Monday, 30 August 2010

Glenforsa 1

The view to the West

Glenforsa has long been one of my favourite flying destinations, and with good reason. It is under two hours flying time (in nil wind conditions) from the Carlisle area and the route takes in some stunning Scottish scenery. Glenforsa's airfield has a beautifully manicured 800m grass strip and is situated right on the coast, overlooking the Sound of Mull, with excellent views of distant hills and the Sound itself. Finally, and very satisfyingly, there is a hotel alongside the airfield, a mere 50 years of so from the airfield boundary.

The weather on the 30th of August was just too good to ignore and soon I was on my way to Kirkbride, having loaded up with fuel at the local garage. With just a light northerly wind, the outbound leg took 1hr 55m, routing at 5000ft via Turnberry, Arran, Lochgilphead and the BRUCE intersection. Arriving at Glenforsa the wind dropped to almost nothing, making a straight in approach to runway 25 completely uneventful.

Looking East towards the mainland
David Howitt, the airfield manager exuded his usual bonhomie, announcing that I was only the third Sportcruiser to have visited Glenforsa International. One of these days I shall be the first Sportcruiser to visit an airfield... there has to be one somewhere!

After a quick lunch in the Glenforsa Hotel I went for a short walk up the Glen that gives Glenforsa its name. It is a beautiful, if rather flat walk into the island, eventually reaching the foothills of some quite large mountains. Unfortunately I didn't have time to walk that far on this occasion. On my return, I noticed a sign for a bed and breakfast establishment just off the airfield and made a note of the name, Ty an Solas, for future reference.

JONL had a good view to the North
All too soon it was time to start heading home, as being a Monday, it was an Air Cadet meeting night. The return flight was equally delightful, with a gentle tailwind, allowing a return journey time to Kirkbride of 1hr 45m.

An altogether superb day out. Glenforsa keeps its prime slot as my favourite Scottish airfield.

Post updated and published 04-Oct-2010 

Saturday, 28 August 2010

First service

The Rotax 912ULS engine fitted to JONL is a modern, reliable engine and requires far less maintenance than traditional avgas burning piston aero engines. Provided one can routinely use standard high octane petrol then not only is the fuel cheaper but it is also much less damaging to the engine.

Even running on petrol (otherwise known as mogas to distinguish it from avgas) an initial service at 25 hours is a good idea, so I decided that it should be done and, of course, being a Permit to Fly aircraft I did it myself!

Essentially, this service involves draining the engine oil, replacing the oil filter, replacing the eight spark plugs (two per cylinder) and refilling the engine with fresh oil. At the same time the opportunity was taken to check the security of all parts of the engine. Hose clips, in particular have a tendency to loosen over time and need a little tightening, particularly in the first few months of operation. Finally, a known weak spot is the exhaust system, so this was carefully inspected and the joints re lubricated with Copaslip to help prevent seizing, followed, potentially, by cracks appearing around the joints.

These are messy jobs but none are difficult and the whole programme was completed in about three hours. Total cost was around £50, which is a bit different from the bills I used to get for routine servicing of my old C of A Warrior!

Post updated and published 01-Oct-2010 

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Happy birthday to me!

It's not every day that one makes it to the grand old age of sixty (thankfully!), so it was definitely time to have a party.

As it happened the weather was brilliant and the outdoor barbecue was a huge success. My Mother made me a birthday cake with a picture of G-JONL on top.

How do they do that? It seemed a shame to cut it and eat it!

Post updated and published 20-Oct-2010