Time: 15:05 - 16:20 (14:05 - 15:20 GMT) & 16:55 - 17:10 (15:55 - 16:10 GMT)
Aircraft: EuroFOX - G-UFOX
First Lesson in G-UFOX.
Well, the plane has now been signed off, so we now need to do our difference training, to learn how to fly her and more technically learn to fly a taildragger. So we need to get ourselves signed off.
I wasn't originally going to go today, but Jo told me to "bugger off", so I called Mac and decided to "bite the bullet" and go for the first lesson (of any of us). I got G-UFOX out of the hangar - she is currently being kept in the Airbourne hangar, nestled down the side with the wings folded. I rigged her - I checked the wing bolts and aileron connections many times. I stuck some fuel in (borrowed the pump belonging to Colin the Kitfox owner) and then ready to go. I didn't realise that there was an LAA event/fly-in in progress, but never mind.
After warm up, we went to do some taxiing practice down the length of 03 (not the active runway) and then back along the taxiway. Mac didn't realise that we had done a bit of this already. Then I summoned the courage to line up on 26 - throttle open and take off. First I just wanted to do a bit of re-familiarisation (not that I have flown EuroFOX's much). We flew up past Whitchurch and selected a field that looked a bit like a runway (it wasn't one) We started some fake approaches to this field to demonstrate how floaty it the plane is and how much space you need to allow to get it down. Not helped by the thermals, it is obvious on the first approach that there is no chance of getting it in, so abandoning it, we go around and have another go. We have a couple more goes which are better, but isn't really realistic. We then went to Chilbolton and did another false approach to it. I must admit that I had misunderstood and thought we were going to land, but Mac told me to climb away. We then went back to Popham and joined overhead for 26. I can't remember the last time I did the big GA 26 circuit, but this would give plenty of time (and I needed it). The final leg was started by the crematorium to give me time to get it down. Not a bad landing! Mac asked if I wanted to stop for a break or continue - I chose to do one more circuit to keep the momentum up. A good landing!
After a 40 minute break, we have another go. Taking off from 26 we now attempt a more abbreviated circuit, somewhere between the GA and the microlight circuit. My approach is good but a bit of a bounce on touchdown so I hit the throttle and went around - Mac said he was glad that happened (I wasn't) presumably it's good to experience it going wrong, or perhaps good that I did the right thing (going around). Continuing round again to a lovely landing, but then the engine wouldn't pick-up and it then died. It had done this once before when Adrian was demonstrating to Mac. I tried a restart but it refused. We pushed it off the runway and back to the hangar. It still wouldn't start, but would fire a bit when the throttle was fully open - suggesting flooding. After cleaning it down (which takes a while) I tried it again and it started and cleared and ran OK.
End of play for today.
Later in the evening, I found a picture of me (and Mac) coming into land, a mere 4 hours after it was taken. Thanks to Terry Hopkins for the picture and letting me use it.
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