BaP2 - Flying the Hawk
Not "The Eagle has landed" but "The Hawk has flown!"
To all those that helped in the building of G-SPDY, you will all be pleased to hear that the X’Air Hawk, built by 36 youngsters of Devon, successfully flew for the first time on 17th April after receiving its permit to test fly from the LAA.
The suddenness of this achievement, just as the 2 year build anniversary approached, came about quite unexpectedly. We received the permit and on phoning the nominated test pilot, Gordon Salter, discovered that he was already at Dunkeswell airfield. As the weather conditions were ideal for testing, we decided to go for it.
After the initial first flight, Gordon's observations were that it flew "exactly on the numbers" and "everything behaved itself just perfectly", which is a fitting tribute to the dedication of all the young people that built the aircraft and LAA members who gave guidance during its construction. Gordon's grin was underlined with the further statement that, "Could the kids build me another one, please!"
Following the comprehensive solo test flight Tim Gilmour-White, the project benefactor, climbed on board to act as flight data observer and record the first part of the test schedule. The 5 hour test flight period was completed on Sunday 19th April and we’ve now applied for our full Permit to Fly. Then we will begin the flying programme to get each of the youngsters up in the air in the aircraft that they have built.
A big “Thank You” to Tim Gilmour-White for coming up with money to back the project and also all our sponsors, including Devon Strut members who not only gave of their free time but also helped to raise a further £1500 to help finances along. My thanks also go to the four area Devon Strut reps, the LAA inspectors under the guidance of John Skinner and all the Youth Leaders who got the youngsters to the numerous build evenings and Saturday morning sessions.
Well done everybody! Let’s go flying!
May 2009 - Full Permit to Fly Received.
I am pleased to report that the postman came early on Saturday 2nd May 2009 and delivered the Permit to Fly for G-SPDY. I was able to take the Hawk to Bolt Head for a public airing at the Classic event on 3rd May, with Chris and Sharon Noble there to support the static display. I now have to complete 20hrs on type before I can fly the Scouts and Cadets that built her. - Jim
The Reds The Blues (Ground Crew)
Although we didn't fly in we were never-the-less extended the privileges of aircrew, so were able to rub shoulders with all the jet jockeys in the flight crew quarters and, during our "breaks" could visit the hospitality suite next to the flight line to get a really great view of the airshow. It was great to talk to some of the pilots and I remember particularly chatting to the pilot of the display Chinook, who later threw that huge aircraft through a very spirited low level routine that was impressive to say the least.
The forecast for Saturday night and Sunday was not good so we had to dismantle the aircraft and store it overnight in the marquee. After a take away Indian meal and a few more bevies we settled down on the Scout Hut floor with the alarm set for another early start. 07.00hrs saw us back at the marquee assembling the aircraft but this time for display inside. The forecasters were right and it soon began to rain but the spin off was that the public sheltered in the LAA marquee so we had lots of captive interest. The day was very showery so there was a constant ebb and flow of visitors.
Our day ended with dismantling the aircraft again, to trailer it back to Dunkeswell with a tired but happy team, well satisfied with their efforts and experiences during the week-end. Hopefully we will have helped to inspire our young visitors and their parents to be more interested in light aviation, and maybe next year we will be lucky enough to fly in!
Following the issue of its Permit to Fly, the cost of operating the Hawk passed to the LAA's Education Trust. The aircraft was flown throughout the summer of 2009 by Jim Gale and Steve Robson, who each needed to accumulate a minimum of 20 hours before being able to take non-pilot passengers. Events at which the Hawk was exhibited included the Strut fly-in Lundy, the Farnborough Airshow and the LAA Rally at Sywell at the beginning of September. On the return flight from Sywell an engine problem was encountered that has yet to be resolved under the Jabiru warranty. However, the BaP2 team are looking forward to the 2010 season with several events already in the diary including local Devon Strut fly-ins and repeat visits to RIAT at Fairford, Farnborough and the LAA Sywell Rally.
I’m pleased to relate that Steve Robson and I successfully flew SPDY today (Tuesday 16th March) for the first time since we experienced the engine overheating problem last September. All Ts & Ps were good, especially the CHTs which did not go above 165C (whereas before they reached 200C), with the proviso that we need to do more monitoring as the summer ambient temperatures increase - we hope!
The main changes we made, at the recommendation of Jabiru engine guru and LAA inspector Roger Lewis, were changing the carburettor main jet from 225 to 235 (X’Air specified), removal of the oil cooler and its associated take off plate and hydraulic lines, (we had established, during a week's testing up at Roger's Southery, Norfolk base, that this cooling circuit was causing oil starvation to the engine for between 5 to 10 minutes on cold start up), and finally by increasing the lower cowling exit area to increase the efficiency of the cylinder head cooling ducts.
Needless to say, we will continue to monitor the engine performance as our seasonal temperatures increase, but so far, so good. Finally, our provisional display programme for the year is shown below. If any of you feel inclined to help out at these events, don't hesitate to give me a buzz: 01363-773767 email@example.com
BAP2 provisional programme 2010
May 1st Bodmin Strut fly-in.
May 2nd Bolt Head Air Day and Strut Fly-in. This is a large event. Last year 5,000 punters turned up. We will be displaying SPDY and flying Air Cadets.
June 4/5/6 Devon Scout Camp. Flying Scouts.
June 18/19 LAA VIP Day Old Walden. SPDY proposed to do a fly-past.
June 25/26/27 Aero Expo. Yateley project will also be there.
July 16/17/18 RIAT Stewart (BaP1) might join us this time.
July 22-25 Farnborough. Both BaPs to fly and Yateley to display, though this might be on RAeS or Boeing stand?
August 8 Lundy Devon Strut event
August 14 Devon Strut Fly-In Weekend @ Dunkeswell
Sept 3/4/5 LAA Rally, Sywell
Sept 18 Young Aviators at Dunkeswell
Despite the weather, four members of the Devon Strut (Jim Gale & the Noble family - Chris, Sharon & Sophie) trailered G-SPDY up to Fairford for the Royal International Air Tattoo. We were meant to fly into the Tattoo but the weather was so bad on the Thursday afternoon that we had to abandon the idea and dismantle the aircraft and trailer it up on the Friday. At least our "aircrew" passes speeded us through the gates when we got there late Friday evening.
Our accommodation for the week-end was Highworth Scout Hut and together with fellow LAA-YES members Dave Hall and Leia Fee, we dined out that evening on fish and chips, washed down with a beer or two.
Saturday saw us up bright and early, arriving at the LAA marquee at 06.30hrs in order to assemble the aircraft and set up our display. The weather on Saturday was kind to the Tattoo this year and we were able to enjoy a rain free day, with thousands of public attending the Airshow. There was lots of interest in the LAA exhibit, the emphasis being on the Educational side and of course the Hawk received a lot of attention when people realised that it had been built by youngsters. The highlight of the day was when we were honoured with a visit from the Red Arrows Team, who proceeded to sign the cowling of SPDY and chat to the BaP2 crew. As you can see, the cameras came out and the visit turned into an official photo-shoot, so G-SPDY may feature in a Reds future publication sometime.
BaP2 - SPDY at RIAT, RAF Fairford, 18-19th July 2009
The Nobles at RIAT Jim Gale lands the Hawk at Lundy