22 December that I aborted half-way through and I’d already decided that that was what I was going to do the next time that I flew. Here’s a pic showing the route in green and the track of today’s flight in red.

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The flight went smoothly with no hitches this time, which was good news. But it wasn’t good news when I’d removed 56NE’s covers earlier on. It seems that a rodent or other small mammal has taken residence in 56NE in the period since I parked it up last time. I’d already noticed some damage on the left hand seat a few weeks ago and had put it down to general wear and tear. However, today there was exactly the same kind of damage in the same place on the passenger’s seat only this time whatever was responsible for it had also added lots of small pieces of twigs to its comfy new home that it had made by chewing a hole through the seat cover and the rubber cushion. So 56NE now has two damaged seats and I’m dreading to think what I’ll find next time if my presence today hasn’t deterred the little varmint.

I’m also still not quite sure about 56NE’s rev counter. I think that it’s under-reading slightly but I won’t really be able to find out for sure until the weather improves and we’re back into warm, dry conditions, as if there is a problem, it could be related to the cold and damp. I can’t complain about how 56NE was performing today, however. From the MemoryMap speed profile of the flight, it appears that the true average speed at flying altitude was in the region of 103 kmh, which equates to around 65 mph. This is a cruising speed that I’ve never experienced in a UK X-Air even though it is the officially stated cruise figure. Today’s flight took 45 minutes wheels up to wheels down and I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t feeling rather cold at the end of it.

Anyway, I’m not going to worry about the rev counter for now as I’ve got other things on my mind. Ever since I laid the concrete base for my new wood store, I’ve been experiencing problems with my kitchen and bathroom waste pipes, not my WC fortunately that runs separately to my septic tank. I damaged the pipe when I was pick-axing the ground because I didn’t know that it was there and did a repair that I hoped was the end of it. It seems that that isn’t so, because while I was in the garden earlier I checked the grease trap that the kitchen and bathroom wastes run into. It was at a very low level and it would seem that not a great deal of water is running into it. This must mean that the waste pipe was damaged somewhere else under the wood store floor and that water is escaping to heaven knows where.

Obviously, I can’t leave it like that and I’ll have to run a new waste for the kitchen and bathroom. It’s a worse-case scenario so as soon as the weather improves, I’ll have no choice but to do the work in conjunction with finishing off my kitchen and re-fitting my bathroom. I had already planned to do that but it’s irksome to once more have to do the work while under external pressure, which takes all the pleasure out of it as well as the satisfaction of doing a good job 🙁