Friday, January 4, 2013

here we go again

It's hot ... it's extremely hot: +44C right now. Next five days will be much the same, maybe even warmer. This worries me a bit cause tomorrow The Dream Team is heading to Benalla for the Multiclass Nationals:

Ziggy is flying the 55 in Standard class and I am trying out the 15-meter class in ASG29E. Saturday and Sunday will be practice days and the competition starts on Monday. It's not gonna be easy in these temperatures...

Mrs. TF has to be protected from the sun and heat as well. We got lucky and the mail with her brand new canopy cover arrived yesterday. The holiday season slowed shipping a bit but we finally got it. The cover comes from Pandora Covers and fits perfectly. You can order one for your glider here:

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Wilga's first tow

Although they are made for towing I doubt this particular one has done a glider tow before. We've discovered few little issues that have to be looked at and maybe fixed but she's airworthy and she tows!
With me and Griffo on one end of the rope and Peter K. in the G103 the first Wilga tow out of Horsham took place yesterday afternoon. She did very well with +35C and some 15kts x-wind.

lights, camera, action

glider airborne before the taxiway ... how long ago was that?

low or high tow, to the left or right - we don't even know you're there Peter

The PZZ is not the strongest Wilga I have flown but she's got plenty of power to do a proper job even here in these high temperatures. It will take a while to teach skippy boys how to fly the proper tow plane that goes up and down really fast. I warned them she was different than any other taildragger they've flown but they didn't wanna believe me. I think now they do. She is a good girl that needs respect at all times or she will bite you ... that's all.

here I come

red stars and the inappropriate CCCP on both sides are the first ones to  face the heat gun - luckily it's just stickers

We discovered a way of moving heavy planes between hangars. You just need a proper towbar that will not give way and away you go!

Wilga tow

she fits in perfectly

let's have a drink to this successful tow

New Years Eve

Monday, New Years Eve, was the D-day. We're flying Wilga over to Horsham! Griffo stayed over night with the owner and we were supposed to meet them in Naracoorte and pick up the plane from there. The amount of grape juice they consumed the night before delayed the whole procedure towards the afternoon hours.
Dick kindly offered us a ride from Horsham to Naracoorte in his beautiful Piper Saratoga. Well, when you're going to pick up a Wilga you do it with style, right?

now we're talking

Jake and Dick preflighting

Jake and Michael seem comfy back there

The GPS was showing we were doing 180 kts TAS and it took us less than half an hour to get to Naracoorte ... with 35 kts headwind.

heading west of Horsham

Cpt. Dick

straight-in for Naracoorte

here we are

Griffo and Blacky were already there trying to make the fuel pump working. There's gotta be complications ... always. It turned out the pump was in working order but there was no Avgas in the tank. The delivery truck didn't make it over the holiday season, people were flying like crazy using days off work and they consumed all the fuel. Desperately we started looking for a drum to get some Unleaded from the gas station in town. Luckily this Wilga has a supplement for Super Unleaded - not all of them do. There is always a way out of a crapy situation and we also got lucky this time. Not only we found a drum but also one full of Avgas. One of the locals had a storage in his hangar and agreed to sell the fuel to us. We were saved!

here she is thirsty for Avgas

heading back east

not much of working nav equipment on board motivated me to renew OZ Runways subscription

"see Griffo? This is how you fly a Wilga ;-)"

We got lucky with the tailwind and were doing 100 kts ground speed (80 kts IAS). Dick in his Saratoga took off from Naracoorte exactly 30 minutes after us and we met again in landing pattern in Horsham. It took us 50 minutes to travel while he was up in the air for 20 ... Quite a difference, huh?

I haven't flown a Wilga for over 2 years now but it's amazing how fast it all comes back. It's like you've never been out of there. I had to sum up my Wilga experience for insurance issues and came up with over 1800 landings in various Wilgas. I think this amount on one type helps too. You think you forget but it all sits somewhere there in the back of your head.

She's home

a warm welcome in Horsham

Not only New Year but there was also this one more reason for celebrations. How about a hangar BBQ dinner?

is this a dinner table with a view or what?

amazing is the rapid conversion even of the biggest skeptics

Mr. Griffoski opened up a bottle of good red for special occasions

Everyone wanted to have a look, sit in and listen to the big radial engine.

Happy New Year from the Horsham Flying Club!

The Wilga Story

What was supposed to be a Sunday trip to fix the trim cable in Wilga ended up as a whole day job. A completed job though. We found her in bits and pieces in the morning and managed to have her ready to fly that evening. The trim cable saga is not worth mentioning - we'll be much smarter next time ;-)

Australia's got pretty strict speed limits for all roads

on the way to Wilga

let's put her back together ... ok, but where do we start?

way to go

We ended up with an evening roll out and only a small plastic bag full of "spare" parts that we are not quite sure where they belong to. The plane doesn't looks like she's missing anything.

VH-PZZ hasn't been flown for the last 6 years and needs at least a quick rinse to regain the airfoil on the wings and make sure she's got her best L/D of 5.5 ... Surprised? Well, that's what it is. She's a flying drag and falls of the sky like a brick so you can land anywhere putting her even into a smallest field.

cleaning profis

We finished working pretty late and stopped in Penola Pub for dinner before hitting the road back to Horsham. 

Penola is located in the middle of the Coonawarra wine region in South Australia. The road leading to town has kilometers on wineries on each side providing the best grape juice in the country. It makes it really hard to drive through and not to stop for tasting or at least picking up a box of juice for later consumption. It was already late when we were driving back so we only stopped for few Santas. Every winery has it's own original Santa .