Sunday, March 22, 2009

Pitts & Decathlon Update

My last blog at http://davidjpilkington.blogspot.com/ was about preparation for the National Aerobatic Championships at Easter. I've also sent some emails to a few people to start discussion about the logistics of getting there. Taking a Pitts or Decathlon with two people doesn't leave a lot of room to take luggage plus some useful stuff for the aeroplane. As usual, diddly squat response to my emails so I'll proceed with my own plans to suit myself – perhaps I'll even drive up with my wife (if the Airtourer option doesn't work out) and see what options I have for flying when I get to Parkes.
My Decathlon, JIR, probably won't be going but that's another option for my wife and myself. If it does go it will, of course, be available for others to fly at the standard rate at Moorabbin. However, it would be good to get our “new” Pitts S-2A, MCR, there instead.
Oxford's Pitts, SZE, will definitely be there with Rob and David taking it up. I expect that a standard Decathlon, probably ITG, will also be going up.
At this stage I'm not sure Gerry's Super Decathlon from Brisbane nor Jock's Super Decathlon from Lilydale. Hopefully both of them will make it.
So, there are plenty of aeroplanes for people to fly at Parkes. Closing date for entries was over a week ago and I see people still trying to organise entries and time off work etc. I wonder why entries had to close a month before the event.
I have just received the invitation to the Civic Reception at Parkes however 5 pm on the Thursday may not work for me. Practice takes priority over cocktail parties but the way things are going I'll be lucky to arrive by then. Incidentally, the invitation doesn't say cocktail party so maybe it is a just us standing there while people make lots of speeches. Arriving on Thursday should give me one practice flight in the box on Friday before the contest starts. I see that the rules state that each competitor shall be allowed one training flight in the box. My view is that each pilot is allowed only one flight in the box – one argument put for the Nationals to be held at Parkes is that the contest should not be at anyone's “home base” so that no-one has an advantage by being more familiar with the box. So, why allow people to practice there for a week or so before the contest?
Finally, a note about daily inspections and pre-flight checks of the aeroplane. It seems that some people are unaware of the responsibility associated with signing the maintenance release to certify that they have inspected the aeroplane per the required checklist and that it is serviceable. A couple of weeks ago I observed that all tyres on JIR looked a little low but I didn't have a pump with me and I wasn't going flying so I thought that it would be picked up by the next pilot. I returned a week later after it had done several flights and the tyres were obviously still low. The tailwheel in particular had an obvious deflection which meant that it was only 10 psi. I wonder how many pilots know what the pressure should be? If not, you are unable to conduct the daily inspection! If not, you are putting yourself at risk by not conducting an adequate pre-flight check. I've seen what happens if the tailwheel tyre runs off the rim.
I hope to see you all at Parkes next month.