An Inauspicious Start

Also known as “An Expensive Mistake” – AAAARGH

The loosening of lockdown and easing of travel restrictions at the end of April meant we could finally start our flying season with visits to other airfields. Here we are with the Cub at Kinsgmuir in Fife, enjoying an aero-picnic in the sunshine.

This lovely grass strip is in the eastern half of Fife, about half way between St Andrews and Anstruther. It’s a mile or so from the “Secret Bunker” – if you don’t know where that is (and you probably shouldn’t), just follow the signposts from Edinburgh. Really.

Several other aircraft visited on that day, including another Cub:

Arriving back at Perth we spotted a smart RV8, owned (and built) by Peter, a former colleague from the air2000 days. Well, he was the Airbus Fleet Manager and I was a lowly Boeing First Officer, but we did work for the same company at the same time. So, yes, colleagues!

The RV8 is in 111 Squadron colours commemorating Peter’s time in the Royal Air Force:

A nice RV8 and a picnic away…as the first post lockdown trip it was a pretty awesome day, even if it was only half an hour to get to Kingsmuir and forty minutes back. A nice pleasant trip for the vintage Cub.

A few days later, the Cub was due to go in to maintenance for its annual check. Unfortunately after taking the picture below, I wandered off to find some chocks and got sidetracked. A gust of wind pushed the aircraft round and it rolled into a container.

The right elevator took all the damage. Swearwords were used…

It should be a simple fix, but it’s not going to be cheap:

At least the aircraft was going in for maintenance anyway – it’s just going to take a bit longer waiting for parts to arrive from the States. Very frustrating but I’ve learnt my lesson. Always use chocks!

With the Cub out of action I pulled the Eindecker out for a ground run…

…but it wouldn’t start! More frustration. I dived under the instrument panel to have look at the start switch to see if any wires had come loose:

Getting in under the panel was easy as gravity helped; Getting back out was a lot harder. I was only under there for a minute or so, but got cramp in both legs on the way out. There was nothing visibly wrong with the wiring, so the next job will be to take the cowling off to check fuses and connections at that end.

With some sense of trepidation it was time to try the RV…bad things come in threes, right? And I had already broken two aircraft.

Nothing broke. The aircraft started right up. We flew! All was well.

The next day I somehow cracked the window in the door of the works helicopter. The crack in the perspex had to be taped up by an engineer, noted in the Tech Log and we were good to go…but I did succeed in breaking another aircraft after all…

It seems bad things do come in threes.