Mombu 2012-08-07 16:27:42
There I was down from the hills and stood on a lonely stretch of
beach. One of my winter projects was poised on its wheels ready
to go, or not as the case may be !
A Heron glider, which had been lost and found again, had been out in the
weather for some weeks when it went AWOL. I had flown it since (even
built a replacement when it looked to be terminally lost). Due to its
enforced exposure in the great outdoors the nose area had gone a bit
soft. The cure ? Cut the nose off, fit an 8oz tank, undercarriage and
an MVVS .21 ball bearing jobby.
O.K, so I now had a tail dragger, undercarriage designed by “best guess”
and an engine which hasn’t been run for a year. There were also
lingering doubts about the engine’s ability to haul this “Frankenstein”
off the deck….. plus the fact that I had never flown anything with
WHEELS before !
The plan… fuel up, check everything and then eat my sarnies in a
leisurly manner before commiting aviation, or whatever.
The actuality… fuel up, get consumed by excitement and curiosity and
decide to go for it.
Primed the MVVS, 2 flicks after priming and it burst into life, set high
speed and left low end alone as it was idling nicely (something I do
well also) Everything was working O.K so no need to stall any longer.
Lined it up, gave it some revs and off we go ! Whoops.. to the left,
Whoops to the right, left, right… then off the runway line into a
dip and the prop clipped the ground and everything stopped !
Retrieved it, no damage and had a bit of a think. O.K start up, on
line, advance throttle, go VERY gently with rudder… Yeeehhhaaa up
she went. Hours of fiddling, head scratching and tinkering was flying
around beautifully…. just over 1/4 throttle gave a nice slow speed,
1/2 throttle was quite exciting !
Brought it down after 15 minutes, landing was not good, but fuel tank
was nearly 1/2 full still. Filled it up, started, sent it on its way,
a lot better this time. Flight lasted 20 minutes before I brought it
down… it was *not* a gracefull landing.
Finally ate my sarnies, packed the gear away and went home feeling dead
chuffed. My first tail dragger, a lonely beach, brilliant weather and
a great deal of FUN (Oh, and the tide was coming in). >:-)
The MVVS .21 is more than a match for this 68inch, fully aerobatic,
Frankenstein, it turned out that it has ample power in reserve.
Gotta practice the landings though !!!
Dave 2012-08-07 16:27:51
sounds like a boody marvellous day, I’m jealous! just one thing…..
wouldn’t you rather have an ARTF thingy identical to the next blokes with no
NO I wouldn’t either!
I’m teaching my autistic 11 year old to BUILD aircraft and fly them – hard
work but what a feeling of acheivement!
Remember those take offs however crooked are optional, the hard bit is
compulsory. My landings are a bit agricultural but WTH.
Regards Dave :^)
Ivan bradbury 2012-08-08 12:27:27
Reg said>> ‘Gotta practice the landings though !!!’
Come on Reg! A slope soarer that regularly lands on a steep sloping
in strong lift with the odd stone walls, barbed wire fences and telegraph
pole, all within striking distance, to say that he finds it difficult to
land on a big turbulent free flat beach – You ve got to be kidding! If
not, the only thing I can suggest is that you land Dead Stick . You
find that a breeze
Malcolm fisher 2012-08-08 12:27:38
That sounds very much like my introduction to powered flight.
I taught myself with slope soarers and, for a long time after graduating to
power, could never manage a one piece landing if the fan was turning so
always flew the tank dry.
Dead stick landings have never been a worry.
By the way – where is this lovely lonely beach? Malcolm
Mombu 2012-08-08 12:27:43
Its ‘cos I am totally phased by the dangly bits with those round things
hanging on ’em. Don’t have any probs with heather and bilberries >:-)
The “gotcha bit” was the amount of spring in the piano wire
undercarriage. I brought the thing in to land at a fair distance away
‘cos I didn’t know how much room it would take to stop… ain’t never
done this before with those wheel thingies dangling down.
How far is it gonna roll ? There isn’t any heather to slow it down on yer
average beach. Was it going to veer about and chase me over the
horizon ? Not as nimble as I used to be >:-)
Having decided to “give it a bit of room” I had actually brought it down
far enough away to make it difficult to see properly what was going on.
Initially, just as the wheel thingies touched, it looked a greaser.
Initially ! Just a split second or so after initialy it was seen to
bound back up into the air… it bounced so high I was reduced to
laughter, it was athletic enough to cause any watching fleas to have
One leg of the dangly underneath bit was bent back about an inch, easily
staightened. My first thought was to fit a brace wire to the dangly
down bit…. cancelled that idea, if this thing can bounce that high and
survive relatively unscathed then its best to leave it alone. Damned
thing has obviously got a high inbuilt survival factor. If this had
been a “dead stick” landing I would probably have gained sufficient
height to have needed to do another couple of circuits to lose it again.
Good job I went to play yesterday… the weather is completely naff
Mombu 2012-08-08 12:27:48
Shhhhhhh, Cumbria >:-)
I got talking to a guy flying a biplane on a local common area a while back.
Apparently a few of the locals get together and do a bit of aero towing
of gliders out on the sands of Morecambe Bay.
Now that is one real, big area to get away from the madding crowd !
Unless you are a local with *EXTENSIVE* knowledge of the Bay and the
ability to take simple precautions, such as taking a compass in case
fog develops, then it would be a fairly efficient way of departing for
the next world… recognising areas of quicksand can be useful as well.
A little bit of knowledge about tides would also help… when the tide
comes into the Bay it can outrun a galloping horse. Before tractors
were used for fishing the locals used horse and cart, if they got caught
out they would cut the horse free from the cart and give it a chance to
swim and, possibly, survive.
I have lived and fished, shore and boat, here all my life and I have
always treated the Bay with great respect. There are other beaches just
as quiet around here, and a whole lot safer !
I recently flew from Blackpool airport to Verona. We had a bit of timein
hand so we went walkabout for a bit. I could see 3 model aircraft flying
from the beach at Lytham… ‘er indoors wouldn’t let me investigate ‘cos
I had my best gear and good shoes on >:-(
I could see them zooming up above the sandhills.. that should be a good
place… fair bit of room there >:-)
Malcolm fisher 2012-08-08 12:29:04
Heather and bilberries are damned good brakes.
Closing the throttle slows it down quite a lot.
Not to mention an Olympic pole vaulter.
You could have “opened the tap” and tried again. Next time try to land
nearer so that you CAN see what’s happening – you can always run after it.
In any case, those wheelie things can enable you to drive it round and back
to you – when you finally accomplish that “greaser”.
By the way, I used to holiday at Morecambe in my early teenage years (cycled
there from Leeds so as to have more spending money) and know of the fast
incoming tide – nearly got caught once but was close enough in for only my
feet to get wet, but it taught me a lesson.
Keep practising, and, if necessary stop the engine before landing.
Mombu 2012-08-09 09:29:19
All good advice Malcolm.
I was so astounded, and promptly fell about laughing, that I couldn’t do
anything logical >:-)
I have learned from the experience and have a few ideas to improve the
situation next time… I think a few touch and goes to get a better feel
for these wheel thingies will be part of the plan.
I am on the other side of the Bay. Many years ago I was up past my waist
in the tide with a smaller bloke hanging onto me.. his feet were no
longer in contact with the bottom at that stage. We survived and it was
the only time I got caught out. From fishing to struggling to survive
happened within 4-5 minutes.
Practising is definitely going to be ongoing… perhaps a more reasoned
approach next time >:-)