Light Aviation October 2022

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As Van’s Aircraft celebrates its 50th anniversary,Francis Donaldson flies the RV-3 that started it all in the UK
See our website for full range Call us on 01280 700020, or visit us at Turweston (next to the LAA) to discuss your requirements. Our Address: LX Avionics Ltd, Hangar 10, Turweston Aerodrome, BRACKLEY, NN13 5YD VAT: GB 793 1777 86 Company number 4417407 E & OE We can help with panel and wiring design through to complete installation. Contact us to discuss your Avionics build requirements and to go through ideas. G3X Touch PFD G5 AI/HSI GTN650/750 Xi waas GPS/NAV/COMM GFC500 Autopilot Supply, design, build and install service uAvionixSky Echo II from £529.00 inc. VAT. Please call us to order at offer price. RV7 panel under build RV9 panel under build GNS to GTN adapter custom made loom for RV9 Talk to us for LAA member discounts We specialise in Avionics supply, design and build assistance for homebuilders. Thank you for all of your support this year.





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


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.

A broad church…

Well, the Grass Roots fly-in may just be a memory, but for me it is a good one. And it was tremendous to see so many members at the show and talk to you all about a diverse range of topics. Turn to page 28 if you want to see some of the sights from the event.

One item discussed at the Grass Roots Fly-in at Speakers’ Corner was that of new types. Steve Slater tasked me with delivering an update on the RV-15, based on what I learned at Oshkosh; James Pittman from Sling Aircraft spoke about the thought process involved in developing the Sling Aircraft Highwing; Keith Wingate, a UK homebuilder who is involved with the team rolling the Scalewings SW51 Mustang kit out in the US briefed us on that exciting kit; and Michael Thompson and Bill Brooks spoke about the Skyfly Axe eVtol. Of those types, work has already begun towards seeking LAA approval for the Sling Highwing, while Van’s continue with testing of the RV-15, just as Skyfly is doing with the Axe. Keith Wingate tells me the Scalewings SW51 could be shown in the UK next year, if plans for a European demonstrator work out, at which time they will gauge the likely customer response.

I had a few responses to my request for new types that our members would be interested in if they were available to the UK market. A number were for the Sport Performance Aircraft Panther, which I can’t say was any surprise. Low build cost and the ability to fold the wings were strong factors in members desire for that particular aircraft.

One I hadn’t anticipated, but makes equal

sense, was for a lowcost homebuilt autogyro powered by a Rotax 912, called the Gyro Technic GT-VX2.

On the flipside, one member pointed out he wasn’t a fan of more types, as he thought there was plenty of choice as things stood, and that the efforts of the Association would be better directed to improving the support to the existing fleet, particularly “… mod/ repair applications,” and, “…visible, active, effective support for expansion of the vintage fleet – one of the ways in which cost minimisation of recreational flying might actually be achieved.” It’s a fair point, and one I can see too. We are a broad church.

Finally a quick note about the magazine wrapping. Member Richard Pike wrote to ask if the clear film used is compostable? Yes, it’s an improved product of the previous semi-opaque film, but remains compostable.

Ed’s Desk
October 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 3
As the LAA Grass Roots fly-in showed, we are lucky to have a wide array of types available to members on the LAA fleet. Should our priorities lie in supporting these first, before thinking about adding new types?
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After four-and-a-half years a Van’s RV-10 takes flight, and Part 1 of the building of a Van’s RV-12iS. Plus, New Projects and Cleared to Fly


As Van’s Aircraft celebrates 50 years of producing the world’s most popular range of kitplanes, Francis Donaldson flies a single-seat RV-3 that was the first RV build registered with PFA…


It may have been a change of venue, but the LAA Grass Roots Fly-in at Popham was a great success


PCS Head of Training David Cockburn discusses the ‘block’ system of scanning. And looks at the problem of ‘muscle memory’…


A corroded and failing rudder cable, battery retention devices, deteriorating fuel cap seals – and a reminder about propeller attachment bolt torques


The 37th International Old Timer fly-in, which took place at Schaffen-Diest Airfield, Belgium 12-14 August 2022


LAA Engineering’s new Chief Inspector, Lucy Wootton, who has recently been appointed talks to the editor about her love of gliding and life in aviation.

October 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 5 Contents October 2022

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

Latest LAA Training Courses

The LAA Courses are a great way to learn about build techniques and keeping your aircraft in tip top condition, so why not enrol and learn or refresh your skill sets. The courses are held at the LAA Training facility at LAA HQ, Turweston Aerodrome, unless otherwise stated. Tea, coffee and biscuits are provided.

Currently available at time of writing are:

Wednesday 19 October sees a Fabric Covering course presented by Poly-Fiber agents Aircraft Coverings. £150.

Ken Craigie retires

In early September, retiring Chief Inspector Ken Craigie was presented with a presentation plaque marking his 30 years in the role. Also on hand to receive a similar tribute was former Chief Engineer, Francis Donaldson.

Ken remains on hand for a little while longer to assist with the handover to new Chief Inspector, Lucy Wootton. Francis is continuing to share his extensive knowledge and lend a hand while he works on a consultative basis.

Tuesday 8 November and Tuesday 29 November and we are Building in Wood. Dudley Pattison presents two opportunities to learn the skills of building with wood at his workshop near Swindon. £120 including lunch.

Tuesday 29 November another woodworking course by Dudley Pattison. £120 including lunch.

Tuesday 22 November sees another Caring for your Gipsy Major course presented by acknowledged DH Gipsy

Smart Skies users wanted

Smart Skies, a new app to help pilots and airfields, is seeking test users. The app has a number of features for pilots

New General Aviation Advocate appointed

Mike Pearson, well known as airfield manager at Popham and a seasoned GA professional, has been recruited by the Department for Transport as the new General Aviation (GA) Advocate to support the GA industry and provide advice to Ministers.

The GA Advocate role was created in 2017 and serves to represent and raise the profile of GA. Mike will build on the important work of the previous GA Advocate, Phil Dunnington, who very sadly passed away in 2021, and on the work of the former GA Champion role created in 2015.

Mike is a member of the Royal Aero

engine aficionado, Dennis Neville. Dennis will explain the ins and outs of these vintage aircraft engines and solve those starting difficulties. £120.

Please note: An additional £20 is charged for non-LAA members. Course information is available on the LAA website at via a tab on the Main Menu. Please check regularly as additional courses are being added.

including the facility to arrange PPR, pay for fuel and a digital logbook as well as social features to share flight information and help arrange meetings with friends.

It’s currently free to sign up, while the test period is on.

Club, an airfield manager for Popham Airfield and served as a Chair of the Airfield Operators Group (AOG). He also served as a chairman of the Blackbushe Airport Consultative Committee and as the Director of Enterprise for Southwark College.

Aviation Minister, Robert Courts, said, “Mike is a longstanding role model in aviation and an ideal Advocate for the General Aviation sector. His career shows not only his excellent suitability for the role, but also how exciting the sector is, and I take great pleasure in welcoming

The appointment is key to the delivery of the GA Roadmap tinyurl. com/GovGAroadmap which aims to make the UK the best place in the world for GA. The appointment is also an important step in delivering the commitments on General Aviation in Flightpath to the Future tinyurl. com/Flightpathfuture

6 | LIGHT AVIATION | October 2022 LA News News

Detect CO with new Lightspeed headset

Headset manufacturer Lightspeed Aviation has launched its new ANR Delta Zulu headset that includes a number of new features including a built-in Carbon Monoxide (CO) detector and HearingEQity, a system which tests wearers hearing and balances the sound in each ear.

Delta Zulu is fitted with ‘Kanari smart alert technology’, placing a CO detector close to the head of the pilot. This measures cabin carbon monoxide levels and provides an audible warning through the headset if levels are high. A Lightspeed App allows wearers to check the CO sensor data visually during flight and also review the full history later.

LAA Service Awards

Each year the Light Aircraft Association makes awards for direct or indirect service to the Association during the year.

The awards available are listed opposite.

If you know of a member whose work deserves recognition, please send your nomination to the LAA Office in the form of a maximum 150 word citation stating what it is they have done to warrant consideration. As the presentations are made at the Annual General Meeting, please submit your nomination(s) by Monday 10 October.

Fly Tex sunshade

Spotted at Popham during the Grass Roots Fly-in, aircraft covers manufacturer Cambrai Covers had a new product on display, which promises to help keep pilots cool in the cockpit. The Fly-Tex fabric sun shade fits inside your canopy using locking suction cups at either end of a rail, which can be adjusted to the shape of the Perspex. Price is from £145. For details visit: www.

The headset also features a built-in audio equalisation system called HearingEQity.

Lightspeed explained, “Through an automated 12-frequency hearing test that can be taken through the Lightspeed App, HearingEQity sets the hearing level in each ear of your headset to create your individual hearing profile to compensate for any hearing variations between ears.”

978MHz UAT obstruction beacon trial

A UK-wide trial of ground-based ADS-B ‘obstruction’ beacons at gliding sites around the UK, which will provide pilots flying with suitable equipment, and real-time warnings that gliding activity – such as winch launches – is taking place.

As part of the ongoing Airspace Modernisation Strategy, the CAA is looking for measures to mitigate the risks of overflying winch launch sites, and other similar risks, using the 978Mhz spectrum.

It’s commonly used in the USA as a secondary ADS-B frequency and for Traffic Information System Broadcast (TIS-B) and Flight Information System – Broadcast (FIS-B).

performance ear seals, cables

uAvionix is supporting the trials by providing purpose-built powered obstruction beacons that will be placed at 13 gliding club sites throughout the UK.

The sites will be shown when operational on any Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) with ADS-B IN devices such as uAvionix skyEcho2 and ForeFlight Sentry.


Like other Lightspeed headsets, the Delta Zulu has high performance ear seals, cables built around a Kevlar core, full Bluetooth integration, and a seven-year warranty. It weighs 14.9oz (422g) and comes with a carrying case, single port wall charger, lithium-ion battery cartridge, AA battery cartridge, UAC to USB-A cable, a cord shirt clip, and a set of personalised icon chips to distinguish multiple headsets.

List price is $1,099

● The Lois Parker – for distinguished service in an administrative function.

● The Frank Hounslow – for service to LAA in engineering.

● The Chris Paul (President’s Joystick) – for services to the Rally.

● The Pete Clarke – for an individual major contribution to flight safety.

● The Bill Woodhams Trophy –for a feat of navigation.

The project, which takes place between 1 September and 31 October 2022 will see the obstruction beacons broadcast only when flying activities are underway at the participating club sites.

Stuart Lindsey, Head of Airspace Modernisation Strategy at the CAA, said, “The trial of functionality such as ADS-B Obstruction Beacons helps us understand and evaluate the benefits of deploying digital Flight Information Services as part of the Airspace Modernisation Strategy.

“We are pleased to fund this trial via the Airspace Modernisation Strategy Support Fund (AMSSF) and that uAvionix has chosen to work with some of our key General Aviation stakeholders to improve the promulgation and awareness of its activities at the trial locations, to deliver a safety benefit.”

Pete Stratten, CEO of the British Gliding Association, added, “The BGA has for several years recorded and raised awareness of hazardous overflights of glider winch launch sites by aeroplanes and helicopters.

“These sites are depicted on half-mil charts and described within the AIP. Participating in the obstruction beacon trial will contribute to an understanding of the effectiveness of using technology to highlight a fixed airspace hazard during flight and in doing so reduce mid-air conflict risk. It is important too that the equipment is reliable and affordable.” ukobsbeaconfeedback

LA News October 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 7

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

Turbi recollections

Dear Ed,

I was delighted to see the feature article on G-APBO in September’s edition. I did, however, detect a few significant errors which I feel obliged to correct on the grounds of historical accuracy.

There were three examples of the two-seat D.5 Turbi constructed to Roger Druine’s original plans – G-AOTK (Tango Kilo, I think rather than Oscar Kilo), G-APBO and G-APFA (Foxtrot Alpha, not Foxtrot Papa). While the registrations did not match the sequence of completions, the constructors were, in the alphabetical order of letters, de Havilland Technical College, Rutherglen Group and Britten-Norman. The first to fly was the last-mentioned, followed by the Hatfield DH one and then finally the Glaswegian ’APBO.

Both the DH example and the Scottish examples had Walter Mikron II in-line engines, while the Britten-Norman one was powered by the Coventry-Victor Flying Neptune, a notable hay-baler flat four first flown in a Piper Cub by BKS.

Much later, the Flying Neptune was replaced by a Continental C.90 and fitted with a ‘glasshouse’ canopy. This work was undertaken by PFA Chairman, Harold Best-Devereux.

Your author associates the Turbi’s rectangular wing with that of the delightful Klemm series and, thereby, the Hanworthbuilt Swallow. Both these had tapered wings and were of a much higher aspect ratio. I do not think there is a comparison and no, the Turbi did not have (or need) wash-out: the form of the wing-tips was an ample substitution employed on low aspect-ratio, parallel-chord wings. This was explored in the low-speed wind-tunnel at Farnborough in, I think,1949 and was copiously written up in the RAeS Journal at the time.

I joined Britten-Norman Ltd to build G-APFA when, following their agreement to construct the first British example, John Britten and Desmond Norman found their crop spraying business created such demands that they were prevented from devoting sufficient time to the project.

The story of my experiences with G-APFA and its unconventional engine has been told too many times to repeat here. Back copies of Popular Flying can be consulted as well as my book Flight on Frail Wings. However, less well-known are certain fundamental anomalies which we encountered in the

building of this aircraft.

Considerable time was spent trying to sort out those dimensions shown on the original drawings as angles. Nothing we made to these angles would fit until at long last we discovered that Druine’s radial measurements were not measured in degrees but in gradans or ‘gon’. This was a form of defining angles used almost exclusively in surveying terminology and is built around the 400 grad circle rather than 360°. We were reading 400° instead of gradans!

Suffice to say, all French master drawings were quickly revised to show degrees.

Meanwhile, affable and mildly eccentric Dr Frank E Roche in Glasgow’s Rutherglen district had formed a group to build the third Turbi – G-APBO. By this time I was based at Panshanger and living in Hertford. Frank began encountering problems in reading the drawings and decided that I was the only one who could help. One morning he telephoned from Glasgow and announced he was coming down to see me – at once!

Remember that these were pre-motorway days, but this did not prevent a car containing a boisterous Dr Frank Roche and his two friends from arriving outside my door at 6.30pm. They bore an armful of drawings – and a bottle of whisky – plus a very large take-away meal for, it seemed, at least a dozen people.

As the evening progressed I helped sort out their problems and introduced them to the ‘400-degree circle’. Meanwhile, the whisky was steadily drained away until, shortly before midnight, they piled merrily back into their car and set off to drive home

all through the night. I was left to stand at the bottom of my stairs waiting for them to slow down… In those days, drink-driving was yet to become a major driving offence.

The Rutherglen Group ‘borrowed’ a disused Glasgow tramshed for the finishing off and rigging of their aircraft. You can see in one of the photographs (below) the day that the completed aircraft was pushed out onto the adjoining pavement.

The resurrection of their fine aircraft is a lasting tribute to the work of my friend, the late Dr Frank Roche, and his team.

Roger Druine was a quiet and talented young engineer, who died terribly young of leukemia. On what was his only visit to England he came into the Royal Aero Club wearing a really badly creased and stained suit. This, he proudly proclaimed, ‘is my first new suit since the war!’ It materialised that quality clothing was simply not available in France and consequently French Customs men were quick to check their countrymen returning from London. They slapped a heavy duty on any new clothes which travellers brought back with them. Roger’s solution was to travel in whatever old and ragged clothes he had, buy the best suit he could afford at our best tailor – then spill milk down it, after which he slept in it! The Customs, he later assured us, nodded him back into his home country without a second look!

Ed says: Arthur, thanks for writing. I did think that if any member would spot any errors in this, it would be you, given your knowledge. It’s a pleasure to print your reminisces.

8 | LIGHT AVIATION | October 2022
Clockwise from above From Arthur Ord-Hume’s files, Turbi G-APBO with Mikron engine outside the Glasgow tramshed where it was rigged. G-AOTK, also with a Mikron engine, and G-APFA with a closed cabin top at Old Warden in 1966.

More Turbi Hi Ed,

Lovely to see the Druine Turbi on the cover – the aircraft that led to the creation of Strathaven Airfield.

Druine Turbi G-APBO was hand-built by the Rutherglen Flying Group – called Popular Flying Association Group 39 on G-INFO – led by Dr Frank Roche (not Roach as in the article!), and first flown from South Carnduff, South Lanarkshire.

When the farm at nearby Couplaw came up for sale a year or two later, the group persuaded The Scottish Flying Club to buy it and gain permission for the farm to be used as an airfield!

So if it hadn’t been for G-APBO – the registration letters are reputed to be linked to Dr Roche’s wife’s initials – there might never have been an airfield at Strathaven.

Built in 1956 and still flying today, 66 years on!

And Strathaven Airfield prospering too, with a mixture of 32 LAA and BMAA aircraft, plus a nosewheel Maule based here, and a busy three-axis microlight school. Very best wishes, Colin MacKinnon.

A return to a July Rally?

After a couple of disastrous Rallies due to exceptionally wet Julys – I’m sure we all remember the Tewkesbury floods – and the Wroughton farmers charging £25 a tow to get caravans off the campsite; the EC (now termed the Board) decided to move to a September weekend, which indeed has been the case for the last 10 years at Sywell.

September has probably not been the ideal month to have the Rally, once again due to weather. I have gone through Met office historical records, and for those 10 years we have only enjoyed three years where the weekend could be deemed ‘summery’. One year the high for the three days was 14° and cloudy every day. Some years ago SBAC Farnborough moved to July due to the unpredictability of settled weather during its previous traditional second week in September, if my memory serves me right.

I would like to promote the thought of a move back to high summer for the following reasons:

1. Almost maximum daylight hours. If we had to maintain a arrival slot system this could be from 8am to 5pm with normal arrivals/ departures outside those hours ( sr to ss)

2. Recent records indicate that July now has

a tendency to be more settled, the last three years bare this out. Call it Global Warming… if you must.

3. I know from conversations with a few of our EU arrivals that with September’s evenings drawing in departures have to be as early as late morning if they are to avoid a night-stop while heading home.

4. With the extended daylight hours and hopefully warm evenings campers especially could enjoy al fresco socialising and not having to wrap up against an autumnal chill.

5. Event traders will enjoy extended trading hours which in turn will enhance rally income.

6. Comments emulating from the recent Not-the-Rally-flyin at Popham were all positive with, unusually, no negative comments!

7. Finally, perusing the current Royal Aero Club events calendar revealed that there were no potential major clashes.

I would hope that this input will promote discussion from within the LAA Board, Rally committee and members of course! From my many years of being on the Rally committee I know any discussion would have to take place sooner rather than later, with the first orders for marquees etc going in during November. If we were to stick religiously to ‘First Weekend’ in July then this would be 7th, 8th, 9th. That effectively gives us a further week for planning.

I look forward to any responses. Alan Lovejoy.

Ed says: Thanks for writing Alan, I don’t think I’d be wrong in saying that all options are being considered at the moment for 2023, though our annual Rally has become quite a familiar event in September to a lot of pilots and aviation enthusiasts.

Eryl Smith’s Chairman’s chat on Page 10 of this issue provides some more information as to future thinking on the event.To other readers, like Alan says, if you have a view, then do let us know.

Tiger Club alive and well!

Hi Ed, Great job on the new LAA mag – each new edition is better than the one before.

One quick correction, though. In the latest edition, the piece about the Turbi says, “… at Croydon, and with its closure, then at Redhill. This too was the then home of the late Tiger Club…”

Well, as a member of the Tiger Club, I can assure you that it’s definitely not ‘late’.

As Mark Twain is believed to have said, “The reports about my death are greatly

exaggerated” (this is a misquote, of course, he never actually wrote anything like this).

The club – and the Turb display team –are very much alive and well, flying out of Damyns Hall, and would be delighted to welcome you for a visit if you’re interested. Many thanks, Artyom Liss.

Ed says: Thanks Artyom. I must admit, re-reading that it’s a gotcha I missed. Sometimes my brain shifts things around to make sense… ‘late home to the Tiger Club’, and I don’t correct it. I think that’s how that one got through. I can report that I know the Tiger Club is alive and well, and have a future adventure to publish from Tiger Club member Richard Vary and his fellow Turb Team pilots in a future issue of Light Aviation.

Sand as ballast

Dear Ed,

The latest Light Aviation arrived today and, while I don’t always read every edition from cover to cover, I do find Clive Davidson’s writing about different aircraft types interesting and informative – this month’s article about the Druine Turbi was no exception.

Being ex-Fleet Air Arm and required to know the Naval Aircraft Maintenance Manual inside-out, I was somewhat concerned, however, to see Clive suggesting the use of sandbags as ballast.

When planning a test flight in a Naval aircraft in which extra weight was required, NAMMs prohibited the use of only two things as ballast; the first of these being people and the second sand.

The reason for the first is, I hope, obvious, but the second perhaps not so much. The issue is that, once you put sand in an aircraft, either loose or in bags, you are likely to have the devil’s own job getting it all out again.

Not only may this have a negative impact on weight and balance but a little bit of sand mixed with oil or grease makes a very effective grinding paste that can cause significant damage to bearings in flying control systems etc.

Clive also suggested you might use bags of potatoes – this sounds like a much better idea… but do make sure you wash the potatoes first! Kind regards, Dr Alex Ellin. ■

October 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 9 Letters

Straight and Level

What next for the Rally?

Over the years our annual Rally has provided a host of reasons to gather together, whether that be to display a newly completed or restored pride and joy, to meet with exhibitors to see the latest aircraft, equipment and supplies, or perhaps to pick the brains of the Engineering team or Pilot Coaches. Above all else it has been an occasion to socialise and renew acquaintances as we celebrate our passion for flying!

After 10 fruitful years at Sywell we were presented with financial terms for the use of the airfield which were unacceptable and made an event there unviable. Despite constructive conversations with a number of airfields we were facing the prospect of no event in 2022… that is until Mike Pearson, airfield manager at Popham, came forward and offered to host an event at the beginning of September. For those who attended the Grass Roots Fly-In it provided something different, and judging by the overwhelming feedback and reports in the aviation media, could be regarded as a success. A big thanks goes to everyone who made it possible!

But Popham is not Sywell and despite its many attractions it has its limitations, whether that be the lack of a hard runway, the limited hospitality facilities onsite and in the immediate area, or its geographic location which, coupled with the poor weather forecast

Updates from the Chairman and CEO

at the beginning of the week, deterred many from making the journey.

So what next for the Rally? I am in no doubt that members want the Rally to continue – but in what format and where? Ideally it should be relatively centrally located, offer hard and grass runways with sufficient aircraft parking and accessibility to camping and hospitality facilities. For so long Sywell has ticked all these boxes. Should it remain a three-day event? Should the Rally become a biannual event alternating with a large regional fly-in akin to the Grass Roots Fly-In held in alternate years in the north and south of the country?

An annual Rally on the scale of Sywell effectively requires exclusive use of the airfield and additional days to set up and break down, costs approx £100k to run – and remains reliant on a cohort of volunteers to stage. Even an event on the scale of the Grass Roots Fly-In will have cost in the region of £50k. Our risk-share model has ensured the viability of the event between the Association and the host airfield, as undertaking the full cost to the Association has been regarded as too great a financial risk and would entail significant increases in charges to mitigate the risk.

We will continue in our endeavours to secure an appropriate venue for a national Rally in 2023. In the meantime, your thoughts and ideas will be most welcome. No doubt it will be a topic for discussion as part of the Open Forum at the conclusion of the formal business at the forthcoming AGM!

I look forward to meeting with you in person or online for the AGM at Turweston later this month. ■

Writing this, I am still basking in a relatively warm glow of satisfaction at the superb, and it seems, popular, LAA Grass Roots Fly-In. As some pages further on will show, the event combined Popham’s legendary ambience with a closer, more tight-knit event and with more than 3,000 visitors on site and around 350 visiting the aircraft, everybody involved can feel proud of our achievement.

As Eryl Smith has written above, we are very conscious that this event, successful though it was, wasn’t a full-blown LAA Rally and we are now looking at what we can achieve next year. Have you any suggestions of how we can enhance our annual fly in? If so drop LAA HQ a line, we’re keen to hear your suggestions.

Sadly, as the personal letter from Eryl Smith (attached with this magazine) imparts, we have some more serious news, in that the LAA was targeted by an account fraud, with a scammer purporting to represent our bank’s security department. As a result, funds were inadvertently transferred to the fraudster’s accounts.

Of course. We are working with our bank, NatWest and the two recipient banks, to recover the funds, although their initial response was disappointing despite the fact that we were able to notify them almost immediately the fraud was committed. As a result of both

internal meetings and an independent enquiry, we have amended our internal processes to reduce the risk of such a fraud happening again.

While it is, perhaps, a case of ‘closing the stable door after the horse has bolted’, this sad episode does serve as a timely reminder, both at work and personally, that we all need to be aware of the prevalence of such crime and take appropriate precautions. Let’s be careful out there.

The summer months have been especially challenging for LAA Engineering. During August and September, we went through a tough time with a high sickness rate and the unexpected resignation of an airworthiness engineer, on top of the inevitable planned summer leave. At one stage we were down to just one airworthiness engineer and one design engineer on site.

First of all, my personal apologies to those whose applications, for mods in particular, have been delayed. Also, my thanks to those members, who having had the situation explained to them, agreed to cut us a bit of slack.

The good news is that we have enabled some solutions. Our new Chief Inspector, Lucy Wootton, is now firmly in post. By the time you read this, a newly recruited airworthiness engineer (and LAA Inspector), Tim Skinner will have joined us, Ken Craigie has deferred his retirement in order to help Lucy get up to speed and Francis Donaldson remains on board as a consultant. In addition, I’m pleased to say the design engineer who was on sick leave has now returned to work. Here’s to looking forward to a more effective response to your queries in the coming weeks and months. ■

10 | LIGHT AVIATION | October 2022
Serious stuff

Obituary Chris

Waddington MBE 1962 - 2022

Chris died in a tragic accident at Shobdon Airfield on Friday 26 August, practising for an Aerobatic Display, in aid of the Air Ambulance, which was due the following Sunday. Chris was well known for his displays, and in 2020 put on a show for the NHS over Hereford.

Chris was an army officer who joined 2 Parachute Regiment in 1982 and served in

the Falklands War as a Second Lieutenant, aged 19. He recently featured in a BBC documentary Our Falklands War: A Frontline Story. He continued to serve in the SAS, finally leaving the army in 2005. He began his military career at Sandhurst in 1980, graduating in 1981. He attended the army Staff College in 1995, graduating in 1997.

His final qualification came in 2002 when he went to the University of Cambridge and took an MPhil in International Relations and Global Counter terrorism.

After leaving the army Chris went on to have a very successful career in the security industry, working offshore in North Africa, as well as many other locations where Chevron had oil and gas operations. He was also Head of Security for Control Risks in Saudi Arabia. More recently he moved into Cyber Security.

He bought his Pitts G-BOXV in 2001 and over the years improved his aerobatic skills, often giving locals an impromptu show. He achieved his Display Authorisation in 2015. He was also a flying instructor, recently teaching young trainee airline pilots how to recover from unusual attitudes.

Chris kept his Pitts in a private hangar on

Shobdon Airfield along with six other Permit to Fly aircraft, and we all joined in helping him with routine maintenance. On one occasion he asked for help with a compression test, and was horrified when we found No.1 cylinder had no compression at all. When we took the cylinder off the piston rings were like confetti. It turned out the engine was old, so he bought a Superior XP-10-360, which improved the performance of his Pitts.

Recently he was having trouble with the smoke system, which was resolved by cleaning out the injectors. I suggested he carry out a test flight over my house near Presteigne. He did – drawing hearts in the sky. The next day we heard half the women in Presteigne thought the hearts were for them. When Chris heard this, he roared, saying he’d ‘have to visit Presteigne’.

Chris’ sudden departure leaves a huge gap in the lives of the people who knew him and especially for his aviation friends at Shobdon and elsewhere. He had great integrity, and would only accept the best. His sense of humour and fun never left him.

Our condolences go to all his family.

The Dawson’s Field hijackings, (6 September 1970 – 28 September 1970) were an event that led to the creation of AVN48B and the emergence of war risk insurance policies. Three airliners were flown to Dawson’s Field in Jordan and eventually blown up with explosives. In 1970 an event like that was not that common, and measures had to be taken to address this kind of risk and the potential damage resulting from such an incident. For this reason, a different type of insurance policy, war risk insurance, was marketed, allowing insurers to face events such as hijacking.

War risk insurance covers hull (material damage to an aircraft), which is insured separately from the hull risk insurance; and covers passenger and third-parties war risk, which is, most of the time, added to the liability policy by an extension clause.

Events such as civil wars, strikes or invasion of a country may not seem threatening to your day-to-day operations. However, aviation war insurance also covers acts of malicious intent, as well as

October 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 11 Obituary For all display advertising enquiries contact Neil Wilson 07512 773532

The 2022 AGM of the LAA LTD

Midday: Sunday 23 October. Turweston Aerodrome, Brackley, NN13 5YD

The LAA AGM will this year be held at the Association’s home airfield of Turweston, in a meeting room in Turweston Tower. There will be an additional hybrid capability allowing members to join the meeting and register their votes online using Zoom.

Logging in to the Zoom Meeting

The link to the meeting is Meeting ID: 844 2173 8893.

A passcode is also required to join the meeting. If your email is registered with us, you will receive an email containing these details. If this is not received seven days ahead of the AGM, please contact in the week before the AGM. Please log in before 1145 to avoid a delayed start.

Flying In

Any members wishing to fly in to the AGM will be welcome to do so. Please PPR with Turweston Flight Centre on 01280 705400 or

The programme for the day will be:

1100 Tea / coffee

1115 Welcome from Eryl Smith, Chairman of the LAA. 1130 Presentation of LAA Service Awards and LAA Rally Awards

1200 AGM

1300 CEO Overview and Members Forum. An opportunity for members to discuss issues and ideas with the Board.

1400 Thanks and closure of meeting.

Refreshments will be available in both the Turweston Flight Deck café and LAA HQ Members Lounge and Meeting Room.

AGM agenda

● Apologies for Absence

● Minutes of the previous meeting for approval

● Chairman’s Report

● Motion 1

● Motion 2

● Treasurer’s Report and Adoption of 2021 Statutory Accounts

● Election of Just Audit and Assurance Ltd., as Auditors of the Company.

● Election and Re-Election of the Directors of the Company.

For re-election: David Mole, Tim Hardy. For election: Paul Bird, Paul Lawrence.

NB: There are four candidates for the two available directors’ posts, so you should only vote for up to two of the candidates.

AGM documentation

The Minutes from the 2021 AGM, the Annual Report, the 2021 accounts, the Treasurer’s Report, the Chairman’s Report as well as the agenda and Motions contained herein, will be available on the LAA website ( at least one week prior to the meeting.


To vote at the AGM you must be a beneficial shareholder of the LAA – unless you have specifically opted out, you will be a beneficial shareholder by default if you are a current member.

Only those beneficial shareholders whose names appear on the register at 1400 on 21 October 2022 shall be entitled to vote at the meeting.

How to vote

Voting is available either:

● At the meeting in person.

● Via the Zoom facility.

● Using the proxy form that came on the reverse of the address sheet of this issue of Light Aviation

You can only vote once, if you vote by proxy and then vote again at the meeting or on Zoom, both votes will be nullified.

Proxy Voting. David Mole, LAA Company Secretary

● You may only appoint one proxy.

● In the case of joint holdings, the vote of the senior beneficial shareholder who tenders a vote shall be accepted to the exclusion of the vote of the other beneficial shareholder.

For this purpose, seniority shall be determined by the order in which names stand in the register of beneficial shareholders.

● If this form is returned without any indication as to how the Chairman shall vote, he may exercise his discretion as to how he votes, or whether he abstains from voting.

● The proxy form must be signed and must show a membership number.

‘Signed’ must mean signed by hand and not signed electronically, bearing in mind that all proxy forms will be checked at the LAA office.

● We will accept an emailed legible scan of a properly signed and numbered proxy form.

However, it has been noticed that scans emailed at low resolution can be almost illegible when they are received in the LAA office, so the wisest course may be to post the paper form.

● Your proxy form must be received at HQ not later than 20 October 2022.

Headset review AGM 2022 12 | LIGHT AVIATION | October 2021


Proposed by: Eryl Smith, Chairman (029493)

Seconded by: David Mole, Company Secretary (037969).

To amend Article 25(d) of the LAA Articles in the following way: The provision currently reads: “The Board at its meeting after the Annual General Meeting shall elect from amongst its number the chairman and two vice-chairmen, the Secretary of the Company, and such other officers of the Company as it deems appropriate. The Board may revise these elections and appointments at any time.”

The proposal is that the Article be amended to read : “25(d) The Board at its meeting, after the AGM of the Company, shall elect from amongst its number the Chairman and Vice Chairman. The Board may appoint the Secretary of the Company and other such officers of the Company as it deems appropriate. The Board may revise these elections and appointments at any time.”

Reasons: When these articles were originally drafted, a Private Company such as the LAA was obliged by law to have a Company Secretary. However, that is no longer the law. Furthermore, there is no reason why the Company Secretary must always be a member of the Board. There may be good reasons for the LAA contracting for an outsider to provide the sort of services that a Company Secretary would provide. It would be very useful for the Board to have that flexibility if it became necessary. The Board supports this amendment.


Proposed by: Tony Unwin (044013)

Seconded by: Steve Paffett (040191)

As we approach the Centenary celebration of the first non-stallable aircraft I would like to propose a motion for the LAA to proactively work to further support the development of Senor Cierva’s Autogiro design. In particular, I would ask that the new engineering team significantly expand the dozen or so engineers able to service these straightforward aircraft. Note from Tony Unwin: It is frustrating to see the vast array of successful gyroplanes being flown throughout the world while the UK lags behind with no perceivable safety benefit to show for the criteria imposed, could it be time to approach the CAA to review this situation? Meanwhile, the BRA would request exposure in the Strut pages of the magazine as well as editorial content when applicable. LAA comment: Unlike fixed-wing aircraft, the LAA does not have engineering nor design oversight for factory-built gyroplanes delegated to it by the CAA, whose permits are based on certification by the manufacturers. The LAA provides permit administration and registration of Inspectors, with maintenance carried out by approved engineers. We fully endorse the need to support the gyroplane sector and look forward to further developing our relationship with the British Rotorcraft Association, which is of course already an LAA Member Club.


Please note: There are four candidates standing for the Board but only two places available. You can therefore only vote for up to two of the candidates.

PAUL BIRD . (010657)

Proposed by: Stewart Luck. (011102). Seconded by: Stewart Buckingham. (031631).

I am a former engineering draughtsman, design engineer, heat treatment technician and college lecturer. I obtained my PPL in 1974, joined PFA in 1980, and I am a past member of North Western and Lancashire Struts. I now live in Pembrokeshire, own a Robin ATL and work on a casual basis for three maintenance companies at Haverfordwest.

Having previously been a Board member (2004-2009), I offer my experience and service to the LAA again, so that I may assist in moving the Association forward in the post-EASA/Brexit era.

I would be particularly keen to mitigate some of the regulatory anomalies that have developed during several transitions.

TIM HARDY . (029407)

Proposed by: James Bentley. (043744). Seconded by: Geraldine Hill (041280).

I have been a member of the LAA since 2010 and have served as a director for the last six years, three of them as Chairman. Coming from a senior management background in commercial aviation at Luton, Gatwick and Heathrow, I am now the UK Distributor for Sling Aircraft, a South African-based kit manufacturer.

Apart from my commercial aviation experience, I can offer the perspective of a stakeholder that can attract new members into the LAA, as well as the introduction of new types into the LAA fleet. I also serve on the Airspace Change Organising Group’s steering committee tasked with overseeing airspace modernisation in the UK.


Proposed by: Michael Gaffney. (019881). Seconded by: Peter Jeffcote. (037274).

My day job is a Project Manager, installing energy efficient cooling systems. My involvement with the LAA/PFA dates to the 1970s when my late father Stan helped build Popham Airfield with fellow Andover & Solent Strut members.

My first Rally was in 1978, then I worked at Rallies from 1985, including installing the Rally electrics. For the past four years, I have been part of the Rally working group. I also formed the Rally Workers Strut.

I gained my PPL in 2001 and part own a Jodel. The LAA has enabled me to follow my passion, with the help of like-minded and talented people. I would like to give back to the LAA by joining the board, whilst continuing with the Rally Working group.

DAVID MOLE (037969)

Proposed by: David Millin. (030437). Seconded by: Tony Gibson. (032408).

My background has been mostly legal, as a lecturer in law, barrister, QC and Judge. As a planning barrister I have been involved in several airfield and major airport public inquiries.

From my Chambers at the top of the Crown Court I could see aircraft doing circuits at Elstree and started taking flying lessons on my way home from work.

I fly from Westonzoyland and am a member of the Devon Strut. I have built a Rans S7S, which has been fun, and a wonderful and humbling education. I believe the LAA does an important job. I joined the Board in 2019, although a novice in aviation, because legal experience could be useful to it and I am proud to continue as a Director.

October 2021 | LIGHT AVIATION | 13 AGM 2022
LAWRENCE (026077)

Project News

Give five people the same kit and they’ll most likely approach their respective builds in five different ways, with regard to what they’ll undertake themselves and what they’ll ‘contract out’, for want of a better phrase. I suppose that we should also add the potential choice of whether to quick or slow build. Of course, we are all heavily influenced by our own circumstances of finance, free time, known capabilities and past experiences.

My feeble little brain started turning these thoughts over when I first read Andy Miller’s account of his group-built RV-10. A type whose performance and price tag are very much at the top end of our sort of flying. As I read Andy’s project report I was pleasantly surprised by the willingness of the group to paint their own aircraft. ‘Why don’t more people do this?’ started echoing around the empty corners of my head. Of course, one doesn’t want an aircraft that costs many years of free time and a significant six figure sum, to look like a complete dog’s breakfast – but how hard can it be?

On a serious note though, painting a non-covered aircraft is possibly the least risky new skill to try to acquire, start with small parts perhaps, just the internal priming, the underside of a surface that nobody will see, and before you know it you’re tackling the whole thing. In my limited experience, spray painting produces one of three

After building for about four-and-a-half years, our RV-10, G-FFRV, took to the skies for the first time on 13 July 2022.

Despite just being a collection of bits nailed together by three blokes in a shed, she flies beautifully – all credit to Van’s, and of course Dave Groves, Christophe Dupre and myself, our little build team.

As a small group of pilots flying out of Fairoaks in Surrey, we started out to build an aeroplane. Touring was our objective so it needed to be fast, safe, economical and be IFR capable. Van’s was the obvious choice, quickly narrowed down to an RV-14 or a RV-10. The extra utility of the 10 quickly won the day, even if there is a significant cost and build time uplift. Then an advert popped up at the back of the magazine for the five kits of

outcomes. A nice finish you are proud of, something that’s as rough as a badger’s rear end or maybe a nice shine that’s full of sags. While we work toward the first of those outcomes, Wet & Dry was invented to help us with the more likely result.

But seriously, have a look at Andy’s report, not only have they undertaken the painting themselves, they’ve done all the wiring and a lot of their engine rebuild as well. I suppose what I was really marvelling at was our collective good fortune to take many possible different routes to end up with the aircraft we really want. Interestingly though, I note there is no LAA training course on aircraft painting – just saying!

John Price has sent in a very informative and light-hearted account of his recently completed RV-12iS project. A first-time builder, he had it all to learn and has happily shared the experience with us. There are plenty of tips for the burgeoning first-time builder, along with an early insight as to the performance of his RV-12iS.

Project News is not only about completed aircraft, if you have finished a major part of your project, tackled a process for the first time, or you’ve done some restoration work, please share that with our readers. To get in touch with Project News, and tell your story, report a milestone or just to send a picture, email: projectnews@laa. Please share your story!

14 | LIGHT AVIATION | October 2022
G-FFRV (LAA 339-15082) Van’s RV-10 Above The build team from the left, Dave, Christophe and Andy.
Inspiring members to take on their own aircraft build or restoration project

a just-started quick build 10 for sale. As soon as we saw it we bought it and transported it back from Swansea! Work was quickly divided up, Dave had the wings and tail surfaces, I had the fuse and Christophe the cabin top. That way we could each make progress in parallel.

At last I had an excuse to build and equip a decent heated workshop with air outlets, tools (and more tools…) and, in addition to the usual pillar drill, bench top grinder etc, the key item that no workshop should be without – a lathe. Defo my favourite tool.

G-JOEY, Aurigny Air Services’ famous BN Trislander, donated its slightly used third engine (the one on the tail) to our aircraft. We stripped and cleaned it, sourced all the new parts and, GAMA in Oxford did a complete overhaul and rebuild, finishing off with a couple of hours run in the test cell. We did a lot of the (mostly dirty) prep work and saved quite a bit off the final bill, as GAMA’s job was made that much easier. We modified the engine, fitting SDS electronic ignition and Airflow Performance injection and fuel purge valve – and now have a solid IO-540.

We designed the panel together, and Dave did a superb job of fabricating, wiring and painting. Mostly built on the bench prior to moving it to the aircraft.

Dynon Skyview screen and supporting avionics, Garmin

G5 backup, Avidyne IFD440 navigator, PS Engineering audio panel and a panel mounted iPad with cooling fan. The switches are Carling and the lighting switches are all roof- mounted in the overhead console, which also provides ventilation and a location for the GPS antennae.

For the twinkly bits, we chose Flyleds lights which was another fun little project for Dave.

When it came to painting, we took on most of the painting ourselves, partly for financial reasons, but also because as a small group, we had the space and the time. Dave did the painting while we helped with some of the prep. At first we set up a paint booth in the garden using a tent framed garage, this did not go so well due to cool September evenings and bugs, so we had to retire to Dave’s garage and make that our paint booth. When painting the wings, a rotisserie helped minimise runs by laying paint on a horizontal surface and also enabling us to paint both sides in one go. For the fuselage, we set up our party tent paint booth in the ATS hangar – and with care and good extraction, we managed to avoid painting all their aircraft at the same time.

For the interior fit, we used Robert Lemke in Germany and while there were a few hiccups with deliveries, the quality of his work is excellent. We were very pleased with how it turned out, a real quality finishing touch and every time we swing open the door we are greeted by the lovely smell of new leather.

We opted for quite a few modifications: electronic

October 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 15
Project News
Left The first attempt at painting with a makeshift booth, soon abandoned. Above Andy’s garage workshop with lathe in the background and the preparatory work underway on the engine. Right Screens by Dynon, GPS by Avidyne, switches by Carling, legs by the building team…

ignition, autopilot, battery tray, avionics trays, ground power socket, fuel purge valve, overhead console, door latches and several more. Perhaps one or two too many. However, it seemed a shame not to take advantage of the benefits of the LAA approach which supports the builder incorporating mods – it’s all part of tailoring your aeroplane to suit what you want and, while they take time to design, approve and implement, usually they cost very little and add some utility to the aircraft. A good example being the SDS electronic ignition and fuel purge valve as every engine start, hot or cold, has been trouble free.

I loved the build, the problem solving and reviving lots of engineering skills, long dormant since my apprenticeship in the 1980s.

By the way… Did I mention the lathe? Biggest challenge was (and is) not letting the project take over your whole life. The build was a little delayed somewhat by Covid but the timescale helped us spread the cost, although the spend did accelerate towards the end with the engine, some avionics and the interior all arriving in the last year.

We’ve now completed our 15 hour test flying programme and after our steady diet of various forms of PA-28, we are simply gobsmacked at the delightful handling and impressive performance of the 10. The RV grin is a very real thing, and with the additional benefit and capability of 21st century avionics, we are very keen to start the next stage of our RV journey.

We must thank our long suffering wives for putting up with all of this, ATS at High Wycombe for a great facility and a helpful, can do attitude, our test pilot Adrian

Bonwitt and our Inspector Adam Lewis who was resolutely positive, pragmatic, supportive and professional, even during our worst ham-fisted attempts to build this aeroplane. We were unable to create a problem that he couldn’t help us fix.

Project News
Above What a gorgeous looking interior, the smell of new leather greets the group each time the cabin door is opened.
16 | LIGHT AVIATION | October 2022
Above Foxtrot Foxtrot finished and ready to go, she’s also a testament to what is possible in a self-painted aircraft.


(LAA 363-15643) Van’s RV-12iS

If I was to write a book, it would be: The Complete Duffers Guide to Building an RV-12iS… I’ve no idea how it started. I just acquired an itch, you know the type, one that you eventually have to scratch.

I was lucky enough to have started flying in my teens and have continued all through my adult life.

When I hit 40 my wife suggested that if I didn’t buy an aircraft soon then I never would. So along with an old friend, Steve (ex-Airbus Captain), we bought an Europa Monowheel. This we still have, then along came that itch, about eight years later. You know the one. The itch that goes something like ‘wouldn’t it be fun to build an aeroplane’.

Now, there’s a huge factor that should be understood here, which is, apart from mending a lawnmower or wiring a plug, I’ve never undertaken anything like this! I must admit some of my friends did think I was completely bonkers and would have some sort of breakdown mid-build – and told me so, more than once. There was an exception to these voices, my wife, the woman with the knowing smile!

So, I planned and thought a bit about what I wanted. Two-seater, comfortable, easy to build, modern, fun to fly and must run on mogas. (I know that this is a bit controversial but, hey, look at the price of avgas at present…).

So, we came down to a Rotax power plant. Now what to wrap around it! I just kept seeing Van’s Aircraft everywhere and people talking about them. In the end, given the engine that I wanted, it came down to RV-12 or

Above left In the autumn of 2019, all of John’s Christmasses seem to have come at once.

Above right It’s time to set about taking an inventory and notifying Van’s of anything that’s missing.

RV-12iS with the fuel-injected engine. I liked the look of it, the build methodology and the fact that it comes as a complete kit. Previous experience with removable wings, as on the Europa, also is found to be a benefit. All you need to source are fluids and paint – oh and tools – the instructions tell you what, and most of the suppliers have complete tool kits. Just add or remove what you want.

Ordering is very easy, if somewhat expensive. Download a form from its website, fill it all in, with colour choices etc – and part with a deposit. The remainder of the shock comes just before Van’s start to crate everything. Now you can order as much or as little as you like, as the build is in a number of stages. In simple terms, the back bit, the middle bit, the wings and all the neat, cool stuff in a finish kit. This I took in one delivery, door to door, by sea. I left the engine and avionics for a later date as I figured out it may be a few years before they will be needed. There were also a few posh options that I added, lights and cabin trim being two.

By this time, you should have registered your aircraft and obtained a build book. This will guide you to what needs to be inspected and when. Getting in touch with an Inspector now is a good idea and having a chat with him is another. He’ll probably want to have a look at your workshop to make sure that it’s OK. Here, a word about workshops. Realistically you cannot have too big an area to build in. But in winter it can get quite cold in a big space, and heating energy, at present, isn’t cheap. A single garage is minimum. In here you will

October 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 17
Project News
Above It’s time to turn everything green!

become an expert in ‘Garage Tetris’ (easy to play but after a while, extremely tedious), but with clever designing, it can be nice and warm in a cold winter. Most builders seem to opt for a double garage which seems a good compromise.

Now, as to the build, well I was planning to retire within a year or two and this was going to be my project to keep me out of the way and give me a smooth transition into a life of leisure. So, spring 2019 all the paperwork went off to Van’s and after a few emails late August 2019 the kit was put on a truck in Oregon and moved by several modes until autumn 2019 it arrived at home. Now to say I thought that all my Christmases had come at once is a bit of an understatement. I had masses of stuff to look through and unpack. Wheels, brake calipers, every nut bolt and rivet, tubes and enough shaped aluminium to make you feel that you should’ve bought shares in an aluminium manufacturing outfit. The dogs looked completely baffled by it all, but loved grabbing discarded packing and running off with it.

It is a must to do an inventory of what’s missing or not. I should point out that Van’s is exceptionally trusting in what you say is missing. You let Van’s have a list, and generally, this arrives by return postage within 10-12 days.

I had everything I could need to begin; retirement was about 18 months away. The wind was set fair. Then all of a sudden came Covid. Within a couple of months an awful lot of us were being paid by the government to stay at home. Never in the field of human homebuilding had there been such an opportunity to say to my wife, “I’m bored, I think I’ll start on the aeroplane.” “Good,” came her reply, “it’ll get you out of the house and from under my feet.”

At this point, looking through all the delivered stuff, I had some doubts and a serious crash in confidence. ‘What have you got yourself into? Where do you start? Will

Above Every few days there is a little success, soon these come together to look like they should be part of an aeroplane. Below Save all your inspections up so there are as few visits as possible. Alan Bennett-Turner, busy between cups of tea.

you ever finish?’ It’s strange how your mind runs amok while you ponder the enormity of your decision and cash outlay. As a bit of a confidence booster, I read through two great sources of information. The kit assembly instructions (the plans and instructions) and a free book, The Standard Aircraft Handbook, both of which are a goldmine of information.

Starting at the beginning, you find pieces of numbered aluminium, remove the blue sticky stuff – fun at the beginning, but later a bore – and deburr. For this there are many, many useful tools. But two come to mind, a Scotchbrite wheel and a Scotchbrite P120 radial bristle brush. The latter being the best. There’s also a hex bit that you put in an electric screwdriver that makes really easy work of the 18,000 odd holes.

Once you have offered up the parts, put in a lot of cleekos, fiddle about with them, measure and fettle, remove a lot of cleekos, you then come to your first go at drilling, deburring again or countersinking something.

The first time you do all this it’s a bit of a trauma, as there is always the dreaded… ‘What if I cock it up? Have I read the plans correctly?’. But by the 30th hole it all falls into place. It then comes to the time when you dismantle everything and move into that world of debate, counter debate, intrigue and, to be honest, complete bafflement. It’s like an MI5 interrogation but without the humour! It comes in one phrase ‘the application of primer’! Ask 30 homebuilders about how they primed their pride and joy and you get 30 different ways or opinions… so no clues here. You’ll just have to figure out what suits you best and how to go about this yourself. All I will say is that most of it is rather nasty to inhale, so be careful. After drying it’s a matter of reassembly and then riveting it all together. This is another reason why I chose this kit – 95% of the rivets are pulled and that does remove an awful lot of faff!

What you quickly discover with the RV-12 is that there is a complete ethos or methodology, if you like, on how

Project News 18 | LIGHT AVIATION | October 2022

the kit goes together. You assemble 10-12 odd bits that make a small assembly then three or four small assemblies go together to make something that resembles something that might look like a bit of an aircraft. You then put three of these together and you will have success. Actual green-coloured, fabricated pieces of aluminium that looks like a part of an aircraft. Moments of success are always ‘just a few days away’. As you go along you begin to learn all the skills necessary, and things become second nature and you do things without really thinking about it. Breaking an edge, for instance, has nothing to do with bad language and damage!

Eventually you will have fabricated something that needs to be looked at by the ‘Font of all Knowledge’ – your Inspector. This is a bit daunting the first time around, but as I’ve known ours for a good many years there’s always plenty of chat, tea and biscuits. I would generally say having as many things as possible to look at and sign off at a single go is a good procedure. But sometimes it isn’t always possible and multiple visits may be necessary to look over the same areas.

As the build progresses you become very skilled at storing pieces of airframe, some quite large, all over the place. Some will even find their way into other people’s homes and garages. The easiest way to describe this is as a ‘micro production line based on a sole operative’. I loved making the wings and the middle bit but found the flaperons somewhat tedious, no idea

New Projects

Cleared To Fly

If your aircraft has featured recently in the magazine and has subsequently completed its maiden flight, Project News would like to hear from you at:

■ G-CMDS Van’s RV-8 (LAA 303-15582)


Mr Stephen Lloyd, Trearth Bungalow, Bedwellty, Blackwood, NP12 0BE

■ G-DUDP KFA Safari (LAA 402-15670)


Mr Dudley Pattison, Ridgewood, Ham Road, Liddington, Swindon, SN4 0HH

■ G-ETOY Casa 1-131E Series 2000 (s/n 2151) 10/8/2022

Mr Leslie Clark, 8 Ruffhams Close, Wheldrake, York, YO19 6TD

■ G-RVDD Van’s RV-14 (LAA 393-15384)


Mr Derek Dash, 2 Beaumont Park Drive,

why, I just did. I will say that building with two people is probably better, especially the first time, as novices, you can bounce ideas off each other to think things through.

This is, in part, outweighed on a solo build, by not having someone to blame for the cock-ups, as all the mistakes will be yours, but

Then suddenly you will look around and realise that you have run out of green things to assemble, and you will have to order more. Here planning and foresight work very well. I messed this up and ended up waiting six months for engine and avionics. This can be frustrating, but it’s something we all go through.

Part two of John’s tale will be in Project News next

Mr A Forbes, 105 Oak Tree Road, Tilehurst, Reading, Berkshire, RG31 6LA

■ Sling 4 TSi (LAA 400A-15842) 1/8/2022

Name & Address held by LAA Engineering

Roydon, Harlow, CM19 5HB

■ G-TIMA Van’s RV-7 (LAA 323-15475) 30/8/2022

Mr Tim Arnold, 1 Rectory Close, Bolton Percy, York, YO23 7AX

■ G-ZTWO Staaken Z-2 Flitzer (LAA 359-14899) 12/8/2022

Mr Simon Randle, 9c Main Street, Blackfordby, Swadlincote, DE11 8AD

■ G-AZHD Slingsby T61A (s/n 1753) 30/8/2022

Name & Address held by LAA Engineering

■ G-CIZR Van’s RV-9 (PFA 320-14506) 1/8/2022

Name & Address held by LAA Engineering

■ G-CLKV Bucker BU131 (s/n 46) 22/8/2022

Name & Address held by LAA Engineering

■ G-IIZE Edge 540 (s/n 0029A) 12/8/2022

Name & Address held by LAA Engineering

■ G-VXXI Aeroprakt A32-M Vixxen (LAA

411A-15832) 23/8/2022

Name & Address held by LAA Engineering

■ G-PGDG Van’s RV-10 (s/n 40706) 1/8/2022

Name & Address held by LAA Engineering

Project News
Above Derek Dash's lovely looking RV-14. If your aircraft has been featured in the New Projects list, please let Project News know of your progress at: ■ Bristell NG5 Speed Wing (LAA 385-15843) 8/8/2022 ■ Van’s RV-12 (LAA 363-15845) 23/8/2022 Name & Address held by LAA Engineering
Above It pays to be tidy and methodical with wiring! October 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 19
Top John's special edition Rotax 912iS.

Pint-sized perfection

As Van’s Aircraft celebrates 50 years of producing the world’s most popular range of kitplanes, Francis Donaldson flies the RV-3 that started it all in the UK…

20 | LIGHT
| October 2022 Flight Test
Photos Keir Williams and Ed Hicks

Flight Test

Back in 1986, I was learning to fly on Austers with the maverick Kestrel Flying Club at Cranfield, and between flights often chatted with an unassuming middle-aged chap called Peter Hing. As I recollect, Peter was doing a taildragger conversion. When he found out that I was a fellow PFA member and building a Bowers Flybaby, he was happy to talk of his RV-3 project, which like the Flybaby had yet to gain PFA type acceptance at that time. No Van’s aircraft were flying in the UK back then, and in fact, in this country the Van’s name was pretty much unknown except to readers of the EAA magazine Sport Aviation

Peter’s project had first been registered in 1979, and between circuit bashing sessions in the Auster, he would tell me of his progress week by week and looked forward to the day when he’d get to fly his hotrod creation. He knew that my interest was genuine because I’d bought an early set of RV-4 drawings myself, having been much impressed by RV designer Richard VanGrunsven (‘Van’) writing inspiringly in a 1979 Sport Aviation about the tandem two-seat RV-3 development.

This was long before the days of ‘matched hole’ pre-punched kits, when RVs were basically plans-built aircraft where one could also buy a materials pack with the more difficult metal parts partially made, along with fibreglass wingtips, cowling, wheel spats and the clear bubble canopy. In those pre-internet days, rather than spending evenings surfing websites with a credit card, one scratched around for instruments, wheels, engine and prop from aircraft breakers or stripped out some luckless write-off on one’s home patch – an autumn gale often bringing a welcome windfall to the PFA homebuilder.

Despite being a single-seater, Peter’s RV-3 would inevitably take longer to finish than today’s refined RV kits. As it turned out, the gestation period for the project was a great deal longer than Peter expected, for it was another 18 years and two owners later before the project took flight. By that time it was owned by Cambridgebased Ian Glenn who had taken over the project in 2000 after finishing an RV-4, G-BVUN in 1995. There’s a letter on file at LAA HQ from the time of Ian’s purchase of the

October 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 21

Above The RV-3B’s low aspect ratio, parallel-chord wing and generous tail moment arm are well displayed here, both important factors in its forgiving flight characteristics.

Inset The letter that started it all – Peter Hing’s handwritten order for the first RV kit to come to the UK – hundreds have followed.

stillborn RV-3 project where, by now in the post of PFA Chief Engineer, I confirmed to Ian that the RV-3 was now a PFA accepted type, Dan Calabritto’s G-BVDC having been the first to fly. I also pointed out that the early RV-3 design had wing structural strength issues, and that to be able to be cleared for aerobatics the project would need one of the Van’s wing upgrades to be embodied – either some pretty major reinforcements or a whole new wing. Ian chose to order a new RV-3B wing kit from Van’s in 2002, bringing the aircraft up to the latest spec and enjoying the huge step-forward in Van’s kit standards since 1979.

The background to the wing redesign is interesting. After a structural failure of a number of early RV-3 wings in flight, the FAA banned aerobatics in the type. At one time it was theorized that an optional adhesive bonding of the spar cap strip bars, for ease of construction purposes, stiffened the spar cap against compression buckling. However, further static testing found this theory inconclusive. The testing did eventually find the spar web stiffness to be inadequate, and possible that of the spar cap strips as well. A spar stiffness strengthening modification was designed for existing RV-3s and a production spar re-design included a thicker and stronger spar web and thicker spar cap strip bars. This was designated the RV-3B configuration. Later a further redesign replaced the spar cap strip build up with a single piece step-milled bar similar to that first used on the RV-8, and later RV models.

Following Van’s philosophy of keeping the aircraft simple, light and, as far as possible, low cost; after substituting the new wings Ian equipped his RV (now

registered as an RV-3B) with a second-hand Lycoming 0-235 engine and fixed pitch Pacesetter wood prop. With its modern-day registration, G-CCTG, belying the project’s 1979 start-date, the aircraft first flew from local PFA’er Derek Burden’s airstrip, near Bourne, in the closing months of 2004. Since then, it has accumulated more than 650 hours of sport flying and moved through a three more owners before being snapped up, sight unseen, by our Van’s enthusiast LAA magazine editor, Ed Hicks, in spring 2020.

The rarest RV

Come 2022 and with Van’s Aircraft celebrating its 50th anniversary, the RV-3 remains the rarest of the Van’s types here, with only four examples flying in the UK. Outnumbered even by the new kid on the block, the RV-14/14A. Perhaps this accounts for the fact that the single-seater has never had much exposure in our magazine. The -3 looks absolutely the epitome of a sportplane, shouting out that it wants to be flown – and the five-point harness is a give-away that it’s an allattitude performer. So having known the original builder all those years ago, it was particularly welcome to be invited by Ed to fly ‘TG’ for a Light Aviation review, from its base at Garston Farm Airstrip.

Ed’s aeroplane gives away the fact of having been a very early RV-3 that’s been upgraded to an RV-3B by the presence, on each fuselage side, of small doubler plates riveted on around the retro-fitted new wing main spar carry-through. The -3B wings incorporate wing fuel tanks in their inboard leading edges, like the later two-seater RVs, while the original -3 carried all the fuel in a single

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Flight Test

tank above the pilot’s knees. There are no signs of a fuselage tank ever having been fitted to Ed’s machine, so most likely Peter Hing’s original build never got to that stage.

Ed’s aeroplane enjoys some very neat custom features. The rear guide rod for the sliding section of the bubble canopy works with a sliding plate on the top of the fuselage, which allows the canopy to open a few inches further back than the standard design, providing freer access when entering the cockpit.

In the cockpit

Another custom feature stems from a requirement from PFA HQ that it would need a canopy latch releasable from outside the cockpit – the early plans just showed internal over-centre catches. Ian Glenn designed a very neat rotary latch with a coiled torsion spring and both internal and external handles, which by clever design would neither tend to work itself loose and release in flight, nor jam on the ground in a crash. It would also compensate for any wear and preserve a nice rattle-free closure of the canopy. As I had signed this feature off all those years before, it was particularly pleasing to see it for myself in the flesh and recall how like all good bits of design, it is so very simple and effective.

The canopy and windscreen on Ed’s machine are beautifully clear, distortion-free mouldings whose condition belies the fact that they were made by Van’s back in 1980 when it was producing kits on a limited scale. I expected to see the odd ripple or two. But no, they are perfect. The windscreen has a relatively slim arch-like frame on Ed’s machine, so it’s not for grabbing hold of on entry or exit, as Ed was at pains to point out. Nevertheless, it was not too difficult to climb in from the wing root walkway and slip down into the cockpit.

The seating arrangements are unpretentious, being a simple shaped cushion resting on the sheet aluminium seat base, and a similar custom cushion fitted into the angled seat back which, hinged along its bottom edge, also provides access to the substantial enclosed baggage space behind. Once seated, the cockpit feels comfortably wide – snug – but not at all cramped. There’s a very welcome stowage slot for maps, iPad or whatnot on the starboard side, while to port there’s the substantial mechanical flap lever, push-pull throttle knob and a pitch trim lever all quite closely grouped together. The rudder pedals are spaced quite wide apart, so one flies feeling a bit bow-legged, but you soon get used to it. I remembered noticing exactly the same thing, and other similarities made it something of a ‘déjà vu’ experience from when I flew a Harmon Rocket a few years ago, the six-cylinder derivative of the tandem-seat RV-4.

Also familiar from other RVs were the very direct control runs on Ed’s machine, its pushrod-controlled aileron and elevator control systems having negligible free-play or friction. If only all sportplanes were like this! While on the ground, the unbalanced elevators fall under their own weight and it takes a surprisingly large pull

force on the stick to level them. In the air, the forces balance out, but Ed pointed out that when landing, you mustn’t hold the stick with too light a touch because otherwise, if you bounce the tailwheel down, the inertia of the elevator tends to make the stick jerk forward in the pilot’s hand, and the resulting flapping of the elevator will likely lead to an exaggerated bouncing arrival.

The prototype RV-3 was equipped with a converted Lycoming 0-290G engine, a popular choice among

What makes the Van’s RV range so special?

When Van’s Aircraft first appeared in 1972, homebuilts were generally either slow and basic ‘retro’ designs, aerobatic biplanes, or highperformance types that tended to land pretty hot, designed to outpace and outdistance certified light aircraft, majoring on high efficiency. The popular metal Thorpe T18 and Mustang II were generally of quite high-wingloading – and particularly those with small wheels – unsuited to operating off a short grass strip. What Van put together in the RV series, starting with the single-seat RV-3, was the combination of an airframe with close attention to drag reduction, yet with a modest wing loading to give reasonably low take-off and landing speeds, effective flaps (ditto) and a fixed gear with proper sized wheels to cope with a cow-pasture airfield. Fortunately for us Brits, Van’s flying activities were based around a farm strip that was home to his family Taylorcraft when he decided he wanted something with the famous phrase ‘total performance’. This strip, which was not unlike so many airstrips in the UK, was a defining influence in his development of the RV range. Famously, the stepping stone from Taylorcraft to RV-3 was a second-hand Stitts Playboy which Van transformed in performance by substituting a new pair of cantilever wings and a bunch of other aerodynamic clean-ups.

For simplicity in construction and benign flight characteristics, all Van’s aircraft are mainly of conventional riveted sheet aluminium construction and have parallel chord wings with a pilot-friendly, non-critical aerofoil section. An RV won’t fall out of the sky if you should encounter heavy rain in flight, as some types with laminar flow sections can, nor will they be much affected by a splattering of cow-pat on take off. All have beautifully friction- and backlash-free flying controls, responsive control surfaces and nicely tuned control harmony contributing to a very pleasant overall ‘feel’. Their cockpits can accommodate 21st century-sized people, and unlike many types, they have ample payload for crew, baggage and fuel. Whether nosewheel or tailwheel equipped, the main gear of most RVs are of slim cantilever spring type where the bending of the metal undercarriage leg itself provides the suspension effect, and dragreduction is similarly achieved through the proper design of intersection fairings, cowlings and canopies for maximum performance.

The fact that more than 11,000 RVs have been finished and flown is testament to a formula that’s remained popular with builders – and made them the world-leader in kitplane production.

Flight Test
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“Its pushrod-controlled aileron and elevator control systems having negligible free-play or friction. If only all sportplanes were like this”

homebuilders in the USA, particularly because this was a ground power unit version which could be purchased cheaply on the military surplus markets and converted relatively easily for aircraft use. Nowadays the engines of choice for the RV-3 variants are either the 0-235 or the more powerful 0-320, offering from 108 to 160hp. While originally envisioned with a fixed-pitch wood prop, one UK example G-HILI has an MT composite bladed constant-speed prop for ultimate performance. Ed’s RV-3B has a 115hp Lycoming 0-235-C2A that originated in a Robin DR315, and a fixed-pitch Lodge two-blade wood prop of 66.5 inch diameter and a rather impressive 67 inch pitch – indicative of the expected high-speed cruise performance.

Getting started

After giving five primes on the throttle lever, starting the 0-235 was straightforward on the key, and with its familiar red split rocker switches for battery and alternator, and a simple push-pull throttle and mixture control, ‘classic Cessna 152’. There’s a push-pull carb heat knob and, well separated to avoid confusing the two, a push-pull mixture control. Ed recommended leaning a half-inch or

so on the mixture knob during taxi and in flight, except when at full power, to minimise the risk of the plug fouling for which these 0-235s are somewhat renowned. With the engine warming at around 1,100rpm, and avoiding inadvertently riding the toe brakes, I taxied out to the hold point, getting used to the look of the horizon cutting the cowl ahead in the three-point attitude and enjoying the aura of the spartan, traditional Van’s cockpit – so obviously designed for honest sport flying rather than ‘leather-clad swish’. My forward view over the nose was unrestricted, despite the fact that I had about two inches of headroom beneath the canopy. The picture looking past those curvy cheek cowls through the flickering prop blades was adrenalin-pumping superb. My only dislike was the instrumentation. While the array of 2 ¼in round instruments had looked alluringly dinky beforehand, once in the action seat the ASI and altimeter were clearly going to be too small to be of much practical value. A Dynon D100 mounted centrally on the panel provides a digital-numeric display of airspeed and height, and while perfectly functional, felt rather out of keeping.

Checks completed, and lined up on Garston Farm’s 09 Runway, I had more than 750 metres of grass ahead. A 90° crosswind blew from the left, but scarcely enough in strength to waft the windsock from its rest position. Ed had briefed that there was little tendency to swing on take-off, but nevertheless, I opened the throttle progressively over the course of a three or four seconds so we could move off in a ‘gentlemanly’ fashion on this first go…

The controls soon came alive as we accelerated and, true to form, there was next or no swing as the tail came

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Above There’s a good view over the nose on take-off and landing, which is a great safety plus.
“The spartan, traditional Van’s cockpit – so obviously designed for honest sport flying rather than ‘leather-clad swish’”

up. With the action unfolding rapidly outside, it was beyond me to drag my focus to the panel, only a handspan in front of my nose, to check either the minuscule mechanical ASI or the numbers on the Dynon, so lift-off was by feel alone. Perhaps forgetting for a moment that I had scarcely nine feet of wing stuck out either side of me, and a coarse pitch prop turning at only a little over 2,200rpm – well short of the engine’s rated 2,800 – I rotated initially a little early and had to wait a further moment or two before we could unstick and be up and away.

Climbing at 80kt, and manoeuvring carefully clear of Garston Farm’s noise sensitive area (the visitor’s brief on their website states with commendable directness that any offender would be summarily banned from the airfield), I quickly noticed that the ailerons on the RV-3B, while beautifully powerful, have firmed-up more than I expected for an RV, even at this airspeed. This perhaps partly accounted for my fractionally premature estimation of the take-off speed being reached, for the subliminal signals from the feel and responsiveness of stick and rudder are surely one’s strongest cues about an aircraft’s readiness to fly off – that’s my excuse anyway!

Gathering my wits as we head for the local area, she is climbing strongly even in a throttled back cruise climb. Opened up fully, we get 2,500rpm at full throttle and at 80kt she climbs at 1,500 fpm, not bad with those stubby wings and 115hp!

The RV-3B certainly loves to climb, and you have to lower the nose – what seems like a very long way – to find

Above The RV-3B begs to be flown.

Left The Lycoming 0-235 engine revealed, including a propshaft extension that makes possible a more streamlined cowling appearance.

Below The sliding canopy is of a generous size, there’s none of that claustrophobic feeling of having your head in a goldfish bowl. Being able to taxi with it open (or fly like that, at modest speeds) is a plus in the late summer heat.

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Below The lovely lines of an RV-3B – all the more remarkable given that most of the airframe is made from single curvature aluminium. What better example of ‘if it looks right….’

the attitude for level flight, whereupon she will accelerate like the clappers.

Up and away, a quick run through the usual stability and handling test points revealed textbook characteristics and on this fleeting acquaintance, nil non-compliances with CS-VLA or FAR 23 design code requirements.

Directionally, either feet-on or feet-off the RV-3 swung quickly back to straight-ahead after pushing either rudder pedal and releasing it again, yet with only the merest hint of an overshoot (‘fish-tail’) – so the sizing of the fin and rudder combination and the rudder’s self-centring characteristics are spot on. Similarly, with the longitudinal static stability, as in each configuration it took an unmissable and increasing stick force in the appropriate direction to hold the speed displaced either above or below the trim speed, and releasing the stick force resulted in the aeroplane seeking to restore the trim speed with a well damped phugoid. Unlike some of the

later Van’s models, the RV-3B showed marked positive lateral stability too, both flaps up and flaps down, both in the response to sustained rudder inputs, which reveals the adequacy of the dihedral effect alone, and on stick release in a steady heading sideslip, which brings into the mix the aileron self-centring characteristics. The elevator trimmer was powerful enough to trim the aircraft out from flaps up fast cruise to approach speed with full flap and power for a shallow descent, yet wasn’t over-sensitive or notchy, nor showed any tendency to creep back.

Manufacturers of certified aircraft spend huge amounts of time and money developing their prototypes to achieve results like this, and I couldn’t help but wonder whether Van had spent a lot of effort tuning the prototype to handle so well, or had he just been incredibly lucky to get it so right straight off the drawing board? Not being an aeronautical engineer, how much (if any?) aerodynamic stability and control calculation had he done when sizing the tailplane, fin, fuselage length, dihedral etc?

Levelled off to check the cruise performance, I get 137kt at 2,400rpm, which Ed says results in a fuel burn of around 19 litres per hour, and a maximum of 155kt at the engine’s red line of 2,800 – this was with not quite full throttle. Vne is 182 kt. Compared to the sort of craft I usually fly, one covers a lot of ground quickly at these speeds! I discovered that 2,300 was a comfortable power setting, as cruising at more than 130kt tended to make

Flight Test
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The RV-3B’s performance, agility and willingness, allied with its gentle behaviour made it a huge amount of fun to fly

the ride less comfortable on this moderately thermic day. At the other end of the scale, I found the speed at which I could maintain height with minimum power setting was 80kt at a mere 1,700rpm.

Slowing further still, remarkably considering its short wingspan the RV-3B not only was still flying at an indicated 60kt, flapless – clawing along with its nose high – it was still very responsive in roll at this speed and most extraordinarily, without much adverse yaw even when ‘feet off’ the rudder pedals. This is a great safety feature because it’s an unwanted yaw developing in a slowspeed turn which is the main trigger for fatal low-level spins. Slowing to the stall required a significant pull on the stick, a slight buffet from 53kt and a positive but by no means alarming nose drop at a mere 50kt. Selecting full flap required a fair pull on the substantial flap lever, dropping the nose attitude and creating a significant nose-down trim effect – but one that was easily neutralised using the trim lever just alongside. In full flap configuration the stall came at just 46kt, with a similar fightback on the stick, refusal to drop a wing and aileron authority right up to the break.


Aerobatics in the RV range need particular care because they can pick up speed so quickly when going downhill, meaning that if a manoeuvre goes wrong and the pilot fluffs the recovery, they can easily go through Vne or be overstressed, or both. Having written safety briefs about this to numerous RV owners over the years, before swapping earth and sky in the RV-3B I spoke sternly to myself of the importance of planning each manoeuvre’s energy management and avoiding the forbidden parts of the flight envelope. After a few chandelles to limber up and enjoy the ‘all attitude’ willingness of the RV-3B, I tried a ballistic roll either way with a 110kt entry speed – taking four seconds to get around, using a comfortable singlehanded stick force that was well short of full deflection. With my SkyDemon-bearing tablet only loosely thrust into the stowage slot alongside me, I was reluctant to go more axial for fear of it falling out. The chandelles had already shown me that a loop entered at 135kt was likely to rise almost 700 feet to float over the top, and let me rehearse the pitch rate and pull that would be needed in the first and last quarters of a loop. The loops that followed were far from round, I’m sure – that could come later, but they were safe, and hit my speed target of 50kt over the top and no more than 100kt at the vertical dive point, from which point I had to keep pulling ‘g’ to keep the speed from rising too far. I really missed the sweep of a needle on a nice clear three inch analogue ASI at this point!

Time to land

Time flies when you’re having fun, but even so, I was amazed to find that I had already been airborne for 45 minutes – time to head back and to reflect, and to write up my hasty notes. Giving the noise sensitive areas a wide berth, I set up for a full-flap long final onto 27, which

would both avoid the dogleg approach called for into 09 and give me the benefit of a slight upslope after touchdown – though with more than 700 metres to play with I should have more than twice what I need. The speed stability and effective trim made it very straightforward to stabilise at the briefed 65kt approach speed. Slowing to the ‘last look’ speed of 60 I found myself sinking below the profile on short final and needing a hefty burst of power to compensate – clearly a case of the ‘back of the drag curve’, which I should have anticipated with that stubby wing. Once over the threshold it was easy to hold off and set her down gently on three points, thanks to the beautifully direct elevator control run and powerful elevator – rounding out at 55-60 she was 10 or more knots above the stall speed, but settled without fuss immediately I throttled back. Ed had warned me that if I came in at 70 I’d float and float. I taxi back to a waiting Ed, shut down and slide the canopy back, whereupon he snaps my own wide ‘RV grin’.

Relaxing over a cup of tea afterwards, admiring the RV-3B sitting in the sun alongside, I’m short of points to criticise. The aeroplane has behaved exactly as briefed – its performance, agility and willingness, allied with its gentle behaviour made it a huge amount of fun, but I’ve clearly only scratched the surface of what it has to offer. Yes, if it were mine I’d definitely want to fit a big round ASI and altimeter, throw out the prehistoric-seeming GPS and run SkyDemon on an iPad – but other than that, there’s simply NOTHING not to like! ■


General characteristics

Length 19ft

Wingspan 19ft 11in

Wing area 90sq/ft

Empty weight 737lb

MTOW 1,100lb (1,050lb for aerobatics)

Useful load 363lb

Wing Loading 12lb/sq/ft

Power loading 9.5lb/hp

Fuel capacity 113litres

Engine Lycoming O-235C2A 115hp


Vne 182kt

Cruise speed @ 2,400rpm 137kt

Stall speed 46kt

Rate of Climb 1,500ft min

Take off ground roll 150m

Landing roll 200m

Range 685 nm (with 30+ min reserve)

G limits +6G/-3G

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Above Francis succumbs to the famous ‘RV grin’…

LAA Grass Roots Fly- in – Popham

01 The scene outside the airside entry gate on Saturday saw homebuilt aircraft of all types, like the new Sling TSi, as well as three examples of the MK26 homebuilt Spitfire mixed with vintage machines like the fabulous Percival Proctor. Weather during the show was generally kind, aside from misty starts on Friday and Saturday mornings, and a short rain shower on Friday afternoon. 350 aircraft attended the show, including several overseas visitors.

02 Flying in on Sunday to become the star of the show was Mack Rutherford and his Shark microlight aircraft. Having completed his record-breaking round-the-world flight just a few weeks earlier, 17-year-old Mack was joined by his parents, Sam and Beatrice, who flew in alongside him in an accompanying aircraft. Mack took questions from the crowd and spoke a little about some of the challenges of his 29,225nm, which took 221hours of VFR flying over 142 days. His longest leg flown was 10 hours (Japan-to Attu, an uninhabited Alaskan island).

03 Spotted walking the aircraft park, retiring LAA Chief Inspector Ken Craigie and the new CI, Lucy Wootton, who had started the job the week before the show.

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For 2022, the LAA hosted a different sort of annual event. The Grass Roots Fly-in might have been a bit smaller, but there were plenty of aircraft, friends and vendors to see.

Words & Photos Ed Hicks and Nigel Hitchman.

Show Report
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01 Working it’s way towards an approval as the LAA’s first 600kg microlight type, the Aeroprakt A32 Vixxen will soon be available to buy as a ready-to-fly type from UK agents Foxbat UK. The latest demonstrator was looking great in it’s blue colour scheme.

02 This DH82C Tiger Moth was originally from Canada, where it was built with an enclosed cockpit. It was converted to open cockpit status and has recently been restored by Tony Palmer from Sussex.

03 Enjoying a very photogenic location among the trees on a corner of the Popham parking, there was a wide array of vintage types, including various Tiger and Gypsy Moths, and this lovely Boeing Stearman.

04 Famous as the ‘Lockdown homebuilder’ on national media a few months ago, Ashok Thamarakshan flew his Sling TSi to the show. Ashok has a new venture, seeking approval for Skyleader 600 and 400 aircraft in the UK as 600kg microlights.

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G rass Roots Fly-in

01 Imported from Germany where it was previously registered D-EJAE, Wassmer WA40 Super IV G-CLJU is a big old machine, with plenty of space for four people. 02 Having initially flown to Oshkosh, USA from South Africa, the new Sling Highwing had been making a temporary stop in the UK before continuing back to South Africa. It was flown into the show to make its UK debut by James Pittman from Sling Aircraft and UK distributor Tim Hardy. Tim says that Sling Aircraft UK has started the process of seeking LAA approval for the aircraft, which has a complete kit price including engine, avionics and upholstery of around £195k including VAT. 03 Winner of the John Randall Trophy for Best Vintage or Classic aircraft was Willem Ronge’s PA18-150 Super Cub D-ESTS.

04 Commended in the same category was Jan Mangelschots’ elegant red Aeromere F-8L Falco III D-EHHE.

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04 01 03 02

G rass Roots Fly-in

01 Beautiful BA Swallow II, powered by a Pobjoy radial engine, was flown in by Charlie and Anna Huke

02 Adventurous German RV-8 homebuilder Hermann Schiele completed an amazing sightseeing trip to Greenland this summer. He’s put together what must be one of the most stunning flying videos I’ve seen, which is definitely worth taking the time to watch You can find Hermann’s fantastic video on YouTube

03 Stuart Green’s lovely Tipsy Nipper G-CIZS was one of the aircraft to delight spotters by making an appearance, as it normally spends its time aerobatting near its home base not far from Bristol. The Nipper’s very smart overhaul was carried out by Nympsfield-based LAA Inspector Toby Willcox.

04 Ian Coates meticulously finished RV-7 was awarded the Andy Nowicki Trophy for Best Van’s Aircraft RV. Ian constructed the aircraft from a flat-pack kit over a number of years, and finished it in 2018. It is powered by a 180hp Lycoming with a Catto three-blade propeller.

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04 03

01 This AutoGyro MTO Sport caught plenty of eyes with it’s great colour scheme that pays homage to the Ken Wallis-designed WA-116 Agile Little Nellie, which starred in the 1967 James Bond film You Only Live Twice

02 James Stringer imported his RV-8 from the USA. He had been thinking of repainting it, but says people’s reactions to a polished RV were so popular he’s going to keep it this way…

03 The appearance of the tiny Z1R Stummelflitzer, with its Rotec 2800 radial, always stops people in their tracks. A former winner of the Air Squadron Trophy for Best Plans-Built aircraft, the aircraft is still a fine testament to the art of scratch-building.

04 The wonderful Percival Proctor with it’s very throaty De Havilland Gipsy Queen 2 engine was flown in by owner James Allison.

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01 and inset Steve Markham was awarded the RAA Canada Trophy for Best Kitbuilt aircraft for his Mk26 Spitfire. Steve spent over 16 years and more than 12,000 hours building the aircraft, which was finished and detailed to a very high standard.

02 Jan Mangelschots’ (left) and friends collected and delivered the trophy for Best Vintage/Classic for Willem Ronge.

03 Wim Beelan (centre) came to the first Sywell PFA Rally in 1972 on his bicycle from Holland, and has returned for the following 50 years, with the exception of Covid, to help set up the Rally. Thanks for being such a great volunteer, Wim!

A cake was cut in Wim’s honour in the presence of David Faulkner-Bryant (right) and LAA Rally Chairman Eryl Smith.

04 Dan Ruiters and his RV-6 from Switzerland at the EAA AirVenture fly-in at Oshkosh in July. He recently completed an epic 132 hour flying tour, travelling 19,449nm. Dan noted that on his travels, his lowest landing was at Furnace Creek, Death Valley, California @ -210ft, while his highest landing was at Leadville Lake, Colorado @ 9,934ft.

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G rass Roots Fly-in

01 Martin Overall (right) won the Prince Michael of Kent trophy for Concours d’Elegance, for his Mk.26 Spitfire.

02 Just a few of the North Weald Marshalling Team taking a well-earned break! Thanks for your work, guys!

03 The Malcolm Allen trophy for Most Meritorious Arrival was awarded to Keith Griggs. Keith flew in from East Fortune in Scotland in his CP 301A Emeraude. His route took in airfields including Compton Abbas, Wickenby, Lee on Solent, East Winch and Rochester, where he carried passengers in exchange for donations to Cancer Research UK. He is estimated to have raised over £1,500.

04 If there was a category for best tent using an aircraft, then BD-4 G-BYLS would be a winner.

05 Toby Hudson, aged 25, was awarded the Liz Inwood Taildragger Scholarship by Anne Hughes of the Vintage Aircraft Club.

06 While a bit of a rarity nowadays, it is great to see a smart example of the 1990s two-seat Pulsar kitplane.

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06 02 01 03 04 05

Coaching Corner…

Being on the lookout

PCS Head of Training David Cockburn discusses the ‘block’ system of scanning. And ponders if he has stumbled upon the secret of avoiding the problem of muscle memory…

Afew months ago I wrote about Airprox. We all know that it is vital to keep up a good lookout scan when we’re flying, because even the most sophisticated electronic ‘conflict alerting’ system can’t warn us of every aircraft which might hit us. For more detailed advice on the subject, I do recommend the CAA’s Safety Sense leaflet 13 on Collision Avoidance, which can be downloaded from its website. It offers a lot of good advice, only some of which I have space to repeat here.

Effective scanning is accomplished by a series of short, regularly spaced eye movements that bring successive small areas of the sky into the central area of vision where objects, which are not moving across the visual field, can be identified. Each movement should not exceed 15°, and each area should be observed for about one second (for those of us of a certain age, at least one-and-a-half seconds) to enable detection. Each pilot should develop the scanning pattern that is most comfortable for themselves, and then keep to it.

Peripheral vision can be useful in spotting collision risks if we are manoeuvring, but in steady flight the thing which is going to hit us will have no relative movement

across our vision, so identifying such a threat needs time for our eyes to focus. If another aircraft appears to have no relative motion in relation to you, but is increasing in size, take immediate evasive action.

The leaflet describes scanning patterns to cover the most hazardous areas, and these involve the ‘block’ system of scanning. The viewing area (windshield from wingtip to wingtip) is divided into segments, and the pilot methodically scans for traffic in each block in sequential order. In my case, after a rapid scan of the essential instruments inside the cockpit, I start in the centre block of the visual field (centre of front windshield); move to the left, focusing for a second-and-a-half in each block, then swing quickly back to the centre block after reaching the last block on the left (where my wingtip can help indicate my attitude hasn’t changed) and repeat the action to the right, in a similar fashion to the picture shown, but extending further to the sides. After checking instruments again, I repeat the external scan.

I have to admit that such a scanning technique can be tiring and I’m sure I’m not alone in finding it difficult to keep it up conscientiously for more than a few minutes. Partly because I’m looking for my planned navigation features in the centre of my field of view, after a while I find my lookout scan concentrating more towards that central area. I need to actively remind myself to increase the area of my scan. For that reason I try to identify likely areas of high collision threat during my pre-flight planning, so that as I approach these high threat areas I can remember to reinvigorate my efforts.

Even in a slow moving aeroplane, the greatest threat is likely to appear within about 45° of the nose, so a restricted scan may not increase the collision hazard too much. However, trials carried out several years ago found that objects the size of a light aircraft are unlikely to be identified as collision threats until they are about one-and-a-half miles away, and closer if head-on. Even if the other aircraft is travelling across our flight path, at 120kt we can expect to cover that distance in about 45 seconds, and if it is coming towards us we can halve that time. Every pilot takes a finite amount of time to react, and the aircraft itself needs time to follow a control input, so I suggest that if we look inside the cockpit for more than about 10 seconds we are unlikely to see another light aircraft in time to avoid it. Those of us flying faster aircraft can’t afford that long.

A dirty windscreen or goggles will reduce the distance at which we can identify a threat, so it helps to keep these

Coaching Corner 36 | LIGHT AVIATION | October 2022
Below How effective is your lookout scan?

clean. Glare doesn’t help, so I recommend a good pair of sunglasses or tinted goggle lenses when the sun is shining, especially if it is low in the sky.

We do need to spend some time looking inside at gauges and displays, so I split checks into very short chunks, and try to carry out a full lookout scan before any check that will require me to look inside for more than a glance, and scan again immediately afterwards. We also need to check and sometimes add information on our chart or PLOG. So I lift these up to a position just below the coaming to minimise the amount of distance I have to move my eyes and the time taken to do so.

There are other ways to reduce the amount of time spent looking inside. Some time ago I realised that although optometrists assessed my eyesight as being quite good enough for a Class 2 Medical, I was having to look carefully and spend time focusing on things like the frequencies marked on my chart. When somebody lent me their reading glasses (I think they were +1.5 strength) I discovered that not only did things become clearer, but it took me much less time to focus, and therefore I was looking inside for a much shorter time.

As it happens I was fortunate at that time to find a company selling sunglasses with reading cut-outs at the bottom, and these have proved an excellent investment. That supplier is no longer trading, but a quick internet search will find other companies that can provide similar items. My legally required ‘additional’ pair are of the ‘half-moon’ type reading glasses, and I use these when glare is not a problem. I have found the ability to read charts and other details rapidly has improved my lookout considerably and I suggest others will find a similar benefit, even if, like me, they are not legally required.

Threats and Errors – muscle memory?

It is always nice to be complimented, but I was a bit disconcerted when I received this in an email from one of our members:

“Really enjoyed your latest article as I sit here in a neck brace following a take-off accident in a Taylor Monoplane. I believe a major factor in the accident was the muscle memory that had me wrongly adding right rudder. I only realised this after the tail came up and the VW engine was taking me off to the right. The day before I had been behind a C90 in an Emeraude, so more conventional prop rotation.”

That got me thinking about my own experience some years ago when a microlight instructor had taken me for a flight in a flexwing, during which he had demonstrated that it was in fact fully controllable, albeit in a different way to that with which I was familiar. He then put me in the front seat and I taxied to the holding point. Well, I say I taxied, in fact I immediately realised that 10,000 hours in three-axis aeroplanes and gliders had so conditioned me to apply rudder in what was now a natural sense to

Above If you swap between different types, could your ‘muscle memory’ get you into trouble?

counter yaw that I was totally unable to steer the thing on the ground, even though as a schoolboy I had driven soap box carts which also steer by pushing the opposite foot to the intended turn. I declined his offer to fly the take-off because I was sure I’d kill us both, and I’ve stuck to three-axis aircraft ever since.

However, I’ve happily flown more than 1,000 hours behind Gipsy engines (mainly on Chipmunks) and a lot more on engines which rotate the other way, including quite a few on Chipmunks with Lycomings, so a change in engine rotation can’t be having the same effect on my brain as the change in steering effect. Have I discovered the secret of avoiding the problem of muscle memory?

Well actually, I think the reason I could adjust for whichever engine rotation I’m faced with was that at an early stage in my flying I did a lot less studying about the aircraft I was due to fly than I should have. I could never remember which way any particular aircraft was going to yaw when I applied power, so unconsciously my threat and error management consisted of preparing myself for it to surprise me. I can’t pre-condition myself so I have to be ready to apply rudder to counter whatever yaw I see actually starting (although I have to remember, it will try to yaw – I did have a bit of a surprise when I started to take-off in a twin without contra-rotating propellers).

Of course, as a glider pilot I am very used to operating the rudder in flight, because even at relatively high speed they not only have to counter aileron drag, but the secondary effect also assists roll control.

The same applies in an aeroplane, especially at low speeds, but they are also needed to counter unwanted yaw from the engine torque. I imagine the vast majority of my readers are experienced in identifying unwanted yaw and co-ordinating their stick and rudder, but if you feel your aircraft handling would benefit from some guidance, I suggest you contact your local Coach.

Details can be found on the Pilot Coaching Scheme part of the LAA website. ■

October 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 37
Coaching Corner


latest LAA Engineering topics and investigations. Compiled by Jerry

Engineering Matters

Including: Corroded and failing rudder cable, battery retention device specifications, deteriorating fuel cap seals and a reminder about propeller attachment bolt torque

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. We all learn by sharing information, so if you have anything to

say that you think would benefit others, or have experienced an interesting technical issue or component failure, then please contact us with a description of what you encountered and include accompanying pictures. Send your submissions to LAA Engineering at

At the LAA Popham Grass Roots fly-in, Pulsar builder and flyer Ron Oliver kindly presented me with a failing rudder cable from his aircraft.

The aircraft has been flying since 1998 and this year he removed the multi-strand rudder cables during the annual inspection.

Ron was surprised to find that the cable had corroded badly (to the point the wire strands broke when the cable was flexed) where it runs through a nylon guide tube in the cockpit area.

Obviously, this part of the cable cannot be seen without removing it from the guide tube.

38 | LIGHT AVIATION | October 2022
Pulsar rudder cable Right The corroded and failing multistrand rudder cable as removed from the Pulsar.

LAA Inspector David Smith was recently carrying out a Permit to Fly revalidation inspection on a Rans S6 Coyote and decided to drain the fuel tanks, as the fuel was possibly over a year old.

Battery retention

During the investigation into a fatal accident involving an LAA administered aircraft, it was found that the battery had been released from its mounting position during the incident. In actual fact, the box that it had been sitting in had failed as well, breaking away from its mounting base.

For LAA administered aircraft, an aircraft design is checked against Certification Specification CS-VLA. In CS-VLA, it is stated that the battery retention device must be able to cope with a forward load of 9g and a sideward load of 1.5g. These requirements are specifically for emergency landing conditions, to ensure that the battery doesn’t become a lethal weapon in an otherwise survivable crash landing.

Of course, CS-VLA also requires the battery retention device be designed to cope with the maximum manoeuvring, gust, and landing load factors of the aircraft, so that it won’t come loose in normal operation.

Although the accident aircraft might well have seen forward loads in excess of 9g in the accident, the battery box appeared very ‘under-engineered’ and likely failed at a much lower load.

It is generally considered that fabric retention straps are not satisfactory, unless they have been called up in the original (accepted) plans or drawings.

Left top and bottom The battery ‘box’ as found following a fatal accident to an LAA aircraft, showing the poor quality of the ‘box’ and a hook and loop retention strap.

The photograph shows what David found inside the tank. The remains of the fuel cap seals, which had degraded sufficiently to be able to fall into the fuel tanks. This aircraft has apparently been run

on mogas, but regardless of the fuel type used, it is best to regularly check the condition of the fuel cap seals and avoid allowing them (or anything else) to fall into the tank.

Left The remains of the fuel cap seals as removed from the Rans S6 fuel tanks (the pen gives scale to the bits of the seals – it was not found inside a fuel tank).

October 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 39 Engineering Matters
Rans S6 fuel cap washers

Propeller attachment bolt torque

LAA Inspector Ray Harper has reported that he recently looked at an aircraft with a poorly varnished wooden propeller. With the extremes of weather/temperature/humidity, which have recently been experienced in the UK, the poor surface protection allowed the wood to ‘breath’ and expand or contract even more than it would have if properly protected.

In this instance, Ray insisted that the spinner was removed which was fortuitous, as it revealed that the propeller retaining bolts were only finger tight.

It is imperative that propeller retaining bolts are frequently checked to ensure that they are maintained to the correct torque, particularly with large weather variations, be it seasonal or as experienced, in the case of the recent hot weather.

On aircraft which involve wooden airframe structures (such as Tiger Moths, Jodels and Pioneers etc) the various attachments to, or through, the wood must also be closely monitored. When retractable, undercarriage systems are installed to wooden airframes, it is very easy for the adjustments to become ‘out of limits’ due to the airframe effectively changing size relative to the metal undercarriage parts.

Pioneer 300 inboard flap brackets

Ben Davis has reported that during inspections, he has found a number of Pioneer 300 aircraft with a loose inboard flap hinge bracket where it attaches to the wing rear spar.

The wire-locking on the flap bracket attachment bolts has still been present, therefore it is not a case of the attachment bolts working loose by rotation. It may be another occurrence of the effects of seasonal and other weather changes.

Spinner failure

Propeller spinners are easily overlooked when it comes to inspections – both pre-flight and scheduled. The forces imposed on them are immense and when they fail, they can easily cause damage elsewhere as they depart the scene.

Composite spinners may not show obvious signs of damage that may be caused by a bird strike or simply people pushing on them when ground handling the aircraft (not a good idea at any time, but it happens).

Attempts are sometimes made at repairing cracked metal spinner by welding, but these rarely last for long and patches riveted over cracks can upset the balance of the spinner/ propeller assembly, and the same out of balance issue can result from repairs to composite spinners.

It isn’t only the spinner itself but the backplate to which it attaches that can suffer – and it is quite common to find these cracked as well.

40 | LIGHT AVIATION | October 2022 Engineering Matters
Above, left and right The tightness of propeller bolts will change with seasonal conditions, so it’s important to check on them, particularly with large weather variations. Above The gap between the bracket and the rear spar can be seen, despite the bolt heads being wire-locked. Above A failed composite spinner. It would probably not be long before the rest of the spinner disappeared as well.

Eurofox rudder torque tube failure

As discussed a number of times previously in Engineering Matters, aircraft involved in glider towing operations work hard for their living.

One LAA-administered Eurofox used for towing has suffered a failure in the rudder pedal torque tube. The failure occurred at the base of the pedal support tube where it welded to the torque tube.

Failures of rudder torgue tubes are familiar to experienced Cessna 150/152 engineers and we have had a report some years ago of a similar failure to another Eurofox tug.

The location of the rudder pedal torque tube deep down in the cockpit, does not make inspection easy, and they are inherently dirty from the outside world detritus

LAA Engineering housekeeping

FWR-1 Engine and Propeller Designations LAA Engineering is continuing to check the internal database against what is recorded on an aircraft’s Operating Limitations document and the FWR-1 Permit to Fly revalidation application when they are received.

What is recorded on the FWR-1, is in turn checking the engine and propeller designation of what is actually fitted to the aircraft against what the Operating Limitations document. When there is a discrepancy, it is often reported that what has been recorded on the FWR-1 is what is stated in the applicable logbook.

Inspectors should check that the information recorded in the logbooks are the complete designations and align with the Operating Limitations document, and what the data plate or placard on the engine and propeller state.

LAA Engineering charges

Up to 450kg

to 999kg

Four-seat aircraft

Category change

being dragged into the cockpit on the soles of shoes worn by the crew. This difficulty in inspection, is compounded by the like of manufacturers to paint components black – exactly the same colour as cracks.

Manufacturers may call up for the rudder pedal assemblies to be lubricated and their specific requirements should be followed. Oiling or greasing rudder pedal assemblies should be done with caution and only if specified by a manufacturer, due to the likelihood of dirt sticking to the lubricant, accelerating wear. Normally, it would be better to use some form of ‘dry’ lubricant in these areas.

Left The failed Eurofox rudder torque tube.

Emails going to spam and junk folders For reasons best known to ‘someone else somewhere’, there still appears to be a higher than normal proportion of emails sent from LAA Engineering that are going straight into recipients’ spam or junk folders.

If you are expecting an email from LAA Engineering and it has not appeared, please check your spam or junk folder, and if you can, add to your email providers’ ‘safe address’ list.

Email subject headings It really assists LAA Engineering if emails include the registration of your aircraft in the email subject heading. Some emails we receive never mention the aircraft registration at all in the entire email! ■

Recent Alerts & AILs

Please note the Engineering section of the LAA website has the most current information.

LAA TSB: TSB-001-2022

Applicability: All Europa aircraft

Europa: Door latch system stop

CAA MPD: 2022-003

LAA AIL: MOD/247/012

LAA Alert: LAA/AWA/21/08





Change of G-Registration fee

Note: CAA MPD 2022-003 has now been corrected as of 22 June 2022


Applicability: MTV-( ) Variable Pitch Propellers

Subject: Propeller Blade Lag Screw Replacement EASA AD 2022-0134

Note: Please see the MT Propeller TADS P17 link to the ‘EASA AD Safety Publishing Tool’ for further info.


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


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.

Applicability: All Sling aircraft types and serials

Subject: Eyebolt inspection and conditional replacement Sling Service Bulletin #0020

Note: It has been found that the eyebolts fitted in the control system of certain Sling aircraft may fail to meet the manufacturer’s specification in regard to fatigue life. Such eyebolts are identifiable by the narrowness of the neck of the eyebolt above the bolt thread. This service bulletin details the procedures for inspection and replacement of such eyebolts in the various control systems.

October 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 41 Engineering Matters
Registration Kit Built Aircraft £300 Plans Built Aircraft £50 Initial Permit issue Up to 450kg £450 451-999kg £550 1,000kg and above £650
Up to 450kg £170 451-999kg £220
LAA Project
(can now be paid online via LAA Shop)
1,000kg and above
£150 451
£250 1,000kg
(from C of A to Permit or CAA Permit to LAA Permit) £350
and above
Manufacturer’s/agent’s type acceptance fee
Project registration royalty
Group A to microlight
Microlight to Group A
Issue of Permit documents following G-Reg change


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.

the Sling Highwings on our Expedition page - visit Follow

RSA Rally – 2022

Brian Hope heads to France for the premier French homebuilding fly-in…

The French Homebuilders Rally, organised by France’s equivalent to the LAA, the Reseau du Sport de l’Air, has long been one of my favourite events, so I was delighted to see its return in late July following cancellations in 2020 and 2021. The event is currently held at Brienne Le Chateau, a former military airfield about 90 miles south-east of Paris that dates back to 1913, but saw its last military activities in 1965 when it ceased operations as a NATO base.

Today it is home to a flying club, a parachute school and a number of private owners.

Us Brits have generally been quite supportive of RSA Rallies over the years, but we scarcely made double figures of G-reg aircraft this year – poor weather forecasts in parts of the UK on the Friday may well have put paid to a number of intending attendees.

As it was, there was a healthy number of arrivals on the Saturday, nothing like the 600-plus seen in the heydays of the event in the 1990s, but certainly plenty of interest. The French amateur aviation scene has always been rather quirky and inventive, its rules somewhat more encouraging for sport aircraft designers.

01 Béryl This absolutely stunning CP752B-AR Béryl was built by Alain Réaut and made its first flight last year. The design dates back to the CP70 of the 1960s, a tandem variant of Claude Piel’s Emeraude which was later developed into the aerobatic CP750 by replacing the wooden fuselage with a longer steel tube version and shortening the wingspan. Power is courtesy of a 200hp Lycoming.

02 Sidewinder The Smyth Sidewinder is a very rare bird in Europe. There used to be one in the UK which I last saw languishing in a hangar at Abbeville, but this example is almost certainly not that one. It appeared to be powered by a Jabiru, they were generally built Lycoming powered, and were a contemporary of the Thorp T18, although the fuselage was aluminium on steel tube, as opposed to an all alloy monocoque.

03 Dreamspitts Dreamspitts 001 is an almost completed variation of an American ultralight (possibly Ragwing Pitts) and should fly before year end. Power is via a 100hp Rotax 912.

04 Croses No RSA Rally would be complete without a Pou du Ciel, and there were a couple of Croses designs in attendance, this 80hp Jabiru CLP being one. Although the traditional ‘Fleas’ were two-axis, relying on the secondary effect of rudder to provide roll, the Croses has mini ailerons mounted inboard on the rear wing to provide a degree of roll input, which makes crosswind landings less of a challenge.

05 Vaxell engine This early prototype engine is from Vaxell, an aircraft engine spin-off of Polish company Swiatek, which has four decades of expertise in automotive engine tuning and camshaft design and manufacture. Its major aviation engines have been based on the Type 1 VW Beetle motors, fitted with multi-point fuel injection and dual electronic ignition, although they also produce a 35hp V-twin for ultralights.

Plans are to produce this lightweight, flat twin, reduction drive, fuel-injected and electronic-ignited unit in 35, 45 and 55hp versions.

If you’re looking for something a little different next season, why not nip across La Manche and see how it’s ordered in France, you won’t be disappointed!

October 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 43
01 05 Show Report 02 03 04

Old Timers returns

Nigel Hitchman reports from the 37th International Old Timer fly-in, which took place at Schaffen-Diest Airfield, Belgium 12-14 August 2022

Nowadays Schaffen-Diest Airfield is used by the Belgian military for parachute training during the week, and by the Diest Aeroclub, which flies gliders at the weekend. An undulating, all-grass airfield with a 600m runway, the first Old Timer fly-in was held there in 1979, and have been continued nearly every year since. They are organised by the Diest Aeroclub – Guy Valvekens the man in charge for most of the events. Guy still greets many pilots as they arrive, and it’s his enthusiasm and hard work that is the reason the fly-in has been so successful, along with the hard work put in by all the volunteers who support the event.

The fly-in started with just a few aircraft, but soon grew to a much bigger event, and in the mid-1990s had more than 400 aircraft attending for several years, and it was probably the biggest mostly vintage fly-in in Europe.

Today it’s a smaller event and the vintage vehicle attendance has grown. For many LAA members it was perhaps the first foreign fly-in they went to along with the RSA Rally. Having been to one RSA Rally in 1986, I first went to Schaffen-Diest in 1988 (by airliner and train)

inspired by the write-ups by Dave Wise in the PFA magazine… I’ve been going most years ever since, mostly flying there myself.

Back in the 1990s you would often see 100 British aircraft there and a similar number of Germans, but both have declined in numbers, part of the problem was a ‘rule’ introduced in Belgium, stating that foreign Permit to fly aircraft had to get permission and pay €80 for the privilege. This seemed to be mainly aimed at the many Belgian-based, French-registered microlights and many people ignored it, including G-registered aircraft based in Belgium, although eventually they were made to comply.

However, the rule was removed a few years ago, and now, again, no permission is required (at least for LAA Permit aircraft… I think it is different for factory built microlights).

This was good news for those wanting to attend, but then the UK Government decided the UK would no longer be part of EASA, making us a ‘third country’, and so having to comply with ICAO rules. Therefore, now only ICAO standard licences and medicals are recognised, until the CAA get around to negotiating an improvement,

Above Two German Starck-built Turbulents were a show highlight.
44 | LIGHT AVIATION | October 2022
Inset Four Belgianbased Stampes fly over in formation together, lead by LAA Inspector and aircraft restoration specialist Raymond Cuypers.

as has been done with France. However, given, as far as I can see, the chaos the CAA is in, I can’t see that happening anytime soon – hopefully the CAA will prove me wrong!

This year it was very hot throughout northern Europe, 35° plus, which put some people off, but there were still aircraft from Belgium, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, England, Ireland and France, around 200 aircraft registered, many of them vintage – and I think most got there.

The highlight for many was the first appearance of the de Havilland DH90 Dragonfly G-AEDU, now owned by Shipping and Airlines at Biggin Hill. It also brought its Miles Messenger G-AKVZ, joining the example owned by Peter Bishop, G-AJWB.

The Belgian-designed Stampe always features heavily at Schaffen-Diest, and this year there were around 10 examples, plus three or four of the new aluminium tube ultralight versions, which are powered by Rotax 912 engines. They are full-size and look fairly convincing, although I wonder if the handling is as nice…

There were lots of Cubs too, as well as some other vintage Pipers, several Cessna 140s and 170s, too. There is also always a meeting of types designed by Stelio Frati, although this year there were only three Falcos. One from Ireland, along with German and Norwegian-registered examples, both being recent imports to Belgium. There was also one civil SF260 from the UK, plus some Belgian AF examples, which put on a short flying display.

Two German built Stark Turbulents were great to see – D-ETMB being a recent restoration – designed by Roger Druine, these were built under licence by Stark in the 1950s, they were also built by Rollasons in England as well as Druine in France and plans made available for homebuilders.

The IAR 823 is a Romanian trainer built in the 1970s and 1980s and used by the Romanian AF with 10 also supplied to Angola. After withdrawal from service, most remaining were sold in the US, so it’s rare to see one in Europe, the one pictured is on the French historic aircraft register, although currently based in Belgium

D-EFOH is a Klemm 107C, the Klemm 107 was a

two-seater which first flew in 1940, but only a few were produced before production stopped. In the mid-1950s it was put back into production and improved with different engines and first a three-seat, then four-seat design, the design was taken over by Bolkow and produced as the Bolkow 207.

G-XCID is a SAAB 91 Safir, the Safir was designed by AJ Andersson who had worked for Bücker, so it’s no wonder there is the similarity to the Bücker Bestmann. The original production aircraft were built as three-seaters with DH Gipsy Major engines, the next model had a Lycoming O-435, and the final development a 180hp Lycoming O-360 and a four-seater. ■

October 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 45 Show report
A good selection of Stampes Klemm 107C D-EFOH Rotax 912-powered ultralight Stampe SV4RS L-19 Bird Dog in Canadian Army coloursHomebuilt registered Stampe with a Lycoming Piper J3 Cub D-EMMV Miles Messengers G-AJWB and G-AKVZ DH90 Dragonfly G-AEDU, in from Biggin Hill 1961 Aeromere F8L Falco D-EHHE Below This IAR 823 is a training aircraft built in Romania. Bottom SAAB Safir G-XCID.

Struts 4U

Anne Hughes rounds up Strut news & views

It would seem that we are on the roundabout of ever-changing, unanticipated national and international events, where uncertainties regarding any planning of calendar events are never far away.

On a ‘worldwide scale’, the changing of venue for the LAA ‘Rally’ was far from being of major international significance, but for all involved in planning the event wasn’t without its challenges.

On Thursday 1 September we found ourselves at Popham Airfield preparing the Strut Meeting Area, which was a small marquee. This was generously sponsored by Adams Aviation and, along with host David Millin, we made it a comfortable spot for LAA members to drop in and visit, with chairs, tea urn, cups and biscuits. The area also hosted the Vintage Aircraft Club. As the weekend progressed we were graced with the presence of many visitors, and some made themselves very much at home sharing reminiscences, stories and ideas.

Among our regular residents we were very pleased to welcome David Faulkner-Bryant with his friends Wim

Beelen and Don Lord. Wim, an architect, had arrived at the 1972 Sywell PFA Rally having travelled on his bicycle from Holland, camping en route, and eager to meet up with like-minded aviation enthusiasts and aircraft builders. His first task 50 years ago, having arrived early for the Rally, was to aid David F-B with setting up two canvas army tents and the PFA stand. As Wim had served in the Dutch Air Force, this was expected to have been fairly familiar territory, but it proved a new and challenging experience! Wim was presented with a trophy for having made the longest journey to Sywell without an aircraft and this was followed by a flight over the airfield.

Since then Wim has attended the Rally each year, sometimes on his bicycle, and David had asked that we recognise Wim’s 50th visit at Struts’ Corner. We were pleased to welcome our LAA Chairman, Eryl Smith and CEO, Steve Slater, along with Tony Palmer from the Southern Strut, who hopped in on his crutches. Don, who had also been a prime mover for the Southern Strut, and involved in the Rally over many years, joined us as D F-B presented Wim with gifts, in the form of books, and we celebrated with a speech and the cutting of cakes.

Other visitors we were pleased to welcome included Sven Erik Pira, who flew in his Ercoupe SE-BFX from Sweden to join us, and Keith Briggs from the East of Scotland Strut who flew in on his round Britain flight from East Fortune, raising money for Cancer Research UK. Arriving in his Emeraude G-BDKH, Keith had stopped off at Headcorn, Lee-on-Solent, Compton Abbas and Rochester among other airfields, meeting

46 | LIGHT AVIATION | October 2022
friends along the way, Top From left, LAA Chairman Eryl Smith, meets Wim Beelan, along with David Faulkner Bryant and Don Lord, in the LAA Struts tent at the Grass Roots fly-in. Below left A presentation from the VAC in Speakers Corner.
LAA Strut News
Below right Struts tent, sponsored by Adams Aviation, was a popular meeting point at the fly-in.

and he received the Malcolm Allen Trophy at Popham. A meritorious achievement indeed! Thank you to everyone who called into Struts’ Corner over the weekend.

Alongside the Struts in the marquee, the Vintage Aircraft Club’s merchandise team worked tirelessly throughout the weekend, and we were pleased to welcome new members to the club. We were grateful to be supported by Andrew Butterworth from the Suffolk Coastal Strut. The VAC were also given ‘Speakers Corner’ for a Vintage Sunday morning of talks. We were really pleased to hear from John Hardie, who had received the Liz Inwood Taildragger Award in 2018, and was enjoying flying vintage aircraft.

Thanks to our speakers Steve Slater, David F-B, Alan James and Stuart MacConnacher for their wealth of knowledge on aircraft owned – and flown – by VAC members in the 1960s and 1970s… we also had to share the story of the restoration of the Pup Prototype!

Paul Lawrence of the Rally Workers Strut and was on hand to make sure the electrics reached the Struts’ urn and thanks are due, as always, to his team of sparkies for keeping the show on the road, supported by their canine friends. The Andover Strut had hosted the event with Popham Airfield manager Mike Pearson at the helm and were always on hand to make sure we were comfortable and that all our needs were supplied.

Alan Lovejoy of the Andover Strut writes, “Andover Strut took on the running of the Rally campsite way back on Leicester days. The ethos then was ‘by the members, for the members’ with every strut taking on an aspect of Rally organisation. We all remember Oxford Strut doing a wonderful job on rubbish collection!

“In the ‘Cranfield’ years Andover regularly hosted literally hundreds of caravans and family tents. Income was well into five figures. Over the years the campsite has morphed into a campsite of mainly older campers. Gone are the family groups, with Struts wishing to camp as groups. Many of our offspring as well, as mums and dads, met up annually. The campsite was a jolly place. The Andover Strut team enjoyed being invited to many a barbeque and the odd glass or two in thanks for making the weekend once again a great few days. We certainly enjoyed running the site with quite a few strutters being on site for the whole week.

“Popham’s Grass Roots ‘rally’ did bring some of that atmosphere back, mainly, I think because we were able to feel that we were all part of the event.”

Certainly, the relaxed ‘Country Fayre’ feeling over the weekend contributed to a very successful few days, and as we left Popham we had plenty of very pleasant memories to take home with us. Thank you to everyone who made the LAA Grass Roots very special! ■

Strut Calendar

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

Andover Strut: Spitfire Club, Popham Airfield, SO21 3BD. 10 October TBD. Details contact Bob Howarth email: Phone no. 01980 611124

Bristol Strut: BAWA Club, Filton, 1930. 4 October – The activities of the RAeS General Aviation Group by Chris Wright; 19 November – Strut vs Bristol Aero Club skittles night. Contact: chairman@

Cornwall Strut: The Clubhouse, Bodmin Airfield. Virtual Zoom meetings throughout winter months. Contact Pete White 01752 406660

Devon Strut: The Exeter Court Hotel, Kennford, Exeter. Saturday 22 October 1830 at Dunkeswell – Sky Demon presentation by Rob Hart. Booking essential – tickets online. Contact: david.

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

East Midlands Strut: The Plough, Normanton on Soar. Contact: We also have a Facebook group and upload recordings of some meetings where we have speakers.

Gloster Strut: The Victory Club, Lypiatt Road, Cheltenham, GL50 2SY at 1930. Parking available. 11 October – Touring Europe by Martin Ferid. Contact: Harry Hopkins phone 07902 650619 harry.

Highlands & Islands: Highland Aviation, Inverness Airport. Contact: 01381 620535.

Kent Strut: Cobtree Manor Golf Club, Maidstone, Kent. 2000. Contact: Steve Hoskins 07768 984507.

LiNSY Trent Valley Strut: Trent Valley Gliding Club, Kirton Lindsey. pilotbarry1951@gmail. com http://

North East Strut: Fishburn Airfield. Brunch on the third Sunday of each month. 1130-1330 at Fishburn Aviator Cafe. Contact: alannixon297@btinternet. com

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. 12 October – Geoffrey New: Restoration of Avro 504 G-EASD; 9 November

– Working with the Coalition Forces in Afghanistan by Dave Best. Contact www.oxfordlaa.

Redhill Strut: The Dog and Duck, Outwood, Surrey, RH1 5QU. Third Tuesday of each month at 1930.


Shobdon Strut: Hotspur Café, Shobdon Airfield, Hereford HR6 9NR. 1930. (Contact Keith if you are planning to attend.) Contact: Keith Taylor

Southern Strut: The Swiss Cottage, Shoreham-by-Sea, BN43 5TD. First Wednesday of the month. Contact

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. 19 October

– Strut meeting TBA,

16 November – London-Sydney Air Race by Paul Smiddy. Contact: Martyn Steggalls events@suffolkcoastalstrut. / 07790 925142

The Joystick Club: 2 October

– Joystick Club at Shuttleworth Air Show with pedal planes and simulator.

Contact: Mike Clews, m.clews@sky. com. 07775 847914. www.joystickclub.

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

Wessex Strut: Henstridge Airfield Clubhouse. 1930. Check Wessex Strut website. 14 October – Strut AGM guest speaker Eryl Smith; 11 November – GASCo Safety Night Talk. Local fortnightly Strut walks organised by Wessex Aviators Leisure Klub. Contact:

West Midlands Strut: Navigator Café, Halfpenny Green Aerodrome 1930.

Contact: Graham Wiley westmidlandslaastrut@googlegroups. com Stuart Darby stuartdarby134@ 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 Air Shows. (Contact 07974188395 to volunteer.)

Contact: Stewart Luck – captainluck@

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

October 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 47 LAA Strut News

A (new) Inspector calls

Where did your interest in aviation begin?

I am not exactly sure what started my interest. One of my earliest memories was wanting to fly. My father used to read a lot of aviation books and we would watch old aviation films when I was little, so that probably helped! I used to like going to Wellesbourne Airfield Café to watch the aircraft, but it seemed like a bit of an impossible dream to fly myself with the cost of power flying, until I had a job and was earning my own money. However, I then discovered gliding when I was 16.

One of my dad’s closest friends was a glider pilot, and in 2010 he asked my dad if he wanted a trial flight. My dad declined, but my mum mentioned that I had always wanted to fly, so I took the opportunity instead.

My first flight was in an ASK13 glider on aerotow at Shenington Gliding Club, from Shenington Airfield, near Banbury, in July 2010. On that day, my dad’s friend sat me in various gliders around the airfield, including a red Ka6cr, which I now part-own along with two others in a

Above Lucy at this year’s LAA Grass Roots fly-in.

syndicate! I never looked back after that, I was hooked…

Tell us about how you learned to fly

I had my trial glider flight in July 2010 and then did my first solo on 25 October that year at Shenington Airfield. Phil Marks sent me solo (a current LAA Inspector!). Following that, I applied for lots of scholarships and bursaries for young people in gliding and I have been very fortunate to be successful in receiving several of them, which really helped me along my flying journey. Since then, I have worked through various gliding qualifications – Bronze, Cross Country Endorsement, Silver Badge and a Standard Aerobatic Badge. I have recently been signed off for some more advanced aerobatic manoeuvres in gliding, including rolls. Alongside my own flying, I have trained as an Instructor. I initially qualified as a Basic Instructor, but moved onto Assistant Category in 2019 and then became a Full Category Instructor this summer. I have also flown some cross-country gliding competitions, including the Junior Nationals for several years and the Cotswold Regionals. I

48 | LIGHT AVIATION | October 2022 Meet the Members
Recently appointed as LAA Engineering’s new Chief Inspector, Lucy Wootton talks to Ed Hicks about her life in aviation

really enjoy competition gliding, whether that be as a competitor or being part of the competition organisation. There is something very exciting about the atmosphere at a gliding competition, with the unknown as to whether the weather will be exactly as planned and how people will get on, often with several gliders landing in fields and their pilots returning with stories of their adventures!

Since 2010, I have been part of the organising team for the Shenington Regional Gliding competition, initially as Competition Control and then as Deputy Director and Launch Master this year. Running that competition is one of the highlights of my year. We have a regular group of competitors that love to get involved with our schedule of evening events (including a quiz and fancy-dress hangar party), as well as the flying, which makes for a great atmosphere. This year we had a 1920s hangar party, complete with vintage Kirby Kite and Slingsby Petrel gliders. I was fortunate to be allowed to fly the Petrel the following day. It is always an awesome sight to watch 33 gliders launched by six tugs in less than an hour!

In 2016, with the help of a 12-hour Air League Scholarship, I converted my Glider Pilot’s Licence over to an NPPL and went solo in a Cessna 152. I later converted the NPPL over to a LAPL when they were introduced, and then completed the flying last year to convert the LAPL to a full PPL. Also, back in 2016, I completed the required differences training to fly motor gliders and then did a tailwheel conversion in a Super Cub in 2018. I have since completed my Night Rating and I am working on my Instrument Rating. Most recently, I have converted to flying the Supermunk in preparation for glider towing. While at university, I was also a member of the University Air Squadron, which allowed me to fly in Grob Tutors, as well as get involved in a lot of other activities, including adventurous training and summer vacation attachments, even spending two weeks with the Red Arrows.

I am very aware of how fortunate I have been to be offered so many awesome opportunities in aviation and I like to give back and help the next group of young pilots. I am part of the UK Junior Gliding Development Team, within which my main role is to organise the ‘Winter Series’. This is three weekends throughout the ‘winter’ (nominally October, February and April), where we visit a different UK gliding club. We arrange lots of two-seaters at each of these events, so it does not matter whether a junior pilot is solo or not. They get the opportunity to fly at a new site and in gliders they would not normally have access to; the whole idea being to enable junior pilots to realise what is possible in gliding as well as meet like-minded pilots. We often have about 100 junior pilots at these events. I have missed one Winter Series event out of 23 since I got involved in 2013! Because of these events, I have been fortunate to travel to many clubs across the UK, including the Long Mynd in Shropshire, where I have had many flights on the ridge, as

Above top First day at the gliding club – trying a Ka6cr for size (the one Lucy now part-owns).

Above bottom First motor glider solo – in 2016.

well as flying at Denbigh in North Wales on the ridge or in the mountain wave, high above the clouds.

I also organise two-seater training as part of the Junior National Gliding Competition – this time giving 12 Junior pilots the chance to fly with experienced cross-country coaches and learn about cross-country and competition flying. I was fortunate to benefit from this training in 2014, so it is my turn to facilitate it now!

Below My first powered solo – also in 2016. hours the

My most recent achievement in gliding was that I formed, and lead, a team of 25 people to save gliding at Shenington Airfield, resulting in being one of the six founder members and initial Chair and a Director of Edgehill Gliding Centre, which has successfully reached the end of its first gliding season. I love encouraging people to work together to achieve common aviation goals and prove that the impossible can be done! I had been gliding at Shenington for 11 years and the most wonderful thing about my club was the people – they are like a second family. It did not want to lose that for the benefit of all the members and gliding as a whole.

Earlier this year, I was very fortunate to be selected for a Thomas Castle Aviation Heritage Scholarship (TCAHS) for four hours Tiger Moth flying at Sywell. I have flown a couple of hours so far and I am loving it! Thank you very much to Ian Castle and the TCAHS team for this wonderful opportunity. I am looking forward to glider towing over the winter

Meet the Members October 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 49

and completing my instrument rating, as well as making the most of winter gliding in Wales and Scotland.

Tell us about your career so far

After leaving school, I spent a year working in a glider workshop before heading off to university to study medicine, and therefore become a doctor. After passing the first two years of the course, I decided that medicine was not for me and aviation was really where my interest lay, so I moved to Loughborough to study aeronautical engineering. I studied for a Masters in engineering there, including a year working at Rolls-Royce, and I was the Loughborough University Female Engineer of the Year in my final year. In 2014, I qualified as a BGA Glider Inspector with a wood repair rating, based on experience I had been gradually gaining from helping out in the workshop at my gliding club.

Since leaving university, I have worked as an Aircraft Structural Repair Design Engineer, designing repairs and modifications for aircraft that are no longer supported by a design authority. Furthermore, in 2021, I became a Director of the British Gliding Association.

Now you’re the new LAA Chief Inspector. What are you looking forward to, and what are your short-term and longer-term goals?

I am most looking forward to meeting all the wonderful Inspectors out there, whose work is absolutely integral to keeping our members flying. It is for the benefit of the members that the LAA exists, so I will do my best to help the Inspectors deliver the best service they can to the members. The depth of knowledge among the Inspectors and the wider membership is amazing, and I am looking forward to learning as much as I can from them. I am very aware of how much more they will know about LAA aircraft than me!

In the short term, there’s a number of items I hope will make it easier for Inspectors to do their job well. These include introducing a regular monthly update to Inspectors, digitising Inspector records, so that they are easily searchable, and updating SPARS (the main reference document for Inspectors), so that it contains the latest information and is fully available online. I’d also like to see the Inspector area of the website improved, so that it is easy to use and accessible to Inspectors and owners alike. As part of that, I shall be asking Inspectors once again to provide ‘Bios’ about the sort of work they like to get involved in.

I also plan to make sure our Inspector approvals and locations are displayed to allow members to easily find the right Inspector (a project that was already underway

when I arrived). However, I am aware that a few of our Inspectors do not use email for communication, so I will make sure they are not left out and all required information is sent to them.

In the longer term, I will be looking to develop more Inspector Training

Seminars. These have been wonderfully established by Ken Craigie, to include some more interactive elements. I was fortunate to observe Ken running one of these events at AAIB Farnborough in early September. I still plan to host the seminars at exciting locations around the UK. I know Ken has picked some great ones so far – the de Havilland Museum, Jodrell Bank, the AAIB and the Falkirk Wheel to name a few. I would also like to develop Inspector Training outside of the required four-yearly refresher, and increase the number of ACAMs (Aircraft Continuous Airworthiness Monitoring - essentially an audit of an aircraft) completed by LAA Engineering each year to help us have a better awareness of the condition of the ever-expanding LAA fleet and what we can do to help owners and Inspectors to better look after their aircraft.

I also think it is important that I, and all the other members of the LAA Engineering Team, have the opportunity to get out on the ground to assist with ACAMs and meet members and Inspectors if they wish to.

Tell us about your own flying

So far, I’ve logged 400 hours in gliders, and 100 hours flying powered aircraft. Of the 31 types I’ve flown, most recently I converted to flying the

50 | LIGHT AVIATION | October 2022 Meet the Members
Paul Smith the Junior Nationals Gliding competition. Above Flying with my mum in a C152. Below First solo in a Supermunk. Above Field landing in a Discus.
left information is
Above Shenington Regionals Grid 2022 with pilots and organisers. Above left

Supermunk (a Lycoming-powered Chipmunk) at my gliding club, so that I can do some glider towing. I love the feel of flying it – it is so responsive!

In terms of gliders, a friend kindly lent me their Discus to fly cross-country this summer. I loved it – the controls were so light and easy to handle, plus I think the shape of the wing is beautiful, especially with the wing tips! I narrowly missed out on completing 300km for my gold distance and diamond goal, landing out in a stubble field just south of Northampton (see picture). I have had a share in a Ka6cr glider for almost 10 years and it is still a delight to fly. I have also had a share in a T61 Falke motor glider since last year.

wonderful, supportive people I have met in aviation who have helped to shape me and my career to where I am today.

Any favourite aviation books?

One of my favourite aviation books is First Light by Geoffrey Wellum. I found the memoir of a young fight pilot in the Battle of Britain fascinating. I also enjoyed reading Spitfire Women, about the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) in WWII – something I would like to have been part of if I was around then!

Any lessons that you’ve learnt from flying?


best aviation moment and flight – and why?

One of my favourite aviation moments to date was flying in ‘wave’ lift over Wales. I was high above the cumulus clouds and I looked over to Snowdonia to see the peaks pointing up above the clouds. I just thought how amazing and privileged I was to be looking at that sight!

Do you have any aviation heroes?

I cannot think of anyone famous that stands out as a particular ‘hero’, but I have been inspired by friends around me in various aspects of aviation to date. My two close friends and fellow Inspectors in the club workshop at Shenington, John Rogers and Tim Donovan, have encouraged me and supported me for the past 12 years, always giving freely of their time to teach me something new, lend a second opinion or let me borrow their tools (although this has happened less often as my personal tool collection has grown!).

Then there is Steve Pozerskis, part of the team who set up UK Junior Gliding and got me involved. I often wonder what I would be doing now if I had not been welcomed into junior gliding when I was – it was such an eye-opener to the world of aviation out there and the sort of flying I could do, as well as a fantastic group of friends. I try to keep the original vision of UK Junior Gliding going, by bringing in the next group of junior pilots and boosting their confidence and knowledge.

These are just a few of my personal ‘heroes’, but I could probably write a whole article about all the

Students will often do exactly what you ask them, so be careful what you say when conducting a flying lesson!

Do you have any ‘fantasy hangar’ aircraft that you’d like to own or try?

I would love to own a Supermunk or a Supercub. I have particularly enjoyed flying both of those vintage aircraft. I have always wanted to try flying a Dragon Rapide. There is something elegant and sophisticated about that era of air transport. And, of course, I would always love to fly a Spitfire or Hurricane!

In terms of more modern aircraft, I would love to fly in some of the modern kit-built aircraft that the LAA oversees. I have not had the opportunity to fly in such aircraft to date and I would like to learn more about them.

Do you have other non-aviation hobbies/ interests?

I used to be into Irish dancing pre-Covid. It is something I need to get back into!

Any advice for other aircraft owners and pilots?

Something I have learned from the gliding world, which is definitely applicable to the LAA, is that if you are going to buy an aircraft, make sure you take an Inspector with you to check it. On many occasions, I have had to resolve problems with gliders recently bought by an owner who did not ask for any help when looking at the aircraft ahead of purchase. ■

Meet the Members
October 2022 | LIGHT AVIATION | 51
Paul Treadaway Above First day at Sywell, learning to fly Tiger Moths.


Aselection of events (below) as 2022 enters its final months, plus a few for the beginning of 2023. Also, some you may want to plan for during the summer next year. While they’ve yet to publish a list of events, don’t forget GASCo are running some Safety Evenings up and down the country. Keep an eye on their website,, for further updates.


1 Old Warden Race day Air Show [PPR]

4 Halfpenny Green GASCo Safety Evening

6 Old Warden Shuttleworth access all areas and lunch [PPR]

6-9 Sleap BAeA Advanced and Unlimited Nationals

8 Welshpool VPAC fly-in

8 Duxford IWM Flying Finale Air Show [PPR]

9 Bicester Sunday scramble!

9 Coventry Midland Air Museum aviation fair

11-12 Shrivenham CAA/MAA Post-Season Air Display Symposium

14 Sywell Europa Club Fly-in/Dinner

15 Old Warden Shuttleworth night photography

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:

Planning ahead…

15 Sleap FLYER Club Fly-in (PPR) 20


Nov 20 Kempton Park Racecourse

Heathrow Aircraft Enthusiasts


Dec 10 Compton Abbas Christmas


Feb 24-26 Masterton (ZK) Wings over Wairarapa Air Show

Apr 7-9 Blenheim-Omaka (ZK)Classic

Fighters Air Show

May 28-29 Oostwold (PH) Air Show

Jul 20-27 Nympsfield VGC Vintage

Glider Rendezvous

Jul 24-30 Oshkosh, Wi EAA AirVenture

National Fly-in & Display

Jul 29-Aug 6 Aston Down VGC Vintage

Glider International Rally

Jul 31-Au14 Leszno (SP) FAI Gliding

European Ch’ships

Aug 12 Texel (PH )Texel Air Show

Exeter GASCo Weather Decision Making For GA Seminar [pre-book]
Sywell Threshold Aero Thomas Castle Aviation Heritage Scholarship Night Photocall (Prebook)
Turweston LAA AGM 29 Elvington Yorkshire Air Museum Night photoshoot November
Glenrothes GASCo Safety Evening 5 Sleap SAC Bonfire Night Fly-in [PPR] 11 Henstridge GASCo Safety Evening 13 Sleap SAC Remembrance Sunday [PPR]
Breighton Remembrance Sunday Service [PPR]
Where to go
LAA Fleece
Available in S, M, L, XL & XXL Flying On Your Own Wings £28.00 Build Your Own Planes Sticker Book £9.60
LAA Soft Shell Jacket £30.00 (sizes S,M,L available)
0800 5999 101 stein pilot insurance Without specialist advice fixed wing and rotary pilots can often face significant premium increases when applying for life insurance. We can usually secure standard rates with no aviation exclusions. Your insurance will provide 24/7 cover including whilst flying. • Life insurance for your family, mortgage or business. • We help recreational, commercial, instructor and student pilots. • Cover can be arranged over the phone. • Our insurance advisor holds a PPL. • Online quotes. life cover FOR PILOTS Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards available Want to improve your skills and set yourself a challenge? Earn your LAA WINGS! 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 * for full terms and conditions visit Join the FLYER Club for just £52/year or read all our great content for just £30/year.



As November will see us in the last month of autumn, we can hope that there will be some good flying still to be had! So, we’ve got these three great landing offers for you to enjoy at Sandown, Isle of Wight, Spanhoe and Wolverhampton.



Half Price Landing – November 2022

Sandown – Isle of Wight 07900 894044


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!

A very popular destination, with new ideas and improvements being added including the new Astroturf runway, but please PPR to check the ground is OK before setting off. New facilities include a BBQ and pilot relaxation areas. Circuits are flown at 1,000ft agl. Circuit direction is left hand for Runway 05 and right hand for Runway 23. Please do not overfly Sandown, Lake or Shanklin residential areas. A/G on 119.280.


Free Landing For November 2022

Spanhoe 01780 450205

Situated near Corby in Northamptonshire, PPR before leaving home base. Please avoid local villages, while vehicles occasionally use the runway. One grass and one hard runway. When inbound please call RAF Wittering 119.675. Avgas usually available but phone first, airfield closed on Sundays. Airfield Safety Com is 135.480.


Reduced Landing £5.00 November

Wolverhampton 01384 221378

A well-kept airfield in the centre of the UK with tarmac runways, so a good destination for the winter. The café is open daily with a choice of meals. Café and booking-in are located at the control tower. Avgas, JET A1 and UL91 are available. PPR please, and high viz jackets advisable. Hire a taxi and visit the Black Country Museum at Dudley, which is only five miles away, or the RAF Museum at Cosford, which is around nine miles. Radio is 123.005

Landing vouchers 36 | LIGHT AVIATION | July 2021 ✁ ✁
LIGHT ✁ 54 | LIGHT AVIATION | October 2022

Classifieds October


Deadline for booking and copy: 18 October 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


A beautiful and reliable 1951 Piper Super-Cub. Reluctant sale of this wonderful machine, which was originally built as a US trainer. Total time: 4,900 hours. Engine time since 2012 major overhaul: 370 hours. Note: this is not a Permit aircraft, it is C of A. £55,000 ono – Contact: 07769 680 991

ZENAIR 601XL. Built 2008. Rotax 912 ULS. 100HP. 305 hours. A/F 264 hours. Trig 8.33. Mode S transponder. Digital engine monitor system. Electric flaps/trim. Wing locker. Permit due September. £35k ONO Contact 07807474556

G-CJWW SPITFIRE Mk26. 40hrs TTAE. Jabiru


Cruise 130kts @ 32 l/hr. Winner of concours trophy at grass roots fly in 2022 and best kit aircraft LAA rally 2019. The best available. Fun and rewarding to fly. Offers over £100k. 07773 577675.


O-200 A, engine for sale. Still fitted on the aircraft and can be seen ground run. For more information please call 0775 379 4790

Weldon Fuel Pump 12v. Part Number B8110 - G/ OH Was acquired for Lycoming 150hp fuel injected engine. Factory overhauled, not used. Valued at purchase £1,200. Open to offers 07855 409 512.

Hangar/workshop closure disposal of 1000’s of light aircraft construction parts, including fasteners, hinge, tube, grommets, p-clips, clicos, etc. Estimated total cost in excess of £1,000, open to offers for entire lot, no individual items. For detailed inventory list please contact Eric Marsh: 01629 812 677, 07770 860 670,

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


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 email

Light Aircraft Weighing Service in East Yorkshire and surrounding area. For details contact Demraview Ltd. Email: Mob: 07984 810 761

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.

Steen Skybolt G-SBOL. 2 seat Aerobatic Aircraft. Airframe –335 Hours, Engine –692 Hours. Built in 2009. IO360 injected engine, new prop fitted in 2021. Permit till 18 May 2023. Funke ATR833A-OLED Radio/Intercom and Trig transponder. £39,900 Jim Blaylock/Carole Evans 0797112350 or

Fournier RF 3 for sale, good condition, 3,000 airframe, 300 engine hours, recent replacement undercarriage fork with spring suspension, LAA Permit till 16/11/22. Picture in July LAA magazine adverts. Must sell, syndicate broken up, Guy Fawkes is getting closer!!, offers are invited. Contact: or mobile 07813 095 856


Kensinger KF (Midget Mustang) G-ASSV (PFA 168-13923) stored restoration project for disposal due to lack of time and other projects. Original airframe is in poor condition, new fuselage bulkheads, wing ribs, and other parts, although this would not be suitable as a first-time project. In the first instance please contact:


VANS RV8. Built in Canada 2013, purchased from builder and imported by myself 2016 Lycoming 0-360-A2A modified to fuel injection

TTAFE 340 CATTO 3 Bladed fixed pitch prop Permit till July 2023 Always hangered, located Shoreham £145,000 ono Contact: 07977067513


DH 82a Tiger Moth non-equity share syndicate forming. 400hrs on Gipsy Major, WWII colour scheme operated on LAA Permit, hangared at Henstridge with Tiger Moth Training. Looking for 6-8 enthusiastic members with a minimum of 100hours P1, preferably on type to fly, clean, maintain and cherish ‘EW. Initial payment of £1,000 share, £420 first annual insurance premium and £250 float. Monthly £80, Hourly £125 wet. (£84 per typical 40 minute flight). Contact Clive Davidson. 07855 452097

56 | LI GHT AVIATION | October 2022
Email your classified advertisement direct to the LAA:
8 cyl with Rotec liquid cooled heads alternator conversion.
OFFICE@LAA.UK.COM For all members classified advertising enquiries contact Sheila October 2022 | L IGHT AVIATION | 57 COVERS TRANSPORTATION Contact us now for a quotation Telephone: 0121 327 8000 E-mail: Web: Aircraft Transportation Specialists Specialist vehicles to move your aircraft safely FUEL SERVICES 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. Anglo American Oil Company +44 (0) 1929 551557 Safe flying Available in 55 and 195 litre drums for immediate despatch, UK-wide, on a next day basis. Please call for more information. No Ethanol Safe flying SERVICES & MORE SPORTYS.COM/COURSES SPORTY’S PILOT TRAINING APP 25 Courses Available LightAviation_2022.indd 1 12/23/21 3:45 PM Lima Zulu Services Ltd. / 07713 864247 Before After Still here, still no VAT. Slots available for 2023

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


As Francis Donaldson mentioned in the flight test on page 20, the UK homebuilding world saw the appearance of its first RV kit aircraft in late 1979, when a Popular Flying Association member by the name of Peter Hing wrote to F I V ‘John’ Walker, who was then head of PFA Engineering, and asked John to register his RV-3 as a new homebuilt project.

Peter had been in correspondence with Van’s Aircraft’s Dick VanGrunsven during the summer of 1979 asking various questions about the aircraft, before finally taking the plunge

and ordering plans and his first consignment of airframe parts. Peter’s letter in October 1979, promised John that he would, “…submit more detailed paperwork in due course.”

When I purchased this little RV in spring 2020, I never realised the project had any history beyond two-time RVbuilder Ian Glenn, who completed the little RV-3B. So it was amazing when I learned all about Peter Hing and his love for the RV-3. While he may never have been able to enjoy flying it himself, Peter started something that now sees more than 750 active RV projects and flying aircraft in the UK.

58 | LIGHT AVIATION | October 2022 From the archives
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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