Today I was going to do more running in of the engine, trying to bed in the new rings a bit more. But I am confused….

Last time I ran the engine I cleaned the spark plugs, as some of them weren’t firing properly. Some were very dirty, and I assumed that that was as because I had oil on top of the pistons in earlier runs.

After cleaning them, the engine ran fine, and the spark plugs stayed nice and clean. A bit to clean, very clean in fact!!!! Also the engine was getting hot and had issues stopping because of it. So yes running to lean 🙁

So today I dropped the needle in the SU carburetor about 2mm, to get a richer mixture, and yes the engine is running cooler now, but, and here is the confusing bit: Two of the 5 cylinders have very dirty spark plugs, the same ones I cleaned last time (this makes the engine run effectively on 4 or even 3 cylinders).

The spark plugs in the other 3 cylinders are clean, with a bit of a brown “healthy” color. So the mixture they get is right, but its these 2 cylinders that get a richer mixture, or that’s what I think.

I was talking with Nick, who has a plane next to me. and I think he know a lot of engines, think he works a lot with cars.

He was looking at the engine with me for quite a while and there are 3 points he was “worried” about:

  1. The easy one is that the oil I am using in the damper inside the SU piston damper is to thin. This means that the mixture ratio might not be constant because of vibrations of the carburetor while the engine is running. I need to put SAE30 oil in there.
  2. The 2″SU carburetor I am using, if I remember well comes out of a 4L Jaguar engine. So same engine volume, but that engine is running up to 2.5 times faster, so would be drawing over twice as much air (faster air flow). But also there are two carburetors on that engine so the overall mixture speed would be similar, so maybe nothing wrong here…
  3. The pipe in between the SU carburetor and the engine is 2″ as that’s the size of the carburetor. But because the engine is only 1.5″ we had to reduce the pipe size. This is done just underneath the engine. Nick’s concern is that the mixture might be swirling a lot, going through that pipe and through the reduction, and as a result when the mixture enters the engine, more mixture might be getting into one half of the engine and less into the other half. Not due of this is correct, but sounds feasible.

Hope someone has some interesting comments on this !!!

Flight 50, solo standard circuit rejoins

Another really nice day today. There’s a NorWester threatening on the horizon, but still nice and calm here.

Before we were going to do anything, Terry wanted me to show some Rotor cloud. These are cloud rotating as a result of waves created by mountains. Now we have lots of those, and these ones where really prominent, very similar like the one you see here (the grey looking ones). The main reason he wanted me to see them is that you DON’T want to fly near them, as its very turbulent there ! 🙁

Rotor cloud

Terry was going to train me officially today on the execution of a standard circuit rejoin. This is basically were you come back from a trip and get into the circuit before you land.

I have done these a dozen times before with Dave and Paul, but it was never signed off in my log book.

We made two short trips away from the circuit, one to Loburn Abbey going North, and another one to the chip factory just East of RT flying at 2000ft.

Then coming back, dropping to 1700ft, and flying flying back to Rangiora, continually looking out for other traffic.

When “overhead”, you make the radio call:

Rangiora traffic, Kilo November Zulu, is overhead, joining left hand 07, Rangiora

Basically saying, hello people from Rangiora, I (KNZ = plane registration) have arrived from a trip at 1700ft altitude and I am joining the circuit, and will land with a left hand turn onto runway 07 😊

As expected this went without a glitch. Oh yes on one of the landings, Terry closed the throttle of the engine, forcing me to do a glide approach. Basically simulating a landing without the use of the engine.

This is where you try to get to the threshold of the runway a bit too high, just to make sure you can make it, and then at the final stages, you side-slip to lose height quickly and land. All going well !

Terry popped out of the plane, and I went solo:

Vacated the circuit, flew to Loburn Abbey at 2000ft, turned around, dropped to 1700ft, and rejoined the circuit, and finished with a perfect landing.

After this, Terry officially cleared me to go solo into the local training area, with a note on my log book. One step closer to my advanced local pilot licence. Weather permitting we will do a cross country flight to Culverden in 2 weeks !! Last weeks trip was a good practice run for that.

Next week hopefully a bit of local flying with a few standard circuit rejoins !!!!

Oh yes, Terry is really happy with how I’m flying!

Happy pilot 😊

Culverden and Stephen Fields fly-away

Today is just perfect. The club is doing a fly-away 😊

Flying to Culverden, were there’s a nice long strip followed by a visit to Stephen Fields farm strip.

So yes I met up with Paul who I was flying with at 11, and after the briefing we took off and flew over Okuku pass and into the valley were Culverden is.

I made myself a A4 copy from the VNC chart so I could orientate myself. Glad I made that.

Just before we left Rangiora, I also saw Terry my instructor. He told me to have a really good look around going there, note the strip altitude etc. I will be flying there soon with him as part of my training and if it goes well, will fly solo back !!! 😊

OK, Culverden airstrip altitude is 600ft. So the circuit is 1600ft, and joining at 2100ft, left hand circuit.

Below the airstrip just East of Culverden. Photo made by Roy. We ended up having 31 planes on the ground here, wow, that’s a lot!!

Paul’s plane JFA, also a Kitfox 🙂

The short leg going to Stephen Fields (Paul was piloting) was amazing, low through the valleys.

Below a video I made, following the Hurunui. As I am moving the camera around a bit, you might have to move your head a bit but it will give you a nice impression what it was like:

At Stephen Fields strip it got really cold, and started raining. So we decided to go back home.

Paul gave me “the keys” and told me to take the pilot seat 😊 I did most of the flying from the passenger seat during the first leg, but this is even better !!!

We were going to try to fly back along the coast, with all that cloud coming in.

In the end I was glad we did. That was amazing, navigating under the clouds and around sometimes. Really felt I was flying. At one stage having to dive down as we suddenly flew into one big white cloud. Wow, lots of white stuff !!!

Back in Rangiora I joined the circuit and landed. Not easy in a different plane (Paul’s). So i did one more circuit, but same issues…. That’s ok, next time i will be flying my own training plane KNZ.

Yes, was an amazing afternoon !!!

More running in

Today I went back to hopefully get the engine running better. Last time I noticed that with one magneto switched off, it was running on less then 5 cylinders. Also noticed 2 really oily spark plugs.

So today I cleaned all 10 plugs, and ran the engine twice, for about 10 – 15 minutes.

Yes its running nicely now on both magneto’s individually. And checking the spark plugs afterwards, they are all looking good. Some are a bit to clean, indicating a mixture that’s maybe a bit to lean (fuel / air ratio a bit to low, so not enough fuel). This makes it run hotter. And yes that’s what I see. Trying to stop it running, doesn’t work, it keeps on igniting as its to hot inside, so I think I definitely need to change the mixture ratio. Make it richer……. That’s for next time 🙂

Flight 49, bumpy solo

🙂 Woke up in the middle of the night thinking, ooh no, the Nor-Wester is blowing, no flying today. But by the time I got out of bed, it calmed down a lot.

So I left home to go to the airport, and yes by the time I got there, absolutely no wind.

Rang Dave as Terry my current instructor was in a conference, and got permission to fly. I need to get that every time until I have my first licence.

I got the plane ready, and of I went. The wind was picking up a bit but nothing serious, but straight away I noticed that higher up there was definitely a bit of a Nor-Wester, a wind coming over the mountains, with a lot of turbulence in it. Especially in the last 15 minutes that wind was getting stronger and bumpy-er. Really happy how my body is coping with turbulence now

Anyway, I flew for 1.1 hrs. Happy with all my landings! Today I definitely had to work harder to get them right as the wind was playing tricks with me, but learned from it. Get your speed right and everything falls into place.

Flight 48, just solo

Yep, more solo today. First time, without instructor Terry for first few circuits.

Was a nice day but there were North Easterlies developing, creating bumpy conditions, tossing me around a bit while up there 🙂

This made the landings a bit trickier. One of the reasons as I was flying a bit faster during landing to compensate for the wind gusts and turbulence around the hangars on final at RWY07 here in Rangiora. So yes a few landings were bumpy, ballooned a little bit. But all about learning I suppose.

Terry and Mike Small, watching me were not concerned. Yes their comments were that my speed was probably a bit on the high side.

But yes, feeling good after today !