Light Aviation May 2022

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Engineering Director


Chief Technical Officer


Chief Inspector




Vice President


Engineering email


Office Manager Penny Sharpe

Head Office Turweston Aerodrome, Nr Brackley, Northants NN13 5YD

Telephone for engineering and commercial 01280 846786





Production Editor LIZI BROWN


One last stamp…

The LAA Inspector network is an amazing thing. All across the UK, it provides LAA members with access to people who can help them build, operate and maintain your own aircraft. No matter what your query, whether you’re changing spark plugs, have a wing to re-cover, or some rivets to be driven, there will be someone out there to help you.

I’ve met quite a few Inspectors over the years, and they’ve all been good. However, some really do put their heart and soul into the role. If you find one like that, then you should consider yourself very lucky indeed.

And so it was that my own particular Inspector journey began, back in 1999. At the time I was contemplating my first build project, an RV-6, and luckily for me, Trevor Hope, a chap who had been a familiar face at the airstrip where I’d started flying, was keen to get involved with the project.

While Trevor was very pragmatic, he was also incredibly particular. Armed with a torch and an inspection mirror you can guarantee he would find some stray loose article. Being a neat freak, I’d like to say he never found anything in my builds, but no, I had a few of his “Aha” moments, which you knew meant he’d spotted something. He’d never try to catch you out though, and often remark something along the lines of, ‘you must have left that one for me as a test…’

Introducing Trevor to friends who were thinking of building was always fun, because you knew that he’d do his part to help make that project a reality.

His encouragement spurred on many people – your success with a project was important to him.

A few weeks ago, I drove Trevor to the airfield to sign up some magneto refit work. Having beaten serious illness last year, its unwelcome return had left him unable to drive, but he was determined to carry on where he could. While he needed a spare hand to hold a torch for him, he and his inspection mirror were still just as meticulous.

The clickity-click of his Inspector’s stamp inking a worksheet was always the sound of another job he judged ready to fly. “Don’t forget your RV-3 Permit, that’s next on my list,” Trevor reminded me as I dropped him off later that day. But it wasn’t to be. A week later, he was gone…

His spirit will fly on in the LAA aeroplanes whose builders he helped steer from plans and kits to completion.

A truly excellent and inspiring Inspector, he was also a good friend. Thank you Trevor.

Ed’s Desk
May 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 3 Design
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.
Always at hand with help and advice, Inspector Trevor casts a final eye before the first start of Ed’s RV-8 back in summer 2019

The Alpi P300R sub 600Kg High Performance Light Sport Aircraft

Quick build Kit available get prices and brochure from Fun, Fast and Affordable or ring steve on 07721899009

Photo: Keith Wilson



The remarkable Nuncats electricpowered CH750, a Sling 4 TSi built in South Africa, and a smart Van’s RV-8


Clive Davidson gets his hands on a well-travelled Beagle Husky, and finds it a very enjoyable machine


Wise up to working with wood in the first of a series, as wood-wizard Dudley Pattison shares his secrets…


Head of Coaching David Cockburn suggests it’s time to pay attention to Threat and Error Management


Gyro blade cracks response, propeller up-keep, and ballistic parachute recovery systems info on G-INFO


Visiting the first of the year’s big shows, Nigel Hitchman takes a look at what was hot at Sun ‘n Fun


A double dose of aviation enthusiasm as Neil Wilson talks to Richard Pike and Sam Woodgate


Graham Smith tackles the first part of installing a Flybox Oblo autopilot, plus a review of a new book on the life of a light aircraft test pilot

May 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 5 Contents May 2022

LAA Grass Roots Fly-in at Popham

The grass runways at Popham and the airfield’s famed rural ambience will mean that the event will focus on the fly-in and social element as much as on a large exhibition campus.

LAA CEO Steve Slater adds, “We’re still working on plans for a larger scale LAA event in the future, but for now our move from Sywell is a great opportunity for us to focus on creating a refreshing new take on the traditional LAA calendar fixture, something both different, and at the same time taking us back to our roots.

The LAA is heading for the green grass of Popham Airfield in Hampshire for a new event on 2, 3 and 4 September 2022. The LAA Grass Roots Fly-in will take the Association back to its traditional roots, while continuing to offer the first chance to see some of the latest aircraft and products in the recreational aviation market.

Comings and goings

Two key members of LAA staff are moving on in the coming weeks. While it is sad that they are going, I’m sure that we’ll wish a heartfelt ‘thank you’ and ‘good luck’ to both

Ken Craigie, below, has announced that he will retire from the post of Chief Inspector later this summer. Ken has been with the LAA and PFA for 31 years, having joined the team at Shoreham in January 1991. His encyclopaedic knowledge of both the LAA fleet and the team of more 350 Inspectors, most of whom he personally recruited, has been a major asset to the

A joint venture with Popham Airfield, the LAA Grass Roots Fly-in will continue the theme of the recent LAA Rallies at Sywell, in particular as a social event bringing flyers from around the UK and Europe to meet fellow enthusiasts. The event, though, will be developed on a more intimate scale.

Association. If anyone is interested in this important role, please take a look at the recruitment advert opposite.

Having kept the LAA on track for five years our bookkeeper, Wendy Herdman, left, is leaving us. We will certainly miss Wendy’s input, not least because she contributes more than just bookkeeping, including assisting with financial planning and wider advice. We’ve already initiated a recruitment process and a new recruit will join us shortly.

Finally, we’ll have a new face in our Engineering team from the beginning of May. Andy O’Dell will join us as an Airworthiness Engineer, bringing extensive military and civilian experience covering a wide range of aircraft. We’ll leave it to Andy to tell us more of his past and future plans, in next month’s Light Aviation magazine.

“The LAA Grass Roots Fly-in will make the most of Popham’s grass runways and its reputation as one of the most friendly and enthusiastic airfields in the country, to offer members and guests alike a great weekend at the start of September.”

Plus – Meet the LAA at Aero Expo: The LAA Exhibition trailer will be at the centre of a display of LAA aircraft and suppliers at Kemble on 16-18 June. The LAA is negotiating discounted ticket prices for members. More details will be released in the June issue of LA

Working in Aluminium courses restart

The extremely popular Working in Aluminium courses, hosted by Van’s RV-9 builder Gary Smith will be restarting in the new LAA Training Centre. Teaching the skills required to build an all-metal aircraft, with an emphasis on the Van’s RV series, participants will build the RV Toolbox, an ‘apprentice piece’ developed by Van’s to take the new builder through the required practices – cutting, drilling, dimpling, deburring, use of clecos, riveting etc., so they can commence their kit build. The skills taught are relevant to all aluminium type aircraft.

Two dates are currently available, Saturday 14 May and Sunday 15 May. Cost is £150 per person which includes the toolbox kit and the use of all required tools. Email or call 01280 846786 (ext. 2) to book a place.

6 | LIGHT AVIATION | May 2022 LA News News
Plenty more news is available on the LAA website at check it out every day!

Eshott plans for future

Plans have been revealed for a development called Hangar 57, at Eshott Airfield, which will be a flying aircraft museum and heritage skills development in partnership with Hartlepool College of Further Education.

In a post to its Facebook page, the Eshott team said, “The idea of constructing a dedicated heritage hangar at Eshott has been a concept that we have been developing over several years. As our collection of interesting aeroplanes has been growing, so has the interest in what we are doing by both aviation enthusiasts and the general public alike.

“With many local schools, groups, and families visiting it became clear an exhibition space would soon be needed. The airfield has reclaimed a former WWII blister hangar, and will form the main space which is to be used for private events along with our well-known themed charity nights.

“Our next challenge will be to raise the many thousands of pounds required to submit permission to Northumberland County Council for this STEM development.”

Engineering –Chief Inspector

Due to the imminent retirement of the current incumbent, we are recruiting a new Chief Inspector for the LAA’s CAA-approved A8-26 organisation, which now administers a fleet of 4,000+ aircraft owned by LAA members.

Main duties will be leading, recruiting, training, disseminating information to, and liaising with, the 350+ team of LAA Inspectors within the UK who deal with light aircraft construction, restoration, embodiment of modifications and repairs, certification of aircraft maintenance and airworthiness reviews in relation to the issue of Certificates of Validity. The role will also involve working closely with the CAA, AAIB and other aviation bodies.

The applicant must demonstrate experience in appropriate aspects of general aviation, including a thorough knowledge of airframes, engines, modern avionics and aircraft systems. A knowledge of vintage and classic aircraft, as well as newer LAA types would be advantageous, as would being a current LAA Inspector and / or a licensed aircraft engineer.

Candidates must be IT competent and familiar with Microsoft Office. Excellent communication skills are required and attention to detail is essential. Training on in-house systems will be given.

This is a full-time post, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. It is principally based at LAA’s Turweston HQ, but also involves travel throughout the UK. Salary dependent on experience. Please send your CV to

LAA/Pooleys Spring Solo winner

Emily Malone from Tiptree in Essex has been named as the winner of the Light Aircraft Association and Pooleys Spring Solo bursary and will receive £1,500 to assist in reaching her first solo.

Launched to celebrate Pooleys 65th anniversary in 2022, the bursary was aimed at an aspiring pilot of any age or background. The winning entry was judged on the basis of the best entry answering the question: Why do I want to fly?

Emily, who is six hours into training with Seawing Flying Club at Southend impressed the judges with her entry, which highlighted both her long standing ambition to fly and a genuine passion. Her full answer to the question is shown below, but can be summarised in her final line; “Why I want to fly – because now I’ve found that part of me, I couldn’t bear to lose it again.”

Emily wrote:

“Ask me this three months ago, and I would have answered with something along the lines of freedom, the challenge, defying gravity. Flying is cool. Who wouldn’t want to fly?

“Then, in December, I had a trial flight as a present for my 33rd birthday. Now my answer is: because something in me clicked that day, and I simply cannot imagine not flying again.

“As we walked to the aeroplane ready to start my first proper lesson, my instructor asked me if I was nervous. No, I replied, just excited. And I meant it.

“Driving home afterwards I was singing at the top of my voice, unable to wipe the grin off my face. It was like finding a part of me that I’d never known was missing.

“When I was at school I wanted to fly. At a careers fair I was devastated to learn that having asthma would rule me out of applying to fly in the armed forces. Self-funded lessons weren’t an option, so I picked a different career path, putting flying out of my mind. While the idea of ever becoming a pilot faded, I still loved anything to do with flying, my enthusiasm no doubt boring my RAF brother-in-law to tears.

“Thinking of

15-year-old me wanting to be a pilot but writing-off those dreams for 18 years, I realise how insanely lucky I am to have been given the nudge to reignite that flame. I don’t really believe in fate, but it seems the stars have aligned at just the right time to push me in a direction I was always supposed to go in. Maybe a career as a pilot is now a possibility.

That’s why I want to fly – because now I’ve found that part of me, I couldn’t bear to lose it again.”

Events round up

· Correction. In the last issue of LA The Suffolk Coastal Strut Fly in at Monewden on 9 July, was confused with the ‘Meet the LAA Day’ on 17-18 September which will take place at Rougham.

· The Experimental Daysfly-in returns for 2022, and the organisers are inviting LAA members to join them on 1-3 July at Sanicole airfield (EBLE). Everyone interested in aviation, from aircraft owner to spotter, is welcome to join! Landing slots are limited, so register online at

· Scottish tour trip reminder. Don’t forget the LAA Scottish Tour takes place this month! For the latest update, turn to page 48.

LA News May 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 7


Retired in 2017, Trevor had a Spitfire flight booked to celebrate his 70th birthday in May this year, but sadly he lost his battle with cancer before he could achieve his goal.

Professionally Trevor worked for the RAF at Hullavington, Lyneham and Colerne and also at British Aerospace, Filton. Privately he flew gliders and light aircraft. He was a gliding instructor, an aircraft inspector, an aircraft restorer, and an exacting and faultless engineer throughout his career

Trevor Hope 1952 - 2022


His passion for aviation knew no bounds. Interested in all things aeronautical, from gliders to space travel, aviation remained central to his life, and he flew aeroplanes for 50 years. As a member of gliding clubs, the MG motor club and his local film club, Trevor was always sociable.

He travelled extensively, with his wife Wendy, making multiple trips to America over the years visiting all the major and some lesser-known aviation museums across the country. Who else do you know

who has visited all 50 States! He was also a respected member of his local community, a defender of traditions, as well as an archivist of village life and local history. He was a leading member of the local Mummers for 53 years.

His advice as an LAA Inspector was exemplary, and so many aircraft owners benefited from his care and expertise. Indeed, just the day before he went into hospital, for the last time, he was at his local airfield where he inspected, then signed off the paperwork to release a friend’s aircraft for flight. Always helpful, always kindhearted, honest, dependable, sincere, and funny, he positively baulked at the idea that he was ever letting anyone down.

He leaves his wife, Wendy, plus innumerable friends and colleagues in the aviation world and the local community. A video of his last flight, on 17 January, 2022, is a wonderful memorial to this fine gentleman who will be sadly missed. tinyurl. com/rememberingtrevorhope Phil Bunce.

David Gray

1954 - 2020

David’s interest in aviation started in the early 1960s, and living close to Manchester Airport he would spend many hours at the airport with his friends.

Dave learned to fly at Sywell in 1975 and this was where his interest in Miles Aircraft began. In 1980 Dave bought a Jodel Mascaret D150 from La Rochelle. In 1988, 1990 and 1993 he was awarded the PFA Rally award, The Wilkinson Sword, for the best Jodel. David travelled extensively around the UK and Europe, attending many rallies over the years.

David also took part in the Dawn to Dusk event in 1981, coming second and was also presented with a special award medal from the late Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

David continued his interest in Miles Aircraft and we were delighted to purchase the Miles Gemini G-AKKB from Jim Buckingham in August 2010. Dave was delighted to bring the Gemini back to Barton, where it was originally owned by Fred Dunkerley, a fellow Lancashire Aero Club member. The Gemini moved to Keenair at Liverpool before moving to our hangar at Sleap in 2019.

Our first cross-country trip in the Gemini was to the LAA Rally at Sywell in 2010, followed by the Goodwood Revival the

same year. We flew to the RSA Rally in 2011 at Blois, winning the Paul Boulanges trophy, then onto one of our favourite destinations, La Rochelle.

The Gemini was invited to participate in the 75th anniversary celebrations at Manchester Airport in 2013 as part of a display of vintage aircraft.

David was honoured to be invited to undertake a flypast over the Liverpool Cenotaph in November 2014 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the beginning of WWI.

The Gemini was part of the static display of Miles Aircraft at the LAA Rally at Sywell in 2018, which was a great event and also had great weather.

David was extremely proud to own the Gemini and felt that we were her custodians. He was very keen for the aircraft to continue to be flown and seen, and the history of Miles Aircraft to be shared.

As Covid restrictions prevented us from celebrating his life and passion for, and contribution to, British light aviation, we have organised an event at Barton Aerodrome, Manchester on Saturday 18 June… and would like to share this with his many friends and acquaintances in the LAA. If you’d like to attend, please RSVP to Kate Gray.

8 | LIGHT AVIATION | May 2022
Obituary & Remembering

Three Armstrong Isaacs updates…

Dear Ed

I hope this email reaches you well. My name is Rebecca Norman and I was fortunate to receive an LAA ArmstrongIsaac Bursary in 2020. I wanted to provide an update to those at the LAA regarding my whereabouts as I am forever grateful for receiving the bursary.

After the complicated circumstances regarding the Covid pandemic, I was finally able to gain my Private Pilot’s Licence in November 2021! The last time I had contact with former editor Brian Hope, I had set out on my first solo navigation. I have since continued my flying journey and have started commercial pilot training with Leading Edge Aviation in Oxford. The picture, above, shows me in my first couple of weeks in ATPL groundschool.

Once again I wanted to express my complete gratitude to everyone at the LAA, through which this bursary has enabled me to achieve my dream of becoming a private pilot. The LAA really does ‘make dreams fly’.

Kind regards,

Dear LAA

I am delighted to say that I passed my PPL skills test yesterday and here is a photo taken on the day!

Thank you so much to the LAA for this bursary, I would still not have finished yet without it!


Dear LAA

I wanted to thank you for awarding me the ArmstrongIsaac’s Bursary. Through the help of the LAA I have achieved a big milestone, completing my qualifying cross-country and skills test, plus I have now gained my PPL. The photo was taken by my grandad from my final test, and mean a lot to me. In my initial application form I mentioned my grandad as the person who got me into flying in the first place. Having my grandad and family by my side every step of the way made it all the more of an amazing journey. My grandad and mum will also be my first passengers once the CAA issues my licence!

Once again, many thanks from myself and

my family for awarding me this bursary, which meant that I could qualify a lot sooner and help me reach my goal faster!

Kind regards,

Nathaniel McMurray

Ed - Congratulations Rebecca, Anna and Nathaniel! Clearly, the sky will not be the limit for you all. Best of luck for your future flying.

E10 mogas advice

Dear Ed

It has been nearly six months since E10 mogas became mainstream in fuel stations. The only information from LAA Engineering has been ‘use E5’. E5 is becoming difficult to source and is outrageously expensive.

All Rotax 912/914 engines are cleared for E10 use and I have a Rotax bulletin to that effect.

It is a simple and relatively low cost fix to replace fuel lines etc (grp tanks excepted) with bio-ethanol tolerant materials, yet we have had no further guidance from LAA Engineering regarding use of E10 in Rotax engines. Regards, Brian Rides.

Head of Engineering John Ratcliffe replies: LAA Engineering is tackling the possible approval of the use of the cheaper E10 fuel in suitable aircraft as a task for progressing in 2022, particularly with the low-end Rotaxengined fleet in mind. Unfortunately, the variability of automotive fuel, the diverse nature of the LAA fleet and differences in detail between individual aircraft even of the same type, makes it far from a straightforward issue even where the engine manufacturer has sanctioned use of E10.

What can we do for radar?

Dear LAA

I recently attended a talk by the head of our local ATC unit, entitled ‘What has radar ever done for us?’. It was a very informative evening giving some positive insights into the problems it has with the mix of Air Transport flights and GA in Class G airspace. I shall certainly be making more of an effort to talk to it in future, now that I have a better understanding of its separation requirements.

However, it also brought to light a few negative insights. The radar system in use at the ATC unit dates from the 1980s and was installed in 1984. It has no SSR capability, so it buys in SSR data from a nearby NATS radar head at some expense. It has no Mode S capability, and the CAA will not allow it to use ADSB information, presumably because it

would typically involve the use of a third-party, internet-based system such as FlightRadar24 or ADSB Exchange.

It has been mandatory now for at least 10 or 12 years for any new transponder equipment fitted to aircraft to be Mode S capable, so why is it not mandatory for ATC units to be also so-equipped? I can understand the reluctance of the CAA to allow ATC units to rely on third-party internet-based services for ADSB, but how about ATC units install a certified ADSB receiver, coupled to a certified Traffic Display unit? The cost would be comparatively cheap.

It seems that the title of the presentation could also be ‘What have we ever done for radar?’, and I would suggest that the GA fleet is currently doing quite a lot for radar, fitting Mode S transponders and ADSB capability.

We are flying around the skies pouring out a stream of data but sadly no one is listening.

All this must also be considered against the backdrop of the ATC unit’s proposed expansion of its controlled airspace. One of the biggest drivers of this proposal is the number of times inbound traffic has to be moved around the sky because of unknown traffic in the vicinity of the ILS.

Apparently, the minimum vertical separation applied to aircraft that are not talking to ATC is 3,000ft, even if Mode C indications show them to be well below the glideslope. If the target aircraft is in communication with ATC, that vertical separation drops to 1,000ft. Fair enough you might think, but why ignore the Mode C on its own? So if, in future, there is controlled airspace with a base of say 2,500ft at 10 miles out from the threshold, and I decide to fly under that base at 2,400ft without talking to ATC, is it still going to insist on the 3,000ft vertical separation?

It seems that the ATC unit has a 1980s radar – and it wants a 1980s style of airspace to match. It could, in my opinion, make better use of some of the existing tools first.

I am sure it is not alone in the use of outdated radar systems, with the associated reluctance to spend money. Based on this I would like to see the LAA, in conjunction with other GA representative organisations, conduct a survey of all the ATC units in the country, and find out what their capabilities are.

Perhaps we could then set up some sort of lobbying group to bring these shortfalls into question?

Your sincerely, Alex Rae. ■

May 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 9 Letters
We are always pleased to receive your letters, photos of your flying, and your feedback. Please email the editor at

Straight and Level

A warm welcome the world over

It feels somewhat surreal to be writing this month’s Chairman’s Chat from the other side of the world. Australia opened its doors to international travellers, and after a two-and-a-half year wait my wife and I have finally been able to visit our son in Sydney. The combination of fires, Covid, and now floods has clearly taken its toll, but gradually life is opening back up again.

The visit to Sydney provided me with an opportunity to reach out and meet with fellow aviators and members of the New South Wales chapter of the Sport Aircraft Association of Australia (SAAA) at their base at Wedderburn. The field sits within a national park and is home to a large and eclectic mix of aircraft, which range in size from the diminutive Cri-Cri to the only remaining airworthy Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer. Having been flown in from Bankstown, I was greeted by Chapter President, Ian, and introduced to members of the local RV squadron who duly treated me to a four-ship aerobatic sortie. This was followed by a short flight in a Lancair Legacy before returning to the clubhouse for a lunchtime discussion while enjoying the obligatory BBQ. The afternoon was rounded off by further hangar chats, coffee and a late afternoon flight via the Blue Mountains back to Bankstown. What more could I ask for?

Updates from the Chairman and CEO

Needless to say what emerged was a community of likeminded and passionate aviators keen to share their stories, show pride in their workmanship, whether that was the Auster J4 with a Cirrus engine, the pristine Nanchang or an RV-8 nearing completion. The welcome was warm and effusive. Discussion flowed, questions followed, experiences shared and some connections with fellow LAA members were made.

While there are differences between our respective Associations there is much in common providing an opportunity to share and learn. In some aspects we are ahead of the game, in others they clearly have a lead, but there are many common concerns, most notably how sport and recreational aviation’s voice is heard and how it can secure a supportive environment in which to flourish.

It was a privilege to meet kindred spirits, and see my visit provide an excuse for them to get back and socialise together again after such a difficult period. As many LAA members have experienced over the years, reaching out when abroad produces a warm and generous welcome, establishes friendships and strengthens a worldwide community. If you have the opportunity, take it, but don’t forget to reciprocate when the opportunity arises once you are back home.

My return to the UK coincides with the start of the flying event season and I look forward to meeting members at the various events LAA will be attending across the summer, including our Grass Roots flying event at Popham at the beginning of September. ■

Back to our roots

You may recollect that last month, I passed on the disappointing news that Sywell Aerodrome had confirmed that it was not in a position to host the LAA Rally this year. The Rally has for the last decade been held at Sywell. In many ways it is the ideal spot, being centrally located and offering both space on the ground and relatively unimpeded airspace around it to accommodate the arriving and departing traffic. However, as it became clear that the airfield was not in a position to accommodate it this year, we reviewed several alternatives.

The LAA Grass Roots Fly-In at Popham Aerodrome in Hampshire has given us the opportunity to go ‘back to our roots’ with a new event and new location for the traditional Rally date of the first weekend in September. It will, on the one hand, take the Association back to its traditions, while continuing to offer the first chance to see some of the latest aircraft and products in the recreational aviation market.

It’s not the first time that the LAA’s premier event has been on the move. Prior to Sywell, the event was previously, as the PFA Rally, hosted by Cranfield in Bedfordshire, Kemble in Gloucestershire, Leicester, and Wroughton in Wiltshire.

The LAA Grass Roots Fly-In will continue the theme of past

Rallies. The event though will be developed on a more intimate scale. The all-grass runways at Popham and the airfield’s famed rural ambience will mean that the event will focus on the fly-in and social element as much as on tarmac, concrete and a large exhibition campus.

Popham has developed a reputation as one of the most friendly and enthusiastically run airfield operations in the country. Since it was opened in the early 1970s on land alongside the A303 dual carriageway by Jim Espin, a member of the Hampshire Strut, the local branch of the then Popular Flying Association. With the aid of fellow members of the Strut, the land was cleared, levelled, seeded and transformed into an airstrip. The original strip is now the 26/08 Runway of the present airfield.

In 1978, the airfield was purchased by Charles Church, who restored Spitfire Mk Vc, G-MKVC, which was to have been the start of a significant historic aircraft collection based at the airfield. Tragically however, Church was killed in the Spitfire, when it crashed at Hartley Wintney in July 1989, during an attempted emergency landing following engine failure. However, the airfield has continued to develop in his wife Susie’s subsequent ownership, with the addition of a second grass runway and additional hangars to host a burgeoning selection of privately owned aeroplanes, microlights and gyroplanes.

It is particularly noteworthy that a number of the volunteers helping with the event will be members of the LAA Andover Strut, and many will have been involved with the beginnings of the airfield 50 years ago. ■

10 | LIGHT AVIATION | May 2022
Steve Eryl Smith Chairman

Inspiring members to take on their own aircraft build or restoration project

Project News

Electric flight isn’t new, and we were reminded of that in last month’s issue of Light Aviation with the feature on Rolls-Royce’s record-breaking NXTe aircraft. Of course the naysayers will point out that you can’t make a three-hour flight in an electric aeroplane and refuel it in 10 minutes. Maybe not just yet, but Tim Bridge is looking to provide the benefit of electric flight to remote communities in the developing nations who don’t have access to roads, fuel or mains electricity so that they can access medical services. An update on Tim’s project is below, and that first flight is getting very close.

Electric flight is coming and spin-offs from the automotive world will also help – did you know that last year nearly 12% of all new car

registrations in the UK were pure battery electric vehicles?

As the world’s most popular kitplanes, RV’s are a constant feature in both the New Projects and Cleared to Fly lists at the end of this column each month. Serial builder Robin Rotherwick has shared some details of his latest project, an RV-8.

There’s another Sling 4 TSi build too, with Trevor Henegan and Lizzie Biggin choosing to complete their aircraft, at the factory in South Africa.

Finally, a little housekeeping. Project News has a new email address! To share your story, report a milestone or just to send a picture, please get in touch, and you can contact us at:

G-CLRR (LAA 381A-15664) Zenair CH750 Cruzer

Built by Tim Bridge – Nuncats

Tim has set out to show that not only is electric flight possible today with off-the-shelf components that are readily available but that it can provide social benefits to remote communities that a conventionally powered aircraft can’t offer.

Just a little over two years ago we heard from Tim when the project was an aspiration and a part-built standard Zenair CH750 airframe. At that point the structure was progressing normally as a regular airframe kit, with plans and designs for the electric propulsion, storage and charging infrastructure. Now it is almost ready for flight testing, as is the whole charging solution, which is burning only sunshine. This isn’t just an aircraft, but a whole ecosystem intended for use in remote areas where there is no reliable supply infrastructure for petrol or electricity.

The airframe is standard from the firewall back with the exception of the wing fuel tanks, their locations have been left as empty voids to hold two battery modules in each location. Forward of the firewall, the custom engine mount has the very compact electric motor at the front where the Rotax gearbox would be, and the volume occupied normally by the engine contains two more battery modules and all of the power electronics. A custom cowling will enclose the firewall forward in traditional style. With this approach the original design

goal has been met where a ready-made component has been used unmodified, i.e. a standard Zenair CH750 airframe kit. No modifications, no new structural testing and no issues with weight and balance as the batteries are located in the same position as the fuel and engine.

The electric motor and all of the power electronics are also standard, commercially available items, some in use already for flight, making this an economic and repeatable process that has deliberately striven not to be bleeding edge.

The somewhat over-engineered prototype charging station has been constructed at Tim’s home airfield of Old Buckenham in the form of an ultra-sturdy steel carport, with solar panels on the roof and a couple of cabinets to

12 | LIGHT AVIATION | May 2022
Above The Nuncats’ Skyjeep in the hangar earlier this year, sporting the production motor mount. It's now ready for flight testing.

hold the charge point and local battery storage. It is not intended to be grid connected and will collect solar power over many days in periods of poor daylight and accumulate it in the station’s battery storage. When required to charge the aircraft, the energy is taken from these batteries, not the solar panels directly, and so it doesn’t matter if the sun is shining or not. This ‘store and dump’ model is in use today in high-output electric vehicle charging stations. Under African skies, something far less elegant would suffice, just a few solar panels and a container a little larger than a bathtub to hold an array of lead acid batteries would accumulate enough stored energy to recharge the aircraft.

In use, the aircraft would not need to charge quickly, as typically a doctor or midwife transported to a remote community clinic may be there all day, consequently a bush charging site needs only a standard charger similar to a home EV charge point, although Tim has plans for an optional fast charger that would charge the aircraft in under 90 minutes.

Three real world interested parties have come forward as potential test cases, one in the Amazon, one in Congo and one in Uganda. The Ugandan case is a health clinic only 15 miles from base, but due to the terrain and lack of roads, the doctor is transported to site by canoe, therefore wasting a lot of medical time. Not a pipe dream, this is an existing all-day clinic being provided once a week the hard way, and potentially a perfect application of sustainable electric flight – and well within range and recharge times.

While waiting for the paperwork to test fly Romeo Romeo, Tim has plenty of ground testing to be getting on with. The aircraft will fly like the standard CH750 that it is but the power delivery, charge / discharge cycles, battery and electronic temperatures all need monitoring over many simulated flight cycles, fortunately this can all be done on the ground.

The only real custom part on the aircraft is the custom engine mount. That is now in its final iteration as a manufacturing jig allowing their ready reproduction. In fact, the second airframe kit has been received and its construction is to be overseen by second year students at the International Aviation Academy Norwich. A really interesting project and I’m sure we all wish Tim every success with that first flight.

May 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 13 Project News
Above Look under the bonnet of an EV and you’ll see the same huge orange power cables. You can just see them snaking to the wings, where batteries replace fuel tanks. Above Blue skin pins and data cables – old tech meets new in an electric aircraft. Above Test runs in summer of 2021. Left Ground running to collect data… the motor is the same diameter as the spinner and about 100mm deep!

G-TIZY (LAA 400A-15625) Sling 4 TSi

The attraction and reasons to build a Sling 4 TSi are well documented, and clearly Trevor and Lizzie were attracted to the type for those very reasons. But taking yourself off to South Africa to assemble a homebuilt aircraft is relatively unique.

Trevor gained his licence in 2016 and has flown the usual long in the tooth Pipers and Cessnas and was ready for his first build project. Having chosen the Sling four-seater a plan started to evolve. As it was a new type wouldn’t it be a good idea to build it on the airfield where Sling Aircraft are located then assistance wouldn’t be too far away if needed, once built? And what an adventure it would be to fly the aeroplane all the way back to the UK!

The kit was purchased as a standard flat pack kit with the exception of Quick Build fuel tanks and the contracting of Sling Aircraft to take care of the painting, otherwise it was a very conventional build simply following the manual with little support sought from the onsite factory.

Trevor and Lizzie live in a flat in Bristol, so making the aeroplane at home was not an option, especially something the size of the Sling 4 TSi, so a workshop would need to be rented. This was the catalyst for building all that way south. Additionally, as an IT contractor, Trevor can choose when to work and when to take a break for a period or indeed where to work from. Long before the rest of the country was introduced to working from home, this was normal practice for Trevor as it is for many freelance IT workers, sitting at a computer in Bristol or Johannesburg makes very little difference to getting the job done.

Lizzie is an artist and yoga teacher, and in the brave new world of Zoom, yoga classes were delivered from

Above G-TIZY seen here in July 2021 at Tedderfield Airpark, South Africa.

the hangar between pulling rivets and designing the paintwork and interior for the aeroplane.

The project started in April 2019, but periods of being locked out of, and locked into, South Africa because of the pandemic have played havoc with the build schedule. At the start of 2021 Trevor and Lizzie managed to work full-time on the project through to June of that year when the aircraft was essentially finished. Testing and paperwork then brought us to the present day. Had it not been for Covid the project would have been completed a year earlier.

Was it cheaper to rent a hangar in South Africa? Yes, but with all of the delays and the extra year it’s probably been more expensive. But the cost was never the motivation for this course of action – it’s all about the adventure.

All of the test flying has now been completed as a UK-registered LAA aircraft in South Africa, the paperwork has been submitted and the Permit to Fly should have been issued by the time of reading.

Trevor and Lizzie have now returned home to the UK to prepare and plan the next part of the adventure – the trip back. No records are to be broken, the trip back is to be a pleasurable meander, taking time to explore places along the way. The route home is as yet not fully formed but is imagined to take in Madagascar, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt and then across into Europe.

So from having gained his licence just over five years ago and completed a couple of cross Channel trips, Trevor and Lizzie have now built their own very capable aircraft and plan to fly it effectively halfway around the world. I think we’d all wish them good luck on the next part of the adventure and hope that we read an account of it in Light Aviation before the end of the year.

Project News 14 | LIGHT AVIATION | May 2022

G-YSIR (LAA 303-15446) Van’s RV-8

Built by Robin Rotherwick

The mission for G-YSIR is long distance flying.

I a m an IR rated pilot and have flown my homebuilt aircraft around the USA, Africa, up to Pakistan and many other places. G-YSIR will hopefully gain IFR clearance eventually and its built-in Mountain High oxygen system approved. During my time long distance flying, the best solution I have found is often to fly above 10,000ft because of weather, winds and high ground.

Below left What a fantastic hangar!

Below right An extremely capable Garmin-equipped panel.

G-YSIR is designed to do this, as well as getting into small grass strips. I like a well laid out uncluttered panel with everything to hand and I believe G-YSIR has this.

Including this latest one, I have built six aircraft, a CFM Shadow, a Sky Arrow G-GULP, a Glasair II G-KSIR, a Glasair III G-USSI and RV-8 G-LEMI.

It might be time to go back to model aircraft building now. n

Above Robin test flying his creation.

Right A stunning looking aircraft, Robin has painted his second RV-8 in a similar paint scheme to his first.

New Projects

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n Denney Kitfox MK 7 Supersport (LAA 172D-15818) 8/3/2022

Mr P Johnson, 73 South View, Middlestone Moor, Spennymoor, Co Durham, DL16 7BN

n Replica DH2 (LAA 428-15820) 28/3/2022

Name & Address held by LAA Engineering

n G-PAPJ Van’s RV-8 (LAA 303-15240) 28/3/2022

Mr Peter Jenkins, 104 Cassiobury Drive, Watford, WD17 3AQ

n G-TIZY Sling 4 TSi (LAA 400A-15625) 5/3/2022

Name & Address held by LAA Engineering

n G-AZHX Bulldog Series 100 Model 101

n Zenair CH650B (LAA 375-15819) 21/3/2022

Mr L Galloway, 37 Lulworth Drive, Leeds, W Yorkshire, LS15 8PE

n Replica Maurice Farman S7 Longhorn (LAA 430-15821) 30/3/2022

Name & Address held by LAA Engineering

(BH100/126) 3/3/2022

Name & Address held by LAA Engineering

n G-KJBS Sportcruiser (s/n 09SC308) 24/3/2022

Name & Address held by LAA Engineering

n G-YSIR Van’s RV-8 (LAA 303-15446) 24/3/2022

Name & Address held by LAA Engineering

July 2016 | LIGHT AVIATION | 2 3
May 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 15 Project News
To Fly

A Husky’s tale…

Only 15 Beagle Husky's were made, which makes it a rare machine. Clive Davidson gets to know one example that has a few stories to tell…

Photos Neil Wilson

Flight Test

Flight Test

Following WWII, the declining necessity of huge numbers of military machines led to many firms disappearing into ever-encompassing British aviation conglomerates. The British Executive & General Aviation Limited Company is probably best known as The Beagle Aircraft Co. It’s path was sandwiched between Austers, which had itself gained Taylorcraft and then Beagle’s own absorption by the then British Aircraft Corporation (of BAC1-11 fame). Beagle’s best known lasting legacy to us in the SEP world is the delightfully handling aerobatic, all-metal Pup, along with its more muscular brother the Bulldog. The Bulldog, employed within our Royal Air Force and University Air Squadrons, was a first-rate basic trainer for numerous years, the rights and manufacture of 320 machines moved to Scottish Aviation, which later merged with BAC, Hawker Siddeley Aviation and Hawker Siddeley Dynamics to form British Aerospace in 1977.

But one memorable footnote is the Beagle Husky. Just 15 were made, each individually tailored to an owner’s specification, and at a cost way over their manufacturing and sale price, somewhat uneconomic and not a recipe for fiscal fair weather. The Husky, I think, was the last commercially produced group A tailwheel single-engine piston aircraft built here in the British Isles, making it truly the ultimate tailwheel in the land!


Husky, serial number 3689, G-AVSR, which I was able to fly for this feature, is now in the caring hands of Dr Stephen Holwill and is operated on a LAA Permit. It was well known in the light aviation world with the previous owner, Wessex-Strut founder Tony Young, who operated it under the CAA and required a Certificate of Airworthiness. Sierra Romeo has had an unusual life.

After construction and its first flight from Rearsby on 17 October, it was almost immediately exported from Redhill to Tehran. James Baring, and his copilot / navigator Tom Storey, had the task of ferrying the Husky for BICC, the British Insulated Callender’s Cables. Having tendered and then won a contract to lay an oil pipeline from mountains over potentially flooded expanses to the ‘Persian Gulf’, BICC had 500km of potential ‘awkward’

May 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 17

terrain over which reconnaissance of the landscape was essential. Logistics also demanded that there was no delay as men and materials, plus the ravages of a difficult winter, pressed for prompt early action. The Husky was the latest – and probably most capable aircraft – for such observation with its high-wing, good off-field performance and, in Sierra Romeo’s case, an extra belly fuel tank for extended range. The latter would definitely be needed.

The route had them clearing customs at Lydd and onwards, towards the then not-so-active series of international airports. Toussus-le-Noble, Paris, and then via Nice, Rotieurbe (Rome Urbe), Brindisi, Athens, Rhodes, Nicosia, Beirut, T1 a remote desert airstrip, Baghdad and finally to the destination, Tehran.

Thirteen days and 31 hours of flying. While the logbook entries make no mention, the journey was full of geographical obstacles, troublesome weather and paper chases, requesting release and transit. There was also the difficulty of acquiring maps and the prospect of the political landscape upheavals threatening hostile tremors from the Greek Colonels, Cyprus and Syria. In Syrian airspace, two Mig 17s came looking for the Husky at 2,000ft, but found it at 10,000ft as the Husky left Syrian airspace. Winter was approaching and the days were shortening as they progressed eastward and some long, long legs had few radio aids.

18 | LIGHT AVIATION | May 2022
Flight Test
Above Present caretaker Dr Stephen Holwill (left) and previous owner Tony Young. Left The characterful face of the Husky with a metal 6ft 10ins prop over a 6ft wheelbase.

Fuel? At major airports this was not a problem, however, there was one leg between Beirut – where they had been delayed for three days – and Baghdad, which appeared impossibly long and beyond, even for the range of their Husky. However, British Petroleum, came to their aid, as it had a desert airstrip conveniently mid-way, where a Mr D Bader arranged for cans of 100 octane to be waiting for them, as well as a crew to help fuel and serve egg and cress sandwiches. A flight of endurance, encounters, experiences and endeavour, but the aircraft was delivered serviceable, safe and sound.

But, and there are always ‘buts’. Upon arrival and handover, officials informed the crew that the Husky could not fly again until placed on the Iranian register. A logical and previously prearranged ‘get out of jail card’ had been thought of, as the delivering pilot was contractually obliged to undertake a proving serviceability and owner acceptance flight. Thus they did… cannily along the major part of the intended construction path. This was, to put it mildly, a great relief to the ‘powers that be’, and expressed the opinion that this brave little Husky had already paid for itself! There was none of the inferred flooding by the opposition French contract contenders and, while difficult, the landscape was otherwise manageable. Section by section the area still had to be reconnoitered, and Sierra Romeo became a dependable observation tool, while being cared for in very good order.

Sierra Romeo was housed outside on roughly prepared strips near construction sites and, while normally fine, in October in 1969, there was a devastating hail storm that necessitated a complete fabric recover. After its completion, it was sprayed green and white, rather than Beagle’s factory silver and white. It was belatedly discovered that the engineer who did the work was, well, ‘not qualified for fabric work’, and it took eight months before a suitably qualified engineer could be found and flown in from Kuwait to sign off the work. It returned and continued sturdy service until its part in the project had been upheld.

Its final company flight was from Qaleh Morghi to Mehrabad on 22 May 1971. In nearly five years of service, Sierra Romeo had accumulated 396 hours and 25 min. It had been arranged that a potential buyer, one Tony Young, could check over the engine, prop and airframe as part of a pre-purchase inspection.

Tony was considering the Husky for his aerial photographic business to replace an Auster. An ad in Flight International showed the Husky for sale, but it was a long way away. Having spoken to Ambrose Hitchman, who had been a commercial manager at Beagle, Tony discovered ’SR had nearly every conceivable extra fitted, including a full blind flying panel, larger tyres, stall warner, a Scott steerable tailwheel, flush fitting navigational lights, landing and taxi lights, adjustable front seats, folding rear seats, and an extra belly fuel tank holding 13 imperial gallons. It also had an entire Perspex covering on the starboard door – but no heater. That hadn’t been a priority for the searing desert heat. That aside, it was, however, just what he wanted…

Onwards and upwards

Tony and his co-pilot flew out to inspect the Husky, and then having made the purchase, they set about the task of flying it home. The first leg of the 3,056nm journey was an awkward undertaking as the 14,000ft Zagros Mountains had to be traversed. Despite a 0400 departure,

Flight Test
May 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 19
Below Handsome lines in flight.
“Sierra Romeo had nearly every conceivable opitional extra fitted… but no heater. That hadn’t been a priority for the searing desert heat”

the air temperature rose enough to diminish climb performance and their fine pitch prop could take them no higher than 13,000ft. Fortunately the high level vegetation proved helpful by creating updraughts that allowed the Husky to pitch over the lower peaks and ride along rock-edged valleys. Passing these they descended to denser air on to Bagdad, Damascus and Beirut. From Beirut the next few days were spent in contrast flying over the Mediterranean to Southern Europe.

Rhodes was 394 nm, 5 hours 30 minutes away. The Met Office warned of strong headwinds for the crossing of the Dodecanese Islands to Athens, so once there, they waited for the winds to abate. The day’s travels had taken 8 hours 30 minutes to cover 619 nm. Onwards to Elba, over the Bay of Corinthus, past Corfu, which was all water across the Strait of Otranto. This was more character-building stuff! Every hour, Tony and Chris would swap the duties of being handling pilot. On towards the Italian port of Brindisi. Beyond the Tyrrhenian Sea, whereupon contact their clearance through the Naples zone was no higher than 1,000ft. This placed them in poor vis’ and little time to react should their Lycoming falter. Once out of the zone they

climbed to a cooler and tension easing 5,000ft to Elba. And here, safe on the ground the unexpected occurred. Keen to refill their tanks, they discovered the fuel station had none, and it would be a while before any might be delivered. Surely there must be fuel, somewhere? Well, actually, yes. The tractor used for cutting the grass was fuelled from the pumps. Observing that the grass didn’t look particularly mown, they found there was still fuel in that tank. A purchase of 30 litres was sufficient to reach Corsica, and from there with the main wing tanks filled with 16 Imperial gallons each and another 13 in the lower belly tank (204 litres in modern day figures) they flew onwards to the French mainland and Nice, where they visited friends, before flying a further five hours to Toussus-le-Noble via a dog leg of Marseilles and Lyons.

Having crossed the Channel without being able to see it through cloud, they cleared customs at the local London Strut strip – Gatwick, before the duo parted company and Tony flew home to his grass field at Kingston Weston. It had been 40 hours of extended straight and level for 3,056 nm.

DNA of the Husky…

Beagle Aircraft, having acquired Auster, continued the development of the range. The Husky is, in all intents and purposes, a 180hp version of the last true Auster, which had sprung from a Portuguese Air Force requirement for a liaison / trainer aircraft – which in itself was a development of the Auster Alpha. The type was initially available with a 160hp Lycoming 0-320 as the D5/160 and the following Husky was designated as the D5/180.

If you’ve seen a few Austers, the family DNA is obvious.

20 | LIGHT AVIATION | May 2022 Flight Test
Above ’SR now sports a smart green and white colour scheme, having originally left the factory in green and silver.
“T he Husky, for all intents and purposes, is a 180hp version of the last true Auster, sprung from a Portuguese Air Force need for a trainer aircraft”

You duck under the wing behind the struts and open a forward swinging door on either side to access the cabin. The cockpit is very smart with its vinyl seats in green with matching cockpit trim. There are curved metal sticks which sweep up from under the panel and have a large throw. A sober grey instrument panel has a left side full of period instruments, but the large turn and slip seems to make its presence felt the most. The view over the curved engine cowling is framed by triangles of bracing tubes.

Classically Auster, is the huge centrally mounted compass slightly above head height. Similar to that found in all WWII RAF aircraft from Tiger Moth’s onwards, it is inverted with a mirror reflecting the scale and luber line to be aligned with the North seeking needle. While it seems odd, it works in the same way as the standard P2.

More modern, is a Garmin G5 providing a second altimeter and horizon, along with a radio and a transponder. The G5 has been added so that the Husky may be considered to operate in IMC in future, though a heated pitot has yet to be added. Below the avionics is a small sub panel that mounts the push-pull throttle, mixture, carb heat and the primer.

Protected by a circular guard, the fuel selector is floor-mounted within reach of both front seat occupants. It has a lever and pointer to three tank positions, PORT 16 imperial gallons fittingly signed in red, opposite by half a turn, STBD 16 imp galls in GREEN, between the two 13 ¾ imp galls AUX on, and the final position, PETROL off.

Twist your head to the wing roots and the circular fuel gauges become apparent. Almost hidden in the left-hand

Above Providing great visibility, the cockpit Perspex extends beyond the wing trailing edge.

Left The 10ft tail surfaces have diagonal wire bracing. The left elevator has an adjustable trim tab, while the rudder has a fixed tab and an aerodynamic balance.

Below Smart cabin features – an uncluttered instrument panel, curved sticks and comfortable green vinyl seats.

May 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 21 Flight Test

wing root is a small cockpit clock, which has, in contrast to the normal hours and minute hands, an extra set of red hands that may be set to help with timing for fuel burn, tank rotation or navigation turning points.

The split flaps have three positions and are selected from the left seat, squeezing a trigger, before pulling down to engage a detent to lock the flap position. There are three positions, Up, Lift and Drag. While they are easy to use on the ground, in the air against the rushing slipstream there is some resistance, but they are easy enough once you are familiar with the load to expect.

Limiting speed for extending the flaps is 73mph/63kt. Conveniently, to help with pitch trim forces on the stick when selecting flaps, your left hand may be raised to an adjacent elevator trim control that sprouts from the wing root and may be eased backwards or forwards in the natural sense.

Looking into the rear end of the cockpit above and behind the two place bench seat is a loading placard printed in red and a loading chart with a descending line grading the weight that can be placed on the rear seats. If the front seats are occupied and all three tanks are full then 100lb may be stowed in the back. Should the auxiliary belly tank be empty, then 200lb can be carried and the sliding scale determines 400lb if you are flying on fumes! Clamber over the folded backs of the front crew seats and the rear seats offer a good view to the sides, diagonally down and upward through the Perspex canopy between the wings.

Standing back to take a look, there is no doubt in my mind that the Husky is a handsome, well turned out, clean machine. Its form has obviously grown in stature since the earlier marques and derivatives, there’s a dorsal fin fillet to aid with directional stability. As always, as a tailwheel machine with a large flat of fuselage sides behind the centre of gravity, crosswinds are always going to be worthy of consideration.

The cable-operated ailerons are generously sized, and of the frise variety, while the elevators are without aerodynamic balances and there’s a movable trim tab on the left. A generous rudder with a fixed, ground adjustable tab, has a fair-sized aerodynamic balance forward of the hinge line. Looking at the undercarriage, the tailwheel is very sturdy looking, and moving forwards to the main gear, you’ll find slack looped u/c support check wires to prevent collapse should the bungee suspension give way.


Sierra Romeo’s owner, Stephen, learned to fly in 1984 on Tomahawks before moving onwards to the seemingly omnipresent Cherokee. He admitted to not being consistently happy with his own landings in the early days. They were safe, but, let’s say, had ‘room for improvement’.

Then, as so often happens, there was a dry patch until this particularly nice Beagle arrived on the market in 2006. He, along with a partner, bought Sierra Romeo and he revalidated his licence. After a lengthy gap like that, you’ve got to be particularly motivated, plus there was the additional challenge of getting to grips with a tailwheel aircraft too. Twenty hours of training at Dunkeswell had every conceivable situation covered, including out of wind runways. He initially thought take-offs more of a challenging task than landing. On one occasion the wing lifted with a crosswind departure, but promptly regained control at low speed and a high-power setting with good coordination.

Flight Test
22 | L IGHT AVIATION | May 2022
Below ’Sierra Romeo is an easy cruiser.
“The Husky is a handsome, well turned out, clean machine. Its form has obviously grown in stature since the earlier marques and derivatives”

Above A gentle banked turn highlights the extensive glazing, providing the crew with all round visibility.

Interestingly, the only recorded incident Sierra Romeo had in her logs was a take-off incident in Tehran.

Some years later Stephen decided to gain an IMC rating and found himself back in the dear old PA-28 - he now had no problems with his landings! Stephen now has 250 hours on his Husky and still enjoys the type.

In flight the view forward and down is obviously enhanced by the high-wing configuration chosen for all reconnaissance machines of the period. Both Stephen’s and my view sideways, needed us to duck down below the wing root to see along and under the wing. With just the two of us and 20 gallons of fuel she trimmed out well and proved stable in pitch. So long as the roll into a turn, both left or right, is gentle without a wild poke of the stick in either direction of roll, there is no evidence of any adverse aileron drag where the nose wishes to move away from the turn. She obviously rewards gentle persuasion. But, and again, there are always buts, should you wish to make the point, the sin of adverse aileron drag may be demonstrated if the acting pilot immediately reverse the direction of roll, then the nose will now swing away demanding rudder to regain and maintain balanced flight. With a little understanding of technique and gentle rudder coordination, she is both calm and serene in temperament.

Cruise is at 80-85kt at 2,100rpm burning a tad over seven imperial gallons an hour (remember there is a 180hp engine up front). We have seen with Tony’s flight the range what the Husky is capable of but Stephen works on a generous rich burn of a little over four hours for both main tanks, which is well on the safe side. Climbing at 70kt initially gave us an estimated 800ft per minute but we had no need to go for height at full power in order to catch Patrick in the photoship. Straight and level with throttle fully forward she will reach 109kt. The formation was flown at her standard 80/85kt giving us surplus power to manoeuvre.

Stalling is a none event, well, that’s not quite true as it wouldn’t particularly upset a tyro pilot under training. It certainly stalls with a wavering warning on the elevator and stick circuit, but the wings stop flying and the nose drops in a straight line at 47kt clean. Then with the effective flaps fully lowered she reached the slower speed of 38kt.

She continued to give us a low fluctuating speed and the thing that may surprise the uncaring if you persist like this, is a high rate of descent. Stick forward has a prompt recovery. A standard approach speed is based on the stalling speed multiplied by 1.3, with a flapped approach to land would be 49.5kt. That is a bit on the low and slow side for following traffic and Stephen is happy with 55kt.

Crossing the hedge the throttle is fully closed and a gentle float finds Stephen arriving on all three wheels together. There is little wind to speak of and the landing roll slows to a taxi and we vacate the runway and stop to rundown and refuel. Book figures give a landing distance from the standard 50ft barrier as 1,380ft around 420 metres. Take Off has a max’ all up weight of 2,400lb with fuel, baggage and crew, plus passengers of 984lb (a standard Husky without a belly tank is 1,460lb empty). This distance is shorter, again climbing above the 50ft obstacle within 1,095ft, 328ms.

I have to thank Stephen for his generosity in allowing me to rekindle my affection for flying an ‘Auster’ type machine. After getting my licence I joined the Wasp Auster Group at Panshanger – a VJ1 with a Cirrus Minor and a whole 100hp and a third rear-side facing seat.

I got an hour a week for three years at £12.60 an hour, wet. It made a pilot of me. And I have long been grateful of the type’s character and abilities. ■


General characteristics

Length 23ft 4in

Wingspan 36ft

Empty Weight original without the belly tank 1,420 lbs and now 1,600 lbs, Mtow 2,400lbs

Useful load 800lbs

Power loading 13.33 lbs/hp

Engine Lycoming O-360 180hp


Vne 159mph

Cruise speed 128mph

Stall speed (full flap) 35mph (clean) 44mph

Rate of Climb 1,450fpm max, 800fpm min

Take off ground roll

550ft (to clear 50ft obstacle) 1,175ft

Landing roll 350ft (to clear 50ft obstacle) 1,130ft

24 | L IGHT AVIATION | May 2022

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Wise up to woodworking

Dudley Pattison shares the secrets of building with wood, in

My father was a carpenter, as was my elder brother, so it was natural for me to follow in their footsteps, enter the family business and become a carpenter. Like my brother, I was also an aeromodeller and fascinated by aircraft. Put these two things together and it was obvious what I would end up doing.

Unlike other aircraft building materials, wood is a friendly material, and unless you ingest large amounts of sawdust it is unlikely to harm you. It possesses a good strength to weight ratio, and crucially, it is easy to cut and shape. All these things make me a big fan of wood.

Perhaps the only disadvantage is that some say a wooden aeroplane cannot be stored outside. That is true, but then I don’t think any aircraft should be left to fend against the elements!

So, to show you just what I think you’re missing, this is the first part of a series of ‘how-to articles’ about working with wood to build an aeroplane.

Over the following months I will cover adhesives, the wood itself, measuring, cutting, drilling, sanding,

clamping, stapling, making a wing rib, fitting gusset blocks, manufacturing laminated components, scarfing, fitting a D box skin and the internal treatment of the airframe.

The very first thing to say is do not build a particular aircraft because you like it, only build it if you want to build it, and I mean really want to. It is a large amount of work which, if you are not fully committed to, will wear you down. Also, do not think that you will be getting a cheap aeroplane. It is quite possible to spend as much building an aeroplane as it costs to purchase a second-hand one, assuming one exists. What I can promise you though, is that you’ll have a brand-new aeroplane where every piece is known to you, as well as a priceless sense of satisfaction.

Next is, where do you build it? I admire builders who toil away in a tin shed, on a windy cold airfield, miles from home. I know I could not do that, and my enthusiasm would very soon take a tumble. I am lucky to have a workshop within my house (the only room with aircon), which on the house plans was described as a playroom.

Technical 26 | LIGHT AVIATION | May 2022
the first part of this occasional series…

And indeed it is… I just didn’t say ‘what’ I played at.

As things progress you may need to break the project down into bite-sized pieces.

When I built my Isaacs Fury, which took 16 years to complete as I was working at the time, I got to a stage of brain overload. I would walk into the workshop after having some time away from it, and look around and see all the jobs that needed further work, even after completing the basic airframe parts. The undercarriage needed fairings behind the tubes, the top wing centre section needed the plywood skinning completed, the tailplane needed the strut brackets fitting and so on. On more than one occasion I just walked out and went off to the local pub.

Then I got some good advice, from a magazine article I believe. It said to ‘break the project down into sections and concentrate just on one section’. I think of an aircraft project as an inverted triangle. You start by building something small, like the rudder, and that becomes the bottom point of the triangle. Then you might build the fin and the elevators, they sit on top of the rudder to each side of it. Next, the tailplane and wings make the third line up of the triangle.

By the time the structure is nearing completion with maybe the engine in, and the electrics started, the top row of the triangle could have 30 items across it. I don’t know about you, but my brain struggles with so many tasks on the go…

Back to the Fury, which was at this sort of stage. The next time I walked into the workshop I only looked at anything that was behind the leading edge of the tailplane. By applying myself to this rear area, the rudder and elevators were hinged, the tailplane struts were finished and the tailwheel added. Apart from covering, I could call that section finished. Next area of concentration was the rear fuselage, then the lower wings, followed by the upper wings. The system really did work. The turnover in the local pub dropped significantly… What’s equally important, is that no matter how things are going, you should try to do something towards your build each day. Even if it’s to tidy up, or sort materials for future steps, it keeps your mind ‘tuned in’.

Wood and adhesives

Wood There are two main types of wood used for aircraft construction. Sitka spruce and Douglas fir.

Sitka spruce is lighter than fir but not as strong. If you are building from a plan, or a kit, the decision of what you will use will have been made by the designer. At this point I can do nothing better than point you to LAA Engineering

Technical Leaflet TL 1.14, Aircraft Wood Information. Among other information this leaflet shows that the maximum grain slope is 1:15 for spruce and 1:20 for fir. This means that, assuming the grain is parallel to the

edge on one face to the edge on the other face, it is allowed to move toward one edge by a maximum of 1 inch in 15 inches for spruce, and 20 inches for fir. It also gives the minimum annular rings per inch as six for spruce and eight for fir. Annular rings are easily seen on the cut ends of timber lengths. these are maximum permitted grain run-outs and minimum permitted grain count figures, if I were selecting timber for a main spar, or longeron, I would want the timber to be well inside both of those parameters.

Again, two main types of plywood are used. One is Finnish birch, the other is Okoume.

Finnish birch was always called GL1, GL2 and GL3, where GL1 is the best aircraft quality, GL2 contains some defects and GL3 is low quality, and not suitable to be used in aircraft. GL2 can be used where specified on the drawing for less-critical parts, or used in lieu of GL1 if the parts of the sheet containing any defects are cut out – but watch out for defects in the internal plies (typically, voids between adjoining pieces) that may be hard to see. Not many could be bothered with that and there were no price advantages.

When I was running the Swindon Aircraft Timber Company I agreed with LAA Engineering to have Finnish birch plywood tested in this country to move it away from Germanischer Lloyd, which was charging a ridiculous amount for the service. So GL1 and GL2 became SATCo grade A and B.

The plywood is made to a very high standard, with only the smallest of knots allowable in the veneers and certainly no core gaps. It is only supplied in two sheet sizes 48ins (1,220mm) square and 50ins (1,270mm) square. The dense surface allows an easily achieved varnish finish in, say, a cockpit.

Okoume, I believe, is in the gaboon family and is lighter, but weaker, than birch ply of the same thickness. Okoume is typically used where high panel stiffness is desirable, using thicker sheet thicknesses than would be needed in birch but, thanks to its lesser density, without any weight penalty. Robin Aircraft use okoume extensively and the fuselage sides are quite rigid, far more so than a birch ply of the same strength. It is a more ‘open’ grain than birch.


There are two main types of adhesives for aircraft structures. Aerolite 306, and Prefere 4050. Both are two-part glues, supplied with their own liquid hardeners – the hardener for Prefere 5050 glue being Prefere 5750. Most people still call the Prefere adhesive Aerodux, as that was what it was called for years.

These days there are epoxies that can be used, but as someone who became sensitised to epoxy after being up to my armpits while building microlights in the 1980s, I

May 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 27 Technical
Above Different types of wood – left to right, Finnish birch plywood, Okoume plywood, Sitka Spruce, Douglas Fir, and Spruce. Left inset LAA woodworking wizard, Dudley Pattison.

much prefer Aerolite and Prefere.

Aerolite was developed in WWII to build the world’s first stealth bomber, the DH Mosquito. It is an excellent glue, but it does have one failing. A couple of squadrons of Mossies were sent out to Australia after the war, and from there went on to Malaysia I believe. They started breaking up. It was found that Aerolite will not stand periods of a temperature higher than 35C. Believe me, you will not have this problem in the UK. Wooden aircraft should not be stored in high temperature conditions whatever type of glue has been used, because of the risk of the wood shrinking and cracking. For the same reason we avoid painting a wooden aircraft dark colours, wherever we can

Aerolite is a two-pack adhesive, but not in the normal sense. The base glue is a white powder that is mixed with water to a thin cream consistency. This can be kept in the workshop for many days, even longer in a refrigerator, just like cyanoacrylate. It is only activated when it comes in contact with Prefere 5326X, which contains formic acid and is thinner than water. The base glue is applied to one component and the activator is lightly brushed onto the other, the two components are lightly clamped together, excess glue is easily removed with a small piece of timber sharpened like a chisel. But be cautious. The setting action is quite rapid, do not disturb the components after they have been together for a short time. The final set is

relatively quick but always best to leave until the next day. The finished job can be very clean, so much so that I am told that some LAA Inspectors will not allow their builders to use Aerolite because they can’t see whether or not the glue is present along the whole length of the joint. I haven’t actually met one yet and can only assume that the glue is not readily seen, unlike Aerodux.

Prefere resin and hardener are mixed in equal parts, by volume or by weight, as the SG of both is so close.

Unusually it is the resin 4050M that dictates the speed of cure. The M stands for Medium, meaning medium speed, 4050S is also available. 4050F used to be on sale but I don’t think it is any more. Overall, Prefere is quite a bit slower than Aerolite. It is like epoxy in that, once mixed you must use it. This leads to quite a high wastage factor as, in making sure you have enough, the tendency is to mix too much. If you don’t mix enough, in your haste to mix some more to finish the job, you will mix too much a second time around.

The mixed adhesive is applied to both components, usually with a brush, and the components brought together and lightly clamped. The adhesive that squeezes out of the joint will stain brown / red any timber that it touches, and it is very difficult to make a neat job. With this glue, your Inspector will definitely be able to see where you have been! In removing the excess glue, you will probably spread the stain further, but you don’t want

Technical 28 | LIGHT AVIATION | May 2022
Above Pour some Prefere 5325 hardener into a jar for brushing. Above A small amount of Aerolite powder is mixed with water. Above Aerolite 306 two-part adhesive. Above Using a ratio of 1:1, a small amount of Aerodux is mixed. Above Stir each component - the resin and hardener are liquids, and are mixed in a 1:1 ratio. Above Aerodux (Prefere) two-part adhesive.

your aeroplane to carry unnecessary weight for the rest of its life. A glue fillet between components adds little, if any, strength to a joint. Clean-up is easy, using water to wash tools and brushes.

Both of these adhesives have a ‘use by’ date so be careful how much you buy at a time. Aerolite is available as a small repair pack of 250gm and 1kg of powder and 1 litre activator. Aerodux (Prefere) is available in a 250gm twin pack and 1kg of each.

Glue failure

Prior to about 1960, many wooden aircraft were produced using casein glue, which is made from dairy produce. Unfortunately, it had a tendency to fail, especially if it got damp. If you are looking to purchase an older aircraft, maybe for renovation, smell the inside of the wings and the rear fuselage if possible. If you think there’s an odour of sour milk, then best to leave it alone. You may also notice a black line of mould along the glue lines.

Check pieces

Whatever adhesive you do decide to use, you should always make a small test piece for each batch of glue mixed. Put a date on the piece and keep a record of which components were joined using this batch. Your Inspector will want to break the test pieces at some time in the future. When he breaks them, he will hopefully see

the wood, or plywood outer veneer break and not the glue line. If the glue breaks, then further investigation will be required. One other important thing – if you glue a piece of spruce or fir to plywood you must ensure the plywood has been lightly, sanded, especially if it is Finnish birch, and thesurface dusted off before gluing. Failing to do this can seriously compromise the joint strength and longevity, as the manufacturing process for the plywood leaves traces of a release agent on the surface.

Overall, I much prefer Aerolite. A decent-sized batch of base glue can be mixed and used a little at a time, and it is cleaner. On the two biplanes that I built, I wanted to final finish inside the cockpit with clear varnish, and Aerolite allows you to do this. The one area that Aerodux excels in is laminating. Take a look at a wooden propeller and the chances are that you’ll spot a reddish-brown glue line between the laminations. Also, Aerodux does not shrink as Aerolite does. It took me many years to wake up to this fact. The wing tip bows of my Z1R Flitzer were made to suit a 36ins chord wing. When cured they would have nicely suited a 35½ins chord wing. I made a spacer that pushed them out to 36½ins, soaked them in the bath for a day, allowed them to dry completely, and upon removal of the spacers they popped back to 36ins. Phew!

If you embark on a wooden project, hit a stumbling block, and think that I may be able to help you, then please do email me at ■

May 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 29 Technical
Above Components brought together and excess glue removed. Above Acid activator brushed onto the other component. Above Base glue added to one component. Above Test pieces of each type of adhesive. They can be broken to ensure it is the wood that breaks first, not the glued joint. Above The two components are joined and excess glue removed. Above The mixed adhesive is applied by brush to both components to be joined.

Coaching Corner…

Threats and errors – can we manage them?

Heard about Threat and Error Management, but don’t think it’s for you? As Head of Coaching David Cockburn suggests,

time to pay some more attention…

Threat and Error Management (TEM) is a hot topic for aviation safety regulators. Instructors are encouraged to discuss the subject whenever they fly with another pilot, whether they’re a student or a qualified pilot, and it also features in aviation theory exam questions. There are, however, differing definitions of the terms used, and these can make the subject seem overly complex. Humans have a natural tendency to defer complicated subjects until they become clearer, and that is bad news for pilots, because a number of useful documents exist on the subject which can help you manage threats and errors during flight.

TEM is all about reducing the risk of potential problems causing accidents. It is a large part of what we would consider ‘airmanship’. We, as pilots, have been doing this in the past, but as with many aspects of life, regulators have decided to categorise the subject.

While exact definitions may be subject to discussion, we can probably get away with considering a ‘threat’ as a hazard which is outside the control of the pilot. The expression ‘error’ sounds reasonably self-explanatory, but can more broadly be defined as a hazard that falls within the control of the pilot. It is not necessarily restricted to mistakes made by the pilot; it includes hazards for which the pilot has not been trained, and maybe could not be expected to be trained. To fly safely, we need to be able to ‘manage’ these threats and errors.


If threats are outside the control of the pilot, knowledge can improve our chances of managing them. The more

understanding we can gather about situations which might catch us out, the better we can be prepared to cope with them if they occur.

In the UK, the weather poses probably the most likely threat. Modern forecasts are more accurate than ever, but pilots can still be wrong-footed by variations that occur on the day. For example, winds of higher speed, or differing directions, and clouds that form with bases below that forecast, then remain low when they are forecast to rise. Other threats can be found in engine or system failures, as well as the threat of collision.

We can manage these by minimising either their likelihood or their consequences. That unforecast weather? We could decide only to fly if the forecast allows a greater margin of safety than we really need. Unfortunately that would prevent us flying on days when the weather actually turned out better than forecast, and there are few enough flyable days in the UK. I suggest it is better to just always anticipate that the forecast has underestimated the hazard and have a fallback plan which we can use when the forecast turns out to be over-optimistic. We could also reduce the likelihood of being caught out if we obtain actual reports from our route (and upwind of it) and compare these with the forecast; although sadly the UK has a shrinking number of reporting stations that can provide such warning. We also need to be able to recognise when to adopt that fallback plan before we run out of fuel or daylight, and be prepared to make alternative arrangements when we divert.

Engines and systems failures can be reduced by carrying out the required maintenance properly, and exercising care in handling them, monitoring gauges for abnormal indications and being alert to unusual sounds. Odd noises may provide enough early warning to allow a safe landing before serious damage results.

We can also attempt to reduce the effects of any threats we fail to avoid. The consequences of encountering bad weather can be serious, but the skills and knowledge we have built up during training can save us. Some of us with instrument qualifications may be able to climb and reach a safe aerodrome if we can avoid icing and invisible high ground, but we should all have been trained to make a precautionary landing. If we can do the latter before it is too late, we can avoid becoming a fatal accident statistic.

We can reduce the consequences of an engine failure by keeping in practice with forced landing techniques and always staying within reach of a safe landing area. That suggests we should aim to fly at suitable cruising altitudes,

Coaching Corner 30 | LIGHT AVIATION | May 2022
Below The weather poses probably one of the biggest ‘threats’ to pilots in the UK.

and always be aware of the surface conditions and the wind direction for landing. As for system failures, do you know how to lower the gear in an emergency, or make a safe flapless or brakeless landing? An ASI failure can be frightening even in good visibility. Knowing how your aircraft ‘feels’ as it approaches the stall will help, as will flying an approach without reference to the ASI with a coach or other instructor. Again we should consider a suitable diversion; a long runway gives a considerable margin for error.


There is a danger that use of the word ‘error’ in published reports might encourage people to apportion blame on the pilot after every incident report which contained the expression. Indeed, that is probably a major factor in pilots’ reluctance to report incidents in which they have been involved. Flying is a stressful business with many opportunities to become distracted from the primary task. Human factors affect us and we have limitations. Omitting to select the ignition switch(es) on for start (yes, I’ve done it!) may not affect safety, but taking off with the wrong flap or carburettor heat setting certainly could.

As mentioned earlier, any hazard which is under the control of the crew can be regarded as an ‘error’. For example, a simple case of a patch of cloud appearing ahead of us on our flight path at our level. That cloud is a threat, and if we have anticipated it and considered how to manage it, the decision should, in theory, be easy. However, we are likely to be presented with a variety of possible courses of action. Do we climb above it, descend, alter track or turn back? Of these options, one will undoubtedly turn out to produce the best result, but at the time we make the decision we are unlikely to know which one. After that initial decision, our subsequent actions and decisions will continue to affect the outcome of the flight, but any decision which turns out to be less than the best one possible is effectively an ‘error’ when we are considering how to manage it.

Like threats, we cannot remove errors, but we can try to manage them by reducing their likelihood and / or their consequences. One way of reducing errors on the ground would be to use a checklist, just be wary of its completion being interrupted.

Making critical switches (such as undercarriage and flaps) unique and more obvious, both to the eye and the touch, can reduce the likelihood of incorrect switch selection, and we can go further to reduce the consequences of say raising the gear on the ground by fitting an electrical or mechanical device, which prevents the gear moving if the aircraft’s weight is on the wheels.

Standard procedures reduce not only the likelihood of making errors, but also their effects. For example, if we never move an electrical switch in flight below a certain height, then even if we switch off the ignition instead of the landing light there should be time to restart the engine before we crash. Many professional pilots go through a

‘reds, blues, greens, clear to land’ check just before touchdown – and others have invented their own. If we develop the habit of always waiting until we have rolled to a halt after landing before selecting flap, we are less likely to raise the gear by mistake.


Good pre-flight preparation can reduce the chances of making errors when we have to react to perceived threats, and the sooner we realise that a threat is present the more time we have to make decisions and the better our chances of making the best one. However, we must not waste the time available by continuing towards a hazard while we think about what we are going to do about it. It is usually better to make a bad decision early than no decision at all –unless we have already backed ourselves into a corner, we should be able to change that decision later.

Avoiding that cloud by climbing might seem the best option, but if we then find it extends over a large area we might not be able to descend again safely. Descending below it might be an error if the ground rises and the base lowers. Turning to avoid may infringe notified airspace, and even turning back might take us into deteriorating weather. Before committing ourselves to action, we should ideally consider the likelihood and possible effects of that action and what we could do to manage those risks. What was a good decision when we were presented with the problem may subsequently turn out less than ideal, so once we dealt with the initial problem, we should consider whether what we are doing is still the best course of action. If it appears that we need to change our actions or decisions, and if it is safe to do so, we should not be afraid to change them. As with the flight itself, managing threats and errors does not stop until the engine has shut down and the occupants have left the aircraft.

We shall never be able to avoid every threat that may present itself, or avoid all the errors, but we can manage them. By identifying and considering as many as we can, not only will there be fewer unexpected ones to deal with, but we should hopefully have some spare capacity to handle them, following the list of priorities – aviate, navigate, and communicate.

As GASCo reminds us, every take-off is the start of a unique flight. We can all benefit from taking time during our pre-flight planning to think whether there are any specific threats or errors likely on this particular flight, and what we can do to mitigate them.

This is especially important if we are doing something we consider ‘adventurous’. Flying will never be 100% safe, but we have all discovered how rewarding it can be. Managing threats and errors involves assessing the risks of what we are about to do and balancing those against the rewards we feel we would gain from doing it. Each of us has to make our own judgement of risk versus gain, but the more we can anticipate and avoid or mitigate these risks, the safer our flying will be.

Just remember that our passengers may be keen to enjoy the rewards, but they are not familiar with the risks! ■

Coaching Corner May 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 31
Above Making critical controls unique and obvious in appearance and to touch can reduce the likelihood of selecting or using one in error.


latest LAA Engineering topics and investigations. Compiled by

Engineering Matters

Including: Gyro blade cracks response, propeller up-keep, ballistic parachute recovery systems and G-INFO and the perils of animals using your aircraft for food storage…

Welcome 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

Gyro blade cracks – Part two

Following a piece in the February edition of Engineering Matters, Gerry Speich of AutoGyro GmbH sent in the following response. In that article, I should have made it clear that the words regarding cracks in gyro blades were provided by experienced gyro Inspector Kai Barnett. LAA Engineering always values the opinion of Inspectors and their findings and views on any aircraft in the LAA fleet. With the factory-built gyros, LAA Engineering has no direct design authority input as this is provided by the CAA.

Below is Gerry Speich’s letter response to the previous gyro comment on blade cracking:

Dear Sirs

I took the time to read the magazine February edition during my flight to Germany last night, and was surprised and disappointed to read the comments made regarding our aircraft rotor blades in the Engineering Matters section.

The fourth paragraph reads: ‘The calculated safe life of the RotorSystem 2 blades is 2,500hrs hours, however it has been found that the real-world service life is significantly less. Apparently, this is because the calculated service life was based upon the rotors being in flight, and the associated stresses it causes. The calculation does not take into account the stresses applied to the system in a ‘non-flying’ state such as taxying (and not rotating) or at a lower rpm, or a combination of the two, as this is highly unpredictable and very much depends upon the surface on which the aircraft is operating from.

‘For many owners the news that their ‘2,500 hour’ rotor may only last 1,600 or 1,800 hours will be a great disappointment but in reality, reaching 1,500hr will take a considerable time.

‘Flight school aircraft used for continual training may need to figure in revised replacement costs and may even have to factor in flight cycles, touch-and-goes, pre-rotations and other operating regimes as well as flight hours’.

AutoGyro has no idea where you obtained this opinion from, but it has not been fact checked or verified with AutoGyro, misrepresents the situation, and creates drama out of fresh air. There also seems to be a misunderstanding of what a rotor safe life limit is based upon.

There are actually two different crack scenarios described within long standing AutoGyro inspection documents, and highlighted within the recently issued MPD.

The longitudinal cracks as shown in the photo, of which three affected rotors have been found in the UK in that last 16 years of operation.

A small chordwise crack in one side of one outboard bolt hole on one face of one rotor blade at some 1850hr in service, of which only this one instance in a Rotorsystem II has been reported in our entire global fleet of around 3,000 aircraft. This is the crack that could be considered to affect the safe life limit, or the means to manage the safe life, but until a proper engineering investigation as to the root cause is completed, no action will be taken. At the time of writing the MPD checks have not revealed any other instance.

The ‘safe life’ is the life at which AutoGyro (and concurred with the UK CAA, based upon the figures agreed) consider that a critical failure that risks life is very unlikely. It does not include areas of the part that are not critical to flight safety.

This safe operating life of the rotor system is based on strain gauge data gathered during ground handling, taxying, pre-rotation and flight of our aircraft, assessed with different loading conditions. It is NOT true that the data does not take into account taxying and non-rotating rotors, although, of course, the tests cannot take into account every possible ground operation loading due to the global diversity of such events. The data gathered was used to estimate an operational safe fatigue life with specific reference to the critical area of the rotor blade. The longitudinal crack shown in your photo, while undesirable, is not flight critical, and this area is not part of the safe life calculation.

Therefore, it is not true that the real-world safe life is significantly less than that published, and no reason to change this limit due to the longitudinal crack. And no reason to create market concern by suggesting this, this is drama for the sake of drama. For your information, several rotor systems in UK flight schools have already reached their limits and been scrapped at the appropriate timelines.

The cause of the longitudinal crack is under investigation, and at this time is thought to have been initiated by some unplanned or uncontrolled loading event. If and when this has been determined, we can give more information, but since the rotors in question have been

32 | LIGHT AVIATION | May 2022

in service for 10 years and with significant flight time, data availability is limited.

We take a lot of pride in our products and make enormous efforts to make a safe and robust aircraft to suit all markets around the world.

Best regards,

Propeller maintenance and overhaul

Whether or not a propeller fitted to an LAA-administered aircraft must be maintained to the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations, has long been a subject of extensive conversation for owners and Inspectors alike.

The Inspectors’ procedures manual, SPARS, and latterly, the relevant propeller TADS, call for certified propellers to be maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations. Under the certified aircraft’s world of PART-ML maintenance, owners can opt out of certain maintenance requirements, such as engine and propeller overhaul.

In order to clarify the situation with LAA-administered aircraft propeller maintenance and to realign the Permit to Fly maintenance requirements with that of the certified world (i.e. to not be more onerous), the decision has been made by LAA Engineering that the advice to LAA-administered aircraft owners (and Inspectors) for all propeller types is now as follows.

LAA Engineering recommends that all propellers are maintained in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations and requirements This includes certified, uncertified, variable pitch, ground adjustable and fixed pitch propellers.

Ex-certified types must comply with all Airworthiness Directives under CAA MPD 1995-001. For the non-certified aircraft, Airworthiness Directives issued by the State of manufacture or registration should be technically assessed and complied with accordingly. Airworthiness Directives considered mandatory by LAA Engineering will be listed in the relevant propeller TADS.

The purpose of Engineering Matters is to provoke thought and comment and it is certainly not intended to upset anyone, be they manufacturers, dealers, suppliers or owners.

Hopefully, covering any subject such as cracks in blade roots, gets people thinking about their own aircraft (rotor blades and propeller blades, gyros and fixed-wing) and potential problems that they might encounter – regardless of the type of flying machine, its age or the material from which it has been constructed.

Owners may decide not to comply with manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations and requirements, but if this is the case, the owner (or one of the co-owners in a group-owned aircraft) must clearly state in the logbook (airframe logbook for fixed-pitch and ground adjustable propellers, propeller logbook for variable pitch propellers) that they have taken the decision not to comply with the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations. The statement must include the propeller designation and serial number and include the owner’s signature, printed name and date.

The owner’s decision to apply (or not) a variation to the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance procedures may be based on a number of factors such as aircraft being used for remunerated use, Night/IFR operations or even that the aircraft is based outside in a coastal environment.

LAA Engineering continues to promote the LPIP inspection procedure, which owners may choose to follow where applicable, but it should be noted that extra work may be required once the propeller has been stripped down. Propeller overhaul organisations will not be able to ‘release’ a propeller to service if, in their opinion, it is not serviceable.

It should also be remembered that an LAA Inspector is not under any obligation to sign for an aircraft which they believe is not being maintained in a manner that they feel it should be.

As soon as possible, the relevant Technical Leaflets, TADS and other information will be amended to reflect the above, and LAA Engineering will issue an LAA Alert in due course.

May 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 33 Engineering Matters
Variable pitch propellers are complicated and hard working, so it is essential that they are correctly maintained.

Engineering Matters

Static build-up – Avionics

With the advent of 8.33 MHz VHF com has come an increase in reports of ‘static interference’ in many aircraft types and makes and models of radio.

Inspector Toby Willcox of Targett Aviation, fixed a persistent in-flight radio noise by earthing a Jabiru J430’s metal struts and Teleflex cables, which in turn earthed the control column, rudder pedals, steering rods and nose leg.

Toby’s thinking is that it seems to have been generating electrical noise which seemed to get worse as the flight persisted (as if building up a static charge). It had been noticeable that the noise was not engine rpm related.

Avionics guru (and Van’s RV-12 owner), Harry Lees, commented, “Bonding certainly helps with static issues, even if it exists primarily for lightning protection – I’ve seen several airline radar scanners seized following lightning strikes, where the bearings have been welded solid, so it shows there’s no good bond path through a moving bearing! I’ve also come across similar static problems on radios on PA28s and TB20s with un-bonded flying controls or undercarriage doors and this has allowed static build-up. Normal airframe bonding between all major components should be better than 50 milli-Ohms to battery ground and for avionics items, even lower at 2.5 milli-Ohms.”

Above Small hole above the rudder horn seems like a likely access point for a small redent on this RV-6 (wood block is a temporary control lock).

Right Material removed from the inside of the RV-6 rudder bottom fairing (with a pair of pliers as scale).

Aircraft used as food storage units…

Most owners are well aware of the risks of nesting birds and wildlife, especially at this time of year. Normally, birds decide engine cowlings provide a safe haven for nesting and mice seem to enjoy chewing their way through seat cushions, seat belts and wiring.

When RV-6 owner, Pete Pengilly, took the rudder off for maintenance purposes, he was surprised to find that the bottom

rudder fairing had been used as a safe place to store food by something busily saving for winter.

Presumably, the animal had climbed the tailwheel spring and then up the steering chains to access the rudder fairing around the lower hinge. The seeds were sitting right in the aft end of the fairing and not in a place that was at all easy to inspect, while the rudder was installed.

34 | LIGHT
| May 2022

Ballistic parachute recovery systems and G-INFO

Although the CAA and G-INFO do not always get the best response from aircraft owners, there is a lot of useful information to be gleaned from the entries, from checking facts as part of a pre-purchase survey, to needing addresses for Christmas cards – all you need to remember is the registration.

Now there is a new addition to the information posted – it will show if an aircraft is fitted with a ballistic parachute recovery system (BPRS).

Primarily, this has been done as an aid to the emergency services in the event of an incident.

LAA Engineering has provided the CAA with a list of LAAadministered aircraft fitted with a BPRS and, if all goes to plan, G-INFO will be updated shortly. If you have such a system installed in your aircraft, it might be worth checking in a month or so that your aircraft’s entry in G-INFO has the BPRS warning in the Aircraft Details section.

Over-use of ACF-50 and smoking rivets

A couple of Inspectors have recently reported the sight of ‘smoking’ rivets on aircraft that they had inspected. Both had their suspicions that corrosion inhibitors may have caused or exacerbated the issue. Smoking rivets is a term given when a black residue appears around rivets. Sometimes, this can be caused by a lubricant flowing down from a flying control hinge and sitting around a rivet head attracting dust and grime.

The one to be concerned about is when it is due to the fretting of airframe skins, frames, ribs etc, when a rivet has worked loose. This may be because of age or some other mechanism but it can also be caused by the rivet being unwittingly lubricated by the excessive application of a corrosion inhibitor such as Corrosion X, ACF-50 and the like.

In my pre-LAA days, we routinely applied corrosion inhibitors to the aircraft we maintained but found that smoking (‘lubricated’) rivets could be an issue if the inhibitor was refreshed annually. It is best to inhibit aluminium airframes only every second or third year and to mist the internal structure rather than flood it.

If an aircraft has yet to be painted, then do not inhibit the airframe (if you do, you risk incurring the painter’s wrath) and even after painting, hold off for a few months to allow the paint to properly cure.

Right Evidence of smoking rivets found on the tailplane attachment brackets of an EV97 EuroStar.

May 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 35
Engineering Matters
Left Screenshot of the BPRS warning now found on G-INFO.

Vacuum pump drive failure

Engine driven vacuum pumps may be becoming a bit more of a rarity in the LAA fleet these days with the advent of ‘glass’ EFIS systems, especially in the more modern amateur-built fleet but still exist in many of the ex-certified aircraft.

Most GA vacuum pumps are of the ‘dry’ type and are somewhat delicate flowers by their design with a carbon rotor fitted with sliding carbon vanes. The vanes ‘trail’ or ‘sweep’ as they rotate which is good when the engine (and pump) turns in its normal direction of rotation but not so great when the engine is turned over backwards – either deliberately or during a ‘kick back’ on start-up. Something to consider when turning an engine over backwards by hand as some favour when checking for hydraulic locks to avoid engaging the magneto impulse couplings.

To prevent damaging anything too (more!) expensive, the coupling between the pump and the engine accessory drive is designed to fail first. On many of the standard vacuum pumps, you can just see the driveshaft and when turning the propeller by hand (normal rules of safety apply…), you should be able to see the shaft rotating.

Inspector Nick Stone spotted on a Bulldog, which he had in for maintenance, that the vacuum pump drive shaft was not turning and on removing the pump, found that the shaft had sheared.

The composite drive shaft can be replaced easily but by and large, it has failed as a result of the rotor seizing. Although repair kits are available for most dry vacuum pumps, it is not a simple task to do and, by and large, you are better off buying a replacement overhauled pump, ready to install. Vacuum pumps

are designed with pretty close tolerances and if you get the rebuild wrong, they can have an extremely short working life.

That said, even the new and overhauled pumps can fail far earlier than they should. As the pumps are sucking, they are prone to contamination from the rest of the system upstream – something to consider when replacing a failed pump, so do look at the internal condition of the inlet hose.

The pad on the Bulldog pump in question looks wet, which may be a sign that the vacuum pad driveshaft seal is past its prime. This seal can be replaced relatively easily by removing the vacuum pump adapter pad. Some later vacuum pumps have an oil ‘diverter’ groove cut into the mounting face to allow any oil getting past the driveshaft seal to pass out of the pump, without contaminating its internals. Without this feature, the oil can get flung about by the open driveshaft, so if that area of the engine bay is misted in oil, the vacuum pump seal is a good place to start, when investigating the cause.

Some designs of vacuum pumps incorporate a wear indicator port at the rear so that the wear rate of the blades can be monitored. When installing the hose fittings in a vacuum pump, proceed with caution: they are tapered threads and often have to be installed with a particular orientation and if you over tighten them, they can damage the pump casing. One further thought – as the core and blades of a vacuum pump are made of carbon, they do not like getting contaminated by oil or solvents and as they wear, produce carbon dust that acts like a lubricant but can turn to a sludge when wet.

36 | LIGHT AVIATION | May 2022 Engineering Matters
Above and right The failed Bulldog vacuum pump showing the sheared driveshaft coupling.


Many people look on modern factory-built gyros as being ‘new’ machines and, in comparison to many aircraft in the LAA fleet they are. But that does not mean that they have not started suffering from corrosion. Obviously, a lot is down to the type of material used, the protection afforded to the component, and the conditions in which they live and operate.

Inspector Kai Barnett reported that a Magni was recently trailered to a maintenance facility and observed that, apart from the rotor blades not being removed in the correct manner for the journey, the hub bar spacers were suffering from severe exfoliation corrosion. Kai says that the spacers would be visible on a pre-flight inspection. Furthermore, Kai is of the opinion that if flown in the condition found, the spacers could fail leading to flex or a loss of torsion in the assembly, which might lead to interesting blade flight characteristics.

Incidentally, the blades had been extracted with the hub bar left in place, rather than the whole assembly being lifted off and then separated from the blades, as detailed in the relevant manuals.

LAA Engineering housekeeping

Avionics Installations Please remember that the LAA/MOD 7 avionics installation approval form must be accompanied with an LAA/FT-Avionics flight test schedule. Both forms can be downloaded from the ‘Forms, Checklists & Worksheets’ section of the LAA website ‘Data Library’.

LAA Engineering charges

LAA Project Registration

Kit Built Aircraft £300

Plans Built Aircraft £50

Initial Permit issue

Up to 450kg £450

451-999kg £550

1,000kg and above £650

Permit Revalidation

(can now be paid online via LAA Shop)

Up to 450kg £170

451-999kg £220

1,000kg and above £260

Factory-built gyroplanes* (all weights) £275

*Gyros note: if the last Renewal wasn’t administered by the LAA, an extra fee of £125 applies

Modification application

Prototype modification minimum £60

Repeat modification minimum £30


Mods and repairs Once an aircraft has undergone modifications or repairs that require involvement by LAA Engineering, it must not be flown until authorisation has been received from LAA Engineering in the form of a Certificate of Clearance or Permit Flight Release Certificate. Remember that a Certificate of Clearance requires signing by the Inspector, owner and pilot before flying. ■

LAA Fleet Summary

New Projects Registered in 2022: 18

Permit to Fly First Issues in 2022: 10

(from C of A to Permit or CAA Permit to LAA Permit)

Up to 450kg £150

451 to 999kg £250

1,000kg and above £350

Four-seat aircraft

Manufacturer’s/agent’s type acceptance fee £2,000

Project registration royalty £50

Category change

Group A to microlight £150

Microlight to Group A £150

Change of G-Registration fee

Issue of Permit documents following G-Reg change £55

Replacement Documents

Lost, stolen etc (fee is per document)£20

PLEASE NOTE: When you’re submitting documents using an A4-sized envelope, a first-class stamp is insufficient postage.

Permit to Fly Revalidations - 2022: 377

Recent Alerts & AILs (check the LAA website for further details)

Zivko Aeronautics Inc. Edge 360, Edge 540 and

Laser Z200: Aileron Centre Hinge Attachment

CAA MPD: 2022-001

LAA Alert: A-001-2022

MT-03, MTOsport, MTOsport 2017, Calidus and Cavalon: Rotor Blade Inspection/Replacement/


CAA MPD: 2002-002

LAA Alert: A-002-2022

TLAC Escapade and Sherwood Scout: Seat locking and Secondary Seat Restraint

CAA MPD: 2022-004-E

LAA TSB: TSB-001-2022

Europa: Door Latch System Stop

CAA MPD: 2022-003

LAA AIL: MOD/247/012

LAA Alert: LAA/AWA/21/08

Adjustable Seats in General Aviation Aircraft

CAA Safety Notice SN-2022/001: Security and locking of adjustable seats

May 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 37 Engineering Matters
Gyro blade spacer Above The Magni gyro hub was found showing the severely corroded aluminium spacers.

Struts 4U

Towards the end of March, Strut leaders were invited by David Millin to attend a conference at LAA HQ, Turweston. Leaders attended from Bodmin, Scotland – and all points in between. We were fortunate that weather conditions were favourable, and that most Strut leaders were, on the day, unaffected by Covid. Consequently the meeting, hosted by Steve Slater and David Millin, was a return to normality! We were also able to provide a Zoom link for 10 other leaders who were unable to make the journey.

Steve’s presentation outlined the overall, up-to-date picture of the LAA and provided some useful statistics of an Association with nearly 8,000 members, responsible for 2,700 active aircraft and a full-time LAA staff of 17. It is estimated that 15% of the membership are members of the 25 active Struts. Steve emphasised the continuing importance of the Struts as being central to the organisation, sharing expertise and providing member support to the LAA for the annual ‘Meet the Members’ events and during the Rally.

Short presentations were also made outlining the importance of the award system to the LAA and the role Struts can play in nominating awardees. Stuart Luck, President of the LAA’s Youth and Educational Support, emphasised the role that Struts can play in generating

communication for young people’s groups and giving opportunities for young people to be involved in aviation through activities such as Aviation Art, Aviation Adventure Days, Pedal Planes and the Build-a-Plane projects.

Pete White, from the Cornwall Strut at Bodmin, shared a presentation put together by Jay Gates, Bodmin’s airfield manager, on the subject of ‘How Green is my Airfield?’. The story of Bodmin’s discovery that it has a unique biodiversity resulting in an abundance of rare plants, has become well-known in the South West, and interest grows across the country. Jay is happy to share the story with the Struts via Zoom, and spread the word about how important it is to look around our airfields, as well as see how we can preserve any areas of ecological interest for the future.

We were particularly pleased to hear that The Joystick Club, known largely for its work with young people, has recently been offered LAA Strut ‘status’. Formerly the Royal Berkshire Strut, the Strut had been inactive for many years, but, under the leadership of Mike Clews, and centred at White Waltham, it has set off on a new path and we will be hearing more about the pedal planes and two simulators which belong to the club. These are based on a Piper Tomahawk (single engine) and Piper Seneca (twin engine). Both have full working controls, instruments and visual displays that enable a short flight to be

38 | LIGHT AVIATION | May 2022
Above Strut leaders meeting at Turweston in March. Right top Joystick Club Simulator at Bicester Flywheel. Right bottom Strut leaders inspect new LAA Workshop.
LAA Strut News

completed. They are trailer mounted to allow them to be towed to events. The Joystick Club can be found at Shuttleworth airshows, and other events. It also regularly visits schools where it is encouraging the next generation of prospective LAA members to find a route to the skies!

Welcome back, Mike!

We were also able to discuss the challenges that the last two years have brought to the Struts with a disruption of normal routine and programmes and an understandable caution as we return to face-to-face meetings. Concerns were also expressed about the general demographic of the LAA where there is a need for younger aviators to be encouraged to join local groups, particularly when it comes to the management of the Struts. We are looking for initiatives that will appeal to all age groups and support for activities, both at the monthly Strut gatherings and the fly-ins.

The Struts4U column, now into its sixth year, has also been instrumental in raising the profile of the Struts and providing updates and communication links to help members find their local Struts. The Suffolk Coastal Strut, with more than 90 members, has been so successful in recruiting new members from a wide area that it is planning to oversee the setting up of a new Strut, possibly in the Cambridge area. This would enable members to meet regularly with less travelling.

It was good to feel at the end of the conference that there are many positives and that the Struts, now into their 53rd year, continue to be a key focus for the LAA.

Steve was thanked for the LAA Zoom ‘Pub Night’ evenings, which had helped to bring ideas and useful discussion throughout the lockdown. As many Strut leaders are regular ‘pub’ attendees, regular communication between the Struts has enabled ideas to be shared. The conferences will continue with the option of the ‘virtual’ experience alongside meetings at LAA HQ.

David Millin would like to thank everyone who gave their time to attend the event and who work throughout the year to facilitate the groups across the UK for the LAA membership. ■

Strut Calendar

Please check these details with your local Strut before attending events.

Andover Strut: Spitfire Club, Popham Airfield, SO21 3BD. 19.30. 9 MayHomebuilder Evening; 9 June - Bums-onSeats Evening followed by Fish and Chip Supper, 1700 start. Contact Bob Howarth

Phone no. 01980 611124

Bristol Strut: BAWA Club, Filton, 1930. www.

Cornwall Strut: The Clubhouse, Bodmin Airfield. Virtual Zoom meetings throughout winter months. 7 May: Ladies Fly-In Day; 11 June Grasshopper Gathering. Contact Pete White 01752 406660

Devon Strut: 21 May and 18 June Fly-In to Farway Common. The Exeter Court Hotel, Kennford, Exeter. 1930. Contact:

East of Scotland Strut: Harrow Hotel, Dalkeith. 2000. Contact: inrgibson001@ 0131 339 2351.

East Midlands Strut: The Plough, Normanton on Soar. 9 May Europa Project by Bob Dawson; 13 June AGM. Contact: We also have a Facebook group and upload recordings of some meetings where we have speakers. Gloster Strut: Croft Farm, Defford, WR8 9BN. If flying in PPR phone 07767 606172. Contact: Harry Hopkins phone 07902 650619

Highlands & Islands: Highland Aviation, Inverness Airport. Contact: b.w.spence@ 01381 620535.

Kent Strut: 30 June Strut BBQ at Ripple. Cobtree Manor Golf Club, Maidstone, Kent. 2000. Contact: Steve Hoskins 07768 984507. LiNSY Trent Valley Strut: Trent Valley Gliding Club, Kirton Lindsey. pilotbarry1951@gmail. com http://

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. 11 May: Preparation for the World Microlight

Championships medal attempt by Owain Johns and Richard Gibbs; 8 June: Flight2Hope, an international cooperation flight to Israel by Mark Coreth. Contact www.oxfordlaa.

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. 12 May: Jets, Harriers to Lightnings by Group Captain Willy Hackett. Contact: Keith Taylor

Southern Strut: The Swiss Cottage, Shoreham-by-Sea. First Wednesday of the month 8pm Email

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. 18 May: Strut BBQ at Monewden Airfield (date TBC); 15 June: Gliding Evening at Tibenham

Contact: Martyn Steggalls events@ / 07790 925142

The Joystick Club: 1 May and 5 June Joystick Club at Shuttleworth Air Show with pedal planes and simulator. Contact Mike Clews, 07775 847914.

Vale of York Strut: Chocks Away Café, Rufforth East Airfield. 1900. Contact: Chris Holliday 07860 787801 www.

Wessex Strut: Henstridge Airfield Clubhouse. 20 May: Bimble, Burger and Beans. Fly-In with a meal at 1830. PPR

Neil Wilson if flying in. 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) YES stand at Shuttleworth Airshows. Contact: Stewart Luck

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

May 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 39 LAA Strut News

Sun ‘n Fun

Nigel Hitchman reports on the first big show of the 2022 season…

Sun ‘n Fun, or ‘Aerospace Expo’, as it is now called, was held at Lakeland, Florida 5-10 April. For a first-time visitor there was still plenty to see, but it’s far from the event it was in its heyday 20 years ago, when it really was a mini Oshkosh. There was still a good-size exhibition area with many of the major GA manufacturers having small stands and some aircraft on display, plus a number of smaller manufacturers and kitplane companies. The exhibition area is now primarily four buildings and an outdoor space that extends to the start of the aircraft parking area. It’s a lot bigger than the LAA Rally exhibition, but small compared with Oshkosh or Friedrichshafen.

The big homebuilt parking area of previous years is now empty. Homebuilts are now parked further back towards where the homebuilt camping has been in previous years. In terms of numbers, there’s probably half the amount you would have seen at the last LAA Rally. There’s also less vintage aircraft than you would see at an LAA Rally too. I counted seven or eight Stearmans and one Staggerwing as the only biplanes. Other pre-WWII aircraft included two Howard DGA15s and a very nice Aeronca 50 Chief. Among the classics were a line-up of around 10 Cessna 195s, including two of the so called ‘196’s, which are 195s re-engined with a 450hp Pratt and Whitney R-985. One of these was a new restoration. There were also five or six nice Cessna 120/140s, one Piper Vagabond, four or five Cubs and a handful of PA-12s.

Oddly there was not a single Luscombe or Taylorcraft and no other Aeroncas. There were lots of contemporaries, with rows of Bonanzas, Commanches, Cessna 172s, 180s, 185s and PA-28s, which swelled the ranks of the vintage area making it look full! Four nice Beech 18s could be found here, as well as a couple in the warbird area.

40 | LIGHT AVIATION | May 2022
Rare Curtiss-Wright 16E Kelito 450hp P&W Wasp powered C196s. Aeronca 50 Chief. Patriot Aircraft P-19 Super Patriot

The most interesting vintage aircraft on the field was unfortunately in the Florida Air Museum storage building, which was opened up for some practical demonstrations. This was the Curtiss-Wright 16E Kelito built for the Argentine Navy in 1935. It was restored in the early 2000s and flown as LV-ZAW, exported to Florida in 2006, and it has been flown rarely, and was sold to the museum in 2020. It still looks in excellent condition, what a pity it wasn’t brought out into the vintage parking area where it would have been the star of the show. Only one CurtissWright 16 is currently flying and that is in Argentina.

A couple of Grumman Widgeons and a Mallard were of interest in the seaplane area, together with one Seabee and a handful of Lake Amphibians and Cessnas.

While we don’t see many warbirds at fly-ins in the UK, there was a good selection here, although, again, far fewer than in previous years. The main warbird ramp now has corporate tents and airshow viewing areas on one side and half the other side is taken with non-warbird exhibitors.


Half the ramp was full of modern USAF aircraft, but there was a Douglas A-26 Invader, Silver Dragon, North American B25 Mitchell, Panchito, a Douglas Skyraider and Grumman FM-2 Wildcat from Cavanaugh Flight Museum, the Jim Tobul F4U Corsair and two Curtiss P40s. The latter were both two-seaters, one being Thom Richard’s, which he used to give instruction in until the FAA stopped him, and the other one which had just come out of a restoration at American Aero Service for a local customer. A previously crash-damaged airframe, it had been initially rebuilt by Chris Kerchner at Leeward Air Ranch. There were also seven or eight North American P-51Ds.

Boeing B-29 Superfortress Doc was present for the last three days, and it was a great sight to see it coming and going, as rides were being sold. For me though, the highlight of the warbird area was Dornier Do-28A N841RS, now a very rare type, and is one of two flying in the US (and a third on the FAA register based at Old Warden).

Both of those in the US were part of the Isle Royale Seaplane service, which operated from Houghton in northern Michigan to Isle Royale on Lake Superior. The company owning them lost the contract back in the mid-1990s and N841RS remained in a hangar at Shawano WI, sitting on its floats gathering dust. Recently, it was purchased, cleaned up and restored, and is back flying without the floats for the first time in many years. Still in its red livery, this actually came from the Danish company that

Show Report
Above Douglas A-26 Invader, Silver Dragon Above Curtis P-40, rebuilt by American Aero Services Above Boeing B-29 Superfortress Doc Above Dornier Do-28A. Above Catalina.
May 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 41
Grumman HU-16 Albatross.

previously owned it and operated it in Greenland in the 1970s and 1980s as OY-AII.

It was also good to see Catalina N222FT, which was offering training flights and flew several times. This had been owned by the late Connie Edwards for 20 or so years until recently, perhaps more familiar to us in the UK as the aircraft which landed in Plymouth Sound in 1986 as part of a US Navy 75th anniversary celebration but unfortunately hit a buoy in the harbour after landing. Continuing the seaplane theme, there was Grumman HU-16 Albatross N7025J, which was operated by the International Test Pilots School in London, Ontario recently, its colour scheme copied from the Empire Test Pilots School at Boscombe Down.

There were four Scottish Aviation Bulldogs, three former Swedish AF and one former RAF, oddly one of the former Swedish ones was painted in RAF-style colours, but with Swedish markings in place of the RAF roundels!

Homebuilts and ultralights

The ultralight exhibition area was fairly busy, mostly with LSA types familiar to us in Europe. One different type was the Silver Light American Ranger AR-1 gyroplane, which is available as a kit with a builder assist programme in the US and as factory built for export to other countries (where legal, so they say)

There were very few Ultralights of the American definition, but there was the very first CGS Hawk built in 1981, which is due to be displayed in the Sun ‘n Fun museum after the show ended.

Much of the flying at the Ultralights area was taken over by demonstrations and competitions with STOL aircraft, which consisted mostly of Just Highlander/Super STOL types and various Super Cub Variants together with one Zenair CH750.

One of the Super Cub variants was the Patriot Aircraft P-19 Super Patriot, which is the latest reworking of the

Show Report
Above Silver Light American Ranger AR-1. Above A mixture of Bulldogs Above Heading for museum retirement, the first CGS Hawk Ultralight Above Steve Henry’s amazing 300+hp Highlander STOL competitor.
42 | LIGHT AVIATION | May 2022
Scale Wings SW51

Super Cub design concept now on the market.

Another highlight was the Scale Wings SW51, making its debut in the USA where it proved very popular, although it did not fly. The first SW51 flew in the Czech Republic in mid-2021, a long time since we first saw its forerunner, the Funk FK51’s sensational debut at Friedrichshafen in 2014.

New types

Legend Aircraft, famous for its J3 Cub look-alikes, was making a big push for its AL18 MOAC, which stands for Mother of All Cubs. It is probably the largest of the Super Cub clones and even has leading edge slats. Kits start at $94,000 not including engine/prop or accessories – and of course you would have to get LAA approval… legend. aero/moac/

The Scalebirds P-36 replica powered by a five-cylinder Verner radial has been under development and in build for a few years. It was completed in time for Sun ‘n Fun, and hopefully by Oshkosh we will see it flying.

The Flight Design F2 was the only truly new aircraft on display. Available as a 600kg ultralight, a US LSA and as a CS-23 fully certified aircraft. Powered by a Rotax 912iS or 915iS, the 600kg Ultralight offers a payload of 220kg.

A new aircraft, for me, was the Montaer MC01 N850BR. This was introduced to the USA last year but has been built in Brazil for almost 10 years. Originally a four-seater, it’s now being marketed as a two-seater LSA, and consequently has a very large baggage area. It features a steel tube cockpit area with the rest of the structure is aluminium.

New to the USA, but not to us Europeans, were the Blackshape Gabriel, and Corvus Fusion.

Looking golden-age but in fact brand new, the newest production Waco Aircraft Great Lakes, was at the show ready for delivery to its new owner.

Next year’s dates are 28 March-2 April. I wonder what the future holds for this event, as the main focus of the organisers is clearly now a big public airshow on the weekend to draw in the local crowds with teams like the Thunderbirds or Blue Angles and a few other military aircraft, plus the US airshow staple of single-seat aerobatic aircraft. The ‘fly-in’ which was once the main event, is really now just a minor part of the show. This year I met several pilots at busy outlying airports such as Winter Haven, who had diverted because of prolonged holding getting into Lakeland due to closures for military aircraft or the vastly increasing Amazon Air Freight traffic. Amazon now has a large ramp on the north side with around eight to ten Boeing 737s and 767s coming and going during the day. I am told this will continue to expand in future. ■

May 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 43
Show Report
Legend Aircraft MOAC Above Scalebirds P-36 replica. Above Montaer MC01. Above Flight Design F2. Waco Aircraft Great Lakes

Dynamic duo

A double dose of aviation enthusiasm as Neil Wilson talks to Richard Pike and Sam Woodgate

What started your interest in aviation?

Richard: For me it was airshows. I grew up in Elvington which had some incredible shows. I remember seeing the displays as a kid and that was definitely the first spark. I still remember those moments so vividly, and that’s why it’s so important to try and keep that going for future generations. We try to involve local Scouts, Brownies, schools groups etc as much as possible at Eshott – you never know what you might be sparking when a child sits in the front seat of a Chipmunk.

Sam: Since childhood, I have always been really interested in machines and engines. I’m guessing this stemmed from my dad taking me to steam rallies and vintage shows. At primary school it was all about trains, but this began to shift towards aeroplanes. Watching a display by a Harrier at Clacton Airshow had me hooked, and during the show I found the Air Cadets stand to find out how I could join up.

Once I was old enough, I joined 308 Colchester Squadron. I had some amazing experiences through the ATC, visiting stations like Wittering, while the Harrier was still operational. I remember being kept awake at night in a portacabin by the engine runnings. I also visited Boscombe Down when the Empire Test Pilots’ School

(ETPS) still had an interesting array of aeroplanes like the T6 and Beagle Basset. I was lucky to get rides in a Sea King, Merlin and Chinooks during camps, as well as while assisting at Southend during the airshow. None of the work experience options available at school appealed to me, so I arranged to spend two weeks in the engineering hangar at Clacton Airfield. This is where the maintenance of the Dragon Rapides and Tiger Moths was carried out – I loved every minute of work experience, and getting to work with these types started to steer my interest towards vintage aeroplanes. I was asked if I wanted to assist as ground crew for Classic Wings, and from that point forward was at Duxford for as many days as possible during time off from school.

Where did you learn to fly?

Richard: I learned to fly with Yorkshire University Air Squadron at RAF Church Fenton, as it was then. I’d always wanted to be an RAF pilot, so I took the training and Squadron life there seriously, and really got the most out of it. I had a room on the base, and having already been a draughtsman for a few years before heading to university meant I had a good grip on the degree I was doing, so I spent almost none of my time in Sheffield studying.

Church Fenton was an incredible place to learn to fly. Two huge runways, a full RAF radar and tower service and

44 | LIGHT AVIATION | May 2022
Meet the Members
Above Firm flying friends! Richard Pike (front seat) and Sam Woodgate (rear seat). The duo helped refurbish and repaint this particular T6 Harvard.

around 12 Tutor T1 aircraft; essentially a private base for our Squadron. There was also the Squadron HQ building with its own bar run by the students themselves and thankfully, walls can’t talk…

I spent every minute I could there and left with around 70 hours of logbook time following the RAF’s Elementary Flying Training syllabus. Sadly, following some very harsh budget cutting around 2012 RAF pilot recruitment was stopped completely, and those of us on the Squadron who wanted flying careers were going to have to look elsewhere.

Shortly after, I started flying at Full Sutton on the Firefly, although I really couldn’t afford to! It was close to the Tutor and was a good solid aircraft that could be flown in a similar manner as to what I was used to. After visiting the club a few times, I bumped into Sam in the car park. We had a cup of tea while waiting for the weather to clear and our first plan to go flying together was formed, and that’s where it all began!

Sam: I began flying gliders at Rattlesden in Suffolk. The club offered a brilliant cadet programme whereby launches and airtime were charged at half the normal rate, and in exchange for this I was expected to assist with airfield operations, setting up the winch and launch point etc. As a 15-year-old it was brilliant fun learning to reverse a tractor with a winch attached, and to carefully drive the launchpoint coach without smashing the trays of crockery onboard. I flew with some really knowledgeable and dedicated volunteer instructors – and many lessons that I learned during this first part of my flight training have stuck with me.

My first powered flying lessons were while working for Classic Wings at Duxford, where I earned a 15-minute lesson per day, rather than money. I flew out of both Clacton and Duxford in a C152, and where I could in the Tiger Moth. I was fortunate to receive a 12-hour flying bursary from the Air League that I carried out in 2010 with Tayside Aviation at Dundee, which is where I did my first solo in a PA28. I then had a three-year gap until I picked up my flight training again. Something just clicked that I needed to complete my PPL, so I sold everything I could that wasn’t tied down to get the money together, completing my training at Full Sutton and skills test with the late Cas Smith.

I completed my tailwheel conversion with Paul Jones at Derby in the Cessna 140 the year after getting my licence, which had always been one of the first things I wanted to do to get on to flying interesting vintage types. I am currently finishing my multi-engine course with Advanced Flight Training on a Piper Seneca, in preparation for flying our Miles Gemini, G-AKKB.

How many types and hours in your logbooks?

Richard: I’ve flown around 450 hours now. Currently 18 types flown, including MS315, Chipmunk, Cub, Auster, Taylor Monoplane, Tutor, Firefly, Seneca 220T and the usual flight school machines!

Sam: Twenty-four different types of aircraft in my logbooks, with 443 hours on group A aeroplanes and 130 glider launches.

What’s your current job, and what path took you to it?

Richard: My day job is to run Eshott Airfield and the flying school. I also get involved with the doping and painting side of things once projects in our engineering division progress to that stage.

Before aviation I’d started further education at York College studying construction while working as a draughtsman at an architecture firm. From there I went on to university in Sheffield and studied architecture.

Sam: I did my GCSEs at the Gilberd School in Colchester and then went to Colchester Sixth Form College for A levels in maths, physics, English language, electronics and graphics. Following a year working as part of a gap placement for a youth charity in Essex, I moved out from home to Wensleydale (yes, near the cheese factory) to run a youth project.

I met Richard when we were both completing our PPLs together at Full Sutton and we started our first business venture valeting aeroplanes from the back of his courier van. This then led to respraying and refurbishing aeroplanes. We now run Eshott Airfield in Northumberland, where we operate a busy flight school and engineering company. My current main role is as the Accountable Manager for RS Aero Engineering which holds part-CAO approval. We look after aircraft for both our own and other local flight schools as well as private owners

How has your business evolved?

Both: It came together by accident in many ways. Our chance meeting at Full Sutton got us flying together and like many other people in their early 20s, flying aircraft at £150 an hour or so was either incredibly difficult or simply unachievable. We needed a plan to fly.

We started washing / valeting aircraft in the Yorkshire area. Our charge for the half-day aircraft valet was an hour of flying. We quickly found quite a market for washing aeroplanes, and because we were pilots, we knew what to touch, what not to touch, how delicate certain areas were and where not to remove important things like grease or oils. It wasn’t long until we started upgrading products, charging a day rate for the work and

May 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 45 Meet the Members
Below Fixing a fuel weep turned into a rebuild of Taylor Monoplane G-BDAD for Sam and Richard.

ultimately decided to start working with aeroplanes full-time.

We bought our first Cessna 150 on a credit card for £9,000 and started renting the aircraft out as cheap as possible to offer people in the same position as us, an affordable way to fly.

It wasn’t long until we moved into aircraft painting and airfield management, and to cut a long story short we took a long-term lease on Eshott Airfield in 2016. Our business at Eshott evolved quickly and we now operate Eshott Airfield, the flying school, an aircraft engineering / restoration business and a café. We work closely with the emergency services offering rotors-running refuelling and are also involved in ‘playing the enemy’ for major NATO exercises several times a year.

It’s been a fast-moving six years, with lots of exciting developments to come, all going on in the background.

Do you have favourite types?

Richard: That’s a really difficult question. Firstly, I’ve not yet flown the Gemini and I suspect that will quickly become my favourite. For now if I really had to choose a type I’d probably side with the Chipmunk. I’d flown 80 or so hours in the Taylor Monoplane when I first flew the Chipmunk and I thought it was just a big version of that in a lot of ways. It makes me, or any passenger I take, smile every time and that’s what it’s all about.

Sam: I think the Morane-Saulnier MS315 has to be a firm favourite. Despite being totally exposed in the rear cockpit, not being able to see anything in front, getting a good coating of oil to the face from its radial engine and having no brakes… the aeroplane is a delight to float around Northumberland on a summer day.

The cockpit has lots of room, control inputs can seem almost comical with its huge rudder bar, and because of its size it feels like it lumbers into the sky. It is a totally different aeroplane to all the others I have flown and it is a privilege to have had the opportunity to fly such an old machine. Particularly given that there are very few remaining in airworthy condition worldwide

What was your first aircraft restoration?

Sam: The first aeroplane we restored was a Taylor Monoplane G-BDAD. I had flown a few hours in it before one day finding a weep from a fuel line. Somehow, like most projects go, this ended up turning into a full rebuild. The canopy was removed, instrument panel redesigned, new seat, engine top end overhaul and fabric recovered. Richard did the painting and we decided to go for a royal blue colour with white pinstripes, inspired by the Rapide, G-AKIF, for which I used to ground crew. We were grateful to have lots of assistance from our friend Alex Szymanski and our LAA Inspector for the aeroplane, Nick Stone.

How has the LAA helped you?

Richard: The LAA Engineering team has always been incredibly helpful when I have had technical queries. Features such as the safety section and the general owner advice that Light Aviation carries have been interesting and informative. I went on my first LAA course, which was woodworking with Dudley Pattison held in his garage. Also, on all the projects I have worked on, I have always found the permit renewal system to be very quick.

What aircraft do you currently have?

Both: At the moment on the classic side of things we’ve got three (and a half!) Chipmunks, an Auster, the Miles Gemini, a Naval Aircraft Factory N3N and a Taylor Titch project. We also have been operating a MS315 for its owners.

The business uses a pair of Cessna 150s, an EV97, a Cessna 172 and a PA28 Cherokee 180. We look after everything here ourselves (along with a growing number of private clients) via our own business RS Aero Engineering, so it can be very busy in the summer months! Of course, on top of the aeroplanes we have some vintage vehicles that we use around the site. Just like aeroplanes they have to be constantly tinkered with to keep them happy!

Is the MS315 a challenge to operate?

Both: It really was initially. First, it’s the only one flying and its history as an airframe is amazing. The owners of the aircraft had a personal connection with it too. You never want to hurt an aircraft or treat it unsympathetically, and the history of this machine gives us a real focus.

Another thing that gets your attention is the complete absence of brakes and total lack of forward visibility on the ground, which only marginally increases once airborne!

Although only small by radial standards, the Rotec produced a lovely growl, which quickly brought out a childish grin shortly after every engine start. The Rotec engine had its own quirks on top of the ever-important mechanical considerations of every radial engine.

It drew a crowd wherever it went, which was always very useful as it required at least six people to manoeuvre it to and from fuel pumps. We used the 315 on a number of long cross-country flights, and it was fun to share it with people, so we went to a variety of airfields with it. The most common question we’d get was, ‘what’s it a replica of?’!

Any favourite moments in aviation?

Richard: I’m so lucky to see such a wide range of aviation in so many different situations. I have so many moments

46 | LIGHT AVIATION | May 2022
Above The rare Morane MS315 which Richard and Sam operated for a time.
NCL Aviation
Below The duo sharing some airtime in a Chipmunk and Auster.

that I feel genuinely privileged to have had and whenever it’s possible I’ll try and get a photo to capture it forever. Sometimes of course it’s the day you remember, not so much the moment itself. I’ve had several of those ‘best days’ at the exceptional Glenforsa Hotel on the Isle of Mull. If you haven’t been, you must. On my first visit, I landed with my girlfriend in the Auster to a beautiful sunset and a fantastic meal overlooking the sea. My last visit there was with Sam as a formation with two Taylor Monoplanes, again into the sunset. We arrived a little later than planned (having had the drama of starting a warm VW engine at Cumbernauld) with a few minutes to spare before our dinner reservation. We landed, parked up in the sunset and walked 50ft to the bar and chatted about warbirds with owner Brendan for a few hours. Perfect!

Are you excited about returning the N3N to flight?

Sam: Just a little! Richard and I, along with James Arnott, purchased G-CFXT back in 2019. After leaving US Navy service our aeroplane was converted to become a crop sprayer, having a 450hp Pratt and Whitney Wasp Junior engine fitted. The aeroplane has been tirelessly restored by the Vintage Skunkworks team at Wickenby back to its WWII training configuration, but the bigger engine has been retained. This huge radial gives the aeroplane such a presence and makes such a wonderful sound. The aeroplane is nearing the final stages of restoration, it has been invited, along with our Gemini, to the Goodwood Revival at the end of the year, and we are keeping our fingers crossed that everything comes together for it to make it there. It’s a real privilege to be invited to Goodwood, especially when you take a look at the calibre of some of the aircraft that make up that exhibition. I suspect our other halves will have to make their own way there given the useful load of a 1947 Miles Gemini! We’re looking forward to getting dressed up in appropriate attire. I think it will be white Miles Aircraft overalls!

Can we expect to see you in more episodes of Warbird Workshop?

Originally the episode of Warbird Workshop we took part in was meant to be focusing on the restoration of the N3N, however, due to delays in sourcing parts in the USA and the inevitable slow pace of such a rebuild, it was unable to

fly during the making of the programme, which shifted the focus of the episode towards the MS315. There are plans afoot for a future episode dedicated to the N3N and hopefully filming its very first post-restoration flight. We really enjoyed the air-to-air filming for the programme, flying our Taylor Monoplanes in formation with a Squirrel fitted with a camera underneath. Despite the racket from the VW engine, you could hear the Squirrel above us.

Tell us about your work with Hartlepool College

Both: We have a great relationship with Hartlepool College. Their students currently work with us during a flight and engineering experience programme. The students get to take an introductory flight in our EV97 Eurostar and whilst on the ground we deliver hands-on light aircraft engineering experiences. My role has been in teaching the basics of fabric covering, something the students seem to really enjoy. This link with Hartlepool has grown into our new project – Hangar 57 – a dedicated heritage hangar and STEM programme for students. We hope to share updates on this in the future.

Any aircraft on your wish list?

Richard: I’ve been pretty lucky to have owned many of the cars or aeroplanes that would make up my ultimate ‘toy box’. Since I’ve started flying I’ve always said I want to fly / operate / own a C-47 or DC-3 – and I really hope I can achieve that one day. I just think it would be amazing to operate one and help keep a piece of the history alive.

Any advice to share with other owners and pilots?

Richard: However many aeroplanes you currently have, you need one more! On a serious note though I think a lot of people pay for mistakes by learning through the early years of aircraft ownership. We try our best at Eshott to explain to students what they might need or want and help them along the way, but often people go out by themselves and buy an aeroplane they don’t really understand. My advice would be to get some good advice before you buy, take someone with you (an engineer ideally), and once you do purchase something look after your machine, make sure it’s insured properly… and don’t try and do anything on the cheap. ■

Meet the Members


Aselection of events as spring progresses, plus some you might want to plan for in the summer months ahead. While they’ve yet to publish a list of events, don’t forget GASCo is running some Safety Evenings up and down the country. Keep an eye on its website,, for further updates.




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: 14

Planning ahead…

June 4-5 Pitsford FoxFest Kitfox fly-in

June 9 Sleap SAC VW-powered fly-in

June 11 Bodmin Grasshopper Fly-in

June 11 Welshpool VPAC Fly-in

June 18 Farway Common LAA Devon Strut fly-in

June 18 Old Warden Evening Air Show

July 3 Seething Fly-in / buffet lunch and Control Tower open day

July 9 Monewden Suffolk Coastal Strut Fly-in

July 22-24 Brienne le Chateau RSA

July 23-24 Bodmin VAC / LAA Day

July 23-24 Farway Common European Luscombe Fly-in


The LAA Tour of Scotland is just weeks away! I will send (more) information out to everyone who has contacted me via email. If you wish to join us, for the whole week or just part of the tour, please register your email address with me. This lets me inform Breighton, Perth and Glenforsa, about numbers for food and parking. It also lets me send you booklets on ‘Highland Flying’, and ‘Survival for Aviators in Remote Areas’. Scottish Information (NATS) and local ATC services are aware

and I have been sent me maps of some of their controlled air space. We officially start at Breighton on 22 May flying onto Perth via Eshott on 23 May. Visits to the Isle of Skye, Glenforsa, Oban, flying up The Great Glen, Easter, National Museum of Flight (Scotland) at East Fortune are planned. LAA struts around Scotland will be on hand to help with daily flight planning, maintenance and more. A WhatsApp group has been formed for the group. If you’d like to be added, send an email to

48 | LIGHT AVIATION | May 2022
Season Premier Air Show
1 Old Warden Shuttleworth
Carrickmore Fly-in
Fenland Chipmunk fly-in
Popham Aero/Autojumble
Popham VAC Members Fly-in
Compton Abbas Vintage Fly-in
Bodmin Ladies Day Fly-in
VAC Tulip Fly-in
Sutton Meadows CMC Microlight
Sleap BAeA Get Into Aeros event 13-14 Wycombe Private Flyer 13-15 Hibaldstow PRBA Balloon meet
Compton Abbas Microlight and Light Aircraft Fly-in
7 Fenland
Europa Club Fly-in/Dinner
North Coates Spring Fly-in 14-15 Leeds East RRRA Air Races
Popham Vintage Cessna Fly-in 15 Headcorn Jodel Fly-in 21 Old Warden Gyrocopter record Fly-in 21 Sleap STOL Landing Competition and BBQ evening 21-22 Compton Abbas Pooleys Air Days 21-22 Farway Common Welcome Fly-in 21-22 Leicester BAeA competitions 26 Popham Evening BBQ 27-29 Sandown Spamfield Fly-in 28-29 Perth Scottish AC Fly-in and Meet the LAA days
14 Old Warden Espionage Air Show 14
Where to go
Price exclude £1.50 P+P. Chasing the Morning Sun by manuel queiroz. Signed copy £18.00 Flying Flea £16.00 Stick and Rudder by Wolfgang Langewiesche £24.00 A whirlwind Affair Signed copy £10.00
organiser Neil Wilson has the
update on the event…


Flybox OBLO autopilot

Graham Smith gets his hands on a new autopilot system from Flybox and tackles the install and set up…

FROM €1,278

Autopilots have been around for many years and I have installed plenty of them. Some work very well, while others can be difficult to configure. Just before the pandemic I decided to try out the Flybox Oblo. The Oblo’s most useful trick compared to other units is its WiFi connectivity so a pilot with a tablet using SkyDemon can upload a flight plan into the Oblo using WiFi, and off you go. No need to enter waypoints or altitude. With a tablet on your lap you can drag a waypoint to another location and instantly the autopilot will change course or altitude. I still own my original Sportcruiser from 2006, so I asked the LAA Engineering department if I could fit the Oblo autopilot to that. The answer was instantly ‘yes’.

LAA Engineering paperwork was filled in and submitted, and while I was waiting for the autopilot to turn up I made a new instrument panel so I could mount the control panel and the 80mm Oblo EFIS. Two weeks later the parcel arrived. Everything seemed to be in the box, including a complete wiring harness, servo mounts, servo

pushrods and a very comprehensive manual. The only additional items needed were the circuit breakers for the Oblo (1.0 amp) and the servos (7.5 amp). The manual advises that the Oblo must be kept away from airframe wiring and a disengage button must be installed on the instrument panel, which must be reached from both seats with the seatbelts tight.

The first task was to read the manual. Installation location must be well away from any magnetic sources. A hand-held magnetic compass was used to check stable readings around the control panel with the master switch both on and off. No problems so far. The wiring harness was complete with the molex connectors already fitted.

Routing the wiring harness was very simple and positions for the control servos were marked on the fuselage floor behind the pilot seat.

The servo mounts were riveted to the fuselage floor, but it was obvious that the floor needed to be reinforced as the skin was flexing under load. Aluminium angle was added to the floor to resist flexing under load. The aileron

50 | LIGHT AVIATION | May 2022
Above The Flybox Oblo autopilot system uses a combination of the Oblo EFIS instrument and an Autopilot control unit
The latest aviation kit put to the test…

servo only needed two pieces of angle but the elevator servo required four pieces of reinforcement. Under load the floor was now not flexing, Obviously, installs on other aircraft types will need to be assessed individually. The pushrods came with spherical bearings which just needed to be cut to length. Adjustment would be needed to prevent the servo arms going past the point where it could jam. The aileron servo was very simple to fit, but the elevator servo required an idler arm which had to be cut to length to stop the elevator from causing a control jam. After the servos were fitted and control rods in place it was time to switch on and enter the settings.

The installation manual warns the aircraft must not fly until the airspeed bar thresholds are set correctly, and magnetic calibration must be performed. The servos have a reliable disengage system so that the output torque is electronically adjusted. The output settings are recommended for each aircraft. The Sportcruiser has a very low elevator setting which must be carefully set. The servos have no residual torque if the autopilot disengages due to turbulence. A visible and audio warning is obvious if the autopilot automatically disengages.

Once the installation is complete, calibration must be performed. With the engine running, the aircraft must complete a 420° clockwise circle on the ground. The screen will let you know when the calibration is completed. The Oblo has three different screens. On start up the artificial horizon will show a lot of information. Turning the knob changes the screen to the HSI (Horizontal Situation Indicator). Turning the knob again will change to an altimeter.

· Data: Attitude Indicator

Compass – This is placed in the lower part of the screen. It shows the heading (magnetic compass). It is possible to change the setting to Track by holding the knob for one second.

Turn Rate – Graphical indication of the turn rate. Attitude indicator – With 360 continuous operation in both pitch and roll.

Air Speed – The airspeed is represented with both km/h, Mp/h or knots.

May 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 51 Technical
Above The unit includes a wiring harness. Above The pitch servo mounted in the fuselage.. Above An Idler arm was needed in the elevator control circuit. Below The Autopilot control unit panel and its functions. Below The HSI indication fields.

Slip indicator – Graphic indication of lateral indications. Altimeter – It includes a tape and numeric indicator. Vertical speed indicator – Displays the numerical indication.

G-Meter – Indicates vertical acceleration.

· Data: HSI Page

The HSI page (Horizontal Situation Indicator) reduces pilot workload by providing heading/ tracking course reference, course deviation and other navigation aid. The HSI page needs to be connected to a GPS navigation system.

Actual heading or tracking – Can show the heading or tracking.

Compass bug – The compass bug can be freely moved by the pilot by clicking the knob and rotating to select a new heading or track.

Course pointer – The pointer indicates the currently selected course.

Course deviation indicator – The CDI indicates how far you are from the left or the right selected course.

Destination waypoint ID – It shows the name of the destination waypoint.

Distance to go – It shows the distance from your aircraft to the next waypoint.

Time to go – It shows the time needed to reach the next waypoint.

Ground speed – It shows the ground speed. Course – It shows the course to maintain the waypoint. Cross track error – It shows the numerical indication of the deviation from the selected course.

· Data: Drum altimeter page Pressure reference – To change the pressure reference click the knob and then rotate the numerical value.

· Data: Autopilot control system

On/Off – Use the switch to turn off the autopilot control unit.

HDG/TRK (Press) – Press the button to engage/ disengage the autopilot in heading or GPS mode.

HDG/TRK (Rotate) – Rotate the HDG/TRK knob to adjust the heading/tracking bug. Press the knob to toggle the bug to the actual heading.

Alt (Press) – Press the ALT button to engage/ disengage the autopilot in altitude mode. Alt (Rotate) – Rotate the ALT knob to adjust the altimeter bug. Press the knob to toggle the bug to the actual altitude.

Nav – (Press) Press the NAV button to engage/ disengage the autopilot in flight plan or go to navigation.

Next time – test flying Oblo. ■

Test Pilot: An extraordinary career testing civil aircraft

Chris Taylor – £25

Two decades ago, Chris Taylor burst into the LAA scene when he joined the CAA in the role of Light Aircraft Test Pilot – in those days the CAA had a whole Flight Test department with several TPs covering the range from microlights to Concorde. Allocated to provide the CAA’s oversight of the LAA’s (or in those days, PFA’s) flight testing activities, ex-Navy pilot Chris’ eagerness to get airborne in anything with wings or rotors soon became legendary, and he very quickly grew his experience to cover a huge range of aircraft types from ultralight gyroplanes to warbird ‘heavy metal’ and jets.

His willingness to get involved with flight testing single-seat autogyros made him for a long time the ‘go to’ person in this area, and he was also much involved in developing the techniques needed for evaluating the new breed of factory-built gyros that had taken the market by storm.

Later, along with colleagues Paul Mulcahy and Dan Griffith, Chris headed up the LAA Flight Test courses at Turweston, shortly before the dissolving of the CAA’s Flight Department took Chris into a new direction as a freelance test pilot.

This book tells the story of some of Chris’ most amusing and instructive flight test experiences in a lively and open style, giving a very frank insight into the practical challenges of the job – not least, staying alive, but also the realities behind turning up to fly an aeroplane you’ve never seen before, most likely from an airfield you’ve never been to before, with no ground support – and be able to depart, data gathered, with honour (and aeroplane) intact.

Tales of derring-do abound, but expressed in a self-deprecating style which has Chris as much hassled by traffic jams on the M3 as two-stroke engines that suddenly go quiet in flight.

There’s plenty of LAA and BMAA content in here, as well as a peek behind the curtains of the CAA’s good offices and the intricacies of type certification. From spin testing SSDRs in Wiltshire to engine-outs in helicopters in Poland, Chris’ book entertains and informs from start to finish.

Technical 52 | LIGHT AVIATION | May 2022
Above Displaying as an artificial horizon. Above … and an HSI. Above … and finally, an altimeter.

Understanding insurance claims


The year 2020 was, for almost everybody, the most chaotic year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, and there was no exception for the aviation sector which has suffered the most sensitive collapse in its recent history. Characterised by a long period of lockdown and governmental restrictions taken to curb the pandemic, the measures certainly had a direct impact on aviation.

In contrast to 2020, the aviation industry has demonstrated a slow recovery in 2021. Although, with some improvement, the insurance sector suffered an increased frequency of claiming, impacted by a prolonged grounding period, plus the challenges of the restarting flight period as well, increasing exposure and risky situations, and therefore, the probability of claims. From the claims we handled during the period 2020-2021, some of the most significant occurrences are reported below.

Sadly, three of the accidents resulted in deaths or serious injuries. Luckily one of those involved has been recovering, however, two accidents resulted in fatalities.

As far as material damages are concerned, there were six total losses during the period, with diverse causes, all occurring during a flight, except one, an 'act of god' on the ground where a strong gust of wind unhitched a hangar door. Obviously, in addition, many claims for partial damage were made.

It appears that claims which occurred in early 2021 shows that most of them were connected to flight risks. Why? Considering that pilots were forbidden to fly for almost all the year 2020 and suddenly get back to the sky, they could have been affected by the ‘rusty effect’, as a result, human factors have been exacerbated. In fact, this factor has been considered for a long time, as the main cause of accidents, and a similar phenomenon happens each year at the beginning flying season which coincides with the annual peak of claims reported.

But what if I have a claim?

If you have a claim, remember the following success tips to avoid a stressful experience and help navigate through the process:

• Reach out contact with your broker first

In case of a potential claim, your broker will be able to advise you on whether or not filing a claim before the insurer, and if that is the case, how to proceed, they work for your best interest.

• Be diligent filling your claim

In case of an accident, it’s better for you to be prompt in reporting the claim. Moreover, insurance policies always set a maximum

Paola Sepúlveda

looks at claims

period to do so, which is usually five days, reduced to two in case of a theft. Not respecting the notification period may lead to a denial of the claim from the insurer!

• Provide complete and correct information

The following kind of info must be included when a declaration is sent: The circumstances of the accident, location and date of the loss, report of the damages and pictures, contact details of the insured, such as email and mobile phone number, contact details of the passengers and third parties involved, as well as potential witnesses, in some cases a police report or aviation authority report is required.

You may also need to provide the inventory of the damage, an estimation of the repair, and responding to information requested by the insurance company. The more cooperative you are, the faster the resolution.

Lastly, explain the facts accurately, missing information and omission might result in claim settlement delays for your claim, or even in a denial of coverage if the information is intentionally mistaken.

Be proactive: take safety measures

If you’re able to deal with the aircraft damage, it may be necessary for you to take all safety measures to prevent any further deterioration for the aircraft, and any damage the wreck could cause to third parties. You are not meant to initiate any repair or remove the damaged aircraft without previous agreement from the loss adjuster. Otherwise, the insurer could reject the claim. Be sure to take pictures before and after the repairs, and save the related invoices too.

Stay in contact with insurance broker, who follows all the steps of claim resolution

Claims are not written guidelines, they sometimes take time to be resolved. Even if they sometimes have similar circumstances, they are indeed different from each other. We suggest you allow your broker to guide you. Some cases are more complex than others, and problems or damage not detected at the beginning could arise, so, better stay updated and be assisted, for the success of your file.

Air Courtage Assurances, as an aviation specialised insurance broking company, has ensured, and will continue to ensure, its clients every possible support to face the ongoing challenges and changes suffered after the Covid pandemic – so you are not alone! If you have a claim to report, it is here to accompany you. Do not hesitate to get in touch with us at: n

LAA Partner Content May 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 53
year by your side, Ivon
Benavides of Air Courtage Assurances
handled in 2020 and 2021 under the LAA Member Insurance programme and reminds you of what to do in case you need to make a claim…



Ah, the joy of longer flying days are now with us as we begin to enjoy the benefits of the clocks changing!

For June, we’ve got three great free landings for you to enjoy at Beccles, Crosland Moor and Enstone Flying Club.



Free Landing June 2022

Beccles 07920 067285

Our thanks to these airfields for supporting our LAA members landing voucher scheme. Please be sure to thank them for their participation by buying fuel for your aircraft, or if there’s a cafe, fuel for you and your passengers!

Located in unrestricted airspace, the clubhouse offers tea, coffee with snacks

Monday-Wednesday, with a full menu Thursday to Sunday. Some accommodation is available on site, so a great base for touring and a stay. Please PPR on our mobile number, as there is sometimes parachuting taking place. Be careful of some possible wind shear on final to Runway 27. Have a race at the nearby Ellough Park Raceway in a kart, or visit nearby historic Beccles town. Avgas available during opening hours. Radio is 120.380



Free Landing For June 2022

Crosland Moor 01484 645784

Please PPR. Look out for turbulence on approach to runway 25. Quarry to the North, land beyond the threshold on 25 if possible. Circuits are left-hand at 1,000ft QFE. A friendly airfield , with light refreshments available. The Sands House pub is ½ a mile walk from the airfield. Limited fuel, please ask before leaving your base. Please avoid flying over houses and the hospital ½ mile from runway end. Look out for various TV masts in the local area. Radio is 128.375



Free Landing June 2022

Enstone Flying Club (North Side grass only) 01608 678204

Enstone, in beautiful Oxfordshire. This voucher is offered by the Flying Club, and is only valid for the North Side grass, not the main hard runway. There is an area where you can sit, relax – and maybe see one of our MK.26 Spitfires flying. Avgas available. Radio is 129.880, no straight in approaches, join overhead. Circuit height 800ft for standard aircraft, and 600ft for microlights. Talk to Oxford or Brize Norton. Avoid overflying local villages.

Landing vouchers 36 | LIGHT AVIATION | July 2021 ✁ ✁
✁ 54 | LIGHT AVIATION | May 2022
JUNE 2022
Lima Zulu Services Ltd. / 07713 864247 Help! I’m being over run by gliders Need some nice fabric work for winter AND Kitfox fuel tank repair scheme approved. 0800 5999 101 stein pilot insurance There’s just one specialist on radar Life Insurance FOR PILOTS Not only can you access all our great content, but you’ll get member benefits worth hundreds of pounds a year. Find out more at Join the FLYER Club The new-look FLYER is now live and you can join from just £30 for a year, for a limited time. * for full terms and conditions visit Ref LOGO BERINGER PANTONE 485c WEB : FF3333 RGB 255/51/51 CMJN 0/94/88/0 WWW.BERINGER-AERO.COM Quality Innovation Service Ethics ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓

Deadline for booking and copy: 18 May 2022


Up to 30 words: £6; 31-50 words: £12

Up to 50 words with a coloured photo: £45


Up to 30 words: £22; 31-50 words: £44

Up to 50 words with a coloured photo: £60


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.

WELDING SERVICES (Mobile). CAA approved for 4130 steel airframes manufacture and repair. Custom exhaust systems and aluminium fuel tanks undertaken. Cheshire based – contact Julian Mills on 07976 530 563 or e mail


McCauley Met-L-prop 72D x 41P serial 13566

TCP842 Reconditioned by Brinkley Aerospace Biggleswade. In pristine condition, not used since recondition. Suitable for A65 engines, J3 cub or similar Aircraft. Please contact

Tiger Moth Parts For Sale: Engine frames, Side Fuselage X tubes, Cabane Struts, and tailcones. Most other Tiger Moth Parts available. Genuine enquiries relating to a purchase only please, giving specific part details or part numbers Tel. Shelly 07941 130 585

JPM, Oil filter adapters

Made to order, Continental O-200 -12 from £360 and A65 -8 from £430. All oil filter adapter kits are LAA approved via TADS document, E05. Julian Mills 07976 530 563


Mk26 Spitfire project for sale due to loss of medical. Airframe substantially complete. Isuzu V6 installed (new engine). Requires prop and instruments only. Sensible offers only please.



Award winning Luscombe 8E G-LUSC. Mirror polished and with a bespoke interior, this total ‘no expense spared’ restoration has to be seen inside and out to be fully appreciated. The aircraft has only flown 22 hrs since completion. For further information contact 07802-263669

Practavia sprite L.A.A.permit till August total time engine and airframe 550 hrs ,standard blind instruments of ASI-ALT-DI-AH-VSIturncoord-oil pressure-oil-temp-3 fuel gauges-3 low fuel warning lights and G meter -icon 220 radio -trig transponder and bendix sky map £35.000 tel 07979 500 859


1980 Piper Super Cub for sale. Full C of A and only approximately 20 hours since complete fuselage, engine & propeller refurbishment. Genuine reason for selling. Contact M James via email at: for details.

Eurostar EV97 2000R Microlight fitted with aux fuel pump, or as grout ‘A’ at 480kg. Completed new build. Flight tested and initial permit issued till 19/10/2022. TTAF/TTE 9hours. Extras include Cambrai covers, spare new prop etc., plus a hangar space! P.O.A.Contact: 01227 731 342 or

Corby Starlet Super single seat reluctantly for sale. This comprehensively equipped Starlet is delightful and very economic to fly. Please see and AFORS for photos and details. 01948 820 469


1/6 share 1948 Cessna C120. Hangared Old Warden. Established group, excellent availability, well maintained. £50ph, £90pcm, £2,750. Contact Jeff on


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


Monowheel Europa wanted in flying condition. Please contact 07889 914 853

Safe flying

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 ying.

Please call for more information.

Available in 55 and 195 litre drums for immediate despatch, UK-wide, on a next day basis.

Anglo American Oil Company +44 (0) 1929 551557

56 | LI GHT AVIATION | May 2022
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The stories behind items in the LAA’s collection


Afascinating item in our archive perfectly complements the HM.293 Flying Flea aircraft G-AXPG. It was generously donated to the LAA by its builder Bill Cole for use as a display and training airframe, particularly providing a chance for trainees to learn wood and fabric restoration techniques on a genuine classic design.

The original Flying Flea was the brainchild of Henri Mignet, the first man to really encapsulate the concept of amateur homebuilding for the masses. In 1935 and 1936, his book, Le Sport de l’Air, was an international bestseller and dozens of projects were started.

Mignet’s original HM.14 design, however, proved aerodynamically flawed. Due to the close proximity of the two tandem wings, in certain configurations the rear wing would

overcome the control power of the forward airfoil, creating an uncontrollable nose-down pitch leading to several fatal accidents.

However, what is less well known, is that the Flea flew on. The design was refined and, on the Continent in particular, a significant number were built. One of those behind this renaissance was the Belgian builder Odilon Dubois, who printed a series of journals under the title of L’Aeronef, including a set of plans for the later HM.293.

At the time of printing in 1946, this booklet and the drawings cost the princely sum of 40 Belgian Francs or five shillings in the UK. Today, thanks to the efforts of LAA archivist Stuart Macconnacher, facsimile copies are available from the LAA Shop. The price is £10 – a bargain! Steve Slater

58 | LIGHT AVIATION | May 2022 From the archives

Having built a reputation for excellence in the design and manufacture of light aircraft fuel system components within the amateur-build aircraft sector, Andair has now established a significant presence in the commercial aviation market as well.

ANDAIR FUEL SYSTEM COMPONENTS COMBINE MODULAR DESIGN, SUPERB QUALITY AND THE FLEXIBILITY TO SUIT ANY AIRCRAFT BUILD PROJECT. TL-Sting S4 LAA Permit aircraft OR BMAA Light Sport Microlight (600Kg) See See our full range at Popham 30 April/May 1 The Midland Aeroplane Company Limited Ha ng a r 8, Oxford Air po rt Telephone: 01865 601970 Restoration Servicing Repairs VINTAGE AND CLASSIC AIRCRAFT SPECIALISTS BASEDNOWAT OXFORD AIRPORT
0RDERONLINE LAS AEROSPACE LTD TEL: 01837 658081 LAS AEROSPACE LTD Concorde House, North Road Industrial Estate, Okehampton,Devon EX20 1BQ TEL: 01837 658081
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