Date: 1/3/2014

Time: 15:30 - 16:05 (GMT)

Aircraft: EuroFOX - G-UFOX

Can't Take the Pressure

We had planned to go for a flight on Sunday, including Ian, Tom and myself. We were going to take one of the club Eurostars along with our own plane. However, the forecast inverted and Sunday was looking poor and Saturday became better, so we changed to Saturday. The others couldn't come until the afternoon, so I spent the morning doing some more tests on the radio.

After that, I checked G-UFOX over and during the daily inspection I checked the coolant level (as always) and it was down so I topped it up a bit. Once finished and after warm-up I taxied round to the clubhouse, to discuss with the others where we were going. When I got out, I noticed a little fluid coming out the bottom of the cowling. - on investigation there was loads of fluid around, but none in the reservoir. We checked that the caps had both been fitted properly (they were). With the top cowling off, we started the engine and watched the fluid rise rapidly - not good. Then we pushed it back round the rear parking. Ian's eagle eye spotted that the pressure cap had a weird deformity where the rubber of the pressure seat wasn't flat, in fact it was not fitted concentrically over the brass spigot. Moving it to the concentric position resulted in the indentation ring of the seal where it mates with the housing, was no longer concentric, so it must have always been like this from manufacture. I borrowed a cap from Airbourne as I wasn't convinced that reusing the cap with non-concentric indentation was a good idea.

Rather than fly off somewhere, I though a test-flight would be a safer option. Also the time had marched on a bit. Once rechecked over and I was happy, I took off from 26 and circled into the overhead, keeping a watchful eye on the temperature gauges - that way, if there was an issue, I could still easily glide back down to the airfield. All looked good. I went for a general fly-around for my enjoyment. Some tight turns included for fun. I was still watch the gauges carefully but all was good, so I came back, joined overhead and landed again on 26.

I believe that I had a lucky escape from an uncomfortable moment. Instead I had an enjoyable bimble.


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