Wim had been waiting patiently for about an hour for me to arrive on Friday as I was running something over an hour late compared to my flight plan. Not only had the strobe light incident and the enforced comfort break delayed me but I’d also achieved a lower than anticipated groundspeed. Partly this was due to the fact that I’d limited my revs in the cruise to 4250 rpm as I had no feel for what fuel consumption I might get and there were limited options to land and top up the tanks on the route that I’d chosen.
Those revs only resulted in an airspeed of around 140 kmh compared to the 150 kmh that I’d used in my flight planning, and on top of that, the indications were that there was more of a headwind element than had been forecast. However, being a pilot himself, Wim appreciated why I had to fly in a conservative manner and luckily he had been able to sit in my car and listen to a CD – the same one the whole time, unfortunately, as he told me that he had no idea how to turn it off 😀
We decided that as Regis had recently sold his Zen 701, the best idea would be to move ASY to where his aircraft had been parked, the more so because some heavy weights and tie-downs had been left there which we could use for the Savannah. There were also some covers, but I told Wim that I was reluctant to use them for fear of their scratching ASY’s paintwork in the wind, so we just tied the Savannah down and went off for what was for me a very welcome cup of tea at Wim and Sophie’s place.
However, as soon as I saw how wet the weather forecast was for the coming week, I knew that I had to reconsider my decision about using the covers, and with rain forecast for later in the day and also for several more days in the coming week, I loaded my own lightweight covers together with a bag of bungees in the back of my car on Saturday and arrived at Galinat late morning to apply them. My main problem with Regis’s old covers were that they were very heavy and if placed on the wings, they could easily damage the light tubular air vents that are mounted on the Savannah’s fuel filler caps. I thought that my lighter covers would prevent that.
Unfortunately, shortly after I arrived at the airfield, the rain arrived early and like it or not, I had to put the covers on while it began falling more and more heavily. In the end, I was pretty much soaked and my clothes covered in muddy marks from the dirt that was already on the old covers that I was reusing. But it was lucky that I had decided to do the job, because when I opened the cabin door and looked inside just as I was starting, I noticed a small but steady drip of water through the seal of the cabin top window and onto the left hand leather seat back below, which stopped as soon as I put a cover over the top.
When I think how the Savannah had been kept safely for many years in a nice warm hangar, it was sad to see how it looked at the end of the job. Sure, it must have been more protected than if it were just parked in the open, but it looked a bit of a sorry sight to behold. Here are some shots, the first taken just after I arrived at Galinat when ASY was still uncovered, and the later ones with the covers on and the rain still lightly falling.
OK, it’s only a temporary arrangement until ASY can be moved over into the barn at Malbec and it must be better for it to be covered in the meantime rather than just be left out in the open. Nevertheless, it almost feels as though I’ve desecrated it somehow, by making it look so awfully scruffy 🙁
I went over to Galinat to check on things this afternoon on my way back from the supermarket. Apart from the fact that the wind had blown the cover off that I’d placed on the empennage, things didn’t look quite so bad in the sunshine as the following pictures show that were taken before I left after I’d secured the tail cover more firmly.
I’ll have to decide what happens now, of course. I’ll know soon how long Philippe will have to keep his Citius in the barn at Malbec while he repairs his hangar roof. If it’s only going to be a few more days, much as I’d like to be flying ASY when I get the chance whenever there’s a weather window, I think I’ll just leave things as they are because, quite honestly, as I know only too well from experience, removing and replacing covers is a real pain. However, if things are going to drag on for a longer period, I’ll have to look at the options again to decide which direction to take.