Date: 10/9/2014

Time: 15:20 - 16:00 (14:20 - 15:00 GMT)

Aircraft: EuroFOX - G-UFOX

Star Wars and Compton Abbas

We couldn't use the plane last weekend as Tom had taken her to France. Next weekend, George has her booked to fly to Otherton for the weekend, so Ian and I book the day off work for a flight in the week. We had intended to go on Tuesday, but my Doctor's surgery were dragging their heels in getting round to signing my medical declaration so we had to postpone it a day.

However, the first job we need to do is to adjust the idle speed. This was left a little higher (1700rpm) than normal (1500rpm) so that we could reduce the amount of vibration whilst we had compromised exhaust brackets - we have replaced those now and so it's time to drop the idle speed. Once again, we borrow Greg's carb balance meter as I still haven't got round to making my own. After checkout and warmup we set about the adjust ment and eventually get it at 1500rpm with perfect balance. We then put her back together and go flying.

We take off from 08 (for a change) with Ian at the helm and head north. This is far from a direct route to Compton Abbas, but I had heard that they were filming part of the new Star Wars film in the bunkers at Greenham Common. Unfortunately, this had just become public knowledge and that morning they put a NOTAM over it requesting pilots not to overfly below 2500'. If only the surgery had got their finger out, we could have done a low sweep at 500' above ground instead of way up there. The visibility isn't brilliant and the auto-focus of my camera really isn't co-operating, but hanging out the open door I manage to get a couple of shots, with Ian keeping us steady below 60 knots. There is half a Millennium Falcon built - it doesn't look like they intend to do the rest. There are also a few X-wing fighters too. Still, we don't want to hang around too long to upset them, so we then head west to the north of Salisbury Plain en-route for Compton. Ian joins overhead and lands on runway 08.

After parking, we spot a sister plane G-EFOX on the line which was the demonstrator we flew before we got UFOX. In the clubhouse we get get some lunch (bangers and chips for me). I'm not sure why, but both Ian and I sensed that someone had gone back to G-EFOX and were going to depart - can't explain it but we were right and hurried down to have a little chat with them. We also told them that we had noticed their exhaust mounts had broken in the same manner as ours (yes, I am nosey).

A while later, it is our time to head home; this time with me in the left seat. Somewhat shorter and uneventful. We had considered going on to Weston Zoyland, but decided to go straight home as the idle speed appears to have crept up again to 1600rpm. After an overhead join for 08 I land and we have another go at it. It appears to be a little faster when fully warmed up, so I guess last time it had cooled down a lot during our testing. After a little more tinkering we got it at 1400rpm when cold, 1500rpm when warm and perfectly balanced - happy with that.

Ian then decides to have a few circuits and I come along as ballast and also play with my little camera. He finishes up with a lovely greasy of a landing - available by clicking here!

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