G-UFOX - 100 hours

We have now done the 100 hours engine service - a small milestone for us. Clearly, all four of us are managing to get some flying in (despite the weather).

I think we have basically tamed the taildragger - the landings have become a lot more natural and automatic. However, there are still occasional situations that can come as a surprise, such as crosswinds.

Sharing the aircraft between four of us is working out very well. We use an online booking system ( http://www.aircraftbookingsystem.com/ ) which works a treat. It is also free and not plagued with adverts and doesn't result in being bombarded with spam. We maintain a spreadsheet in an online Dropbox where we log our flying hours and hobbs hours. This then calculates how much we owe the syndicate and cancels off when we make a payment to the groups bank account. We also have another file to log any issues we discover, to allow the other syndicate members to view the status even before they get to the airfield.

We are permanently based at Popham now. In fact, she hasn't been back to Hook (where we built her) since we have had her signed off. Hook was a little limited (particularly when learning a taildragger) as it has some unfortunately placed power lines which makes it only appropriate to approach from the east and take off towards the east, unless there is at least 10 knots wind from the east. A go-around would also be interesting.

Also, as we witnessed during the build, Hook gets very boggy in the winter and can result in only the top third of the runway being serviceable. Hook has now been sold (provisionally) to a solar power collection company and will shut very soon.

Popham has many advantages. Two runways (usable in both directions) means less crosswind problems, and there are generally people around. There is fuel available and a cafe at weekends. And there are toilets too!! But more significantly, there is the club and it's where we have been flying for ages. We have invested in a touring cover as it is being kept outside. We have ordered a poly-tunnel hangar and are eagerly awaiting it's arrival and erection.

It's getting cold now. To maintain temperatures we have started to blank off some of the water radiators - the oil radiator already has a controllable flap over its intake. We have covered the top quarter of the port radiator and the top half of the starboard.

The golden rules (for a EuroFOX) are:

NEVER cover a complete radiator - the cylinder barrels of the 912 are air cooled and there must be sufficient airflow to do this.

The starboard radiator can be covered a more than the port. This is because the port side has the vent/duct to the airbox (and carb heat flap) which restricts flow, where the starboard side has a gap. Also, the cylinder head temperature gauge sensor is on the starboard side.

Don't use anything that will result in a sticky mess. Make sure it has a suitable temperature rating.

Also, I would rather not use aluminium foil as if this breaks up it will send conductive chaff towards the ignition system.

Thanks to Nick Heywood for his sagely advice.


Lot's more EuroFOX's coming along - good luck guys - hope to see you all around soon.



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