Lesson 43, stalls and circuits

Beautiful day here today, no wind and lots of sun, with a frost!

Had my first lesson with Terry Salmon, so lots of new tips and comments ( Dave is currently busy in his olive grove ! )

Anyway, we first agreed on a few rules and things we were going to do today 🙂

  • Leave the circuit and do a few turns then a few stalls.
  • Re-joining the circuit.
  • And a few touch and go’s, flying around the circuit !

I am not a big “stall the plane” fan, but I know its good and should be doing this every month I think. We flew towards Mt Thomas where we do training work, where Terry showed me two stalls and afterwards I did two. When I did it, KNZ sort of stalled a bit but definitely didn’t do a dramatic dive, all gentle. That means it (KNZ) is showing that you are stalling but still a lot of control so that’s good…..

After that we went back, went through the rejoining procedure, and flew a few circuits.

Got a few hints about my flare (just before touch-down) I need to keep on doing what I do:

  • Most importantly get the approach right: correct height, correct speed (50)
  • After flaring, keep flying horizontal, pulling more and more stick until it stalls and lands.
  • But the new things is; when touching the ground, push stick forward a bit, to keep the landing gear on the ground. Not to much, just a little !

And for the take off I also had a few things I should do better. All the normal things:

  • Apply power, in 3 seconds.
  • Stick full forward; to get forward vision, more rudder control, better airflow over the wings.
  • Use rudder for directional control.
  • But the (not so new) important thing to look for is air speed, before pulling the stick. Make sure the speed is 50, so I can fly!!!!! If thats not high enough, you try to take off but the plane is still stalling, and could side slip ways or stall one wing etc etc creating all sort of very dangerous situations.

Anyway Terry was quite happy with most things, just those few points to pay attention to 🙂

Oh yes, when in the circuit, make absolutely sure, you join at 1500ft AGL, and when in down wind fly at 1000ft AGL, because thats where other “planes” expect you to be !!!!!

Oh and yes keep the slip indicator ball in the center all the time.

Phhhh quite a few things. Lots to think about when flying, but yes happy pilot, still learning.

Practice practice practice

Thanks Terry !!


Tips from Paul

Saw Paul today, the owner of KNZ.

Basically I am doing all the right things, flaring just before the landing. Its finding the right moment to start pulling the stick gently, and slowly pull more and more, while staying at the same height, maybe half a meter (1 – 2 ft) above the runway until the speed drops below the stall speed: you land.

But sometimes, you pull a bit to much, or you touch the ground and still have to much speed, and as a result you balloon: going up again. But because your speed is so slow now, you are about to stall, and fall down onto the runway, from a bit to high.

So what to do is when you balloon, is to apply a little bit more power, enough to not to fall to fast but to gently fall, and land   🙂

Next time I will talk with Dave and practice this…..

Lesson 42, Circuits

Today a little bit of a South West wind, nice and constant.

Off we went, did lots of circuits, one full high one at 1000ft AGL and all other ones at low level, 500ft. As the final is going past some pine trees there was a bit of turbulence, enough to disrupt my final flare. Not to dramatic, but a whole lot harder in KNZ compared to JOR, my first plane.

I am thinking that I need to get some tips from someone else, maybe Paul, the owner of KNZ, the plane I am flying now 🙂

But yes looking forward to the next flight !!!!

All cylinders of again

Today I took the 4 remaining cylinders of again, so I can get the piston’s out. I left all pistons inside the cylinder so it’s easier to get them home, but the piston in the top cylinder, #1 piston slipped past the bottom ring. I couldn’t get it back in easily so pulled it out completely.

To my surprise I did find oil on top of piston #1. Wow so hard to believe.

With the new oil grove that Richard is going to add to my pistons, all that oil will be scraped of the cylinder and thrown back into the  engine.

So even the top cylinder that I thought would be running OK, should run better without that oil in there. CAN ONLY GET BETTER !!  🙂

Lesson 41, back after 3 month break

After 3 months and 1 week, back flying again.

Been super busy working on the engine, had my parents here on holiday, build a plane trailer, bought a section on the West Coast, and been to the Yealands Classic Fighters air show in Omaka over Easter with my Bleriot.

Yes was a good day to start flying again. Sunny and no wind  !

Last night I was feeling confident about flying after this 3 month break, and yes it went all very well. Basically did one normal circuit and all the others low level (500ft AGL) circuits. Most landings were good. some really good, and one or two bounced a bit. Really happy how it all went !!  🙂
Looking forward to next one, hopefully next Saturday….

Cutting new oil collector slots in pistons

Went to see Richard today who designed my pistons. Showed him what the problem was that I am having at the moment, and he agreed to cut a new slot into the piston with drain holes, just under the oil ring, to get rid of oil that splashes onto the inside of the cylinder, especially the #3 and #4 cylinders as they are pointing down.
So that’s great news. The bad thing is that it means I need to pull the remaining 4 cylinders off as well…..

Oil rings

After talking with Wayne last week, we decided that something was wrong with cylinder #4. We thought that a ring was probably broken but…

This is what I found. No broken ring ! 😊 But there was something else Wayne noticed. Above you see the new piston left and old one right.

The oil ring normally is a split ring with holes behind it. This is good for normal engines with the cylinders pointing up (normal in cars). But with engines with opposing cylinders and radial engines you need more oil “catching” as there is more oil splashing around. With my old piston (right) this is done with a big grove under the oil ring, and lots of holes. When the engine is running, the oil on the cylinder wall gets scraped off and “drips” back into the piston and then gets thrown back inside the engine.

With my new piston’s that extra oil catching mechanism is not there.

This means that

  • There is oil getting into the combustion chamber, and that’s not helping the combustion.
  • The film of oil prevents the rings from bedding in, as there isn’t good contact. This means the rings won’t seal as well as they could.
  • Plus I also might have gabs in my rings that are possibly a little too wide.

So I am going to make a little modification to my two bottom cylinders, #3 and #4.
And re-check the ring gabs 🙂

Or maybe a piston ring

I keep on changing the reason why we think the engine is not performing anymore. This is after I put the new pistons in a couple of months ago…..

Today Rutger (my son) and I went back to the hangar after we dropped of the Bleriot on its trailer from the Omaka CF2017 trip just over a week ago.

We assembled the plane again. I took the opportunity to put some new foam in the gab between the root of the wing and the fuselage, and this time I used a electric bread knife to cut of the excess material. That looks 100% better then what I did last time (this was quite a few months ago) .
One thing I noticed immediately when I was pulling the Bleriot of the trailer is that it was dripping a lot of oil from one of the exhaust outlet’s. Something I have never seen before. I didn’t understand and stopped thinking about it as I was busy putting the plane together.

UNTIL, I was finished and was about to leave, when Wayne arrived at his hangar. He said he had been thinking about my engine, as you do when things aren’t right 🙂

He recons one of my piston rings is broken.

That’s when it clicked inside my head:

  • My previous thought about having problems with my exhaust didn’t make sense for one reason: “How is it possible that the engine was deteriorating over the days during the show”.
  • The oil was dripping from the exhaust right next to the cylinder #4 that had the really dirty spark plugs (note that cylinder #4 is at the bottom of the engine, so after stopping, it fills up with oil dripping down inside the engine)
  • Wayne did notice a few weeks back, that one cylinder did have less compression then the other ones. Probably this one.
  • I might not have been able to see the oil dripping out as this will only happen if the exhaust valve is open, and that depends on the prop position Not sure if it is but will check that next time.

So yes, I have one spare set of rings, so the next time I am going to the airport, I will start taking of that one cylinder, and hope that it has a broken piston ring. Hopefully it hasn’t damaged the inside of the cylinder. Wayne recons it should be OK, I mean, no damage…. Hope he is right.

I wonder if that ring, if it is broken, did break while running or maybe it got damaged at the time I put it in. Who knows.