Friday, March 20, 2015

Good to go!

Thanks to our PPL School Chief Flying Instructor, Keith Charlesworth, I am good to go for another 2 years, having passed my pilot's licence renewal earlier today and having clocked up 420 flying hours.

The flight test covers various aspects of one training including emergency procedures, such as engine failures and fires and stalls, some of the more common reasons planes fall out of the skyye.

CFI Keith Charlesworth (left) putting Dave through his flight test (and selfie) skills 

Amanzimtoti from 1500 ft

Dylan flies

I love taking someone for a first-time experience and today it was Dylan's turn as we took to the skyye over Durban in my Sling ZDL. Dylan has been kindly helping me with some gym training and exercises at the Toti gym and I was able to return some of the favour showing him what it's like to pilot an aeroplane. Dylan flies like a natural and if he was a bit nervous didn't show it. 

Dylan with my Sling ZDL

Selfies in the skyye over Durban on auto-pilot

Dave pilots the plane back to land at Virginia Airport

Suncoast Casino shortly before touchdown

Umhlanga Lighthouse off the starboard wing of ZDL

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Back from Johannesburg

Brandon and I flew my 2 planes back to Durban on Friday and had some challenging weather and clouds to navigate under, maintaining visibility of the ground and clear of the clouds. Got some great photos of each other while we flew..

Dave flying ZDL in the Greytown area - photo by Brandon

ZDL - must be the Ladysmith area

ZDL off the starboard wing of FYA, my 2 Sling aircraft

Dave catches Brandon in FYA sneaking up on his left

I am on autopilot

My favourite koppie Johannesburg side of Ladysmith

The cloud formations around us were stunning, although the sky closed over as we got closer to Durban

FYA off Dave's port wing

FYA caught sandwiched between ground and cloud. It gets scary when the two begin to meet and you need to decide if it's clear enough to continue forward or turn back

We saw some beautiful Johannesburg sunsets

My new favourite aircraft colourscheme - the new Airplane Factory demo plane

A fleet of aircraft were arriving at The Airplane Factory  for the new CAA mandatory instrument tests

The first production Sling taildragger for a soon-to-be-happy customer

Dave en route back to Durban in ZDL

This was to show Brandon that while he was flying the identical plane at near full throttle, with the constant speed propeller fitted to my plane I can achieve the same speed with a lower throttle setting, saving considerable fuel. Of course I could have flown faster, but we were flying in formation back home together.

Glorious Johannesburg clouds and sky

The car's headlights light up the yellow grass alongside the farm road with the airfield in the background as the sun goes down

Durban harbour looking gloomy and grey as we return early evening Friday after the 3 hour flight home from Johannesburg

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Tedderfield rocks!

Home of The Airplane Factory and birthplace of our Sling aircraft, Tedderfield Aeropark is abuzz with Slings.. I have seen dozens of planes over the past two days, either in the process of being manufactured here.. from the sheet aluminium start to the finished product, as well as Slings in scheduled maintenance and Slings here for the new CAA mandatory tests. My own ZDL (Sling # 34) and FYA (Sling # 122) are being thoroughly checked, serviced and anto-corrosion treated in expert hands.

Daniel helping with the static pitot tests

Slings on the main apron

My ZDL being serviced

My FYA being serviced

ZDL looking naked without its cowling

The cabin heat pipes on FYA had to be replaced due to deterioration from a faulty exhaust. Left unchecked this would pull toxic carbon monoxide into the cabin if the cabin heat was in use. Fortunately in Durban this is never used, but I have turned it on before on a freezing trip to the Cape, so a good thing to ensure the pipes are in tip-top condition

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

To Johannesburg

The weather on Tuesday was just perfect for our flight to Johannesburg and for the first time I had negligible headwind taking less time and using less fuel getting there. It's also the first time that both of my planes have been there at the same time. While I flew ZDL, our flight school student followed me in our flight school Sling FYA as we headed for The Airplane Factory, birthplace of my Slings.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

CAA grounds Slings

The Civil Aviation Authority caused mayhem this week as they grounded aircraft due to alleged deficiencies in the maintenance programme previously approved for The Airplane Factory, citing regulatory work that ought to have been covered in the last annual inspection of the Non-Type Certified Aircraft, which includes both of my Slings and dozens more.

Controlled airspace

The effect is that the planes need to be cleared for flight through controlled airspace to get them back to the factory in Johannesburg where the missed work can be done.. this includes static pitot test, instrument calibration/verification and a transponder check. Quite a heavy hand as these issues could be systematically checked as part of the ongoing maintenance.

So I will be flying up during the course of the week and will advance my planes next scheduled annual inspection and service to obviate another trip to Johannesburg in a few months.

Here Deon from Aerospace Technologies does confirms that our pitot tube is working correctly

The testing machine puts air pressure into the pitot tube to simulate winds at different airspeeds so the calibration and correctness of the aircraft readings can be ascertained.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Flying around Durban

We are heading to Durban's best months for flying - March and April where the skyye's clear of rain and the summer heat subsides.

It's the month Llew is going to finish his licence in our plane, so he's getting some good practice in this week

Durban's Moses Mabhida Stadium

Durban beachfront and Stadium off the wingtip of our Sling ZDL