Measure carburetor fuel level

Now the Bleriot is back home, I started working on the float level.
I took out the drain bung at the bottom, and replaced it with a fitting to connect a bit of clear tubing to measure the fuel level inside the carburetor. A friend from a previous work place Brett Sewell gave me the idea, and it worked perfectly !!
The manual indicates that the level should be 9/16″ below the split level (where the carburetor splits in half).
What I measured was 15/16″ below that split level, so very low indeed, as what we expected!


After adjusting the float and the hinge a few times, I got it perfectly at 9/16″ below the split level 🙂

Oh yes this was with 30″ of fuel head, in stead of the 39″ the manual says. But as the minimum height for flying is shown in the manual as 24″, I think setting up the level with a fuel head of 30″ is probably OK.

Tomorrow I will assemble the carburetor again and also fit the purge valve lever 🙂

Below a closeup, where you see the clear tube with the fuel in it at 9/16″ below the split level.


Back in Omaka

Last night Rutger and I drove up from home, so we had some time this morning to get the Bleriot ready for the truck. Expecting the truck here at lunchtime.


Still took us about 2 hours to get the Bleriot ready. Taking out split pins and nuts for the elevator, the split pins securing the clevis pins holding the of steel cables for the wings. Removing the engine oil and fuel, dropping down the suspension of the landing gear so it fits in the truck and probably a few more things.

Loading the plane went well, and after the truck left, spoke with a few more of my plane friends here in Blenheim.
Will miss them, it was a good time here at Omaka!

I will be back with a flying Bleriot in two years !!!

Note it in your calendars: 2017, April 14 Fri, 15 Sat and 16 Sun   🙂

And back in the shed, ready for fixing the carburetor issues and getting an exhaust for the engine, plus a few more little things.


Closing priming valve

So this morning, the last morning of the show, I was going to try one last thing. Lap and permanently close the priming valve, or at least for now. The engine ran very nice, but was very hard to start as the priming valve was not usable now, and also the engine slowly ran out of fuel.

So two conclusions:

  1. The float level is probably to low as a result of yesterdays float valve work.
  2. The priming valve seems to be sealing so after it was lapped. So needs to be made operational again.

Dripping carburetor

We saw fuel dripping from the carburetor, and suspected that the float valve could be stuck. So there the carburetor came of the engine, all stainless steel locking wire cut and opened the two halves. The valve wasn’t stuck, but noticed that it was worn. By the way, I did see this in the early stages, but thought it would be OK.

I decided to have it machined. I went to Tony from CAMS here at Omaka. This was during the show, but Tony didn’t have any problems helping me, so 10 minutes later it was done.

I mounted the valve again, but because it was now a little shorter, I thought I should adjust the float a bit to compensate for the shorter valve. That evening we started the engine again, and nothing had changed, it was still running very rich and rough. BUT the fuel that was dripping from the carburetor now seem to come from the prime valve:

Yes its all happening again

Early this morning I got an email from the show organizer who was still positive that something could be done to get the Bleriot certified, so I was suddenly getting hopeful again.

We drove to Blenheim and met with the show organizer. Another inspector was organized and already looking at the plane..

To make a long story short, we got it certified on Thursday. Started working on a few more engine issues. Decided that the timing of the magnetos wasn’t stable, moving around a bit, so I locked that by drilling through the lever and locking it with a split pin. Then set the timing to the required 30 deg before dead center.

One of the test run’s:8293694_orig

Or a video just a bit later on the day. Running a lot faster than half a year ago at home, but running very rough, its to rich:

As the engine was dripping during the run we thought that the float valve could possibly be stuck, so took the carburetor off, took all stainless steel lock wire off, open up the carburetor and had a look at this valve. It was worn out and decided to have it machined down a little. This was on the Saturday, the first day of the show. Still working on the plane inside that hangar. That was OK because it was a windy day, too much for my Bleriot to be outside anyway.

Because the float valve was a little shorter now, I decided to bend the float arm a bit to compensate for that.

That evening we did anther test run, and still saw fuel dripping from the carburetor. Ryan noticed that the priming valve was leaking.

Early Sunday morning I made a temporary fix to seal this valve, permanently for now, just to confirm that the leak is the problem. We did a test run and the engine ran very nice now. A lot of power, so much that the tail started to lift up so I had to quickly pull the stick to push the fuselage down again… Oooh this was scary, could gave gone wrong !!

A big lesson learned here. Always stick back when starting engine !!!!

So the engine ran nice now but was very hard to start without the primer. Also we noticed that the fuel level in the float was probably to low as the engine kept on dying after a while This was probably as a result of me fixing the float valve earlier. So two issues left to fix.

As this was the last show day we decided that it wasn’t going to run. I pushed the plane in front of the big grand stand for the opening action for the day together with 2 other planes, a “dummy” Bleriot and the “Pither” a replica from the same time as the Bleriot.


Had lots of nice and good comments from the public when they were told about how close we were to flying, but just didn’t get there.

Later on I parked the Bleriot back with the other planes. We made a few fact sheets for people to read. All good. More nice comments.
This day was my first relaxing day. No more engine work apart from the early morning stuff that last day.

Just looking at planes !!!!!! 🙂



After the show, we went to the Awards Dinner.

Dinner was really nice, and guess what!!!

I was given an award:

“Presidents Choice”

I was very surprised and honored:


So overall very good. We were very close, and almost there.

I suppose you can’t rush planes when they are not ready.

Will get the Bleriot back home in a week and will start working on these last few little issues in my own time 🙂