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microlightpilot.com » Before we set off, some planning
Jun
12
2011

Before we set off, some planning

Guest post by fairywishes:

Now my main blog about it, I’ll hope to put my thoughts alongside Ian’s before we leave, as we go round & when we get back. I thought I’d start with some idea of what is required when we fly for those who don’t know much about it. Once we start I’ll, hopefully, write more about the particular conditions, things we’ve seen and where we are.

Planning! The main difficulties are the weight/fuel/distance conundrum we are quite heavy with all our kit (us, clothing, flying gear, tent, sleeping bags, water proofs, aircraft covers, tools, oil, general stuff, camera etc) so therefore can’t have full fuel tanks as this would take us over the aircraft’s ”maximum all up weight” of 400kg which includes the aircraft, engine, wing, etc etc. We also don’t have much space to put all the additional stuff, although thankfully Ian did add a luggage pod last year – but it is quite small, maximum load 10Kg & there in not that much space under our feet (another 10Kg). Some of the legs in Scotland (particularly Wick-Plockton 138miles) require fuel levels which take us close to our maximum weight limit. Not all the airfields we plan to stop at have on site fuel, at some the only option is visiting the nearest garage with a jerry can. This might mean a taxi or a friendly lift from a local aviator. This is more the case in Scotland. Then we have to factor in the oil we need (because we have a two stroke engine which burns a 50:1 fuel:oil mix) so, we have to think, can we carry the oil we need it or can we post it ahead of us. We may need as many as 17 litres(depends on headwinds etc and fuel burn). We’re planning on taking 10 litres (extra 10kg of weight) but will need more than this. We also need to factor in how we can transport the fuel if we land at an airfield which doesn’t have fuel. To this end we have purchased (but not yet arrived) a plastic (lighter 3kg) 20Lt fuel can which we hope to strap onto the plane, above the engine & to the main ‘upright bar’ which will help us out a bit, we hope to be able to borrow one too as we’ll need more like 30-50 litres at most stops!

I’m leaving Ian to deal with all these details, but all I can tell you that they take up a LOT of time. So we shall see how we get on. He is also in charge of, if the day is flyable or not, as there are some days where it’s quite marginal depending on the wind speeds, the gusting wind, visability and what the day might bring. He’ll need to plan our route and this isn’t as easy as it sounds as we have to navigate quite carefully and find things we can spot from the air to double check the maps/plan as we go and he needs to take into account airspace (quite a lot in the UK) both permanent and temporary,and thus either naviagting around them or communicating with air traffic control to fly through them, as well as our flying time/speed etc. Finally Ian is actually flying it for 6hrs+ a day, with at least 3 take offs & landings a day. But I’ll leave this mainly to Ian & the other pilots to talk about, and many of you reading this will know all about this anyway.

To prepare for this trip I’ve purchased a new light weight water proof top and a light weight small sleeping bag, I’ve borrowed a small light weight roll mat and I hope to dig out a small light weight towel. We have borrowed a light weight tent – I need to practise putting this up/down. I have also brought, as a little present, a new LED maglite which has a fantastically bright light & has 4 settings – full, 50%, Strobe, SOS which is brilliant and should help me see the way to the toilet without running out of batteries! A fantastic friend @peacockpete has drawn me a little red fairy and I have had this put onto a T-shirt and am also, hopefully, getting this as a vinyl that I can add to my helmet which will make it a little different, I really am excited about that. It’s a red fairy because my online ‘handle’ is fairywishes (on twitter @fairywishes) and the trike is red.

I’m in lots of different moods about the trip. I’m away from the children for 10 days which is a long time, so I’m going to miss them and feel a bit sad about that. I’m looking forward to spending that time with Ian though and it will be great to just be together. It’s going to be hard work with lots of hours (hopefully) flying and camping, I’ve never really camped so not sure how well I’ll manage on this. We have packed/repacked the trike a few times and still have a few more to go to see how heavy we are. I’m trying to lose some weight so I can pack a few more clothes! I have about 1kg weight allowance for EVERYTHING I’m taking and a tiny amount of space so I’m sorting through my clothes to find small, light things as I will not be wearing the same clothes for 10 days (some of the boys do!) so this is mainly what I’m thinking about at the moment. I’m so excited about what I’m going to be seeing and flying over as there are so many parts of Britain and amazing landmark views that I haven’t seen. Hopefully we’ll have some good photos/videos up later to show you.

I better stop waffling but I thought I’d give you a few thoughts from my head before we start, to give an introduction into what we’re doing and to say hi – feel free to comment here to let me know your thoughts.

Fairywishes

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"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward,
for there you have been, and there you will always long to return." -- Leonardo da Vinci

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