Monday, 2 September 2013


After the flying/roadtrip last year, I sold the aircraft and trailer, thinking I was finished with that adventure.....
See that story at

But I had the photos from that trip running as the screen saver on my home computer, so they made me really long for more.  Then out of curiosity, I had a quick look at Barnstormers (where aircraft are advertised for sale), and spotted an aircraft and trailer combo for sale.....  Turned out that I had met the owner and the aircraft in California last year, so knew it was a good rig.  The temptation was way too much and I bought it right away!

So now I was committed to another adventure, and all that goes along with that.....  Found a camper van advertised in Phoenix, and made another deal.

Then early August found myself sitting in a 777 airliner high over the Pacific Ocean, with the combination of excitement and trepidation that comes with starting out on an adventure like this.....

Arrived in Phoenix and stepped out into the blast oven that it's like there that time of year.  Picked up the van and headed to Hesperia, California to pick up the aircraft.  Then hit the road, via Flagstaff and Albuquerque, to Golden Colorado.

View 2013 Flying/Roadtrip in a larger map

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Finally ready.....

Been here in Golden, Colorado for a week and a half now.  Have real good friends here, and stopped for only a short visit, but got into a lot of aircraft work.  Tony flies a Savannah here, and has a hangar at Erie airfield, where I parked the trailer.  

The cockpit is fully enclosed, so I had to open an area for clear photography, can't shoot through the plastic for clear photos.  So cut away part of it.  And was very pleased to find that the cutaway didn't give any more draft in the cockpit, but feels really good to be more open.  So another win!

Tony had a couple Tundra tires that he'd taken off his aircraft, and he gave them to me.  They're quite a bit larger, and will be good for rough strips or out landings.  Only problem could be that there wasn't much clearance in the trailer, and concerned that it wouldn't fit......  But turns out that it just fits by the narrowest of margin, but it does fit!

With the bigger wheels, it became obvious that alignment of one wheel wasn't correct, the right wheel was towing in too much.....  This explained why it was so difficult to roll the aircraft backwards.  That wheel was tracking out, spreading the landing gear and the tire was scuffing along the pavement.  First of all thought it was a bent landing gear leg, but on pulling it apart, it was pretty straight.  Turned out to be a loose fit where the axle foot bolts onto the leg, bolt holes kind of 'hogged out', letting the foot rotate.  So lined up the foot and then drilled a new hole at right angle to the original.  Now the foot is secure, and the alignment is correct, as proven the first time I easily rolled the aircraft backwards out of the hangar.  So another issue solved!

Cleared out a rats nest of old unused wiring, for a strobe or something, and figured out what wires go to where, and what fuses do what....  Wired in the radio and the GPS, and built a mount for the radio.

Added a rope and pulley arrangement to pull the aircraft up the ramp into the trailer, cause I'm not as strong as the previous owner.  Added tie-down points to the outside of the trailer, in order to be able to tie it down.  It's so light that it could be blown over in a storm.  I brought extra of my 'Whack-em-Down' aircraft tie-downs from Australia to drive into the ground.  Added tie points inside the trailer to hold spare fuel cans.  Loaded and unloaded a couple of times to get the sequence right.

So it's been a busy time here, all in 95F (35C) heat.....  All this wouldn't have been possible without the hospitality of Tony and wife Bobi, and Tony's help all round.  And typical American friendly help at the airfield.  When a fella saw me preparing to try to drill that leg and foot with a hand drill he insisted that we take back to his home workshop and use a proper drill stand.  And when I needed a couple of bolts they hunted around a couple of other hangars to find them.....

Did the first test flight today, after all these mods.  Went really well, balanced in flight, and no extra draft from the cut-away.  But when I landed the tailwheel collapsed......  Managed to stay on the runway and taildrag it off the taxiway.  I never did like those crumby little 'pizza-cutter' tailwheels that Kolb uses, so had already ordered a much more substantial tailwheel form Aircraft Spruce.  When I got home today it had arrived, so perfect timing!  And a kind fella at the airfield had already given me a piece of 5/8" chrome moly tubing that I'll need to mount the new tailwheel.

So now it's a much better aircraft for my use.  I had thought that I was just going to have to live with those issues, cause can't do much on the road, but this has fixed all that.

The aircraft and trailer.

Enclosed this time.

The Trailer.
Fabric covering, sort of like a covered wagon of old...
Very light and easy to tow.

So I'm ready to roll in the morning!  Headed for South Dakota......