Archive for January, 2008

Forgiving the Citabria

Saturday, January 26th, 2008

We’ve had to have the Citabria engine rebuilt, and this after just 500 hours. Not fair. Expensive. Annoying.
The boys at New Garden found copper in the oil during the annual aircraft check, and suspected a pin keeping the piston aligned had worked loose. The cams had become worn too, not sure if for the same reason. And all of this after co-owner Steve and I both for some time have experienced increasing problems getting the thing started when it was hot. We planned to replace the magneto’s to hopefully cure that disconcerting trait. (yes, we know about vapour lock and fuel lines etc etc – wasn’t it). The new mags now sit on the rebuilt engine, and hopefully it will be a cure-all.

This beautiful and really-fun-to-drive airplane has come-in for some harsh words of late, from both Steve and I. But it will be good to get it back into the air. If all goes as we hope, with problems resolved and reliability restored, forgiveness will be in the air too.

(BTW – Citabria backwards; Airbatic)


The Foxes of Foxmeadow

Saturday, January 19th, 2008


We’re blessed with a strong population of foxes in the area, and with three in particular that have become so used to us and to the dogs that they sit and watch us, as we watch them. Rarely does a walk with the dogs go by that we don’t encounter at least one, and often at very close quarters. The three foxes we see regularly are very distinguishable, with different reds and varying combinations of black and white, enough that we can tell them apart. We often see them together play-fighting and chasing or just basking in the sun. But they hunt separately, their intensity and pace we’ve assumed is an indicator of their hunger level. They have found a good way of both relaxing and hunting at the same time, which they accomplish by hanging out at the burrow of a groundhog (a badger-like animal (but not as nice) that we also have lots of around the place), just waiting.


Three years ago we had a brood of foxes born in local gardens. Early mornings and late evenings would find them playing like kids on the lawn, chasing each other, staring at us as we watched their antics.

Fascinating to watch and hopefully keeping the local vermin in-check we think of these as good neighbours and friends and look forward to our encounters.


Alan was amongst us…..

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

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Will Fly for Food

Saturday, January 5th, 2008

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First flight of the new year was to York Pennsylvania KTHV this morning, for breakfast at Orville’s Restaurant. The aviation group I’m associated with needs little excuse to get into the air, but food – and particularly breakfasts – are close to the top of that list. Seven aircraft, including my own, made up the fleet, with nineteen aviation friends, partners, club members all enjoying a crisp and clear morning. Wheel’s-up at 8.30 into a calm and smooth sky, and just 52 miles to our destination, west of our home-base at New Garden N57. The aircraft was full, my cockpit companions – Jim, Jeff, Harv – presented the Cirrus with no problems. All aircraft enjoy the cold air and generally leap off the runway even when loaded, the excellent Cirrus is no exception.

With accomplished pilots alongside you and paying close attention to everything that’s happening there’s a certain amount of added pressure to ‘get-it-right’. It seemed to work well today, with reasonably good landings and take-offs, and no surprises. My pattern circuit at York was too tight, I didn’t make enough allowance for the additional weight onboard and had to re-align for the final approach….. but all fine in the end. Another learning added to the never-ending list, and one of the reasons I really enjoy the challenge of flying – it’s new every time.