So the stator turned out to have a coil which had coughed and died. One excursion to Lincoln later (plus an afternoon of exhaust sanding and painting and prop pitch resetting while we were at it) and an afternoon of refitting the engine we were good to go again.
This is rather different to the way it was done in Group-A-land and I think I already know this engine and airframe better after five months than I knew the workings of the Lycoming after five years. There’s a lot to be said for being able to do so much of the work yourself. Changing the stator was off over the horizon of our knowledge but stripping and preparing the engine and refitting it, that we did ourselves.
A lovely evening flight to check all was in order (not quite – oil from the rebuild everywhere from an exhaust gasket and a sticky mist from an overfilled radiator – both quickly resolved) and we were ready for a trip.
The following week I’d planned to catch a train down West to my mum’s Birthday BBQ, but a sunny morning and Nick at a loose end quickly changed the plan to flying down to Rosemarket.
Sunny it might have been but it hadn’t come alone and the westerly wind was extremely flustery, snatching at us over the trees as we took off and knocking the groundspeed back to a miserly 41knots in the cruise. It swung around to blow from the coast as we passed Pembrey which helped a bit and we came down lower to take advantage of the reduced headwind, gaining a princely 6 knots more. Thermals added their own contribution to the ride with Rhubarb doing a creditable impersonation of a glider at one point with 500fpm climb on the VSI.
Another Old Park flyer had preceded us to Rosemarket so we were expected, and a fast, tight go-around revealed an assortment of family members standing at the edge of the grass!
Trying (slightly in vain) to avoid the puddles, we taxyed in and were greeted, immediately on engine shutdown, by the wall of noise that is my three nephews. The youngest at almost two already includes the words “Take Off!” in his fledgling vocabulary and the older two were trying to climb in almost before we’d climbed out! I think they think everyone’s Aunty flies little aeroplanes, they confidently assume the whole aircraft is up for grabs in the same way the stomp rockets or paper gliders I sometimes bring home are!
“Neowm!” annouced the smallest nephew.
“That’s how a jet goes.'” observed another.
“Yes, Rhubarb doesn’t quite go ‘neowm'” I admitted.
“What does she go like?”
“More like ‘Wwwwhhheeeehhhh!” I said, without thinking, causing my sister to have a fit of the giggles and the oldest nephew to spend the rest of the afternoon mimicing a two-stroke at full blat.
Taxi-of-mum ran Nick to the petrol station for a jerrycan of fuel to replace that guzzled by the headwind while the boys ran up and down on the grass pretending to be microlights themselves, and the littlest of the bunch, my baby niece, kicked and gurgled in my brother’s arms not quite big enough yet to get in on the action as she’d like to!
Nick returned, refuelled and took off into what must have seemed like blissful silence in spite of ‘Wwhheeeehhh’ and we bundled into cars for ‘Nana’s House’.
The following weekend saw me spend Saturday digging a way out of our hangar… We should have gone up not down to level the ground with 20:20 hindsight but there’s too much up now to change!
The evening was spent shooting approaches into the strip – I think I’ve got myself more or less tuned into it now.
Unfortunately another mishap (not mine!) the following morning saw the repair duties lined up once again and I was back on the train for the Belle Vue scout camp to take my mine off matters!
24 Scouts across two days an assortment of aeroplanes and 3 badges each is enough to keep the mind fully engaged and it was, as always a delight!
And all in all, ups and downs included I’m still doing double the flying I was…