We awoke this morning to yet another grey, misty morning and it was only later when I went outside and was blinded by a strange golden orb burning in the sky that I realised that, quite unexpectedly, the sun had come out. We haven’t seen it for many days – possibly a week or more, I haven’t been counting – and we’ve almost got used to the sight of low grey cloud looming over the landscape.
I am so thankful that I had a few days in the sun in Egypt back in early February because otherwise I think that by now after having slogged through many months of treatment, with this weather I’d have been on the verge of a nervous breakdown!
So the unexpected pleasure of a bright spring day was not to be missed, starting off with a bike-ride. I soon found that although it might have felt quite warm in the sun when standing still, it was a different kettle of fish as soon as you started to move through the air, which still felt pretty cold.
Nevertheless, I got in a ride of about half-an-hour and in the process, found an unmettled but smooth earth road through the woods to the north-east that I’m pretty sure will take me all the way to Fanlac. I rode down it for a mile or so but then turned round because of the chilly air and will have another go when the weather warms up a bit more and I have more time.
I had a ham salad for a late lunch after returning home and putting my bike battery on charge and then headed over to Malbec. I didn’t expect the runway to be anything like flyable just yet but wanted to see if it was on the way to drying out and also to do a couple of things involving 28AAD, my Weedhopper.
Here’s a shot that I took looking down the runway. The quality of today’s shots are rather poor I’m afraid, because I didn’t take my little Nikon Coolpix camera with me and had to use my phone instead which I think is a very poor substitute.
As the picture shows, the runway grass is now very lush and green, which is not surprising given the watering it’s been getting, of which there was still much evidence. Although the ground is a bit firmer than it was, it’s too soft to use and there was still quite a bit of standing water to be seen. But bad news for me, the area in front of the hangar door is still very boggy and it would be impossible getting the Savannah out over it without some kind of bridge arrangement, which would be far too much trouble as I mentioned in a previous post.
But at least the aircraft are all well out of the weather. Funnily enough, I think that although the barn is open-fronted, the Weedhopper and X-Air are having a better time of it than the Savannah. This may be because the barn has a dry concrete floor, whereas the hangar is closed with a bare earth floor, a combination which I think might encourage condensation even though the hangar’s roof is thickly insulated. There seem to me to be many signs of water drips in the dust on the Savannah’s wings which lead me to come to that conclusion.
So what did I want to do this afternoon? Two things actually. The first, and the more important, was to see if I could tighten the cables on the Weedhopper’s hand-operated braking system to see if I could improve its effectiveness. This is especially important because with Malbec’s runway being so short, if I’m going to be able to test the effectiveness of the Weedhopper’s new prop and, hopefully, get the odd hop in I’ll need to be able to hold it on its brakes while the engine gets up to full power, which I haven’t been able to do up to now.
I did succeed in pulling some cable through at the hub end on each side which resulted in quite a bit of improvement, although the brakes still wouldn’t hold at anything over engine revs of 4000 rpm, so I’ll have to see whether that’ll be good enough. And if I get the chance in the meantime, I may see about removing the hubs and overhauling the brakes, probably with some new shoes, to see if that will do the trick.
Then it was playtime and with the sun still out, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to fire up the Weedhopper and taxy it around the yard in front of the barn. It’s been 4 weeks since the last time and it was good fun just to be back at the controls again!
Then it was time to put it back to bed. Before I ran the Weedhopper back into the barn, I thought that I’d try to see if turning the X-Air slightly would give a bit more space. Well, it did but not much, and the following pics were taken afterwards with the Weedhopper back in and now tied down, just in case.
So that was a day well spent. Still no prospect of flying from Malbec for a good few more days yet, but the Weedhopper will be the first to go, because (a) it’s in the front in the barn and (b) even when I can get it onto the runway, it’s likely that I’ll still be unable to get the Savannah out of the hangar. But that’ll do me and I look forward to it happening, whenever it might be 🙂