Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Return of the Blogger

Dear oh dear! Well over a year since I last posted anything on here. My excuse, if one is needed, is that I have been far too busy flying G-JONL. She continues to fly beautifully and hasn't needed any significant work beyond normal maintenance in the 2.5 years since she first flew.

I thought I should resurrect the Blog because I am about to start on a fairly major upgrade - fitting a variable pitch propeller. I alluded to this 18 months ago and I've now decided to go for it. I'll be posting more about this over the next few weeks but in the meantime, it is appropriate to issue a general update...

I now have a little over 200 hours on G-JONL and have explored the length and breadth of Britain in the process. Another annual has come and gone without any problems. There have been a couple of mandatory mods that were easily implemented but apart from that no out of the ordinary maintenance has been called for.

So what's changed in the last 18 months?

One thing that irritated me and finally spurred me into action was the inordinate time taken to get the oil temperature high enough, especially on cold mornings. Sometimes the temperature would struggle to even get to the 50°C  minimum required before take off. I took advice on this and eventually fitted an oil thermostat during the 2012 annual.

What a difference! Not only does the engine warm up in a faction of the time, it also stays warm when out and about on cold days. It was particularly noticeable that the oil temperature would decrease quite alarmingly on a long descent in cold air. That problem has gone completely now and the oil temperature is stable regardless of flight profile.

I also took the opportunity at the last annual to fit the slow-start module that is generally acknowledged as improving starting on Rotax engines and reducing the tendency to "kick back". In fact I hadn't really had too many problems with this but as I had the kit I thought I might as well install it and get it signed off. It works just fine and it has probably improved the starting slightly so I'm content enough.

So I've not been completely idle! But I think that the last couple of years or so has been mainly about flying rather than tinkering. That's about to change a little so look out for further updates to the Blog in the next few months.