High and Fast, Low and Slow…

After weeks of sitting here in Scotland looking out at the gloom and wondering when summer was going to start…it is finally here. We woke to clear skies, light winds and warm sunshine. Time to fly!

First off, into the RV for a time to climb test. Here we are above the clouds to the west of Perth on the way up to 8500ft:

The proof:

We made our way over to Fort William and turned around Ben Nevis. From 8000ft even the big hills look like little bumps:

Then to Braemar before descending back towards Perth. Planning the top of descent is essential to avoid shock cooling the engine. I read somewhere that the maximum cooling rate for the cylinder head temperature is 50 degrees a minute, with 25 being better. So a long gentle descent with power only slightly reduced from the cruise setting. Get the descent point wrong and you can end up blasting into the airfield circuit at 160 knots! Luckily the RV wing is just as good at slow speeds and a few hard turns will bleed off the excess speed if required. Just like a Space Shuttle.

Here we are in the descent to the north of Perth:

Then it was land, put the aircraft away in the hangar, clean the bugs off the wings and get the other aircraft out…

A warm evening with the airfield closed and permission to operate “out of hours” is just perfect for a bit of lightweight open cockpit low level flying. And we have just the aircraft for that sort of thing:

It has been a while since the Eindecker flew, but the faithful Briggs and Stratton V-twin started first time and the throaty roar of all (count ’em!) 40 horsepower soon had us on patrol at 500ft.

Normally I have to take the Eindecker up to 2000ft to do an overhead rejoin on return to the airfield and up there I feel a little exposed. Less than 115 kilos of engine, aluminium tubing and lightweight fabric between me and the ground. It felt a lot safer at 500 feet – even though the outcome would still be the same if I fell out. Lower just feels better.

Lower also makes for good photography. Brenda took this from below as I patrolled over Wolfhill towards the (power) lines at Strelitz before returning to the field for a pleasant landing on the grass.

Unfortunately there was an electrical problem as the battery was not being charged by the alternator, so I have a little investigation to do…last time it was a loose connector behind the panel so that’s where we’ll start. I’ll also use the opportunity to take out the old 25MHz radio which is now just dead weight.

Such a nice photo that as a reward I took Brenda for breakfast the next day in the RV. To Cumbernauld. Several times the winner of the Carbuncle Award for the most dismal town in Scotland…and who says romance is dead?

It was actually pretty nice in the sunshine. The cafe in the main building does a mean bacon roll. We’ll be going back…