(Swedish for Evening Flight)

It’s pretty cool staying on an air park. Neighbour Robert invited me for an evening flight in his Savage, a Rotax 912 powered two seat tandem Piper Cub lookalike from Zlin Aviation in the Czech Republic. We made our way out along taxiway Bravo past another Czech aircraft, a Danish registered TL Sirius (brother to our previously owned Sting)…

…and backtracked to the other end of the runway:

Before taking off into the evening sun:

Great views of the air park village as we climbed out. Zoom in enough and you can see Robert’s Jeep:

Climbing out on downwind, Lake Siljan in the background. Plus lots of trees:

Lots of lakes and lots of trees. One thing was puzzling me though, the Savage is German registered and the cockpit is covered in placards like OELKLAPPE and RADBETRIEB and ANFLUGSGESHWINDIGKEIT and SKISTELLUNG and KRAFTSTOFFSVORRAT…so why does it say NO PUSH on the wing struts?

One of life’s mysteries to ponder as we floated along enjoying the view. Mostly trees and lakes with a bit of lakes and trees mixed in, together with the occasional settlement of little Swedish houses and barns…

Mostly trees and lakes makes navigation quite tricky, the map is predominately green. Main roads, railways and logging roads make good line features for crosschecking progress and are here laid out for demonstration purposes:

Really distinctive line features are the power lines running along their own fire break style gap in the trees. These stretch off into the distance and the eye can follow them almost all the way to the horizon

It was about a 30 minute flight to Malung Skinnlanda airfield which lies just beside the river a little bit south of town:

There was a gyrocopter on the frequency operating to the west, but the airfield was deserted as we landed, shut down and got out for a stretch:

The Savage is a lovely little aircraft and draws a crowd wherever it lands:

One elderly airport guy wandered over. He didn’t speak English or German but we communicated in fractured Swedish. I managed to tell him we didn’t need any fuel and he gave a long rambling description of something about Dala Järna airfield and potatoes. I think. I couldn’t confirm with Robert as he had wandered off for a pee by this point.

We tried the clubhouse door but it was locked. Next time I’ll leave a 100 SEK donation. 10 Swedish kronor is about £1, the smaller rural airfields don’t usually have a fixed landing fee, or any fee at all, but most of them are run by clubs and a donation is welcome.

We climbed back in and set off again. The front seater has a panel mount moving map GPS to help with the navigation over the sea of green, it’s not just line features. There was also a map in a side pocket, an iPad with Foreflight and my phone was running Skydemon so we were unlikely to get very lost…

Turning for home over the Västerdalälven river:

Through the overhead of Dala Järna airfield (of the potatoes story fame). It’s only a ten minute walk to the supermarket from the airfield…I want to fly there next time Brenda sends me out for milk, or potatoes. Maybe the mystery of the story will be resolved

Past Brasjön where Brenda and I had good fun in the morning with our inflatable kayak. Brasjön translates as “The good lake”…

And then onto final where Robert flew a nicely flown sideslipping approach to the grass runway 14.

As we were taxying in, Alexander gesticulated with the universally accepted drinking sign so we stopped and abandoned the aircraft on the taxiway:

A lovely evening flight with a beer at the end. Like I said earlier, staying on an air park is pretty cool…


In Sweden for the 30th annual fly-in at Siljansnäs Flygklubb, also known as the highly unpronouncable “Kräftstjärtsvängen” – something to do with crayfish. In past years this event has attracted lots of visitors; one year had 78 aircraft logged in as early arrivals on the day before, and many more on the actual day.

This year the weather forecast wasn’t looking too good for the day itself, but Friday saw a handful of early arrivals from Sweden and Norway in lovely weather:

The highlight of Friday evening is the car show “Åkdon och Termos” which translates as rides and thermos, kind of like a flash mob for classic car enthusiasts, with coffee. Some seriously cool old (and not so old) cars on display…

Walking home it was easy to convince ourselves that the forecast would be wrong…

…but it wasn’t. Rain and low cloud. One of the early arrivals from the previous day bugged out early to get home before the weather, and was replaced by a Cessna 206 amphibian – the sole arrival of the day. Airpark resident Niklas did his Saab Safir display to keep the small number of attendants interested. The flygklubb had put their 3 gliders and the tug out, giving a total of seven aircraft visible:

As the rain increased, the stalwart announcer in the tent out on the flightline kept up with the commentary:

The rain got even heavier and eventually the last few hardy souls called it a day. At least in the burger tent we were doing a roaring trade, and inside the clubhouse Brenda was also kept busy selling coffee and buns and working on her Swedish at the same time. Every year airpark residents volunteer to help, this year we were on burgers and coffee. Our neighbour Robert kind of took over the burger duties so I was left on tidying up. I forgave him later as he gave me a lift home in his Jeep. A real green Willys Jeep. The best bit of the day. Robert’s philosophy is “He who dies with the most toys, wins!”

By mid afternoon it was all over bar the jeep ride:

The recently installed awning on the clubhouse deck was threatening collapse and had to be drained regularly:

But later on the hangar party was great as always…food and drink (including the aforementioned crayfish) with visitors, club members and airpark residents. Good time had by all…I woke the next morning to find that I had won a toolbox. Don’t know why, but…toolbox!

If anybody is looking for a Bellanca, the one in the background is for sale:

Typical weather messing things up with the plans of puny humans. It was lovely and flyable either side of the weekend (post to come soon) but that’s the way of things. There’s always next year…

The Simple Things

Post flight checks revealed oil dripping from the lower cowling. Not a giant deluge but not normal for this engine, which is usually nice and dry. Other engines leak to differing degrees…Danny in North Carolina flies a Chipmunk with an old Gipsy Major engine which leaks a lot – he says if it’s not leaking that’s the time to start worrying. In our case, any leak is a concern, so a little bit of investigation was called for…

Cowlings off and having a look. We found oil inside the left side of the lower cowl but not the right. A closer look on the left side of the engine revealed what looked like a leak from the oil sump gasket. We have a spare one in the parts cupboard so that’s good. Not so good it’s quite fiddly to get to. I was having a rant but Brenda said “Taking bits off is a great way to get to know your engine” – and she’s right.

The sump is on the bottom of the engine and will need to be lowered. It’s obviously easier to do that when it’s light and not full of oil, and as we’d just landed the oil was warm and free flowing so I decided to drain the tank there and then.

Draining the oil on both the Eindecker and the Sting could be messy processes, but this engine is fitted with a quick release drain plug. The standard is just a drain plug which unscrews…at some point in the process the oil starts to flow all over and around the spanner in all sorts of strange directions, and once removed the plug usually needs to be fished out of a pan of hot oil. It can be a very filthy task.

The quick drain makes it clean, simple and spannerless. Just position the receiving funnel underneath, push up on the drain to open, and turn a quarter turn to lock it open. Stand back and admire the oil flowing with no mess. All for $100.

Whoever designed this quick release drain is a genius. So simple but so effective. When we build our aircraft we’ll definitely incorporate one.