Bit of a waste of a flight

Wasn't much of a flight tonight. The plan was to go and do some upper air work, since I hadn't done any in a long time. We got into C-GTQL and found that it was having a really bad day. There was some interference in the radio that gave us a constant loud noise on the Red Deer radio frequency. It was just enough to get on our nerves in a bad way. Spent a little extra time on the run up because there was a higher than acceptable drop in RPM on the magneto check, this ironed itself out. By the time we took the runway for a short field takeoff, we were both off our game. The take-off took longer than a normal takeoff and climbing out thing just weren't feeling right. Once we got to 4,500', we saw a lot of haze making the horizon indiscernible - really need that for things like steep turns. We opted to abandon the flight and returned to land on 11 (tower gave use the option, 16 was active). I came in on a long final and thought it was going well, I had been flaring a little early lately so I held off a bit - too much apparently. Touchdown was really hard with a bounce, hard enough that the force advanced the throttle that I had my hand on. I think I touched nose wheel at the same time as left wheel. I got the plane to settle down quickly and got off the runway. We'll give this another try on Monday. 0.6h in C-GTQL.

  • Time this flight: 0.6h dual
  • Time to date: 38.2h dual, 15.1h solo, 53.3h total

Solo cross country #2

Took another morning off work and finished my solo cross country requirements with a flight to Sundre and Drumheller. It went pretty well. I waited a few minutes in Sundre as there was a Mooney coming in behind me who wanted to do a landing followed by an immediate back track to take off again. Flight to Drumheller was good, I flew over to check wind and found the wind sock wasn't moving much, favoring the north a bit. I did a left hand circuit for 34, came in a little high and bounced it so bad I had to overshoot. Second pass was good, although I needed all of the runway to stop. I taxied off and readied to get going again and spotted the windsock was completely opposite what I thought I saw earlier. I took off on 16 and headed home. Flight back was uneventful, landed on 34 after crossing midfield and joining left downwind. This flight fulfills the 5 hour solo cross country requirement. All I have left now is 2.8 hours of instrument time. It's getting close. 2.9h in C-FZRO.

  • Time this flight: 2.9h solo
  • Time to date: 38.9h dual, 15.1 solo, 54.0h total

Solo cross country

Took the morning off work so I could go out and do my first solo cross country flight. Was late getting off of the ground because the instructor who was signing me out forgot about it. Flight was to Sundre, Three Hills and back. First leg went well, a fair amount of winds aloft so my planned heading was nothing more than an inaccurate guess. Landed in Sundre with a little bit of crosswind. After pulling off onto the apron, I got back on the runway and back taxied and took off. The take off was taking forever, I wasn't gaining altitude at all. I made it to about 300' AGL pushing it for all it was worth, very close to stalling. I struggled for what seemed like 10 minutes, but probably only 2 or 3, I turned back to the airport thinking that I might have to put it down again. That's when I noticed that I hadn't raised my flaps from the landing. I had them out 20 degrees. I retracted them, corrected for the balloon that that caused, and managed to get climbing. I'm not going to make that mistake twice, it was no fun at all.

The flight to Three Hills went quickly with the winds giving me a boost and I joined the right hand circuit for 29 there and came with a good landing in 15 kt winds that were shifting across by as much as 30 degrees. I was blown away at the size of the taxiways in Three Hills - only 18' wide! After the quick stop on the apron, I returned to the air - climbing up to 4500' over the airport before proceeding to Red Deer.  As I approached Red Deer, I checked ATIS and found that 29 was still preferred. I made my radio call in to Red Deer at about 8 miles, requesting a straight in on 29, since that was my heading. The winds had shifted enough in the 20 minutes since the ATIS that they were preferring 34 now. I was directed (suggested officially - this is only a flight advisory service) to cross mid field and join the left downwind for 34. In my last 5 minutes of flight, there were about 4 landings and the reported wind was wildly different for all of them. I landed with about a 15 degree crosswind at 10kts gusting to 20kts. Not a steady approach at all but it turned out really quite nice. Cross country #1 done. Cross country #2 will be in 2 days, Red Deer-Sundre-Drumheller-Red Deer. I'm getting really familiar with the routes in that area. Today's flight was 2.6h solo in C-GYHA, enough to satisfy my solo hours requirement. Just need 2.8h instrument and 2.4h solo cross-country to fulfill all of my hours.

  • Time this flight: 2.6h solo
  • Time to date: 38.9h dual, 12.2h solo, 50.1h total

Build update July 25, 2015

July 19, 2015 3:10 Fuselage

Longerons - Quick 10 minutes to apply the twist to the forward end of the longerons. I just clamped them to the sawhorse at the back of the twist and applied the twist with the 12” adjustable wrench I purchased today.

Fuselage Assembly - Since is was in the mood for twisting, I applied the conical bends to the side skins. It didn’t go too badly and didn’t take all that long. I then spend some time wrapping my head around the F-623A baggage side rib straps. Once I finally figured out what was happening, I set out to drill the holes in the straps. I messed up the first one so I rebuild the strap. I then dimpled a few holes and proceeded to attach the side ribs. I riveted in the left one with the exception of 5 rivets which I can’t reach with the squeezer. I did leave the holes that the side skin tucks under open, as well as a few rivets that are close enough to that to possibly interfere with getting the side skin under the bottom skin.


A strange feeling flight this evening. I didn't make it to 1000' AGL until climbing there for our final approach. We went up to do diversions, basically basic navigation used in poor visibility. We did the whole thing at 700-800' AGL. Our flight took us to Pine Lake and then north to Joffre and west to Blackfalds before returning. Apart from the strange feeling of being so low, the flight went well. My landing was awful though. Winds were gusty and crossing. I came in with only 10 degrees of flaps and pulled back too early while slipping in. The result was dropping the last 8' very quick and hard. I definitely could use some more crosswind practice. 1.1h dual in C-GJSK.

  • Time this flight: 1.1h dual
  • Time to date: 38.9h dual, 9.6h solo, 48.5h total

Next up, solo cross country....

Build update July 18, 2015

July 12, 2015 3:20 Fuselage

Center Fuselage - Platenuts and more platenuts. Attached all of the 88 platenuts on the inside 8 seat ribs (except the 2 I did last time). Took about 2½ minutes each. Tedious and uncomfortable work, would have been better if the work was 3 inches higher so I wouldn’t have had to bend at the lower back to reach the forward platenuts. They’re done though. I’ll be able to continue with the rest of the center fuselage tomorrow. I’m off work this week so I expect to get a lot done.

Cross country finally

Finally got up for the cross country flight. Weather was great and it wasn't so warm as to have problems climbing. The flight went very well, navigation was easy enough. We landed westbound into a light wind in Sundre and taxied off the runway at the west end.  As winds were barely moving the windsock, we elected to take off with the slight tailwind. This worked out ok, although I did notice the climb rate was lower. We got to altitude over the Sundre airport and set course for Drumheller. This was a good leg with unbelievable scenery as we approached the badlands. The landing in Drumheller was a little hard, had a 5-6 knot crosswind. We taxied off and watch the windsock drop off completely. Then just as we were taking the runway, the crosswind came back. No problem with the takeoff and climb. We only climbed to 4500' for the return leg, the lower altitude really changed how far we could see. The flight back to Red Deer was uneventful and I came in with a decent landing straight in on 11. This was an expensive trip - over $600, but I won't have to do any more dual cross country. This trip satisfied my total hours requirement as well as the dual cross country hours requirement. 2.8h in C-GZYT.

  • Time this flight: 2.8h dual
  • Time to date: 37.8h dual, 9.6h solo, 47.4h total

Smokey the flight

I returned from a short trip to B.C. in order to attempt the cross country flight again this morning. That didn't happen. There was a pretty good layer of smoke in the airport area and we decided against going out in the lower visibility. I went out to do some solo circuits but found the visibility to be really poor, only 1-1/2 miles or so. I landed and called it a day after my first circuit. 0.4h in C-GYHA.

  • Time this flight: 0.4h solo
  • Time to date: 35.0h dual, 9.6h solo, 44.6h total

Build update July 2, 2015

Jun 28, 2015 1:00 Fuselage

Center Fuselage - Dimpled the ribs, as much as I could do with the DRDT-2

Jul 1, 2015 3:45 Fuselage

Center Fuselage - Found a way to finish dimpling the ribs - I used the tight fit dimpling fixture for the female end, and built a small oak block with a 3/16” hole in it to receive the male die. I set the dimples with a few whacks with the rubber mallet. I dimpled the center lower skin and then prepped and primed the topside of the skin and all of the ribs and small pieces.

July 2, 2015 3:45 Fuselage

Center Fuselage - Started assembly of center fuselage. Finished a few dimples on the aft F-904 bulkhead and then attached the seat ribs to that bulkhead. I drilled out the bolt holes for each rib and then riveted the rib flanges to the bulkhead web and the top hole on the rib to the flange on the bulkhead. I then installed the bolts and torqued them. I got the replacement part for my pneumatic squeezer today and got it working. Nice to have it back.  I went out after supper and dimpled a bunch of platenuts. Then I went to fit some on the ribs. I pulled out the floors and test fit them and learned that I’d screwed up. There was one spot on all of the ribs where I drilled for a one lug platenut only to find that the hole in the floor lined up for a 2 lug platenut. As it turns out, the #19 hole I drilled is still small enough that a #3 rivet doesn’t drop through, so I just drilled the middle hole and started riveting in a couple of 2 lug platenuts.

Going to be away for the next week, so there won’t be much more progress until weekend after this one.