May 22, 2008

Classic Aviation Adventure

Blake is an old aviation "classic" film produced by the National Film Board of Canada:
This film inspired me many times during my career, forcing me to recall the sheer joy and simplicity of pure flight. Now that I actually own a Little Plane, I look forward to explorations and adventures, but alas (now there's a classic old word) current rules and regulations make it harder than ever to gunkhole around the sky without triggering mayhem somewhere ... (i.e. What's a TFR? And why are you pointing that gun at my head?")

By going far enough off the beaten path, some sense of adventure is still available to pilots of the 21st century. Maybe like this:

Camping in the Swiss Alps

Or this:
Beach Landing along BC coast

Blake can still be purchased through the NFB online store. It is viewable online but only if you join the NFB's CineRoute Club, which has some restrictions. I've emailed them, asking for Blake to be released as public domain - we'll see. In the meantime, you may want to purchase a copy if you are a real enthusiast of grass roots aviation.

May 21, 2008

Future Aircraft Might Repair Themselves...

An interesting article I came across explains how aircraft materials of the future might be "self-healing"... So - heal this!

Oh well. It still sounds like a good idea to make aircraft more durable.

May 19, 2008

May Day Flight

That's May day -- not "mayday!"

A short flight to do some sightseeing and record performance parameters for the little plane:

May 2, 2008

Half Measures

Sheesh - Some days.

I headed out to CAT4 early today to get a good morning's work done on the Little Plane. I drained the oil then discovered that the wrench I bought to get the old filter off was too small. No way it was going to budge by hand. So, I added clean oil anyway and left the filter for the next change.

Then I pulled and replaced the spark plugs. I have to wait to install new cables because the Auto Supply store didn't have them in today, though they'd promised them yesterday. Hmmm.. Does two half-finished jobs count as one?

So, it's on to job three - replace one of my batteries. My engine has electronic ignition and electric fuel pumps, so I built it with two SLA "motorcycle" batteries. This also ensures that I'll always have as much time in the batteries as I do in the fuel tanks. If the alternator were to fail, unnoticed, at the beginning of a trip, I could still safely continue to destination. Assuming of course that both batteries are in good condition.

Out comes the old battery - I said, out comes the old battery -- oops. The POS terminal bolt is corroded and breaks off during removal. Not a big deal except I was counting on re-using this part for installation on the new battery. I saved 10% on a 10% stronger battery, but the trade-off was that it was missing the terminal bolt. D'OH! Three Half-Jobs now done.

Then as a way of emphasizing that the Universe was out to get me today, while I was re-installing the cowling, I felt a sharp sting in my finger. I was reaching into a vent hole while wrestling things into position. At first I thought I'd jabbed myself on a sharp edge, but when I looked closely there was no visible cut or puncture. Then I saw a yellow-jacket wasp stumble out of the vent opening.

I was just happy that he was a loner who'd layed up inside the intake for the night - at least I didn't see any evidence of nest-mates.

So, tonight I'm licking my wound and plotting how to finish at least the ignition cables and battery installation tomorrow. Sometimes it's half a step forward and ... I guess that's enough.