LA March 2022

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March 2022 £4.25


Light Aircraft Association WWW.LAA.UK.COM

A look at what aircraft LAA members have been choosing to build in the last two years… PROJECT NEWS



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Ed’s Desk

My own personal Hot Kit choice… luckily, plenty of fellow LAA RV-8 builders seem to agree…

Chairman ERYL SMITH CEO STEPHEN SLATER Engineering Director JOHN RATCLIFFE CEng FRAeS CMgr FCMI Chief Technical Officer JON VINER CEng MEng MRAeS Chief Inspector KEN CRAIGIE President ROGER HOPKINSON MBE Vice President BRIAN DAVIES Engineering email Email Office Manager Penny Sharpe Head Office Turweston Aerodrome, Nr Brackley, Northants NN13 5YD Telephone for engineering and commercial 01280 846786


DESIGN AND PRINT: SEAGER PUBLISHING Production Editor LIZI BROWN Art Editor LISA DAVIES Opinions expressed by the authors and correspondents are not necessarily those of the Editor or the LAA. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without permission.

Hot kits…


rom the look of the cover, you’ve probably twigged that there’s something a bit different in this issue. We’re covering the full spectrum of homebuilding this month, with everything from a run down of the most popular LAA kits, all the way to starting from scratch by designing your own aircraft to build from plans. Our Hot Kit list looks at two years’ worth of new LAA kit project registrations, January 2020 to December 2021. The results offer up a pretty broad spectrum of types, from the Sling 4 TSi, the most modern four-seater with the latest technology Rotax engine, all the way through to the wind-in-your-hair Sherwood Ranger biplane. It’s a price range that stretches from £25k right up to just under £200k, and covers the full gamut of materials, but shows a real bias towards all-metal types and tube and fabric. I remember sending off for a Kitfox brochure and video in 1990. The type was just beginning to make its presence known in the UK, and it really grabbed my attention as a model-aircraft building kid at the time. I pestered my dad about it and suggested we could build one, but it remained a dream. It’s good to see the Kitfox feature in our Hot Kit selection, and I have to admit having watched the latest Series 7 Speedster display at EAA Oshkosh a few years ago, I could still be mighty tempted to scratch that Kitfox itch… Out of interest, I asked Engineering for a list of types so that I could compare our Hot Kits list to historical ‘hot’ kits. You may not be surprised to hear that the Europa sits at the top of the list with 367 (projects/completed

aircraft), while the Van’s RV-7/7A with 204 is at number two. The RV-6/6A with 147, and RV-8/8A with 140 continue the metal theme, before there’s a shift to tube and fabric with 215 of the Rans S6 and all its variants. The good old Kitfox, with 131 of various models, but mostly the Mk1-3, is the only other type to post over the 100 mark. Interestingly, if you’re curious what the most prolific plans built type is on the LAA books, it’s the Pietenpol Air Camper with 110 projects/completed aircraft… Talking of plans-built, I really hope you enjoy Mike Roberts’ feature about designing your own homebuilt. Read on, and I hope a few might agree that Mike might be on to something, thinking of a new low-cost, low-labour, built from plans aircraft.

March 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 3

Electronic Conspicuity

Photo: Keith Wilson


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Contents March 2022


A progress report on a beautiful scratchbuilt Super Emeraude, the first customerbuilt Sling TSi to fly, and a father and son team complete a Van’s RV-7


Curious about what’s a hot choice in the world of LAA kit-building? Then take a look at our review of what’s been popular with UK homebuilders in the last two years


Mike Roberts contemplates the design of a simple, affordable light aircraft, and the design principles involved


We can all learn from reading about incidents and accidents, so it makes sense to make use of the reporting channels available to us


This month looking at elevator trim tab control cable failure, multiple propeller issues, and the care and maintenance of flexible hoses

18 The Hot Kit List


Neville Parton and his daughter Hannah take on a Pooleys Dawn to Dusk flying challenge remembering four generations of service with the RAF


We talk to Carol de Solla Atkin about her life in flight and a particular love for the DH Chipmunk





March 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 5

LA News


Plenty more news is available on the LAA website at check it out every day!

Pooleys and LAA ‘Spring Solo’ Bursary The LAA and flight equipment company Pooleys have joined forces to offer a ‘Spring Solo’ bursary, giving £1,500 to a student pilot to assist them in going solo. Launched to celebrate Pooleys 65th anniversary in 2022, the bursary is aimed at an aspiring pilot of any age or background. The winning recipient will be able to nominate the flying school of their choice and the assistance will be deposited with the school to contribute to their costs of flying training. Any future flying or ground instruction, the costs of medicals and/or licensing will be payable by the student. All a candidate needs to do is answer, in 250 words, the question: “Why do I want to

fly?”. The best response judged by the panel, will secure the pilot their bursary. “One’s first solo is an iconic milestone for any pilot,” says LAA Chief Executive Steve Slater. “We want to celebrate Pooleys anniversary by offering someone that opportunity. The candidate does not need to be an LAA member and it is not just a ‘young person’s bursary’, as there are many other such initiatives out there. This is aimed at someone who will be a worthy beneficiary regardless of age.” Sebastian Pooley, MD at Pooleys adds, “For seven decades Pooleys Flight Equipment has been serving the aviation community and has also given back to that very community that supports us. On our 65th anniversary we wanted to team up with the LAA to support the work that it does and to offer an opportunity for an individual to get involved in the world of

aviation. We are confident that this bursary will enable a worthy candidate the chance to take full advantage of their flight training. We very much look forward to reading the applications.” There is a deliberately condensed promotion and selection window, to get the student into the air soonest. Candidates can apply to between 1-31 March 2022. Send an email with the subject line ‘Spring Solo’ and their 250 words. A judging panel will meet in early April to select the candidate, which means the winner can be in the pilot’s seat by the end of the month. The winner will also be given a starter kit of pilot training materials by Pooleys worth £250, they and their chosen flying school will each receive a year’s subscription to the LAA, and all entrants will receive a copy of the latest Light Aviation magazine.

New LAA Training workshop facility Although Covid precautions precluded HQ training courses for the past two years, there is a clear ongoing demand for member training and workshop courses. Classroom courses for Aircraft Woodwork, Rotax 912 UL, ULS and 914 engines, and Rotax 912iS injected engines, have been fully subscribed for the first quarter of 2022. We intend restarting the popular Aircraft Metalwork and Aircraft Wiring courses in the second quarter. We are delighted to announce that to further enhance the range of courses available, the Association has secured a lease on an additional workshop space next door to LAA HQ, and it is currently being equipped to accommodate Pilot Maintenance and Aircraft Weight and Balance courses. Plans are also

proceeding well for a Working with Composites course. A new Aircraft Fabric Covering course debuts on 7 April using the world-renowned Poly-Fiber system. It is a hands-on course tutored by Chris and Alex Allen of Aircraft Coverings. Twelve places

Young Aviation Artist winner flight Charlie Wilson, a member of Sywell Air Scouts, had to wait two years before he could take up his prize of a ‘taster’ flight at Turweston, but did on 5 February. Charlie, 15, won the Intermediate class first prize for the 2020 competition ‘Flying Yesterday and Tomorrow’, and flew in Turweston Flying Club’s American Traveller with instructor Anthony Hatch. On his return to the airfield it was smiles all round as Charlie had the controls for much of the fligh. Well done Charlie and to LAA for funding the flight. Anne Hughes 6 | LIGHT AVIATION | March 2022

are available, and the cost is £150. Five places are also available on a 22 March course on Critical First Aid, which can improve the life chances of those seriously injured in aviation accidents. Price £120. Call the office at 01280 846786 to book a place on either course. Left Just add trainees! The new LAA Training workshop is ready to host its first courses.

Left Charlie Wilson with his pilot, Anthony Hatch.

LA News

2022 LAA Armstrong-Isaacs bursary recipients named Five young aviators have each received £1,500, as winners of the 2022 LAA Armstrong-Isaacs Bursaries. Funded by legacies from former Association luminaries David Armstrong and John Isaacs, the bursaries are an important part of the Light Aircraft Association’s support for young pilots. More than 40 applicants reached the final assessment stage this year. Rares Turku from Essex, Samuel Allison from East Yorkshire, Matt Finch from Monmouthshire, Anna Morgan

LAA members honoured in Royal Aero Club Awards Each year the Royal Aero Club acknowledges the work and achievements of members of the aviation community. LAA nominees this year received some of the most prestigious awards: • RAeC Diploma – Francis Donaldson. In recognition of 30 years of engineering services to light aviation and the LAA. • The Britannia Trophy – Travis Ludlow. For the youngest-ever solo round-the-world flight at age 18 and for subsequent presentations to LAA Struts and young people. • The Old and Bold Trophy – Ted Barnett. One hundred years old and remains an active pilot. • The Norton Griffiths Challenge Trophy – Amy Whitewick and Mervyn

from Surrey and Nathaniel McMurray from Manchester are the five recipients who will receive the funds designed to help them through that expensive period of training when they have to complete the cross-country training and Nav tests – a time when all too often, money starts to run out. Look out for more on the recipients in next month’s Light Aviation. Applications for next year’s Bursaries will open at the end of the summer, with applications made via the LAA website. White. Creating the first ever portrait drawn by an aircraft and the most complex GPS image ever drawn by air. • Nexus Aviation Journalist of the Year – Steve Slater. For articles on aviation history in Pilot and Aeroplane magazines. • RAeC Bronze Medal – Tony Palmer for work with the Southern Strut, LAA Inspector, aircraft restorer, and support for Bristell builders and owners, David Cyster for 50+ years of inspirational Tiger Moth adventures, Cathy Silk for support and fund-raising for the Vintage Aircraft Club and Cliff Lovell for a lifetime contribution to vintage aeroplane restoration. • RAeC Certificates of Merit – Courtney and Mark Chambers for the creation of New Farm airstrip in Northamptonshire as a hub for local fliers, Mike Waldron for supporting and heading the LAA Gloster Strut, Fiona Macaskill in recognition of records in paragliding and air racing and finally, LAA Rally A/G Radio Team for safely supporting over 1,500 aircraft movements at the 2021 LAA Rally.

Race School Introduction Day and Survey The Royal Aero Club – Racing, Rally and Records Association of Great Britain have announced a free-to-attend ‘Introduction to the Royal Aero Club and Race School Experience Day’. Taking place on 23 and 24 April 2022 at Popham Airfield, any interested pilot can meet the team and gather information on the British Air Racing series. Each day includes an Air Race Theory groundschool incorporating the rules and regulations, and the possibility of flying with an experienced

air race check pilot around a short course to demonstrate the basic flying and navigation skills required. On Saturday evening you can also meet the club members at a social event. For more information, please visit www., or to register for a place email secretary@ It is also running a survey that it would like pilots to participate in, which can be found on its website https:// survey

New LAA member discount

Manchester-based Light Aircraft Avionics is offering LAA members benefit discounts on various avionic instruments, including SkyEcho, Avidyne. Trig and more. Contact Gary Hall

LAA Oshkosh 2022 and 2023

From the original expectation of 10-20 people, organiser Brian Mellor dealt with around 100 applications. and managed to secure arrangements via George Pick Travel for over 50 people to come this year. If you couldn’t be included this time, but are planning your own travel to the event, please let us know if you would like to be included in any social events and messaging / information while the group is at Oshkosh. This trip is likely to be repeated next year, starting earlier with a plan, the time and space to include everyone who can commit to the trip. If there is a greater demand than places available, consideration will be given to those members who were unsuccessful in joining the trip this time around.

Northampton strip planning help

Courtney Chambers, pilot and owner of New Farm Airstrip is seeking support for his retrospective planning application for the airstrip on his farm. The strip ran into problems last year, but given it had been running for a number of years, Northampton Council agreed that it could continue pending a retrospective application. If you would like to add your support to the application, please visit this link.

YES Education Conference

The 2022 Youth and Education Support conference will take place via Zoom on 11 March, 7-9pm. Details of how to attend will be sent out from Turweston by the LAA prior to the event. President of YES, Stewart Luck adds, “There will be speakers from the LAA and YES, plus guest speakers from the likes of the Jet Age Museum, Aerobility, WAT, the British Federation Skills Trust, Shuttleworth Discovery Zone, the Air Scouts, plus others. Bring a pen and paper ready to take notes!”

RAeS Lecture: Long builds and short flights

Kit Buchanan will be talking about his experiences at the Icarus Cup Human Powered Flying event since 2013. Kit was the winner in 2019, when he completed a record breaking triangle flight taking just over six minutes and was again the winner in the 2021. He will also be discussing his ideas for revolutionising the building of HP aircraft using 3D printed parts and techniques. 1800, 22 March at No.4 Hamilton Place, London.

Schaffen-Diest returns

August 12-14 sees the return of Schaffen-Diest Fly-In. Offers to visiting aircraft include a lunch for crew members, the possibility of camping overnight at the airfield, shuttle transport to and from surrounding hotels, and a barbecue on Saturday evening with a live band., March 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 7


Eric Clutton

Martin Ryan

Eric Clutton, designer of the Flying Runabout Experimental Design (FRED) homebuilt aeroplane, passed away on 5 February at the age of 93 in Tullahoma, Tennessee; his home in recent years. In the 1930s Eric was a student at Hanley High School, the same school that R J Mitchell attended. He would, therefore, claim to be Stoke-on-Trent’s ‘second-ever’ aircraft designer. His passion for aircraft during the wartime years was fuelled by aeromodelling, and on leaving school he started work at Rootes’ aviation shadow factory, at Meir Aerodrome. He even graduated to ground running as well as taxying the P-51 Mustangs being assembled there. Eric continued his model flying post-war and later gained the title ‘Doctor Diesel’ for his expertise with radio models. His dream of flying an aircraft designed and built by himself was finally fulfilled on 3 November, 1963 when G-ASZY, the original FRED, took to the air. Those early days were a throwback to aviation’s early pioneers as the impecunious Clutton experimented with various motorcycle engines. Eric once claimed he’d suffered 11 engine failures, without ever flying outside the airfield! FRED was eventually re-engined with VW power (like the other dozen or so built in the UK), and the prototype was a regular visitor to PFA rallies, until it, and Eric, emigrated to the USA in the late 1970s. There he worked on several ultralight designs, including with Wayne Ison, the popular Minimax, but his beloved FRED was still his favourite. Steve Slater

Martin sadly passed away following a bravely fought battle with cancer. Perhaps unsurprisingly he was enjoying a flying day with his good friend Frank when he was initially taken ill at Compton Abbas Airfield. Martin undertook his engineering training with Rolls-Royce and his knowledge of aircraft engines, turbine or piston, was expert. He went on to use that throughout his career working in the aviation industry. An accomplished rugby player and cricketer in his younger days, he also had a passion for steam trains where he trained to become a driver. Martin devoted considerable time as a volunteer, particularly as part of the King 6024 team. A familiar face in the Vintage Piper Aircraft Club, Martin owned a J4 Cub Coupe, and subsequently a Stinson 108-2. As an honorary member of the Aeronca Club over the last 20 years, many of us had the privilege of his company on trips far and wide where the wines and beers, and Martin’s laughter, helped get us through the nights in tents. . Ever helpful, whether to individuals or organisations, if Martin could help he would, and was a familiar sight at LAA rallies and the Lundy Sunday Fly-ins. He was also a regular volunteer taking disadvantaged and sick children, Scouts and other groups for flights, even from bases distant from his home airfield at Garston Farm in Wiltshire. Martin leaves a daughter Jennifer, a son George and a granddaughter Ivy. Rest in peace, we will miss you. Pete White

Kenneth (Ken) Wakefield

co-pilot flying Dakotas on charter flights from Europe to Johannesburg. He also flew with the RAF Volunteer Reserve at Bristol Filton. In 1953 Cardiff-based Cambrian Air Services was looking to recruit two additional pilots, one of those appointments was for a DC-3 co-pilot. No doubt Ken’s Dak experience paid off – the only other Dak-rated pilot in the company was its managing director. Ken went on to fly Viscounts and BAC 1-11s, ending a distinguished 27-year airline career at British Airways as senior captain on Lockheed Tri-Stars. Ken was a member of the Royal Aeronautical Society and holder of the Master Pilot Award of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators. He devoted much of his time researching and writing books on WWII US liaison aircraft, becoming a world expert on the subject. Any restorer, before starting his project, begins today by reading the ‘books of Ken’ like The Fighting Grasshoppers and Lightplanes at War, and he was always happy to help. With extreme kindness, he encouraged youngsters, gave advice to hundreds of pilots, and through his meticulous research and publications connected families of veterans with the past. We have lost a true gentleman and godfather to the L-Birds. Mike Mothershaw

1928 – 2022

1928 – 2022

In 1944, when the American Army based Piper L-4s on an airstrip near Bristol, it had a huge influence on a West Country lad. “One day I’ll own one of those,” he pledged. This marked the beginning of Ken’s association with the Piper Cub and other US Liaison aircraft. And 38 years later he achieved that ambition, owning one of those L-4s that arrived in Bristol back in 1944. Along the way, Ken gained his PPL and soon became a 8 | LIGHT AVIATION | March 2022

1953 – 2022

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Letters European Luscombe Fly-in

Dear Ed, After a long absence, the European Luscombe and Friends (ELF) Fly-in returns in grand style at the newly reopened and scenic Farway Common Airstrip in Devon. Although it’s specifically a Luscombe owners event, we are also inviting those affiliated with Luscombes; previous owners and aspiring Luscombe pilots.. The event begins Saturday 23 July and finishes Sunday 24. There is a large BBQ – and a deep freeze and fridge are provided to keep your drinks cool – so bring and cook your own! Camping space with basic toiletries are provided. Thanks to the kind generosity of Farway’s new owners James and Catherine, we hope to make this an annual event. We’re also hoping to beat the previous record of 25 Luscombes set at Oaksey Park Airfield! Please ‘register’ on the European Luscombe Facebook page to let us know you’re coming. Should be a great event! Nigel Barratt and Steph Murchinson. 07968 980624.

KR Aircraft are 50!

Dear Ed, 2022, is the 50th anniversary of the KR Aircraft. Designed by partners Ken Rand and Stu Robinson, the KR series of experimental aircraft was the first to make extensive use of foam / fibreglass / epoxy construction, and should be considered as the design that pushed aircraft construction into the composite age. The KR1 first appeared at Oshkosh in 1972 and was an instant success. Built of wood / foam / Dynel / epoxy, it achieved outstanding performance on a low hp VW engine. Easy and inexpensive to build, hundreds of plans were sold. Requests for a two-place aircraft led to the KR2 making its appearance at Oshkosh in 1974, again an overwhelming success. With thousands of sets of plans sold for the two models, hundreds of them were soon flying around the world. The KR aircraft set the stage for the composite revolution in aircraft construction. With constant builder input, the KR series has grown to include the KR2S, a stretched version of the two-place KR2, and hundreds of one of a kind KRs that vary in length, width, wingspan, engines used, new wing shapes, canopy shapes, and systems upgrades. A great basic design that only 10 | LIGHT AVIATION | March 2022

Above 25 Luscombes at the last European Luscombe Fly-In held at Oaksey Park. The organisers of this year’s event at Farway Common hope for more! improved with time and builder input. The following video gives a brief update on what has happened to the KR design over its 50 year history. watch?v=K3U-LNdm3y4 Respectfully, Larry Flesner, KR builder / pilot N211LF.

IFR approval

In December 2019 we first flew our aircraft, built and equipped with the express intention of IFR approval. It has two alternators, main battery, standby battery, full Garmin suite including a standalone G5 as backup with up to five hours on its internal battery. Oh, and an iPad with SkyDemon! There is a rule that you cannot get approval in less than a year, but we were allowed to request an assessor in August 2020. In Dec 2020 we were finally allocated an assessor. The requirements specified in TL 2.28 are not particularly onerous, and we believe we have complied with them all. As part of our own testing, we disabled the main alternator and established that the standby alternator could easily power all services indefinitely, including pitot heat, without any load shedding. If both alternators and both batteries were to fail, it could still be flown in IFR for two hours or more on the G5 and iPad, albeit without pitot heat. We supplied the current consumptions of all the equipment in amps (twice), and were then asked for it in watts, which we again supplied promptly. This took many months between requests, but one flight could have demonstrated so much more effectively the multiple redundancy and capability of the systems. The response we got was to question

our figures on the basis that ‘you seem to have a lot of circuit breakers!’. I guess we do, but these modern avionics use less than half the power of our other aircraft (a Cirrus SR20). One problem is that we have never spoken to our assessor (he doesn’t take phone calls). We have never met him. He has never seen the aeroplane, let alone flown in it. Steve Slater wrote in December’s magazine that maybe we should be using outside, paid-for resources. I agree. In fact, we took the aircraft to RGV at Gloucester for a radio annual and for the MOD 17 approval of ADS-B out of our certified transponder. This involves, among other things, a thorough check of all the wiring, the power requirements and altimeter calibration. They were very complimentary, I am glad to say. The current situation is that the LAA has paused the whole IFR approval process, so although we have jumped through all the hoops (there are other things such as POH requirements and a proper maintenance schedule), we have effectively got nowhere in more than two years, and have no immediate prospect of any progress. I do not think there is much wrong with the IFR approval process as written, provided it is properly resourced. Having volunteers is a great strength of the LAA. It is also a weakness. Why not farm out some of the technical side? Why try to second-guess a professional avionics workshop? With that proviso, I believe there are many people, inspectors and others, who are perfectly capable of conducting an IFR approval. It is not ‘magic’ and the broad requirements are quite straightforward. An assessor needn’t get involved in the detail of Can bus architecture or the 192 connections on a G3X. Leave that to a professional avionics workshop with a reputation like RGV. Our avionics is the same as another RV, which already has IFR approval, but with some extras. It is a known quantity with more than two years of operation behind it on this aircraft alone. We do not know what more we can do. It would be interesting to hear the experience of others going through this process. Name and address withheld by request John Ratcliffe: LAA Engineering Director replies: Thank you for raising your concerns with the IFR approval process. I am currently reviewing the process and how we resource it as one of my priorities. I am working closely with the team of assessors and will be providing an update in due course.

Mike Fowler

We are always pleased to receive your letters, photos of your flying, and your feedback. Please email the editor at

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Straight and Level Staying true to our core values Eryl Smith Chairman


ast month I wrote about being a broad church, with some 8,000 members, 2,800 aircraft in permit, a further 1,600 under construction or rebuild and refurbishment covering some 500-plus types in total. As an Association, which celebrated its 75th anniversary last year, we have at our core the values of safe, fun and affordable flying – but given the size and range of our fleet is it time to revisit what our values mean, particularly affordability? For many, being a member of the LAA is synonymous with low cost of entry and low cost of operation which brings ownership of an aircraft and enjoyment of flying within reach of almost anyone. The ability to build an aircraft and maintain it significantly reduces costs and anyone who has previously owned an aircraft on a CofA or has a foot in both camps knows only too well the cost differential in maintenance and annuals! But as amateur-built aircraft have become more sophisticated and complex, and avionics fits ever more expensive, the notion of affordable meaning low cost or cheap needs re-examining. As someone recently pointed out, while the membership fee has not changed materially in real terms since the inception of the Association, levels of individual disposable income have – and can

Winners all

Steve Slater CEO


’m particularly proud of two items in News this month. The first is the announcement of the five young aviators who will each receive £1,500 from the LAA Armstrong-Isaacs Bursaries fund. Big congratulations to Rares Turku, Samuel Allison, Matt Finch, Anna Morgan and Nathaniel McMurray, we’ll look forward to seeing their stories in future editions, as their PPL training progresses. Some of us forget just how difficult those latter stages of PPL training can be, particularly if you are self-funding. That’s when so many students have to give up, a classic case of ‘so near yet so far’. Funded by legacies from former Association luminaries David Armstrong and John Isaacs, these bursaries are an important part of the Light Aircraft Association’s support for young pilots. Meanwhile, I’m delighted that so many LAA members’ nominees were acknowledged in the annual Royal Aero Club awards. They ranged from Travis Ludlow, for his round-the-world flight at the age of 18 (the youngest ever solo) and for his subsequent outreach activities, including LAA Strut and young peoples’ presentations, to 100 year-old Ted Barrett from Essex was awarded the ‘Old and Bold’ Trophy. Ted has had a PPL since 1955 and passed his microlight GST at the age of 93. He still drives, and frequently flies from Hunsdon and Andrewsfield airfields in Essex.

12 | LIGHT AVIATION | March 2022

Updates from the Chairman and CEO

– vary widely. It’s not surprising therefore that an individual’s perception of what is affordable will vary. If our traditional view has been that affordability is synonymous with low cost then this, as demonstrated by the breadth of the LAA fleet, is no longer the case. Of course, it’s important that we can continue to make access to ownership and operation of an aircraft as low cost as possible, after all we have made a virtue of being able to own an aircraft for under £20k! At the same time many members have chosen aircraft considerably more expensive than that because of the capability they offer and the ability to operate and maintain it much more cost effectively than an equivalent CofA aircraft. For those with deep pockets the market has much to offer. Perhaps more challenging is where the future new low cost of entry types will come from. Even the latest 600kg types enter the market considerably above the £20k budget. Much was made of the SSDR initiative to stimulate simple aircraft design, but to date there is limited evidence that this has opened up the market at the ‘lighter’ end of the LAA fleet. So, while a bit heavier than SSDR, it is of interest to read Mike Robert’s article on designing a simple single-seat aircraft (p28). One of the virtues of our Association has been to demonstrate that almost anyone can own, maintain and operate an aircraft. Safety will always be paramount and the moment the fun stops in what we do we risk losing interest in continuing to fly. Perhaps it’s time to reassess what we mean by ‘affordable’ and acknowledge that within our broad church of membership we all seek the most cost effective means of enjoying our passion to fly regardless of the aircraft we own and fly. ■

Kudos too, to LAA Devon Strut members Amy Whitewick and Mervyn White, winners of the Norton Griffiths Challenge Trophy for an incredible piece of aviation art; a portrait of early aviator John Stringfellow drawn using GPS traces from their aircraft. It is believed to be the first-ever portrait drawn by aircraft and the most complex GPS image ever drawn by air. Closer to home, a prestigious RAeC Diploma for Francis Donaldson recognises his 30 years of engineering service to light aviation and the LAA, and RAeC Bronze Medals recognising meritorious achievements were awarded to Tony Palmer, for his long-standing work with the LAA Southern Strut, as an LAA Inspector and aircraft restorer, for his hosting fly-ins at his Palmers Farm air strip and his support for Bristell kit builders and owners across the UK. David Cyster gains his medal for 50+ years of inspirational Tiger Moth adventures, including flying from London to Sydney in the 1970s, pre-GPS days. Another intrepid Tiger Moth pilot, Cathy Silk was recognised for her fund-raising activities for the Vintage Aircraft Club, while aircraft restorer Cliff Lovell was rewarded for a lifetime contribution to the vintage aeroplane scene, which has exceeded all others in this country. Arguably, he invented our restoration movement! RAeC Certificates of Merit were awarded to Courtney and Mark Chambers, for creating a New Farm airstrip in Northants, Gloster Strut members Mike Waldron and Fiona Macaskill, and the LAA Rally Radio Team, who safely supported over 1,500 aircraft movements at the 2021 event. To Paul Fraser-Bennison, Chris Thompson, Jim McMillan, Chris Waldron, Bob and Madge Howarth, Chris Sellen, Peter Grant, Matt Wilkins, Callum Hall and Graham Newby – congratulations all! ■

Inspiring members to take on their own aircraft build or restoration project Compiled by Mike Slaughter

Project News O ne of my favourite reads in the Project News inbox, is the unexpected updates for projects that we have seen before and that have progressed over the last year or so. One such recent surprise was an update from Richard Shingler on his Super Emeraude – a lovely looking type – and I must say one that would be on my very short list were I ever to find the time to scratch build a wooden aftraft. This is Richard’s third project, and he was in touch about this time last year when he’d just about got the wing to a stage where ribs were being mated to the spar. He had explained that any glueing outdoors had become impossible in the cold and that he had retreated inside to finish building ribs on the kitchen table in front of the Rayburn. With at least 10 new project starts in the last 12 months, the Sling TSi has become a firm favourite with LAA members in recent times. We’ve an update on the first UK customer’s example to fly, built by Paul Hennessy. Apart from tackling the build as a lockdown project,

extracting it from his fantastic looking basement workshop must count as a major project achievement. James Chapman provides an interesting review of his RV-7 project built by him and his father. It must be a wonderful thing if both father and son fly, but what could be a better bond than building an aircraft together. Should any builder need reminding, his tale re-enforces the wisdom that radios and electronics should be bought for one’s project at the last possible moment. Bought too early, and there is not only the possibility of equipment being out of date by the time it enters service, but the modern phenomenon of the software that it relies upon will almost certainly be many revisions behind and as James discovered, not all manufacturers allow you to update it yourself. Free software updates that require the manufacturer or its agent to apply are not free! Read on below. To get in touch with Project News, and tell your story, report a milestone or just to send a picture, email: uk. Please share your story!

Super Emeraude (LAA 216-15564) By Richard Shingler


’ve been working on the wings, flaps, and ailerons since last spring (2021) when the weather became warm enough to start glueing again. They still aren’t finished but they are getting closer. Due to the wings being one piece they take some handling when you are working alone, so I’ve mounted them on a Heath Robinson support that rotates them right way up, upside down, or pointing straight down. Additionally the support is also on castors

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Above The Emeraude wing right way up upon Richard’s one man adjustable jig, outside his extended garage. Above Modern-day aircraft green credentials! Thanks to the wooden raw materials!

so that I can move it about the workshop or outside should the need or mood dictate. My Inspector, Pete Whitehead, has had a look and cleared me to install the leading edge ply top and bottom, back to the spar after having giving it three coats of varnish inside, I can’t fit the inboard leading edge ply yet as I’ve still got to mount the undercarriage legs, these are being worked on at the moment. I was lucky enough to find a pair

Project News of legs off a crashed Emeraude, one is OK, but the other one has been bent and is in the process of being repaired. Hopefully I shall soon have it sorted so that I can get both legs fitted and carry on with the glueing once the warmer weather comes this spring. At the end of August I recruited (press ganged) my good friends and LAA members, Trevor Pugh and Ian Jones, to help move all the parts out onto my airstrip and assemble the Emeraude for a photo shoot and in the finest Blue Peter traditions there it was with two that I had made earlier, Hatz Biplane G-BXXH and Evans VP1 G-PFAW – thank you Trevor and Ian. While I’m waiting for the U/C to be sorted out I’m having a go at making the sliding canopy frame, bending the steel tubes and fitting them ready for welding – but moulding the perspex will be a job for somebody else.

Above Richard’s growing fleet that he has built himself, the Emeraude taking the air with a Hatz CB-1 biplane and Evans VP-1.

G-HYPE (LAA 400A-15698) Sling TSi By Paul Hennessy


ling TSi G-HYPE flew for the first time at the end of January from Booker with test pilot Al Seymour at the controls. A proud moment for me and the first customer-built Sling TSi to fly in the UK. She has been a true lockdown project for me, having started working on her in the first week of lockdown in March 2020 – and I clocked 2,100 hours on the project. I did all the work myself including designing and building the avionics and harnesses. I was also pretty hands on with the painting, which was done by GA Livery at Eshott.



Above G-HYPE on a visit to Turweston, all finished with the spats on.


The build was pretty straightforward on the whole and I thoroughly enjoyed the process. The only real point of interest was that I did most of the construction in my basement workshop! Getting it out was an exercise in logistics… There is about 400kg payload available, so a reasonable mix of four occupants and say four hours of fuel is perfectly achievable. It is hoped that the cruise will come out at around 135kt for a fuel burn of 25 ltr/hr or slightly less. Time will tell. 1 Builder Paul part way through the horizontal stabiliser. 2 Building the wiring loom – note the bulldog clips to hold the wires.



3 Getting the fuselage out of the basement required a forklift! 4 All-glass panel. 5 Paul with test pilot Al Seymour. March 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 15

Project News

G-JIMC (LAA 323-14996) Van’s RV-7 By James Chapman


ust over 10 years ago my father retired and, with a concern that afternoon naps and sitting reading the newspaper might be the norm, I suggested we build an aircraft together. Both of us fly and it seemed a great idea to get the grey matter working for my father, as well for me to skive off some of my normal daily activities running an aerospace business. The late Alan Weal took me for a most expensive ride in his Van’s RV-7, and no sooner had my feet touched the grass than the order was placed. I made some space in the corner of our warehouse in Brighton, which normally stores large gas turbine engines, and to be honest it was quite luxurious – dry and relatively spacious with just maybe a Rolls-Royce RB211 engine fan cowl to navigate around! We purchased the RV-7 quickbuild kit (‘quickbuild’?!) and started the process of learning how to rivet with a rivet gun and bucking bar. Months would pass with my father working on the project two days a week and, for me, any opportunity to leave my desk and get my hands on the kit was taken. Over the course of the build a kind of social club was established with different friends all assisting in various aspects of the build. We even had overseas exchange

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Above top James Chapman’s RV-7 ‘Mike Charlie looking fabulous in last year's summer sunshine at Shoreham. James’ father proudly sitting in the cockpit of the aircraft they both created. Above left A few years earlier…James’ father posing in the newly arrived quick build fuselage. Above right The RV-7 heading off to be painted.

engineering students help with the build. I still receive emails from students who were with us seven or eight years ago asking if it’s finished. As with the norm, the avionics were purchased way too early, two Dynon Skyviews 10” displays and Vertical Power VP-X electronic circuit breaker, Garmin GTR225 radio, Trig TT31 Transponder and an Air Avionics TRX 1500 collision avoidance system were purchased together with a RAM mount for an iPad mini displaying SkyDemon. The beauty of Dynon is that the firmware can be upgraded easily and free of charge which prevents the systems from becoming out of date. This can’t quite be said for Garmin (more about that later). The aircraft also has twin access autopilot also courtesy of Dynon. Wiring was relatively straightforward and made a lot easier using the VP-X system. It also integrates nicely with Dynon allowing various circuits to be switched on and off and providing fancy functions like WigWag lights and flap control. The engine purchased was a Superior IO360 fuel injected with electronic ignition from E-MAG. It was purchased as a kit and built by Nicholson McLaren who did a wonderful job. The propeller is a three blade CS from MT.

Project News

I am not sure I can find a reason as to the long build time. As most people say, we seemed to be stuck at 99% complete, with the last 1% taking forever. There have been some hurdles to get over, but in general the kit has been excellent. Firewall forward seemed to take longer than anticipated as you are a bit on your own due to different engine / fuel systems / prop combinations. Test flights have all been very successful with the only issue being a squelch problem with the Garmin radio. In flight the intercom was almost unusable and despite increasing squelch levels on the radio background noise was not omitted. After a bit of Google searching it became apparent that a number of software updates had been released, one in particular addressing intercom issues with the radio! After installing these updates I am pleased to advise that the radio and intercom are working perfectly. Obtaining the update, however, was not so easy and can’t be done directly with Garmin. It has to be through its dealer network and entailed sending the unit off accumulating charges for carriage and service time – but the software update was free! Not quite as easy as Dynon which allows you to download and apply updates yourself. Painting was completed at Bear Kustoms Paintworks, using, I am told, a very nice Aston Martin Viper Blue colour which does look stunning (I think that may have added a few pounds to the weight) and a Classic Aero interior with Hooker Harnesses. On the tail of the aircraft there is the image of a crest my grandfather gave me. He was a Navigator on Lancaster’s with 44 Squadron and I have this fixed to the tail in his memory. Adrian Brook has been our Inspector throughout this journey and has been a fountain of knowledge helping us along the way. Without his assistance I think we could still be a few years from completion! He has also been our test pilot and from his chuckles while flying the aeroplane seems to be enjoying himself. I have certainly enjoyed being an observer and can’t wait to get my hands on the controls – just four more landings until test flying is complete. It’s certainly a speed machine, slightly different to the old Piper Cub I normally fly. ■

Above James Chapman Right Onthe RV-7's fin is the Crest of 44 Squadron, given to James by his grandfather who flew as a Navigator on Lancasters with the squadron.

New Projects If your aircraft has been featured in the New Projects list, please let Project News know of your progress at: n Van’s RV-7 (LAA 323-15811) 25/1/2022 Mr M S Colebrook, Mare Pond Copse, Markwick Lane, Loxhill, Surrey, GU8 4BD

n Van’s RV-10 (LAA 339-15810) 18/1/2022 Mr M Moya, 21 Rosewoods, Howden, East Yorkshire, DN14 7QX n Staaken Z21A Flitzer (LAA 223-15807) 13/1/2022 Mr C Richards, 3 Bridgewood Road, Woodbridge, Suffolk, IP12 4HA n Sling 4 TSi (LAA 400A-15805) 11/1/2022

Dr D Pilkington, Mill Hill Farm, Mill Lane, Goosnargh, Lancashire, PR3 2JX n Bristell NG5 Speed Wing (LAA 385-15806) 11/1/2022 Name & Address held by LAA Engineering n TL2000UK Sting Carbon S4 (LAA 347A15804) 7/1/2022 Name & Address held by LAA Engineering

Mr Stewart Read, 104 Baymead Lane, North Petherton, Bridgwater, TA6 6RN & Mr John Northey, 26 Old Road, North Petherton, Bridgwater, TA6 6TG n G-ACET DH84 Dragon (s/n 6021) 5/1/2022 Name & Address held by LAA Engineering n G-CCUB Piper J3C-65 (s/n 2362A) 4/1/2022

Name & Address held by LAA Engineering n G-HYPE Sling 4 TSi (LAA 400A-15698) 11/1/2022 Name & Address held by LAA Engineering n G-KRBY Van's RV-8 (LAA 303-15238) 18/1/2022 Name & Address held by LAA Engineering

Cleared To Fly If your aircraft has featured recently in the magazine and has subsequently completed its maiden flight, Project News would like to hear from you at: n G-CFRY Zenair Zodiac CH601 UL (PFA 162A-14302) 27/1/2022

March July2022 2016| |LIGHT LIGHTAVIATION AVIATION| |17 23

The hot kits… Ed Hicks takes a look at what’s been heading up new LAA project registrations in the last two years…


ow do you find out what’s a hot choice for UK kit-builders? Well, in the case of this list, it was just a matter of counting up the new project registrations made between January 2020 and December 2021. A two year snapshot of what’s been catching the eye of LAA members. The number of kit starts registered range from 13 for the first two types in the list, all the way through to just a couple each for the types at the very end of the list. Some are no surprise, and have been steadfast choices of builders for more than 20 years, while others are so new that they’re only just being issued with their full LAA approval. That hasn’t stopped members from placing their orders though. Quite a number have gone

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from kit delivery to first flight in that two years too, which is testament to just how good the quality of the latest kits are. The best of them providing builders with a very complete set of high-quality components that assemble quickly and easily, using methods of construction that are not hard to master. Like so many things in the world of steadily rising prices, while the older legacy LAA types remain some of the best value ways to getting airborne, the kits you see on the pages that follow, provide a route to getting your hands on some of the best performing and most efficient modern sport aircraft without breaking the bank. Plus, you’ll have the pleasure of creating your own personal aircraft just how you want it… The only question is… which hot kit will you pick?

The Hot Kits

Sling Aircraft Sling 4 TSi

Kit starts: 13



Seats: Four Wingspan: 31ft 4in (9.54m) Empty weight: 492kg Gross weight: 950kg Fuel capacity: 194ltr / 244ltr optional Engine: Rotax 915iS, 141hp

Stall speed: 51kt Cruise speed: 148ktas Take-off: (over 50ft) 333m Landing: (over 50ft) 349m Range: 880nm

ne of the hottest and newest kits here, the all-metal Sling 4 TSi has caught many builders attention with its pairing of the powerful and efficient Rotax 915iS with a four-seat cabin, giving a good mix of useful load along with an efficient turn of speed. The type is just on the cusp of being given it’s approved type status with LAA, flight testing having been completed last year. UK agent Tim Hardy says that UK buyers have been quick to recognise the TSi’s suitability for comfortable long distance travel, thanks to a double skinned and insulated cockpit. He says in South Africa, sectors of six hours and more are not uncommon. Available as both a regular flatpack for around $160k (US dollars) or quickbuild kit for around $175k, while these might seem high, this includes the whole airframe, firewall forward, final assembly and finishing kit, electric constant speed prop, Rotax 915iS engine, Garmin G3X panel including G5 standby instrument, autopilot control panel, radio and transponder, Italian leather interior. Price is net of shipping and VAT. Order lead times at the moment are four to five months for a flat pack, kit, and around six months for a quickbuild kit. Tim says that the most popular customer options are the quickbuild fuselage and extended range fuel tanks. Contact

Van’s Aircraft RV-8/8A

Kit starts: 13



Seats: Two Wingspan: 24ft (7.3m) Empty weight: 489kg Gross weight: 816kg Fuel capacity: 160ltr Engine: Lycoming 160-200hp

Stall speed: 50kt Cruise speed: 180kt Take-off roll: 175m Landing roll: 152m Range: 830nm

bit of a surprise, as tandem-seating aircraft don’t usually attract as wide a following as their side-byside counterparts, but the most popular twoseater by a nose is the Van’s Aircraft RV-8/8A. Available in either nosewheel or tailwheel configuration, a standard airframe kit is around $30k, or there’s a quickbuild option for around $47k. Factor in another $46k for a 180hp Lycoming and a constantspeed prop – with is a configuration sweetspot for the -8. With its sliding canopy and centreline seating the RV-8 provides that fighter-like cockpit feeling, and it’s got the control-harmony and handling to match those expectations. The wide fuselage and cockpit accommodates larger people in comfort, though you’ll need mirrors to maintain the face to face contact the side-by-side crowd manages easily. The -8 is also the fastest of the RV range, so with 160 litres of fuel and two baggage compartments you’ve got an aircraft that makes it easy to easily cover some distance if you plan on some touring. Van’s will supply the 210hp Lycoming IO-390A for use on the RV-8, but while you might see it on the order form, keep in mind this engine is currently outside of the LAA approval for the aircraft. Contact

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The Hot Kits

Van’s Aircraft RV-14/14A

Kit starts: 12



Seats: Two Wingspan: 27ft (8.2m) Empty weight: 555kg Gross weight: 929kg Fuel capacity: 190 ltr Engine: Lycoming IO-390 210hp

Stall speed: 46kt Cruise speed: 170kt Take-off roll: 156m Landing roll: 167m Range: 886nm

he newest and most advanced kit from Van’s Aircraft, this all-aluminium machine, gained full LAA approval in September 2020. The builder of the first UK example to fly went from a quickbuild kit to flight in 20 months and under 1,500 hours work. With the RV-14, Van’s took the best of its engineering experience – it pioneered matched hole construction, i.e. parts that come out of the box and essentially self-jig – and lessons learned from making kits for more than 40 years, and created a very well documented, step-by-step assembly experience, that customers are finishing quicker and more consistently than previous RV models. The -14’s 46in-wide cockpit is a spacious place for two big people, and a tall canopy provides plenty of headroom too. With 190 litres of fuel capacity and 100lb baggage capacity, at 150kt there’s enough for nearly 1,000nm range, making the -14 an excellent tourer. Available as nosewheel or tailwheel, a standard airframe kit is around $42k, while a quickbuild kit is around $61k. While more expensive than other Van’s kits, it does come with more accessories that were buildersourced previously. If you want one, you’ll find wait times are long, as Van’s is currently dealing with significant demand. Contact

Van’s Aircraft RV-7/7A



Seats: Two Wingspan: 25ft (7.6m) Empty weight: 485kg Gross weight: 852kg Fuel capacity: 159ltr Engine: Lycoming 160-200hp

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Stall speed: 44kt Cruise speed: 173kt Take-off roll: 175m Landing roll: 152m Range: 825nm

Kit starts: 12

he two-seat side-by-side RV-7/7A remains a perennially popular kit choice for LAA members, having been introduced in 2001, following in the footsteps of the earlier RV-6, which still holds the record for world’s most popular individual kitplane (2,702 completed – the -7 is catching up though at 1,896). There are 204 RV-7s on the LAA books. Available as nosewheel or tailwheel, and with either a tip-up or sliding canopy, a standard airframe kit is around $29k, while a quickbuild kit is around $47k. Double that last figure for a new Lycoming (180hp is a popular choice) and constant speed-prop, and then add more for avionics, upholstery and paint… oh and crating and shipping – and the dreaded VAT. You’ll be dealing direct with the factory in Oregon, USA, as there’s no UK agent. Not that you should be worried – Van’s have got to their position of being world number one kit provider by being an honest company with products that deliver the numbers promised, for an affordable price. Plus, the RV builders community provides a support network that compliments the factory support. Many UK RV builders have gone on to build a second RV after finishing their first. A handful have even notched up four or five… Contact

The Hot Kits

Aeroprakt A32 Vixxen

Kit starts: 9



Seats: Two Wingspan: 31ft (9.45m) Empty weight: 315kg Gross weight: 600kg Fuel capacity: 90ltr Engine: Rotax 912ULS, 100hp

Stall speed: 27kt Cruise speed: 115kt Take-off roll: 100m Landing roll: <100m Range: 590nm



Seats: Two Wingspan: 30ft (9.1m) Empty weight: 289kg Gross weight: 560kg Fuel capacity: 86ltr (6ltr header tank) Engine: Rotax 912 variants

he A32 Vixxen is a STOL all-metal, high-wing two-seater that’s built in the Ukraine. It’s a highly evolved version of the A22 Foxbat which first flew in the mid-1990s, and went on to arrive in the UK in 1999. The A32 was LAA approved in early 2019, and 16 are now on the LAA books. The airframe kit is well engineered, with lots of thought throughout to quality fit and finish, right down to premoulded cockpit trim. Standard engine choice is the Rotax 912ULS, or builders can opt to use the 912iS engine instead. Careful attention to drag reduction including a fully blended monocoque type fuselage and subtly tweaked wings mean the Vixxen manages a significantly faster cruise speed; 115kt, than that of a similarly powered Foxbat, but without sacrificing low speed STOL capabilities. Stall speed with flaps is just 27kt. As Ray Everitt of Foxbat UK, the UK agent points out, the A32 manages to be both faster and slower than it’s predecessor. WIth a five-hour endurance at a sensible cruise speed, the payload to carry two average-sized crew, plus full fuel and still load 30kg of baggage, makes the Vixxen a capable package. A complete kit with engine and prop, including basic instruments is around €90k inc VAT. Contact

Kit starts: 6


Stall speed: 37kt Cruise speed: 95kt Take-off roll: 139m (mtow) Landing roll: 130m (mtow) Range: 538nm

ince its introduction to the UK in 2010, the EuroFOX has proven to be a capable STOL machine, capable of getting airborne in 50 metres, landing in 100 metres, and comfortably cruising at 90-95kt at no more than 13 litres an hour. Until about 18 months ago, the type which was available as nosewheel or tailwheel, with quick-fold wings could be purchased as a kit for construction through the LAA, which is why it appears in our list. Unfortunately, while the type has been a popular one on the LAA fleet in recent years, with 74 on the LAA’s books, Roger Cornwell, the UK agent told me that customer demand for the aircraft has changed, and now the aircraft will only be sold as a ready-to-fly factory built machine in the 600kg category, registered via the British Microlight Aircraft Association. For a ready to fly aircraft, it’s still great value – around £73k inc VAT… but you won’t be getting your hands dirty building one if you want your own, but rather just turn the key and fly away… There is a waiting list though, buy now and you might get your hands on one in 2023. If you’re one of the lucky owners to have a EuroFOX already on an LAA Permit… take care of it! Contact

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The Hot Kits

Sling Aircraft Sling 2

Kit starts: 5



Seats: Two Wingspan: 30t 1in (9.1m) Empty weight: 360kg Gross weight: 700kg Fuel capacity: 146ltr usable Engine: Rotax 912ULS/912iS/914UL

Stall speed: 40kt Cruise speed: 115kt Range: 750nm


Bristell NG5

Seats: Two Wingspan: 26ft 8in (8.13m) Empty weight: 310kg Gross weight: 600kg Fuel capacity: 120ltr Engine: Rotax 912ULS/912iS, J3300A

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Stall speed: 25kt Cruise speed: 110kt Range: 700nm

ntroduced to LAA homebuilders in 2016, the Sling 2 is an all-metal aircraft, but unlike the Van’s Aircraft kits, is assembled with blind (pulled) rivets. Sling Aircraft, is a South-African company known for its long-distance flight exploits – it’s flown their aircraft across the Atlantic to Oshkosh, USA, sell the Sling 2 as both a conventional flatpack or as a quickbuild kit. The former is around $105k (US dollars) and it’s around $116k for the latter, depending on specification. The price includes all airframe kits, firewall forward, final assembly and finishing kit, electric constant speed prop, Rotax 912iS engine, Garmin G3X panel including G5 standby instrument, autopilot control panel, radio and transponder, and leather interior trim. Price is net of shipping and VAT. A range of engines – Rotax 912ULS, 912iS or 914UL – can be used, but the 912iS has proved to be a popular option with buyers. The max gross weight of the Sling 2 is a huge 700kg, which means this is one aircraft where two average-sized people can load up with full fuel and some baggage and not exceed max gross weight. Throw in the economic fuel burn of the 912iS and that gives an endurance of around six-and-a-half hours! So far though, ease of build, operation and good handling have made the Sling 2 a popular choice. Contact

Kit starts: 4


irst coming to the attention of UK homebuilders in 2013, the Bristell NG5 Speedwing has proven to be popular, as in that time 46 Bristells have come onto the LAA books (projects/completed aircraft). The aircraft’s designer, Milan Bristela, had previously worked on the SportCruiser and felt that he could come up with a better wing… he was successful and produced an aircraft that marries benign flying qualities with enjoyable handling and a miserly fuel burn. It’s not the quickest two-seat Rotax aircraft out there, but its cabin is probably one of the biggest of any LAA type, at 1.3m or just over 51 inches wide. That’s a bit wider than a certified Cirrus SR22 and nearly nine inches wider than a Van’s RV-7! Kits are created by taking airframes off the Bristell production line, and the basic airframe is very complete. Basic kit price is around £40k, to which you must add an engine and firewall forward kit to suit, avionics and pay shipping. Builders can choose between a fixed tricycle undercarriage with steerable nosewheel or a tailwheel option, plus there are a number of other airframe options including the ability to fit a ballistic parachute. A few Bristell customers have even started a second one, after finishing their first. Contact

The Hot Kits


KFA Safari

Seats: Two Wingspan: 30ft 6in (9.34m) Empty weight: 390-410kg Gross weight: 700kg Fuel capacity: 125ltr Engine: Rotax 914/ 912 VZ conversion

Stall speed: 40kt Cruise speed: 110kt Take-off roll: 40m (solo) Landing roll: 80m (solo) Range: 660nm

Kit starts: 3


he KFA (Kitplanes For Africa) Safari is a tube-andfabric, high-wing two-seater that’s been designed with rough-field use in mind. In a world where price can be a big factor, the Safari has been designed to use cost effective materials and processes to create an aircraft that can be completed without breaking the bank. The wings can also be folded to help with hangarage. While it looks Kitfox-esque, it’s actually quite a bit bigger, so KFA recommend the Italian VZ turbo conversion which takes a standard 100hp Rotax 912ULS to 135hp. With an empty weight of 405kg, and a fuel capacity of 125 litres, the Safari can carry two crew each weighing 86kg, a hefty 37kg of baggage, and full fuel (90kg) and remain within its legal ‘max gross’. Graham Smith of Sprite Aviation led the approval process for the Safari in the UK. While he converted his own used 912ULS (around £5,200 plus VAT for the VZ conversion kit) he suggests that some builders might decide to buy a new VZ motor which costs about the same as a new 912ULS. Graham reckons frugal builders could complete a Safari for around £45-50k all in, which makes it one of the best value options for a new LAA aircraft. Buyers have certainly caught onto this, as he has sold seven kits now. Contact

Zenith CH 750/Cruzer

Kit starts: 3



Seats: Two Wingspan: 29ft 9in (9.1m) Empty weight: 780lb (354kg) Gross weight: 1,433lb (650kg) Fuel capacity: 120ltr (with header tank) Engine: Rotax 912ULS, UL Power 350

Stall speed: 34kt Cruise speed: 103kt Take-off roll: 107m Landing roll: 107m Range: 452 mi

he Zenith CH 750 STOL is an all-metal two-seater, with excellent STOL capability. Inspired by the popular STOL CH 701 design from Chris Heintz, the STOL CH 750 design incorporates all of the 701’s amazing short-field capabilities, while maximising cabin size and load carrying capability. To quote Jonathan Porter from Zenith’s UK agent Metal Seagulls, “It’s a big plane, with a big cockpit and a big door.” The aircraft features fixed leading-edge slats for high lift, and full-span flaperons. Jonathan describes the CH 750 kit as easy to build, with matched-hole tooling allowing parts to be clecod together out of the box, and says UK 750 builders are typically completing aircraft in around one to two years. The CH 750 Cruzer is a derivative of the CH 750 STOL, and described as the ‘on-airport’ version. Among detail changes to the tail surfaces, the Cruzer also uses a different airfoil wing supported by a single stream-lined strut, and has no leading edge slats. Cost in the UK for a 750 Cruzer complete firewall-aft kit, is from £27k, which is ex-works from Metal Seagulls HQ in Haverfordwest. Add another £1k to that price if you’d like the 750 STOL. The most popular engine option with UK-builders is the 130hp UL Power 350. Contact

March 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 23

The Hot Kits

TL Sting S4

Kit starts: 3



ne of only two composite kits that features in our list, the Sting S4’s carbon airframe comes pre-finished in white, that might seem like a small point, will save a builder the additional cost of painting when the aircraft is complete. The low-wing, side-by-side two-seater can be powered by the Rotax 912ULS or 912iS. The tapered wings are detachable, glider-style. The UK agent tells me the price is around £105k (plus vat) for a complete kit… but this is the same price as they can sell you a ready-to-fly BMAA-registered example with Garmin glass panel and autopilot. So the only question is, do you want to build or just go and fly…? Contact

Seats: Two Wingspan: 27ft 6in (8.4m)

Empty weight: 297kg Gross weight: 600kg

Fuel capacity: 75ltr Engine: Rotax 912ULS, 912iS 100hp

Kitfox Mk-7 Super Sport

Cruise speed: 146kt Range: 809nm

Kit starts: 3



he Kitfox has been on the LAA fleet since the 1990s in various forms as the design evolved and new models were released. While popularity of the aircraft waned a bit in the 2000s, the type has seen a resurgence thanks to the growth of interest in STOL flying, fuelled by YouTube pilots like Trent Palmer… Google him if you haven’t seen his videos yet. There’s no UK agent, so you have to deal with the factory direct, and due to popularity, there’s a bit of a wait for new orders. An airframe kit is around $35k. One note though, if you decide you’d like the Series 7 STi version, then be aware that it’s not currently LAA-approved. Contact

Seats: Two Wingspan: 31ft (9.4m)

Empty weight: 340kg Gross weight: 635kg

Fuel capacity: 102ltr Engine: Rotax 912-ULS and 914-UL

Van’s Aircraft RV-12iS

Cruise speed: 100kt Range: 600nm

Kit starts: 3



ntroduced in mid-2017, the RV-12iS was a revised version of the original RV-12. The -12iS was designed specifically to meet the US Light Sport Aircraft regulations, and for a 100hp sport aircraft, delivers some great numbers. With its 336kg empty weight, you can carry two 90kg crew, full fuel (75 litres), and still bring some baggage and not exceed max gross weight. The -12’s handling also retains all the RV magic that other aircraft in the range are known for. A VERY complete kit (just add paint!) is around $91k. Last but not least, if you’re trying to save on hangar space, the -12’s wings can be removed in five minutes. Contact

Seats: Two Wingspan: 25ft 9in (7.8m)

24 | LIGHT AVIATION | March 2022

Empty weight: 336kg Gross weight: 599kg

Fuel capacity: 75ltr Engine: Rotax 912iS, 100hp

Cruise speed: 118kt Range: 547nm

The Hot Kits

Lambert Mission M108

Kit starts: 3


he Mission M108 is available as a complete kit, the basic price for which starts at €61,500 ex.VAT. For that you get a complete package including airframe, systems, powerplant and propeller. All fuselage welding is done and powder coated, and the wing structure is partially assembled. Once the airframe is complete, it’s time to use your fabric-covering skills. An advanced kit option has the builder attend eight days of intensive training at the Mission Builder Centre in Belgium, and if you fancy more help, a build assist programme is also available where the builder must attend a further two weeks at the Builder Centre. Contact


Seats: Two Empty weight: 375kg Wingspan: 31ft 4in (9.6m) Gross weight: 600kg

Fuel capacity:78ltr (110ltr opt) Engine: Rotax 912iS, 100hp

Van’s Aircraft RV-10

Cruise speed: 95kt Range: 450 mi (680nm opt)

Kit starts: 3


Seats: Four Wingspan: 31ft 9in (9.6m)

Europa NG


Fuel capacity: 227ltr Engine: Lycoming O-540 260hp

Empty weight: 689kg Gross weight: 1,224kg

Kit starts: 2

Sherwood Ranger

Kit starts: 2



Seats: Two Wingspan: 27ft (8.2m) Empty weight: 242kg Gross weight: 620kg Fuel capacity: 68ltr (105 opt) Engine: Rotax 912ULS, 100hp Cruise speed: 140kt

Seats: Two Wingspan: 26ft (7.9m) Empty weight: 182kg Gross weight: 450kg Fuel capacity: 43ltr Engine: DMotor. Rotax 582 or Jabiru 2200 Cruise speed: 70kt

hile it may not be one of the most popular choices of LAA kit-builders any more, the Europa – Classic, XS and NG variants still holds the top spot for as most numerous LAA type – there’s 372 on the LAA books (projects/completed aircraft). A premoulded kit, the NG is available in either monowheel or trigear format. Kit price is around £40k, while the Europa XS LWi (Motorglider) comes in around £45k. Builder needs to add engine, prop, instruments, upholstery and paint (prices plus VAT). Contact

26 | LIGHT AVIATION | March 2022

Cruise speed: 175kt Range: 868nm


he only option here that offers that ‘wind-in-your-hair’ open-cockpit experience, the Sherwood Ranger from The Light Aircraft Company is also the only biplane. Despite it’s old-school vibe, it’s a thorougly modern kit. Available in ST (Microlight) or XP variants, they vary in wing span (7.92m vs 7m), while having the same MTOW, meaning the XP has increased wing loading and a higher stall speed. The basic airframe kit is around £16k excluding VAT. Contact

All photos: Ed Hicks, Paul Kiddell, Neil Wilson


ith a huge useful load, phenomenal short field performance, and an exceptional turn of speed, the RV-10 delivers the sort of capability that will cost over £600K if you went looking for similar performance in the certified new aircraft world, and even then you’d struggle to get it all… This is a big homebuilding project to take on, both in the physical and financial sense - a standard kit is around $61k, while a quickbuild is $81k. Engine and prop alone will add another $66k. That said, those who have finished and flown their RV-10s all speak incredibly highly of them, and completed examples very rarely come up for sale. Contact

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Rolling your own… S

In the first of an occasional series, Mike Roberts contemplates the design of a simple, affordable light aircraft and the design principles involved

everal months ago I introduced myself to the membership in a short article where I briefly touched on the design of a small single-seat aircraft design that I was working on. That project, which is still very much active and ongoing, will remain under wraps until I have something more to show. That said, I have been working on another idea… I have always gravitated towards the lower end of the aircraft price bracket. While the Van’s RVs and Slings are both beautiful in design and function, it’s not the norm for a young person to be in a position to have the capital to build or buy one. If they did, in those earlier years, it’s more sensibly spent by putting it towards their first property… This makes a plans-built aircraft a much more viable proposition, because the cost, particularly during the first few years of the build, is comparatively modest. There is one big issue, and that’s the fact that they take an age to build.

A modern plans-built…

If you decide to build a Taylor Monoplane today, then the hours of work required are no different to if you were building one in the 70s. There are plenty of other single28 | LIGHT AVIATION | March 2022

Above So you want to design your own aircraft… ?

seat aircraft that needn’t break the bank to build and own, but again, they all take a large investment of time to make the parts to build the aircraft. Happily, I think there’s a solution to this. Today, with the advent of computer-aided design, and technologies such as laser and water-jet cutting, plus 3D printing, we should be able to create an aircraft that could be assembled much quicker and with greater ease. This is the first in a series of articles where I look at the various stages of an aircraft’s conceptual, preliminary and detailed design, for a low-cost aircraft with a ‘modern plans-built’ approach. So, will this aircraft ever fly? While I can’t say for sure, my main hope with this series is to help encourage those who have considered designing an aircraft to do so. Designing an aircraft does take a lot of detailed work but the mathematics involved isn’t too complex. If you have a basic understanding of algebra and are comfortable rearranging basic formulae, you should be OK, and if you don’t, hopefully I’ll still be able to help you gain a better understanding. I also hope this serves as a good education to those who often look at parts of their airframe and wonder how a designer arrived at the size of a longeron or spar cap, for example..

Key objectives

As with any design, the final product must meet a series of criteria. All aircraft as you know are a series of compromises, and determining what these will be early on, will make life a lot easier for us later on in the design. As I mentioned, I am aiming this aircraft to be a truly affordable, quick to build plans-built aircraft. I have come up with the following design objectives.

Above top A simple single-seater; the Taylor Monoplane.

• An aircraft that is very simple in its construction – wood and composite with metal fittings.

• An aircraft that if equipped basically, can be built for

around £6,500 – VW or similar powerplant, minimal instrumentation. • Stored easily and incur minimal ownership costs • Capable of cruising at 90mph • Has a payload of approximately 140kg – this will be a single place machine. And that’s about it, the longer this list gets, the harder it will be to satisfy the key objectives. If you intend following this series of articles, then keep hold of the copies, we’ll be referencing back to various stages like those objectives above, quite frequently. To ensure that our design meets some key criteria, you would need to select the most appropriate design code at this stage. If you aren’t familiar, designing an aircraft to a design code such as CS-VLA or BCAR Section S ensures the final design conforms to recognised design criteria which hopefully means that it will be accepted as eligible for the issue of a Permit to Fly. The codes determine things like V speeds, G limits, stall speed curve, appropriate safety factors on fittings and so on, and basically act as a guide to designing a safe aircraft in the particular size category concerned. You can find these online, or search for ‘LAA Technical Leaflet 1.13’ on the LAA website. For the aircraft design being covered in these articles, we will be following CS-VLA. Why? Simply because the envisaged aircraft won’t be a microlight (BCAR Section S) and the requirements in CS-VLA are much simpler than those in the more demanding CS-23 standard.

undercarriage and control system etc. If you are designing something that, say, cruises at 180mph carrying two people on a Rotax 912 UL, then your design will also need considerably more in-depth analysis into the aerodynamics and careful selection of the airfoils etc. You’d also need a very efficient structure, optimised to the ‘nth degree to keep the weight down, which would mean extremely detailed structural analysis because there’d be no scope for unnecessarily strong parts – to minimise the empty weight, everything must be strong enough, but not too strong. This is why high speed aircraft designs such as the MCR-01 surely presented a much greater design challenge than, say, an Evans VP-1 Volksplane, where the design goals are likely similar to ours. Generally speaking, the simpler the aircraft and its structure, the simpler the analysis. A wooden, four longeron type fuselage, for example, is considerably simpler to analyse than a composite monocoque or aluminium structure (aluminium aircraft in my mind being the hardest to design). Our project is designed to be very simple from the outset and we’re not expecting any jaw dropping performance figures, and so the analysis should not present any particular problems. For our project, we will be looking at the following topics:

Design data

• Finalising our concept, arriving at our 3-view drawing • Estimation on empty weights and CofG • Detailed Specification – Wingspan, length, tail areas and arms etc.

• Performance estimation • Stability estimates


• Deriving a flight envelope • Aerodynamic loads on the wings, tail surfaces and

What will be covered?

control surfaces.

The amount of analysis in any design depends entirely on tThe amount of analysis needed for any design depends entirely on the concept and objectives. That said, it will always be necessary to do some basic analysis of the loads and stresses on and within the wings, fuselage, tail,

• Fuselage loads due to the engine, pilot and tail loads,

engine mounting and fuel tank. • Undercarriage loads considering different arrangements. • Control system loads in the control circuit.

Left A low cost project needs a low cost engine, like a Volkswagen.


• Wing spar stressing – determining the stress within the

spar caps and shear webs as well at the attachment fittings. We will also check the stress at the control surface hinges. Wing torque and drag/anti-drag loads also need careful consideration. • Fin and tailplane stressing. • Fuselage stressing – determining the stress in the longerons, fuselage skin, firewall and seat(back). • Undercarriage stressing – Finding the stress and deflection of the undercarriage. • Control system stressing – determining the stress within the bell cranks, pushrods, horns, cables and brackets. March 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 29


Specifications Wingspan - 6.7m Length - 4.8m Height - 1.75m MTOW - 350kg Paverplant - 60hp VW

Wingspan - 5.5m Length - 4.6m MTOW - 340kg

Figure 1 The first concept.

Figure 2 The second, simplified concept.

Now I must stress (sorry!) that there are quite a lot more detailed loads and stressing involved when designing an aircraft than the above. Realistically though, if something is attached to an airframe, either the ‘thing’ itself or the means of attachment need to be checked, usually both, and that goes for the entire aircraft. This series of articles is intended to cover the main structural elements and serve as a good guide/education, as opposed to a being a complete step-by-step tutorial. I’ll also point out some of the most helpful texts available where you can find out more!

After more than a dozen initial attempts, the low cost LAA type arrived at its first concept as shown in figure 1. It’s always a case of slowly finessing the outline to give both a functional design and nice lines, while staying true to a simple design. Think ahead – for example, will the rear fuselage structure you’ve sketched in work out OK as a support for the tailplane? Where will you mount the tailwheel? Continually question your design, can it be safer, cheaper, easier to make? Having given the design some thought, I realised it could be simpler still. And so we arrive at figure 2, which is a little more slab-sided and a touch smaller, but still capable of accommodating my ‘well-fed’ frame. Hopefully too, those lines will be a little easier to build. If you’re curious as to the lines marked in red, they mark the location where I am considering the main structural members will be. You will also note that I have opted for a wing folding mechanism that should allow quick and easy folding, in the hope it allows for reduced hangarage costs.

Step 1: The concept sketch

Defining the basic shape and outline of a design is actually quite a lot more complex than drawing an aircraft with pleasing lines. Think of those simple project objectives – any curves in the design will add to the complexity of construction. There’s lots to keep in mind. Is the wing spar going to slot nicely in the fuselage or could it foul the pilots legs or head? Is the wing in a sensible position or will changes in pilot weight cause drastic changes in CofG? This also applies to the fuel tank and baggage. Does the tail look right? Is there enough room for the engine? I know these all seem obvious, but it’s amazing how far you can get into a design before realising that somehow you’re left with a one-inch gap between the floor and the seat where you have to locate the control system, and that then leads to complex control system fittings which, you guessed it, don’t comply with those simple build objectives. Don’t worry about making beautiful drawings. At this stage you are outlining the aircraft and considering its structure. With a concept sketch, I start by drawing my pilot. I then mark the firewall location, the seat back, instrument panel and wing spar. Then I continue towards the tail. Is the moment arm length between the rough CofG location (25% of airfoil’s chord) and centre of the tailplane and fin sufficient? The rule is, the smaller this arm is, the bigger the tailplane and fin areas need to be. We’ll check these arms and areas later in the process, as well as the wing dihedral, to find out if they are likely to give satisfactory in-flight stability. 30 | LIGHT AVIATION | March 2022

Next step…

In the next step, we will create a proper 3-view drawing from our concept sketch, using that to come up with a detailed specification, which we can use to determine our weight and balance estimates, and our performance estimates. We’ll need to think about how the performance and utility will be affected by tweaking the design for example, what would be the effect of a longer wingspan, wider fuselage, etc etc ? Squeezing everything into these articles will be quite a challenge so some detailed elements won’t be covered. I will, however, aim to cover the more important elements and where I intentionally miss something, I’ll make it known and give reference material that covers it in detail that would otherwise oversaturate this ‘guide’. If you are considering your own design, it is well worth while taking a look at LAA Technical Leaflet 1.07 ‘Acceptance procedure for a new design’ as well as the LAA ‘Designing Aircraft’ page on the LAA website, which contains several useful spreadsheets. We’ll be using those in future… ■

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Coaching Corner

Coaching Tell it Corner… like it is… We learn from reading about incidents and accidents, so as PCS Head of Coaching David Cockburn suggests, it makes good sense to use the reporting channels available, if and when something goes wrong…


eople have been flying powered aircraft for well over a century, and during that time there have been a considerable number of aircraft accidents, many of them causing serious injury or death to the occupants. Although we can be grateful that the accident rate is a lot lower nowadays than it was when the pioneers took to the skies, we are frequently reminded that they still occur. The AAIB and investigators in other countries publish the results of their investigations and recommend actions to try to avoid similar accidents in the future. Where a strengthened part, or improved connection, can reduce the risk of a similar accident happening in the future, those recommendations may well have an effect. However, nearly all accidents involve human factors, and human reactions cannot be improved by increasing the torque on critical nuts. It is rather pointless to suggest that more regulations will improve a pilot’s capabilities when under stress; we know how unwilling humans are to follow regulations forced upon them. Even offering good advice does not always achieve the desired effect, perhaps because of the rapidly increasing growth of internet information, most of us humans prefer to make up our own minds from the facts available. There is nothing wrong with that, although there is so much info available on the internet it is often difficult to determine what ‘facts’ are correct. At least the info and advice published by the AAIB, Airprox, CAA, GASCo and CHIRP is reliable, as of course is that from the LAA.

32 | LIGHT AVIATION | March 2022

Below AAIB reports are an excellent source of reliable reporting when it comes to learning from others experiences.

Unfortunately, investigations seldom, if ever, discover any new basic causes of aviation accidents. Certainly when it comes to human factors these basic causes have remained unchanged for many years, as in most cases has been the advice. Our basic pilot training courses were developed to make us aware of likely hazards and minimise the likelihood and effects of these known risks. That part of the syllabus is what is now referred to as ‘Threat and Error Management’ or TEM. However, even though we may have been made aware of hazards in the past, it is human nature to forget things about which we have not been reminded about recently. Studying reports of incidents, even if there was no resulting injury or major damage, can jog our memories about the existing accident causes. I strongly recommend getting hold of whatever safety publications you can, reading the incidents, and considering how you might, and should have, reacted in a similar situation. Unfortunately, the official publications can only remind us of hazards which they know have affected flight. If something happens to us which might have caused an accident but didn’t, we are very grateful for that fact. We are also thankful if we ‘get away with’ perhaps minor damage which we can sort out. However, if we keep these things to ourselves, they cannot serve as that important reminder to others. If and / or when it happens to someone else the consequences might well be more serious, and if the pilot had been reminded of the hazard he or she may have avoided it, either as we did or in another fashion. It may feel like a chore to tell the world what happened to you, especially if you feel you may have made a mistake. Nevertheless, your report may well provide a timely reminder of a potential accident cause before it results in a fatality. The CAA’s Occurrence Reporting Scheme is easy to use. Despite the reputation it may have received as a vehicle for chasing airspace infringements, its primary aim is to receive and consider reports of things which might have caused an accident but didn’t. That consideration might result in the CAA producing a Permit Directive or offering advice to pilots or owners, but even if nothing else, the published report can remind us that it could happen to us. It is possible for pilots to receive the CAA’s monthly list of GA occurrence reports by joining the CAA’s subscription service, then submitting a form (SRG 1604) to certify you are a pilot requesting the information for safety purposes. So what should we do to help others if we experience an ‘incident’? In simple terms, if it was an accident resulting in someone going to hospital or a seriously damaged aircraft

Coaching Corner

(I don’t want to repeat the exact definitions), we must inform the AAIB (and the police of course) within 24 hours. If it wasn’t an accident but we think the consequences only just avoided being very serious, we should again inform the AAIB, which will consider whether to investigate it as a ‘serious incident’. If we don’t need to involve the AAIB but unexpectedly got really close to another aircraft, we should submit an ‘Airprox’ report, whether we are asked to or not. Otherwise, whether or not the aircraft suffered damage, we should submit an occurrence report to the CAA as above, or directly to the LAA. If the occurrence involves human factors, consider making a CHIRP report; if we feel we’d rather not tell the whole world we made a mistake, CHIRP reports are de-identified before publication. However, the important thing is to report things which might cause accidents so that others can be reminded about them before they experience them. That way there is a good chance that information will help other pilots to avoid an accident from that or a similar cause. • AAIB reports can be made and published ones are available through • Airprox reports can be made and published ones are available through • Occurrence reports can be made to the CAA through the ECCAIRS website: • CHIRP reports can be made and published ones are available through • GASCo advice is available through

Above CHIRP produce regular bulletins, and has a useful website.


Readers will know I encourage pilots to fly during the winter months if they can, and I have been fortunate in being able to do so myself quite often recently. On these days I have been interested to note that often, according to the Met Form 214 (the one showing the winds forecast at various pressure altitudes) the wind at 2,000ft has been very strong compared to the wind at the surface. I have flown in days with a 40kt wind at 2,000ft and a surface wind which never got above 12kt. Not only was the crosswind well within my limits for take-off and landing, but there didn’t seem to be much turbulence on departure and approach. Meteorologists will no doubt tell me this was due to the

Below Interrogating Met Forms like 214 and 215 (shown) can help stop you getting caught out by winds

ground being cold and the atmosphere being stable at low levels, preventing mixing between the surface and the gradient wind. So why am I mentioning this now? Well as the Earth starts to warm up in the spring, it warms the lower layers of the atmosphere, creating unstable conditions close to the ground and allowing a lot of mixing between the surface wind and the gradient wind. In these conditions, the wind at 2,000ft (or even higher) can easily be dragged down to the surface in gusts, generating severe turbulence as well. We have to expect a lot more turbulence and stronger surface winds during the month of March, even if the forecast doesn’t specifically warn of it. We have to remember that the forecaster will not change a TAF until he or she believes the wind strength to change by 10kt or more, which if it is across our runway can make quite a difference to our ability to cope. We shouldn’t try to fight an excessive crosswind, especially if we’re a bit short of recent practice, so it’s always worth knowing where we can find a runway into wind with enough fuel to reach it. Even if we can take-off and land into wind (oh, the luxury!), taxying can be particularly hazardous. If we are fortunate enough to have friends nearby, wing-walkers can help reduce the risks, but we also need to beware of tipping over when taxying downwind. It should also go without saying that our aircraft and their controls have to be well secured when parked. I’m told that the crews of old square-rigged sailing ships believed that the spring equinox, which falls around 22 March, was a sure sign that gales were on their way, if they hadn’t already appeared… Let’s not get caught out by the wind.

Rating revalidation

Many of you will by now have seen the CAA’s message that it is changing the forms required for GA licensing. However, these are only needed if we are applying for something new. It shouldn’t affect NPPL holders, but those of us with UK PPLs or Part-FCL PPLs used to tell the CAA our examiner had revalidated our Part-FCL licence rating on the form ‘SRG 1119E’, which has now gone. We now have to use pages one and two of the form ‘SRG 1157’. We fill our details in section one, and sign. The examiner completes the sentence in the middle of section two to say he or she has revalidated our rating and when it runs out. The examiner signs in section four on page two, and we have to sign as well. It doesn’t matter which of you sends a copy to the CAA but make sure that’s done (either by post or emailed to, and both you and the examiner keep a copy in case there is a glitch. ■ March 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 33

The latest LAA Engineering topics and investigations. Compiled by Jerry Parr

Engineering Matters Including: Elevator trim tab control failure and inspection and replacement of flexible hoses…


elcome to ‘Engineering Matters’ – the section of Light Aviation that is dedicated to discussing all manner of topics concerning both technical and operational aspects of the LAA fleet. If you have anything to say that you think would benefit others, then please email words and pictures to LAA Engineering at

Elevator trim tab control failure A Wag-Aero Acro Trainer (similar to a Piper Cub) suffered an in-flight failure of the elevator trim tab control cable. The control is a simple, single-strand wire push-pull type, which fractured about an inch from the tail end. The failure resulted in a fairly violent shaking through the airframe, as the now free-to-move tab caused the elevator to move in sympathy. The pilot carried out a successful precautionary landing. The flapping of the unconstrained trim tab caused the attachment hinge to begin to fail. Single stand wire controls are commonly found throughout light aircraft, operating everything from trim tabs through engine controls to heater controls. Obviously, they are not as flexible as multi-strand cables and require careful and regular inspection to ensure they remain serviceable. It is worth checking the movement of the control not just at the extremities of the operation but also through its range. It is often at the mid-point where the wire is the most stressed, especially when operating an arm that moves through an arc. On another aircraft type with a similar elevator tab control system using a Bowden cable to actuate the tab, it was found during an inspection that a spring which should be fitted at the tab end of the Bowden cable, was missing. The spring’s primary function is to ‘load’ the connection between the operating cable and the tab itself, and therefore reduce any free play inducing flutter in the elevator tab at higher air speeds. A secondary effect of not having the spring installed on this particular set-up, was that the tab could travel downwards (the cable attached to the tab on the lower surface) 25% further than it should. Although it would probably never need to be trimmed that far down (nose-up trim), if it were left in that position, it might cause control column forces far more than the system (and the pilot) was designed for. Additionally, if a flying control is allowed to ‘over travel’, it could get into a geometric lock situation, preventing normal control of the system. It’s always best to check control connections are as called in the build or maintenance manual, and if not clearly defined in one of those, check the parts catalogue. Parts catalogues should not be considered the primary source of determining whether components are correctly assembled.

34 | LIGHT AVIATION | March 2022

Above The end of the broken control cable.

Above The piano hinge lugs failed as the unconstrained tab was flapping.

Engineering Matters

EuroFOX nosewheel tyre change revisited As part of the investigation into the nosewheel installation issue that was mentioned in Engineering Matters, January 2022, the ‘how could this happen’ question was obviously discussed. John Bisset, one of the gliding club members involved in the task has very kindly written some words as to how indeed such an event can happen. But for the grace… “I am one of the two people principally involved in changing out the nosewheel on the gliding club EuroFOX, which resulted in an overturning accident on 29 May 2021. I felt there were several useful learning points in this which I thought might be worth writing up for others. Embarrassingly, I am a professional engineer, now retired, from a rather different discipline. This note is not written as an excuse or as a ‘mea culpa’, but simply to highlight errors easily made, easily seen in hindsight and all too simple to fall into. Sadly, none are new, I have come across them in other industries. “The preliminaries to the accident. Our nosewheel was well worn and cracking, and we needed to replace it. This was work we could do within the scope of pilot maintenance. Before removing the nosewheel we investigated various alternative ways to do this. There was little information in the aircraft’s maintenance manual; when we asked the UK agents if any more detail description was available, we were told there was not. “Our first preference was to remove the entire assembly, wheel and fairing, with the intention of removing the fairing and not refitting it. This was for several reasons. It made checking of tyre pressure difficult and on several occasions the nosewheel pressure was found to be well below specified pressure. The fairing hid most of the wheel, so pilots checking the aircraft were not aware of the low pressure. We operate from a grass strip. In summer either the close-fitting fairing filled up with damp grass clippings until the wheel jammed or it filled with dry grass, which then risked overheating and a possible fire. Being a very tight fit, clearing the grass out was hard to do, so either modifying the fairing or complete removal made sense. When towing, there is little drag benefit in having the fairing fitted. “Since no detail information was available, and removal of the whole assembly would have involved removing and refitting / resetting the vibration damper, adding some additional complexity, we elected to remove the wheel alone. This was agreed beforehand with our local LAA Inspector. “The fairing fitting appeared to be secure and well fixed. After wheel removal, the interior of the fairing was cleaned out of residual debris. On looking in, I saw no sign of movement of the fairing relative to the axle forks at that time. All was lined up. When we offered up the wheel for refitting into the fairing and axle fork, it took some wrestling and manoeuvring to get the wheel to go back into the fairing. When we did finally get the wheel into position, I checked that everything was lined up by looking through the axle aperture. Since I could see daylight, with no occlusion, I felt we had got everything lined up. The axle went through easily, everything tightened as it should and the wheel alignment, track and rotation all seemed normal. As a result, I was confident all was well – we all were. “In hindsight, several thoughts occur. Yes, I assumed; a classic

engineering no-no. We all thought we had checked properly. We were working in a hangar, using hangar light plus torches. Access to the nose gear is limited even with the tail tied down. The best torch had failed by the time the final checks were done. Would a stronger light through the axle hole have alerted me to my error? It is hard to see up into the fairing area from below. “Because of the style of the fairing mounting, following the cleaning out of debris, it seemed to me that the fairing was well fixed with respect to the axle. I (we) overlooked the possibility that significant movement could occur while offering the wheel up into the fairing. Annoying on my part at least, I had seen a similar error years ago in sailplane control rigging. I should have remembered. “A photograph provided post-accident by the manufacturer and/or UK agent caused a definite ‘ah-ha’ and ‘if only’ moment. The picture said it all. If there had been any comment within the maintenance manual, or even better a picture like that, the error would have been caught. The picture of course showed a fairing and leg inverted on a nice clean work bench with good visibility. Nonetheless, the point would have been made! “We have subsequently heard that a comment may have been made within the aircraft build manual. This is something we have never seen, so cannot confirm. If true, it highlights another ‘hole in the cheese’. The designers may feel they have properly mentioned this. If the information does not get to the eventual maintainers, only to the builders, there is an obvious gap. I wonder if the slightly unusual part pre-built, part ‘self-assembly’ philosophy of EuroFOX contributes to the gap here. “It seems to me that a combination of factors, none new, combined to catch us out. Assumption of good fixity – I should have asked myself how I planned to assure myself of that. “Reassurance by fellow workers. We both felt the positioning was good. Our after-job checks appeared to show what we expected to see. Did we challenge each other, or was the presence of a ‘competent other’ a reassurance? “Incomplete information from the designer/builder. ‘If only we’d known’. Perhaps the information existed, but if so, it got lost somewhere along the line. I’ve been on both sides of that one! How do you keep information current? How do you ensure everyone understands the design and its limitations, years later? “We did discuss the job beforehand and specifically looked for possible issues and traps, which is why we didn’t remove the entire assembly. At that time, we were quite concerned that it might not be possible to remove the fairing without damage after many years in place, corroding the threads on the fixings. I suspect that contributed to the impression of an item firmly fixed in place. Perhaps that explains why none of us thought axle misalignment was a major risk… “As a final thought, when an experienced Cessna maintainer walked into our hangar and saw the damaged aircraft, disappointingly he instantly recognised the cause, before we had said a word. Apparently that same mistake has been made several times with Cessna singles. Lack of crossover of information between disciplines and operators/maintainers? That’s not a new gotcha either. “So – if in doubt, talk to folk, spread the word, even of your own near misses. Maybe we can reduce the repetition rate that way!”

“Our post-job checks appeared to show what we expected to see”

March 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 35

Engineering Matters Propellers Continuing the propeller theme started in last month’s Engineering Matters with the corroded MT propeller blade ferrule, here are some more ‘issues’ with propellers – one too tight, one too loose and one cracked.

Powermax Inspector Phil Trangmar was asked to look at a Powermax variable pitch propeller fitted to a TL2000UK Sting Carbon S4 that had ceased to be variable. On discovering that the blade pitch rotation was somehow restricted, there was no backlash in the blade and any rotational force applied to the blade could be seen to be straining the pitch change servo push rod. With the owner’s agreement, Phil disassembled the hub and found that inside the hub, the blade bearings were devoid of any form of lubrication. The pitch change push rod had in fact bent under the load applied by the servo. Powermax call for a 500-hour service for this propeller, but there is no requirement for lubricating the propeller between the service intervals, and this propeller was nowhere near 500 hours time in service. Unfortunately, there was no option but to replace the propeller.

Above Powermax propeller in its disassembled state.

Above Powermax propeller blade root showing the corrosion and lack of lubrication.

Kaspar KA4/3

Woodcomp Propuls AE

John Tiley, the owner of a Sportcruiser fitted with a Kaspar variable pitch propeller, was carrying out the ‘gurgling’ procedure to check the Rotax engine’s oil level on a pre-flight check when he discovered that one propeller blade had become loose and the blade pitch could be altered easily by twisting the blade by hand. The blades in the KA4 propeller are each independently clamped to the hub mounted mechanism which is driven by a pitch motor to vary the blade pitch. The cause of the looseness of the blade was that the pitch change clamp that holds the blade had completely cracked through. One would not like to think of the consequences that a failure like this would have caused in flight. Kaspar has said that it has not heard of this problem before. Previously there was a failure near the clamp attachment bolts that was thought to be caused by over torquing.

The owner of a EuroFOX arrived at their destination after an uneventful flight. Prior to the flight the aircraft had undergone a thorough pre-flight inspection conducted by both the owner and his passenger who was also an experienced pilot. On returning to the aircraft for the flight home, as they approached the aircraft, they could immediately see that there was a problem with one of the propeller blades. On closer inspection, they found that there was a crack across the front face of the number two blade. There were no signs of any impact damage or other possible cause and as a taildragger, the propeller is well clear of obstructions while taxying.

Above Kaspar blade clamp failure.

Above Woodcomp blade crack.

36 | LIGHT AVIATION | March 2022

Engineering Matters Rotax oil pressure sender relocation

Above The fitting installed into the crankcase where the oil pressure sender would normally be fitted and the severed pipe.

Above The oil pressure sender relocated to the engine frame.

Sometimes, making a simple modification might be considered to have no major effect on the world as a whole but it’s important to step back and consider the ‘what if…?’ implications. At some stage, the Rotax 912ULS oil pressure sender on a Zenair CH 750 was relocated from the standard position on the front righthand side of the crankcase to the engine frame. Some people have favoured this approach to reduce fluctuations in readings caused by vibration.

Normally, the sender is screwed directly into the crankcase. On this aircraft, a fitting had been installed in the crankcase and a brass pipe made to join the fitting to the relocated sender. Unfortunately, the pipe failed at the fitting with the result that the engine oil was lost overboard and the engine seized, resulting in a forced landing. The cause may have been a poorly made pipe flare exacerbated by having one end subjected directly to engine vibration with the sender attached to the more solid engine frame.

PTFE and sealant on fuel fittings In an article about ‘winter starting’ in the January 2022 issue of Light Aviation, there was a photograph of a carburettor which looked as though it might have well had PTFE tape installed on the fuel inlet fitting. I have no idea what the subject aircraft was in the picture, but as a point of note, PTFE tape must never be used on aircraft fuel fittings (or many other fluid or other systems). Apart from it not reacting well to fuel and therefore not acting as a sealant for long, PTFE tape and other inappropriate sealants (such as RTV) can easily block fuel lines. There are some excellent sealants and lubricants to use on aircraft fuel systems such as EZ TURN, which is available from most aviation suppliers. It may not be cheap but you don’t need much (so a tube lasts forever!), and it works, both as a sealant and as a lubricant to prevent galling of the threads. Right This picture was featured in January’s LA – spot the PTFE tape!

Inspection and maintenance of flexible hoses It is a fact of life that flexible hoses installed on aircraft suffer through a variety of causes. The toughest environment that they exist in is ‘firewall forward’ where they not only have to put up with whatever medium they are carrying, but also live in a pretty harsh environment with extremes of temperature, especially oil pressure hoses. Most manufacturers’ maintenance schedules dictate a life or inspection regime for flexible hoses and the CAA Light Aircraft Maintenance Schedule (CAP 411), which formed the backbone of certified general aviation maintenance for decades, also included inspection tasks for flexible hoses. The industry ‘norm’ (and as is called up in LAMS) is to pressure test fuel and oil hoses when they are six years old – then every three years after that. Hoses do not have an indefinite life and a three-year pressure test should not be assumed to be any kind of guarantee that

the hose will be serviceable for yet another three-year period. A number of manufacturers now supply Teflon hoses, which should have a much longer service life than the traditional rubber hose (including the wire-braced type). While these hoses may not require pressure testing or replacement at the same intervals as the rubber, they can still suffer from outside influences including chafing or contact with the exhaust system. An example is the Rotax 91x series engines where the Teflon fuel hoses do not have to be replaced until the engine is overhauled (or replaced) but they still have to be inspected as part of the scheduled inspection for damage. Flexible hoses may look fine at an initial ‘in situ’ inspection, especially if protected with ‘firesleeve’, but once the hose has been removed, a more thorough inspection can be carried out. This would include checking for age-hardening, or hidden chafing damage or burn March 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 37

Engineering Matters

marks where the hose may be touching part of the exhaust system. If the firesleeve can be removed from the hose, then this allows for a more thorough inspection of the outer surface of the hose. It has been known for hoses to develop a pinhole leak, but the firesleeve has absorbed the leaking fluid, masking the failure. It has been well documented over the years that the ‘modern’ fuels may contain substances that are not exactly rubber friendly. Some hoses are made up of layers and it may be that an outer layer is fine but the condition of the inside layer of the hose has started to degrade. Recently, a Jodel suffered a loss of power on take-off resulting in airframe damage in the subsequent off-airfield landing. It is possible that the inner layer of the carburettor fuel inlet hose had degraded to the point that it caused a severe restriction to the fuel flow. Hydraulic and air/instrument hoses should not be forgotten when it comes to pressure testing and inspection, although they tend not to suffer quite as much as engine fuel and oil hoses, their condition should still be monitored and replaced when necessary. Leaks in the pitot/static system can cause large errors in instrument readings. Aircraft specification hoses normally have identity tags on them that include the date of manufacture and it is common practice to etch a pressure test date on the tag. Further information on the inspection and pressure testing of flexible hoses can be found in Chapter 20: Leaflet 20-50 of CAA CAP 562 ‘Civil Aircraft Airworthiness Information and Procedures’ (CAAIP). CAAIPs makes a very worthwhile read as a reference library for all manner of maintenance tasks and procedures.

Above A typical nest of firewall forward flexible hoses.

Above This Jodel fuel hose shows how part of the internal reinforcing material has started to break free.

LAA Engineering housekeeping •

When emailing LAA Engineering about something that concerns a specific aircraft, please include the registration (or project number if the aircraft has yet to be given a registration) in the email subject heading. The Propeller Type List (PTL/1) allows certain propellers to be fitted to specific airframe and engine combinations without going

through a formal modification application process. Please ensure that the aircraft’s Operating Limitations document includes the ‘or as LAA (PFA) PROPELLER TYPE LIST (PTL/1)’ statement under ‘Propeller Type(s). If this is not stated on the Operating Limitations document, please contact LAA Engineering to have the Operating Limitations document amended. ■

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Flying Adventure

Family matters…


Neville Parton and his daughter Hannah take on a Pooleys Dawn to Dusk challenge remembering four generations of service with the RAF, and raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund in the process…

first came across the Dawn to Dusk competition in 1979 while learning to fly at Marshalls of Cambridge, on an RAF Flying Scholarship, but it was only after having purchased a share in a local Binder Smaragd group in 2019 that I seriously thought about entering. While discussing family history with my father, I suddenly realised that in our family we had four successive generations that had served in the RAF – for greater or lesser periods – from WWII onwards. The idea of trying to find all the units that the family had served at over this period and flying over as many of them as possible in a single day, became the genesis of the ‘Grand Parton Flying Tour’. As I thought about it a little more, I realised that the long day’s flying would be safer and more fun with a co-pilot, and the obvious choice was my airline-pilot daughter, Hannah, who began her flying with the RAF University Air Squadron. So we started planning in early 2020.


The first step was to identify all the units where the family had served – the family members being William Parton (my grandfather), Gerald Parton (my father), myself and my brother Brian, and Hannah. With a complete list, we left out 40 | LIGHT AVIATION | March 2022

Above Hannah and Neville at RAF Cosford with Flt Lt Pete Shaw (OIC Cosford Flying Club). We were sad to learn that Pete passed away in October 2021.

overseas units, which left us 30 units on the mainland UK for consideration. After checking which ones were still in existence (or at least recognisable), and which ones we might overfly safely, we ended up with 28. In a rough route, this covered approximately 800 nm, with the extremities being Boscombe Down in the South, Coltishall in the East, Leeming in the North, and Brawdy in the West. Given the Smaragd cruise speed we were going to be using (80kt), this gave a rough figure of 10 hours flying. Initially the plan was to fly this in a clockwise manner, starting by flying out to Brawdy and then up to Cosford. However, we soon realised that if we were delayed for any reason and had to lose part, or all the last leg, this would result in the loss of a significant number of units from our list. On the other hand, if we did the route anti-clockwise, heading down to Boscombe Down first, we got much of the trickier airspace out the way early – and if we had to lose the last leg would only lose one unit. We now had to think about breaking it down into manageable-sized elements. While the Smaragd is a very enjoyable aircraft to fly, its small cockpit, slow cruise speed and restricted endurance (approximately 3hr 20min with a 30-minute reserve) meant that we would clearly need a

Flying Adventure

number of refuelling stops – for both aircraft and crew. As the challenge was being undertaken in co-operation with RAF Sport Aircraft (RAFSA), we were keen to try and link in with their flying clubs – ideally on units that we needed to overfly as part of the challenge anyway. Discussions with RAFSA suggested RAF Brize Norton, RAF Wyton, RAF Waddington and RAF Cosford might be able to help us. Although most of the preparation was complete by April/May 2020, Covid-19 limitations placed on the use of RAF airfields by light aircraft, and indeed limitations placed on the operations of the RAFSA Flying Clubs, meant that it soon became obvious that completion in 2020 was unlikely. At the same time Gerald became seriously ill during the summer and subsequently died, so a decision was made to slip the attempt to 2021.


We wrote to all the station commanders (or equivalents) where a MATZ/ATZ was in place, asking for their support in the endeavour, and with positive responses from all of them, produced a distribution list with nominated points of contact whom we would inform of a likely ‘go’ date with 24-48 hours notice. When discussing the original idea with Gerald, we had agreed that it would be good to use it as a vehicle for raising money for the RAF Benevolent Fund – the RAF’s leading welfare charity. His father, William, had been a recipient of assistance from the Fund when he had lost his legs due to undiagnosed diabetes later in life, and Gerald always enjoyed reading about the ways that the Benevolent Fund was still helping the RAF Family. This obviously took on additional poignancy after Gerald’s death from Covid-19, and we were determined to make as much of the opportunity as we could to generate money for the Fund. Hannah set up a JustGiving page, which proved to be an excellent tool for our fund-raising. Amelia Lupson, from the Benevolent Fund, helped us enormously with the preparation of a press release, which resulted in a number of articles in local papers, plus radio and TV interviews, all helping to raise the profile of the Fund and the excellent work it does. We arrived in early May 2021 at a point where every part of the preparation had been finished – with one exception. While we were keen to land at Wyton and refuel from the Pathfinder Flying Club, unfortunately they had not been approved to re-start operations when we were ready to go. Time constraints meant that Cambridge City Airport and IWM Duxford could not be used due to their opening times. After looking at a range of other options, Old Buckenham was chosen as the most suitable option as it opened at 0800 and was neatly on the route from Cambridge to Coltishall. PPR was obtained and all seemed well. The first week of June looked like it might provide the weather window we were looking for, so we sent out our 48hr notice email on Friday 28 May to all units stating that Tuesday 1 June looked extremely likely to be the day. At this point, Old Buckenham said that it would be unable to provide fuel on the day owing to staffing problems, and Brize Norton Flying Club was forecasting being out of fuel owing to supply issues!

Above Hannah and Neville in the cockpit, pre-engine start at 0547. Below Remains of RAF Yatesbury (with added early morning sun!).

Luckily, calls to Norwich Airport’s handling agent, Saxonair, confirmed that it would be open and could provide avgas, so that just left Brize Norton to resolve. Thanks to the support of the Flying Club, mogas was able to be pre-positioned there that could be used to self-refuel on the day, meaning we could keep to our planned times. Monday 31 May was a day of final preparation. We reviewed the kit list and made sure everything was ready and in good order, and also had a final consultation with the Met Office forecaster at Brize. It confirmed that the weather looked highly suitable for the following day, forecast to be slightly hazy first thing, with an easterly flow and a 2,000ft wind of 15-20kt, but generally clear around all the route all day with any cloud-base well above our minima. We therefore made the decision to go, and sent the final set of emails/messages to let everyone know that we would be setting off the following morning.

Leg one: Garston Farm to Brize Norton

We were both up early to meet at the farm strip at 0500, and it didn’t take long to get the aircraft out, carry out the pre-flight checks and load up. Hannah had a telephone interview with Radio Bristol at 0530, following which we carried out the first of the pre-flight briefings – finishing by calling the AIS hotline (a pattern that we followed throughout the day). Engine start was at 0547, and we took off at 0555 and set a course for RAF Yatesbury, our first target. Despite having recce’d the location on a previous flight, the low sun made identification difficult as we approached, and a couple of 360º turns were needed to locate it and photograph the very small number of original buildings that

March 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 41

Flying Adventure

remain. We then headed to Boscombe Down. As expected, none of the normal agencies were operating so our blind calls received no response. With Boscombe identified and photographed, we then turned onto a direct course for the Defence Academy at Shrivenham, calling Brize Radar for a LARS Basic Service and once clear of Salisbury Plain. Shrivenham was easy to find, and the photos were taken. Hannah and I shared the photographic duties between us, with the main factor being which side of the aircraft was best from which to take the picture. This was particularly useful in the morning when it was still quite hazy, and positioning up-sun to get a clear photograph, which was quite important! After Shrivenham we had a rapid zone transit to photograph Little Rissington, and re-entered the Zone via the Burford VRP and landed at Brize at 0705. We were met by a small group at the Brize Norton Flying Club Hangar who, despite the early hour, had turned out to help us with our re-fuelling. Their enthusiastic support meant that we were able to complete our fill-up in a matter of minutes, well ahead of the time we had allowed.

Leg two: RAF Brize Norton to Norwich

Following take-off, we were able to take a direct track to

Top RAF Brize Norton – Neville with the Flying Club and Serco Refuelling Team. Above A&AEE (now QinetiQ) Boscombe Down. Below RAF Halton (airfield bottom right).

Abingdon, for what was the busiest of all the legs in terms of numbers of points to be photographed. Shortly after take-off we realised that the GoPro camera had stopped working. Although we had taken a charger and spare batteries, it appeared to be an issue caused by overheating, so we reverted to using our mobile phones for video. Abingdon was easily identified, and we then set course for RAF High Wycombe, crossing Benson’s MATZ and Chalgrove’s ATZ, still under a radar service from Brize. Although High Wycombe can be hard to see at times, visual cues identified from some previous helicopter flights which I had taken into the site helped us find it, before setting off for RAF Halton. We called Halton’s frequency as we approached, and had an excellent view of the airfield itself and Halton House. The next location to be photographed was Cardington, after a dog-leg transit to keep us clear of Luton’s airspace, which we had been listening in on (with the monitoring squawk selected) ever since crossing the M40. The two airship hangars were instantly recognisable from a significant distance, and it was sobering to consider that they had been in place well before William arrived in 1940 to begin his RAF career. The next location, RAF Chicksands, was definitely not so easy to identify and marked the beginning of a busy few minutes. Eventually we spotted the remains of the American ‘Elephant Cage’ HF direction finding wireless array, took our photos and headed for Henlow, which was already visible. The grass airfield looked in good shape from the air, although we understood that all flying had ceased some time before. Another photo, then a turn north towards Tempsford. Not a lot remains at Tempsford apart from the runways, so having seen those we then turned east towards our bonus unit for the day – Duxford. While none of the family had served at Duxford, Gerald had been a long-term volunteer with the Duxford Aviation Society, so it seemed appropriate. We called Duxford Radio and enjoyed a brief chat with them as we explained what we were doing and why, and they wished us luck for the rest of the day. Cambridge was already in sight as we were overhead Duxford, but not yet active, so making sensible blind calls we took our pictures and headed for the next turning point. Passing north of St Ives, RAF Wyton was a welcome sight, although we both agreed it would have been even better if we had been able to land there. Hopefully an opportunity for the future! Pictures and video duly taken, we turned north-east for a long stretch up to Norwich. On the leg from RAF Wyton to Norwich we enjoyed the sight of a four-ship of F-15 Eagles on a reciprocal heading but 500ft higher. I had learned to fly in East Anglia in the late-1970s when, while flying in light aircraft, the sight of military aircraft was quite common; whereas Hannah had never before been quite that close to fighters while airborne! It was clear that Norwich was extremely busy, so we ended up with a five-minute hold over the Norfolk Showground until we were cleared to land. The facilities provided by Saxonair were great, and the nice cool room with refreshments was very welcome. However, coordination with the fuel provider proved problematic. Hearing it was inbound, we went out to the aircraft only to see the bowser disappearing to the other end of the airfield. A series of phone calls ensued and eventually it returned. Refuelling wasn’t completed until 1057 – so nearly 45 minutes after shutting down.

Leg three: Norwich to RAF Waddington

After holds for both engine start and taxi clearance, we 42 | LIGHT AVIATION | March 2022

Flying Adventure

were off, only to have one final hold at the runway as a Medevac helicopter departed. Getting airborne at 1128, effectively 50 minutes behind schedule, we were cleared direct for RAF Coltishall. Coltishall was easily identified, not just because of the single massive runway, but also because the grass areas around were entirely covered with solar panels, a feature noted on many of the disused airfields. We then headed off towards RAF Langham, taking in the views of the north Norfolk coastline. With Langham photographed, a gentle turn to the south-west set us on our next course and we contacted Marham Zone for a Basic Service. What we first thought was Marham through a still somewhat hazy sky, turned out to be Sculthorpe, and we eventually arrived at Marham version 2.0 a little later. They were on stand-down, so we were free to choose our own routing through the ATZ. The new buildings and infrastructure for the F35s were obvious, although the most striking feature from the air was the station football pitch which was coloured in RAF blue with a large RAF roundel in the centre! Still under a LARS from Marham, we then set off for RAF College, Cranwell, which had active aircraft, some on calibration duties and others undertaking a display work-up, which meant a little more coordination was required. We agreed a routing on the south-side of the airfield, with a good view of both the airfield and College Hall, and then set off for RAF Newton, former home of the RAF police dog trials! No sign of the trials was evident on the former grass airfield as we approached, took a picture, and then turned towards RAF Syerston which was already clearly visible.

Top left RAF Cardington – the Airship Hangars are still visible for miles. Top right RAF Chicksands and the ‘Elephant Cage’ remains. Above left RAF Henlow. Above right RAF Wyton.

Syerston Radio was manned, although there was no flying in progress. The care home which Gerald had last lived at was just across the River Trent, and he had often seen the gliders in the circuit. Originally, we had planned to circle overhead, as he would have been in the garden to see us. As it was, we dipped our wing in salute and then headed north-east to RAF Swinderby, contacting Waddington Zone for a Basic Service and entry into the MATZ prior to landing. Swinderby quickly came into view, pictures taken, and we then asked for joining instructions for Waddington. After some slight confusion regarding what they meant by joining at ‘initials’, we joined the circuit crosswind, slotted in between two Phenom jets, which had a very different speed profile from ours! However, ATC’s timing was immaculate, and we had landed and vacated well before the next Phenom called finals. As we taxied in, it was clear that we were now significantly behind our planned schedule, being ‘on blocks’ at 1304 when we had hoped to be departing at that time following a 50-minute lunch break!

Leg four: RAF Waddington to RAF Cosford

Thanks to great support from the Waddington Flying School, we managed to regain some of our lost time. The take-off runs were definitely getting longer as the daytime temperature increased with our heavy fuel loads. As the Red Arrows were not operating, R313 was inactive, and we were able to get a clearance direct through Scampton’s ATZ for our next destination. Linton on Ouse was easy to identify, sadly due to large ‘X’ markings on the runway in case any casual visitors weren’t aware that it was closed! Our March 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 43

Flying Adventure

northward course was maintained and we made contact with Leeming Zone in good time. They had a Hawk getting airborne and asked us to hold briefly over Dishforth before clearing us into their ATZ. Turning west, we climbed to 3,500ft for our transit across the Pennines. Visibility into sun was extremely poor horizontally, and we agreed that the non-handling pilot would concentrate on lookout and monitoring the PilotAware (PAW) warnings. Approximately half-way across, Leeming asked us to transfer to Warton Radar, so having thanked it for its service we changed frequency and began making calls. While we were not surprised that there was no response initially, as we got closer we could hear other aircraft calling – and getting silence in response. We were slightly concerned, as we needed to penetrate the Warton MATZ for our flight. Neither Notams nor the AIS hotline had mentioned a problem, so we called London Information, which confirmed that in fact Warton Radar was not operating. We decided to continue with the planned route, which had been discussed in detail with Warton ATC during the planning stages, and make blind positioning calls on the Warton Radar frequency. Identifying the old RAF Kirkham site was straightforward, and we then called Liverpool Approach to ask for a zone transit, but with no response. After three attempts, we agreed that we would revert to plan B, and transit via the Low-Level Corridor (LLC). The handling pilot concentrated on holding in a safe area, while the non-handling pilot contacted Manchester Approach to ensure that the correct QNH was set, and then reset the primary navigation device to reflect the amended routing. 44 | LIGHT AVIATION | March 2022

Top left RAF Coltishall – solar panels a plenty! Top centre RAF Langham – now owned by Bernard Matthews of 'bootiful turkeys' fame. Top right RAF Marham. Middle left RAFC Cranwell. Middle centre RAF Swinderby. Middle right RAF Scampton (note the extension of the runway across Ermine Street). Bottom left RAF Linton on Ouse. Bottom centre RAF Leeming. Bottom right RAF Brawdy.

Unfortunately, this resulted in the primary device shutting down! However, the planning paid off and we reverted to the secondary device that had already been set up on the reversionary route, so we could navigate the LLC with confidence. The LLC transit itself was straightforward, although flying at an accurate altitude was demanding at times, given the late afternoon thermal activity that had built up. The hold north of Warton, while we sorted out the re-routing, combined with the headwind from that point onwards, meant that we were going to be significantly later arriving at Cosford than planned, mindful of the hard airfield closure time of 1730. We were able to keep in touch by text while airborne, and therefore provided regular updates of our ETA. Following a LARS Traffic Service from Shawbury, it was a great relief to see the RAF Museum buildings coming into view. The approach was uneventful, but the landing with a 90º crosswind of 10kt-plus on the hard runway was challenging! Whilst taxying in we saw the pre-war, low-profile hangars on the south side of the airfield with their grass roofs. Gerald had vivid memories of being made to run over the top of them as part of the physical exercise programme as a boy entrant in the 1950s! Again, we had a welcoming committee from the Cosford Flying Club, which were extremely organised, and had us refuelled to full – 84 litres, within five minutes of engine stop. It had also made refreshments available including some very welcome cold drinks, so we took the opportunity to rehydrate as well as using the facilities.

Leg five: RAF Cosford to Garston Farm

Pilots and aircraft refreshed, and the weather to the west

Flying Adventure

showing improvement in terms of visibility, we were both content to fly the route as planned, and took off at 1726, just four minutes to spare before the airfield closed! The take-off was the hottest and heaviest of the day, the Smaragd laboured its way to our 4,000ft transit altitude for crossing Wales. A tailwind for the first part of the leg was a bonus, and the better visibility meant we were able to enjoy great views over the Welsh mountains and the coast. Having checked in with London Information we were able to confirm that D202D around Aberporth was inactive, but that D118 and Pembrey ATZ were both active, meaning a small change to our routing. Brawdy was easy to identify with the lowered sun glinting off the runways, and having taken our penultimate photos we turned course towards Bristol. This element of the leg was without doubt the longest and slowest of the day, as we had a significant headwind. We descended to our MSA and used more power for a slightly higher IAS, but only gained around five knots in ground speed. To help keep us focused, we handed control over at each 15-minute FREDA check point, also allowing a wriggle in the seat. So many hours sitting down was beginning to make its presence felt! Once past Swansea, we called Cardiff Radar to ensure we had an accurate QNH, as we would be transiting under their airspace, and took the offered opportunity of a Basic Service. The very friendly controller was interested to hear more about our day’s adventure. We picked up the Bristol QNH from its ATIS as we crossed the Severn Estuary south of the bridges. With the listening squawk set and monitoring the associated frequency we gave the gas venting site at Avonmouth a wide berth before heading under the Bristol CTA towards the final target of DE&S Abbey Wood. A quick orbit for photos, then heading for home. Calling on the Colerne Approach frequency identified no other traffic in the vicinity, and an uneventful straight-in approach on the easterly runway brought our Dawn to Dusk adventure to an end. As we taxied in it barely seemed possible that we had achieved so much in the course of a single day.


True to RAF traditions, we held a debrief over a

Above Neville and Hannah after refuelling at RAF Waddington – note the Sentry radome and tail in view!

celebratory meal of fish and chips washed down with prosecco! While obviously feeling euphoric at having completed the whole thing in good order, there were a few elements that we felt particularly pleased with. Having two crew for the flight had proved to be an excellent decision, and there could also be no doubt that technology had been a huge asset. SkyDemon’s ability as a navigation aid was vital throughout. We also found the situational awareness provided by PilotAware’s enormously reassuring. We’d spent 10 hours 46 minutes in the air, covered 852 nm, and raised £2,051. Although the day itself was clearly focused on the hard elements (carrying out the plan and coping with the unexpected) the soft elements did come through as we flew. Stations that we had memories of, and those that Gerald had talked about, gave cause for reflection on not only the involvement of the family with the RAF over the last 81 years, but also the changes that the last year had brought to us personally. It was sad that Gerald was unable to celebrate completion of this adventure which he had been so enthusiastic about, but we were so pleased to have completed it in his memory. Per ardua ad astra, indeed… ■

Below Last target for the day – Defence Equipment & Support Abbey Wood.

Editors Note: Neville and Hannah came second in the 2021 Dawn to Dusk competition, winning the Coventry Trophy. They also won awards for the best video log and best family entry.

Share your adventures! If you’ve made a really memorable flight either solo or with friends, or visited a great destination be it in the UK or abroad, then there’s a good chance that LAA members would enjoy reading about it. So why not share your travel tales by contributing to the Light Aviation Flying Adventure feature slot? A typical Adventure can range from 1,500 to 3,000 words. Include a selection of high-resolution photos of highlights, ideally 1mb or greater. Phone photos can be great for this, but pictures from a camera usually give the best results. Got an idea in mind? Drop me a line! Email: March 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 45

LAA Strut News


Struts 4U by Anne Hughes

he Oxford Group celebrated its 50th birthday on 9 February – which just happened to be its normal Strut evening. Memorabilia was on display and Rob Stobo shared minutes from the very first meetings. Jan Atherton provided a cake with sparklers, and we were pleased that Steve Slater joined the Oxford Group for the evening and, following a high-flying presentation on ‘Gliding the Waves’ by Andrew Reid, Steve cut the cake. In 1972 the guest of honour had been David FaulknerBryant who, although unable to attend this time, sent the following message, “Congratulations to the Oxford Strut/ Group on its long-term and on-going achievement of 50 years of Flying For Fun, assisting in the growth and

46 | LIGHT AVIATION | March 2022

Above Around 60 scouts enjoyed an Aviation Taster Day at Audley End Airfield with YES. Below left The Oxford Group meeting for its 50th birthday… Below …included a suitably decorated cake!

maintaining the continuing interest and industry of the home-built aircraft movement. You are truly part of the grass roots of our type of flying with all of its various branches! “Half a century is a testimony to the steadfast pursuit of our enduring aim to fly in freedom on home-made wings! The importance of the Strut network as a means of serving and maintaining the ongoing interests of the LAA membership cannot be overstated! There is a lot of experience (and grey hair) at meetings and rallies these days. The experience can be passed on – the grey hair can only be replaced by the next generation of likeminded enthusiasts and dreamers, who can pick up the baton and carry it onwards and ever UPWARDS! Your recent involvement with the Air Scouts is the way to go! Thank you Oxford for your contribution, it does not go unnoticed!” In 1972 in the May/June edition of the PFA magazine, Popular Flying, DF-B had reported on the first official meeting of the Oxford Strut. In the company of Chairman Frank Parker, he had arrived at The Plough in Witney High Street, where they were greeted by George and Jenny Jeffrey. Around the pub fireside they found Alan Clewley, Jack Benson, David Schofield, Jack Eggleton, Dixie and David Walling and Les White. At the time the Strut’s aircraft included a VP-1, Luton Major, Taylor Monoplanes, a Tipsy B and

LAA Strut News

Strut Calendar Please contact your local Strut to check the details before attending the calendar events.

Top Scouts enjoyed an aviation art at Audley End with GAvA artists. Above There was also an opportunity to build and fly model gliders. Taylor Titch! Well done Oxford for keeping the LAA Strut flag flying for 50 years. In October the LAA Youth Education Support (YES) Strut, under the leadership of Stewart Luck, organised an Aviation Taster Day at Audley End Airfield in Essex. Around 60 Scouts, Cubs and Air Scouts from the local area were treated to a multi-activity day where they were split into small groups and followed a timetable of events. This included an opportunity to be creative with an Aviation Art opportunity in the hangar with Phil Jackson and other GAvA artists who were holding one of their regular painting days at Audley End. Other groups were able to meet pilots and spend time around designated aircraft. Many had fun making their own paper aeroplanes and gliders as well as enjoying a ride in a pedal plane. Workbooks were provided for the Scouts and the day contributed to their badges as they were also shown basic navigation skills, had an introductory talk on the theory of flight and operated the WWI VR simulator supplied by the WAT team. The Mayor of Saffron Walden and other local dignitaries attended and were fascinated to see the enthusiasm of all concerned. Thanks go to Pete Wood and all at Audley End for hosting the day. Stewart is happy to discuss setting up similar activity days with Struts across the country where YES team members could support the day. If your Strut or airfield would like to be involved, Stewart’s contact details are in the calendar opposite. These days are of benefit to all the young people involved, giving them a unique opportunity to spend a day on an airfield, to the leaders of the groups and all volunteers who find the experience both inspiring and rewarding. Echoing David Faulkner-Bryant’s words, the future of the LAA Struts and, indeed, of the LAA, will be in the hands of some of these young people who are already showing an enthusiasm for and commitment to light aviation. ■

Andover Strut: Spitfire Club, Popham Airfield, SO21 3BD. 19.30. 14 March – ‘Flying the Duxford Lysander’ with Dave Ratcliffe; 11 April – ‘CHIRP & GA’ with Steve Forward. Contact Bob Howarth Phone no. 01980 611124 Bristol Strut: BAWA Club, Filton, 1930. Contact: www. Cornwall Strut: The Clubhouse, Bodmin Airfield. Virtual Zoom meetings throughout winter months. 2 April – Vintage and Aerobatic Aircraft Day. Contact Pete White 01752 406660 Devon Strut: The Exeter Court Hotel, Kennford, Exeter. 1930. 10 March – ‘What Has Radar Ever Done for Us?’ by David Burrows, Exeter ATC Services Manager; 7 April – Rotax Engines by Kevin Dilks (Special Aviation Services) Contact: david. East of Scotland Strut: Harrow Hotel, Dalkeith. 2000. 7 March – AGM. Contact: 0131 339 2351. East Midlands Strut: The Plough, Normanton on Soar. Contact: We also have a Facebook group and upload recordings of some meetings where we have speakers. Gloster Strut: The Victory Club, Lypiatt Road, Cheltenham, GL50 2SY. Contact: Highlands & Islands: Highland Aviation, Inverness Airport. Contact: b.w.spence@ 01381 620535. Kent Strut: Cobtree Manor Golf Club, Maidstone, Kent. 2000. Contact: Steve Hoskins 07768 984507. LiNSY Trent Valley Strut: Trent Valley Gliding Club, Kirton Lindsey. http://linsystrut. North East Strut: Fishburn Airfield. Brunch. Third Sunday of each month. 1130-1330 at Fishburn Aviator Cafe. Contact: North Western Strut: Veterans Lounge, Barton, Manchester, 1930 for 2000. Contact: 07813 497427. North Wales Strut: Caernarfon Airport, Dinas Dinlle. First Sunday of the month – HEMS Bistro Café. 1300. Contact: Gareth Roberts 07876 483414. Oxford Group: Sturdy’s Castle Country Inn, Banbury Road, Kidlington, OX5 3EP.

Second Wednesday each month. 9 March – Fly2Help; 13 April – ‘Aviation Photography: Tips from a Pro’ by Nick Ludlow. Contact Redhill Strut: The Dog and Duck, Outwood, Surrey, RH1 5QU. Third Tuesday of each month at 1930. Contact: Shobdon Strut: Hotspur Café, Shobdon Airfield, Hereford HR6 9NR. 1930. Meetings on the second Thursday of the month. 10 March – Flying Adventures by Polly Vacher. Contact: Keith Taylor Southern Strut: The Swiss Cottage, Shoreham-by-Sea. First Wednesday of the month 2000. Contact palmersfarm@sky. com Strathtay Strut: Scottish Aero Club, Perth Airport, Scone. Scone Clubhouse. Contact: keith.boardman@peopleserve. 07785 244146. Suffolk Coastal Strut: Earl Stonham Village Hall, IP14 5HJ. 1930. 16 March – ‘Low Cost Airlines’ by Tim Gibson; 13 April – Strut AGM. Contact: Martyn Steggalls uk / 07790 925142 Vale of York Strut: Chocks Away Café, Rufforth East Airfield.1900 Contact: Chris Holliday 07860 787801 www. Wessex Strut: Henstridge Airfield Clubhouse. 24 April – Wessex Strut Fly-in at Henstridge Airfield, Somerset. Free landing. PPR a few days before on 07880 780 253 e-mail david.gibson0200@ Check Wessex Strut website. Local fortnightly Strut walks organised by Wessex Aviators Leisure Klub. Contact: West Midlands Strut: Navigator Café, Halfpenny Green Aerodrome 1930. Contact: Graham Wiley Stuart Darby or visit our website West of Scotland Strut: Bowfield Country Club, Howwood, PA9 1DZ. 1900. Contact: Neil Geddes 01505 612493. Youth & Education Support (YES) – Friday 11 March – Yes Conference by Zoom. Contact: Stewart Luck – / Graham Wiley NB: Thank you to all Struts and clubs for getting in touch. If you have any stories, items you wish to share or updates for the calendar, please contact me at struts@laa. March 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 47

Blue sky thinker…

James Lewis

Meet the Members

Neil Wilson chats to Chipmunk fanatic Carol de Solla Atkin, who has a passion for aviation… and a whole lot more!


hat began your interest in aviation?

There is no one specific thing that got me interested in aviation. It was a culmination of little things – far too many to list in total. As a toddler, I had a fantasy about floating above the playground. Growing up, I joined the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), which turned my head skywards. My first ever photograph was of an airliner high above London. When I was a child, I actually didn’t know it was possible to be a pilot. The catalyst came, in my 20s, when a group of colleagues went to do a charity parachute jump. However, I didn’t go, as I thought it was hugely irresponsible and it would cripple an entire department’s personnel in one weekend. Suffice to say they all came back with ‘Cheshire cat’ grins – and I was incredibly jealous. I went on to do sponsored static-line and freefall jumps, as well as a ‘Loop the Loop’. I was hooked. I took up skydiving and accumulated 165 jumps over five years. One day, when it was too windy to jump, I wandered over to the glider pilots. Minutes later I was airborne with an instructor who described me as ‘a natural’, which pleased me no end. A couple of years later, a pilot at the skydiving club, offered to take me for a flight. We flew from

48 | LIGHT AVIATION | March 2022

Above Carol and Chipmunk G-BBND at the Royal International Air Tatoo.

Sibson to Bournemouth for lunch, and back at night, with Christmas lights twinkling below. It was then that I experienced handling the controls on a powered aircraft – and I was smitten. I discovered it was possible to learn to fly in a month in Florida. So, in 1992 that is exactly what I did. I got my FAA Pilot’s Certificate in 27 days, 42 flights and 64.3 hours. The relatively high number of hours is because, as soon as I was allowed to do solo crosscountry flights, I was off – and went touring Florida with a voracious appetite for adventure.

When was your first flight?

In 1980 as a passenger on a Boeing 747, the flight from Stansted to the Mediterranean was my epiphany. The huge kick in the back of the seat, on take-off, is an experience that I could not get out of my mind – and I desperately wanted more. I had to wait two years to get my next flight. It was worth it! That was to Cologne to import the new Ford RS1600i. Twenty years later I had my own company importing Mercedes SLKs. My first solo was in a Cessna 152 from Merritt Island, Florida. When I landed, everyone had gone to lunch. There was no debrief! Minutes later, somebody invited me into their C172 and insisted that I sat in the left-hand seat and did the take-off and landing. I did not refuse! Isn’t it funny that, if a stranger invites you into their car, you run a mile.

Meet the Members

How many hours and types have you flown?

Nick Blacow

I am in the process of transferring all my log books onto a spreadsheet, so I do not have a total aircraft count just yet. I’ve entered around 10 of my 30 years’ experience. Approximate totals so far are 1,360 total time, 123 different registrations, and 70 different types by ICAO designator. Some of those include take-offs and landings, most were just stick and rudder handling. In aircraft such as the P-51D Mustang, P-40 Kittyhawk and B-24 Liberator, I was simply a grinning passenger. Only 12 of the 70 aircraft have I either soloed, been cleared to solo or captained. Types have included, helicopters, an autogyro, various microlights, balloons, turboprops, warbirds, jets and even an Airbus A320 as the observer on a pre-purchase test flight. However, when invited into a strange aeroplane, I’m there faster than a rat up a drainpipe!

Your current job, and past career?

I’m a born and bred Londoner and have always spent my recreation time in, on, or just above, the countryside. Despite a hankering for mechanical engineering, I ended up with qualifications in business and computer studies, which led me into the world of City finance in various IT, administrative and business analysis roles for KPMG management consultants, plus two prestigious American investment banks. I loved every second of my career, particularly the perpetual drive, determination, and intelligent conversation of the people in those industries. The pay was just about good enough to allow me to afford flying lessons and shares in a couple of aircraft syndicates. When my finance career faltered, following the 2008 banking crisis, plus being above-average age for the industry, it was time to go and fulfil the dream of working in aviation. I started by training pilots on the then relatively new Garmin GPS systems. Soon after, I got the opportunity to help ferry a BN-2 Islander across the Atlantic. I squandered my redundancy money on a multi-engine rating just before Christmas 2008 – and departed for the coast soon after. Upon return, I went to work on a series of short-term contracts at easyJet, CEGA air ambulance, World Fuel Services, the Shuttleworth Collection, 2Excel, the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia, USA, PPL/IR, and three movies. I am now offering my data-entry prowess to anyone wanting their paper log books transcribed onto a spreadsheet, ready for downloading to a professional digital logbook, such as LogTenPro. Had I had the resources to get a commercial rating, I would have loved to have ferried more aircraft.

Above Carol dressed as a suffragette, driving a 1912 Crossley at Shuttleworth. Below Repacking parachutes at Cranfield in the 1980s.

Have you had a favourite type?

I love them all. I make a point of never saying ‘I hate an aircraft’, just in case there is the opportunity to fly it. I’d fly anything – the more challenging, the better. Everyone will think my favourite is the Chipmunk as my name is indelibly connected to it. It would be churlish of me to deny that, however, I will…! My friend let me fly his T.9 Spitfire on a short hop to Oshkosh, but nor is it my favourite, however it’s still not my favourite, simply because there has not been the opportunity to solo. My most exhilarting flight was in a Yak-11. It’s a frequently overlooked warbird that will happily cruise at 200kt, with a Vne of 323kt and has just the sweetest handling. Coming from a Chipmunk pilot, that says

How did you hear about the Association?

On my return to England, I realised that I had to fill in all the gaps in my knowledge between the US and UK systems. I was on a mission to ensure that nobody could criticise me for flying only on an FAA licence. I was looking at buying a share in a light aircraft and bundled myself over to the wonderful PFA Rally at Cranfield on a research mission. My knowledge of the LAA rapidly increased in 1995 when I helped my boyfriend build his RV-6. I absolutely wallowed in drilling, deburring, bucking and a little riveting… all in a Kent garage. March 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 49

Cameron Sys

Meet the Members

something. The again, I think my favourite is really the P-51D Mustang…

Have you owned any aircraft?

Between 1995 and 2004 I had a share in G-BIJU, a CP301A Piel Emeraude. Since 1999, I’ve had a share in G-BBND, a DHC-1 de Havilland Chipmunk. Jerry Yagen very kindly allows me to fly and display his Chipmunk, whenever I am over in Virginia. Would I ever own anything else? If funds allowed, most definitely. I have been very fortunate in that I have exceptionally lovely friends who allow me to fly their aircraft. I am truly blessed. My first Chipmunk flight was in 1995. It was another five years before I bought into a syndicate. The advantage is obvious – I can afford to both fly and eat! We have some terrific members in our syndicate who do the maintenance, look after the finance and care about all the non-flying side of ownership. The downside is obvious. Buy me a bottle of quality wine and a box of Kleenex and I’ll tell you…

50 | LIGHT AVIATION | March 2022

Above A unique formation moment for Carol, with a DH Vampire jet. Below Carol’s first step into aircraft ownership was a share in Emeraude G-BIJU.

You were very much involved in the Chipmunks’ 75 Anniversary. How was it organised and located?

It all started when I discovered that Alan Klapmeier, the co-founder of Cirrus Aviation, owns a Chipmunk. I set about finding a way of getting to fly it. Fortunately, I bumped into Alan at Sun ‘n’ Fun when I had flown Jerry Yagen’s Chipmunk there from Virginia, so we exchanged contacts. I created ‘Chipmunks to Oshkosh’ in 2010 which involved me contacting every Chipmunk owner in North America to see if they wanted to join the merry throng. Alan was very happy for me to fly his Chipmunk over from Minnesota. It was such a privilege. In 2011 I created the 65th Anniversary Fly-in at Panshanger. While working at Shuttleworth, in 2015, I instigated the first of several Chipmunk anniversary fly-ins. It must be said, although I was instrumental in bolstering the Chipmunk owners’ network, the events would not have been possible without the support of a number of exceptional friends; particularly Steve Le-Vien, John de Main, Rod Brown and Robert Miller who take the credit for doing all the real work. I am just the glue and the motivational spirit behind them. For the 65th anniversary of the Chipmunk’s first flight in 2015, I personally wrote letters, electronic and paper, to all 120 Chipmunk owners listed in G-INFO. It was very obvious that there was a need for a robust network of owners, operators, engineers, past and present, as well as experienced instructors from its military days, plus the cadets who enjoyed their first ever flight in a Chipmunk. Consequently, the de Havilland Chipmunk Appreciation Society was born. It is an extremely successful Facebook-based group, which I believe is the premier method worldwide for the exchange of ideas, engineering assistance, aircraft and parts, modelling tips, photographs, news and just about everything Chipmunk-related. It is also an exceptional place to advertise events so that a vast swathe of ‘Chipmunk people’ can enjoy them. Visit: if you’d like to join us!

Meet the Members

What have been your favourite moments in aviation?

That is far too difficult a question! I collect adventures, and have streams of them. Here are a few, in no particular order… Aerobatic training in a T6 and Pitts Special; acting as ground crew on the Fighter Collection’s F8F Bearcat for 13 years and handling some of the operations at the early Flying Legends; ferrying a Yak-52 from Lithuania to Cambridgeshire in a day; flying Chipmunks for thousands of miles around the U.S. to get them to Oshkosh; watching an R44 land in front of me in a random field on a country walk and being ushered into it as a total surprise so I could have a flying lesson; flying a friend’s Westland Scout and hovering it in his back garden; displaying Chipmunks at Oshkosh and Virginia Beach shows; ferrying an Islander across the Atlantic and having some interesting ice and wind and fuel-related incidents along the way; hitchhiking in a Jetstream 41 from Greenland to Stansted; critical engine malfunction in the Chipmunk resulting in an emergency landing; having VIP passes at RIAT; getting married aboard Concorde at Oshkosh, and having the EAA warbird fraternity have a whip-round for us at their annual prize giving.

Do you have any aviation heroes?

Yes, anyone from the military, past and present, including display and test pilots, from whom I have learned that life is far more fun when you can calculate risk. When you know for sure where the outer edges of the envelope of life is, you can safely go right up to the edges and achieve so much more in life.

Has aviation taught you any lessons?

Flying across the Atlantic in icing conditions was fraught with issues. There are times when it is not wise to advertise you are a risk taker. Ask me again when I’m 80, when it will sound more cute than stupid! It was enormous fun though and I would do it again. Taking a Chipmunk across the Appalachian Mountains evolved into navigating around cumulo-granite that was covered in cloud. I had an above-average workload to maintain VFR. Once the expanding cloud had trapped me in the valleys, I had to divert immediately.

I used up all my adrenalin finding and landing a diversion airport, which I did very quickly and successfully. Consequently, after touchdown, I had no energy remaining to taxy to the terminal, so pulled over and had a nap for a few minutes, in the cockpit. Lesson learned? Flying with impractical time constraints can be more exciting than you had bargained for.

Is there an aircraft you dream of owning?

All of them! I actually have a hankering for a Beech T-34 Mentor, but that is only because there are none in the UK, so it would look exotic. It’s just an American Chipmunk on steroids. If money was no object, it would have to be a Mustang. The Bearcat is my favourite aircraft, but not practical for a day’s bimbling with a buddy. I would never refuse one though. I’d also love any one of the Grumman amphibians. I also have a hankering for a helicopter. I cannot do this question justice – anything rare would suit me.

Do you have any other hobbies or interests? I very reluctantly took up running this year. The ‘Couch to 5K’ programme has transformed me. I am working on expanding my involvement in the film industry. I’ve had a small involvement in two productions (Catch-22 and Lawrence: After Arabia), and I’m currently working on a WWII movie. I’m a petrolhead so I adore cars – new, vintage, fast, anything. I like music, museums, art, food, drink, socialising and long walks on my own. Previous hobbies have included horse riding, photography, bird watching (but I’m not a twitcher!). I’ll do anything, if someone suggests it.

Do you have any advice for fellow pilots?

Yes. Go find the edges of your and your aircraft’s envelopes and give them a healthy margin, but not too big. Practice forced landings, aeros, flying through busy controlled airspace, long distances – all those things that you keep putting off. Fear ‘sucks’ and the more you can eradicate it by increasing your knowledge and experience, the more opportunities are available and the happier you will be. I enjoy acting as a safety pilot for anyone who wants to practice. ■

KFA Safari and KFA Explorer Short field performance, economic, full support.

Graham Smith: Mobile:+ 44 (0)7973 254615 Email:

Pete Marsden: Mobile: + 44 (0)7976 262833. Email: March 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 51

Where to go



selection of events for the beginning of the year, and some you might want to plan for in the summer months. While they’ve yet to publish a list of events, don’t forget GASCo are running some Safety Evenings up and down the country. Keep an eye on its website,, for further updates.

March 3-4 15-16 26

7 7

Yeovilton FAAM Cobham Collection open days (Pre-book) Air Display Symposium Shrivenham Compton Abbas Open Day

7-8 13-14 13-15 14

April Compton Abbas Vintage Fly-in Bodmin Vintage and Aerobatic Fly-in Turweston VAC Members Fly-in Sleap VPAC Vintage Piper Fly-in Lakeland, FL. USA. Sun ’n Fun Perth ACS Aviation Festival of Flight Sandown Easter Fly-in & Spot Landing Comp 16-17 Easter Easter at Easter Airfield 23 Duxford IWM GA Flying day 23-24 Breighton BAeA McLean Trophy 23 Duxford IWM GA Flying Day 24 Henstridge Wessex Strut Fly-in (PPR) 27-30 Friedrichshafen, Germany. AERO GA Exhibition 30-1 May Popham Microlight Trade Fair

2 2 9 9 5-10 16 16

May 1 1 1-2 2 2 7

Old Warden Shuttleworth Season Premier Air Show Carrickmore Fly-in Fenland Chipmunk fly-in Popham Aero/Autojumble Popham VAC Members Fly-in Bodmin Ladies Day Fly-in

14 14 14 14-15 14-15 15 21 21 21-22 21-22 21-22


26 26-29 27-29 28-29 28-29 28-29 29

As always, check the Royal Aero Club Events website for the latest information and web links for many of the events: Our thanks to the RAeC and to Dave Wise for the use of their data. If you have an event you want to advertise on the list, please email the details to Dave at:

Fenland VAC Tulip Fly-in Sutton Meadows CMC Microlight fly-in PPR Sleap BAeA Get Into Aeros event Wycombe Private Flyer Hibaldstow PRBA Ballon meet Compton Abbas Microlight and Light Aircraft Fly-in Sywell Europa Club Fly-in/Dinner Goodwood VPAC Vintage Piper fly-in Old Warden Espionage Air Show North Coates Spring fly-in Preston Capes Microlight open series Popham Vintage Cessna fly-in Old Warden British Rotorcraft Association Record Breaker Meet Old Sarum BDAC Aerobilia sale Compton Abbas Pooleys Air Days Farway Common Welcome fly-in Leicester BAeA aerobatic comp

LAA Tour of Scotland For more information or to register your interest, please contact Neil Wilson at LAA Popham Evening fly-in and BBQ Abbeville Bulldog/Chipmunk meet Sandown Spamfield fly-in Perth Fly-in & Meet the LAA Day [PPR] Darley Moor Microlight open series Biscarosse Seaplane fly-in Stow Maries Wings and Wheels

Planning ahead… June 2-4 June 9 June 11 June 16-18 June 18 June 18 June 23-26 July 16 July 15-17 July 22-24 July 23-24 July 23-24 July 26- Aug 1 Aug 5-7 Aug 12-14 Aug 19-21 Sept 2-4 Sept 2-4 Sept 4

Ragley Hall Midlands Air Festival Sleap SAC VW -powered fly-in Welshpool VPAC Fly-in Kemble Aero Expo Farway Common LAA Devon Strut fly-in Old Warden Shuttleworth Military Evening Air Show Goodwood Festival of Speed Breighton G-George Day Fairford Royal International Air Tattoo Air Display Brienne le Chateau RSA Rally Bodmin VAC Fly-in & Meet the LAA Day Farway Common European Luscombe Fly-in Oshkosh, WI. USA EAA AirVenture Rufforth East LAA Vale of York Strut Fly-in & Meet the LAA [PPR] Schaffen-Diest 37th Old timers and ultralights fly-in Breighton Vintage Aerobatic World Championship TBC LAA National Rally and Exhibition Connington BAeA Nationals Old Warden Shuttleworth Steam & Vintage Air show

ADS-BE SEEN WITH TRIG’S TN72 Use the CAA Conspicuity Rebate to upgrade your Trig transponder to ADS-B Out Certified SIL 1 - Superior visibility Visible to all ADS-B In traffic devices Proven installation LAA / EASA CS-STAN Be visible - be safe - fit Trig Contact your Approved Trig dealer now 52 | LIGHT AVIATION | March 2022



R TOD £250 AY

Landing vouchers

LANDING VOUCHERS Just as the spring days will be warming up, so will the flying opportunities. So here’s some great free landings for you to use! Our thanks to Bodmin, Leicester Airport and Netherthorpe for supporting our discounted and free landings for LAA members

✁ Aviation LIGHT

scheme. Please be sure to thank them for their participation by buying some fuel for your aircraft, or when on the obligatory trip to the cafe, fuel for you and your passenger! Above all, fly safe, and have fun!

Free Landing from 4 April 2022 Bodmin Airfield 01208 821419

Operated by the Cornwall Flying Club. A very friendly airfield, 5nm north-east of Bodmin. PPR essential. Café closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays. There are two runways. Taxis can be arranged to take you to the Bodmin and Wenford Railway, for a ride through the Cornwall countryside. Nearby are Lanhydrock, a National Trust property, the popular Eden Project at St Austell, Padstow (Rick Stein seafood restaurants) and other Cornish delights. Avgas available. Be careful of turbulence and downdraughts. Radio 120.330

✁ Aviation LIGHT

Free Landing April 2022 Leicester Airport 0116 259 2360

Set in the heart of the Midlands, Leicester is an ideal stop for a snack, Sunday lunch, or a fantastic day out, with plenty of attractions just a short taxi ride away. With three hard runways and two grass, parking is to the rear of the tower, on the hard standing. Avgas is available. Leicester A/G radio is now 122.130. PPR for latest airfield information on

✁ Aviation LIGHT

Free Landing April 2022 Netherthorpe 01909 475233

Home of the Sheffield Aero Club, the airfield offers a warm welcome Tuesday to Sunday (airfield closed on Mondays, with the restaurant open Thursday to Sunday. Two grass runways available. PPR please, and get a number. Ask for advice if you have not flown here before. Safety briefing required also for departure as located under Doncaster/Sheffield CTA. Overhead joins 1,800ft and circuit height is 800ft. Avoid local villages. Avgas by arrangement. A/G Radio is now 123.280

36 | LIGHT AVIATION | July 2021

APRIL 2022




AIRCRAFT PARTS Jungmann, set of four interplane struts £800. Tel: 07780 451 205

For all display or commercial advertising enquiries please contact Neil Wilson: 07512 773532 You can email your classified advertisement direct to the LAA at the following address: Deadline for booking and copy: 21 March 2022 If you would like to place an aircraft for sale advert please see details below: MEMBERS’ ADVERTISEMENTS Up to 30 words: £6; 31-50 words: £12 Up to 50 words with a coloured photo: £45 NON-MEMBERS’ADVERTISEMENTS Up to 30 words: £22; 31-50 words: £44 Up to 50 words with a coloured photo: £60

LAA Engineering advice to buyers: AIRCRAFT APPROVED? Members and readers should note that the inclusion of all advertisements in the commercial or classified sections of this magazine does not necessarily mean that the product or service is approved by the LAA. In particular, aircraft types, or examples of types advertised, may not, for a variety of reasons, be of a type or standard that is eligible for the issue of a LAA Permit to Fly. You should not assume that an aircraft type not currently on the LAA accepted type list will eventually be accepted.

2 Superior Millennium cylinders, removed after 38 hrs from certified O320-D2J unit being zero-timed, honed. Valves/springs installed, no rocker gear. Pistons also available. Contact Patrick 07775-894 462

PROJECTS Jodel D150 Mascaret for sale. Built 1964 by SAN, serial no 48. A/F 1375 Eng 215 new permit. 8.33 & mode S + Skymap & Garmin.Rebuilt by Douglas Wilson-Spratt in 2011, Evra prop o/haul 2019, new tyres & tubes 2020. Useful load 300kgs fuel capacity 190 litres. Interesting history, less than 20 litres at 100mph, really good condition. £35,000. Contact Adrian: 07860 667807. G-EMSY 1940 DH82a Tiger Moth (83666). Rebuilt/zero timed 2000 by cliff lovell/vintec. 895hrs since. Top overhaul 58 hrs ago (may 2020). Permit to July 2022. Trig 8.33 radio. Lynx intercom/ headsets. Installed Pilotaware plus Skyecho. Manuals and a few spares. Sound, reliable aircraft with comprehensive maintenance history. Always hangared. Now based Compton Abbas. Malcolm Rogan 07836 252634




Project for sale due to the sad death of the restorer. Unique Nord 858/9, designed for glider towing. Dismantled and in storage awaiting restoration. Contact P Lovegrove. Tel: 07967 135376

AIRCRAFT WEIGHING Light Aircraft Weighing Service in East Yorkshire and surrounding area. For details contact Demraview Ltd. Email: Mob: 07984 810761

WANTED Rotax 582 engine in reasonable condition for College Build-a-plane project. Any offers contact Alan James,, 07743 268 006 or David Mole,, 07720 286 412

SERVICES Design & Stress Analysis Service. Type submissions, modifications, engine frames and general advice. We cover everything from SSDR to A380 :- structures, powerplant (IC and electric) and avionic installations. Contact John Wighton or call 07770399315.

1941 Piper Cub with LAA Permit

IMPORTED AIRCRAFT? Due to unfavourable experiences, the purchase and import of completed homebuilt aircraft from abroad is especially discouraged. TIME TO BUILD? When evaluating kits/designs, it should borne in mind that technical details, performance figures and handling characteristics are often quoted for a factory-produced aircraft flying under ideal conditions. It is wise, therefore, to seek the opinion of existing builders and owners of the type. You should also take your own skill and circumstances into consideration when calculating build times. The manufacturer’s build time should be taken as a guide only. AMATEUR BUILDING All LAA aircraft builders and potential builders are reminded that in order to qualify for a LAA Permit to Fly, homebuilt aircraft must be genuinely amateur built. For these purposes the CAA provide a definition of amateur built in their publication CAP 659, available from LAA. An extract from CAP 659 reads “The building and operation of the aircraft will be solely for the education and recreation of the amateur builder. This means that he would not be permitted to commission someone else to build his aircraft”. An aircraft built outside the CAA’s definition could result in an expensive garden ornament.

• Complete down to bare metal refurbishment in 2021. • Completely recovered and finished in Signal Yellow • Brand new leather interior in 2021 • All new control cables, bushes and fittings

• Super Cub Elevator upgrade • Disk brakes • Powerful Lycoming 0-235 Engine • Recent Hercules Prop • LAA Permit until October 2022

To arrange a viewing, please contact Mike on 0203 7971238 website: SERVICES & MORE

March 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 55





AIRCRAFT WEIGHING LightAviation_2022.indd 1

12/23/21 3:45 PM







Aircraft Transportation Specialists Specialist vehicles to move your aircraft safely


Safe flying No Ethanol Don’t risk it with water absorbing E5 and E10 fuels (mogas). WARTER UL91 and 100LL aviation fuels are ethanol free, storage stable and have a vapour pressure suitable for flying. Please call for more information. Available in 55 and 195 litre drums for immediate despatch, UK-wide, on a next day basis. Telephone: 0121 327 8000 E-mail: Web:

Contact us now for a quotation

56 | LIGHT AVIATION | March 2022

Anglo American Oil Company +44 (0) 1929 551557





Pooleys Flight Guide 2022 £27.50 All Log Books £12.50 each

March 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 57

From the archives

FROM THE ARCHIVES The stories behind items in the LAA’s collection



n display in the LAA Members Lounge at Turweston is this lovely model of a Jodel D.150 Mascaret, built by the Société Aéronautique Normande (SAN) at Bernay, as part of its sales programme for the type in the 1960s. SAN was started in 1948 by Lucien Querey, a glider pilot and aeromodeller and his idea was to run an Aviation Service Station similar to a motor-vehicle garage. In 1952 he began working with Jean Delemontez to build his Jodel designs. Following Lucien’s death, the company was run by his wife and she commissioned Delemontez to create two exclusive designs for the factory to build; the four/five-seat D.140 Mousquetaire and the two-seat Mascaret. Delemontez based the new design on his four-seat Jodel

58 | LIGHT AVIATION | March 2022

Ambassadeur (also being built by SAN), with a reduced span wing and shorter fuselage. A swept fin and rudder and all-moving tailplane were other distinguishing features. Sixty-one D.150s were completed between 1963 and 1969, when SAN ceased operating. Since then, around 100 have been built around the world by home-builders from drawings initiated in France by SAB of Beaune and in Australia by Frank Rogers. This model was presented by the factory to long-standing UK Jodel expert Ernie Horsfall who, in turn, passed it on to the LAA. Ernie remains an acknowledged authority on the type and although he stood down as an LAA Inspector in 2021, he remains actively involved with the flying community as he heads, next month, to his 104 birthday. Happy birthday Ernie! Steve Slater

ER E com D N . 0R NLI ero O asa l

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Exeter Road Industrial Estate, Okehampton, Devon EX20 1UA

TEL: 01837 658081

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