Monthly Archives: November 2011

RAF Shawbury

To Shawbury in Shropshire last Friday, on a visit to RAF Shawbury arranged by Andy Holly, in company with 44 fellow marshals from BMMC.

Andy, who marshals mainly at Oulton Park and Angle

sey, is chief flying instructor at Shawbury by way of a day job.

The station is home to the Defense Helicopter Flying School and also the Central Air Traffic Control School — both joint-services facilities. In addition, several hangers on thee site house the Aircraft Maintenance and Storage Unit.

We visited all three facilities.

In the Storage Unit, work was in progress to prepare new aircraft for the Red Arrows, servicing and uprating the new planes, and transferring specialist kit,like the smoke generators, from old Arrows craft. There is also space given over to a project to reconstruct a WW II assault glider, where there was an actual DC3, largely intact, and a Tiger Moth.

The Helicopter school has about 38 Squirrel training aircraft, as well as some other types. We had a detailed introduction to the machines, from some of Andy’s instructor colleagues, and had the opportunity climb aboard — I nipped into the pilot’s seat and was able to play with the controls and check out the bewildering array of instruments.

The ATC training facility gave us an insight into the tricky business of making sure aircraft avoid each other. There was a neat simulator mockup with big screens for teaching visual control tower skills, and allegedly they have some equally good simulator kit for radar training, but we didn’t get to see that.

All-in-all, an interesting three hours.

A Welcome Return

The last few mornings, we’ve had the pleasure of seeing a mistle thrush visit the tree with white berries in Mrs Jones’s garden. He/she hasn’t been around for quite a while.

Pity the weather has been so dull — hard to get much of a snapshot: this is the best I could do, using the 500 mirror lens, ISO 1600, cropped madly.

Oil Leak Fixed? (Again!)

So, having got The Five through its annual health check (see previous blog entry), the next step is to try and tackle the (latest) oil leak.

Been aware for a while that there might be a bit of a drip from the area of the Cam Angle Sensor, but hadn’t thought it was too bad. Consequently very surprised to see the amount of oil splashed around underneath the car when it was up on the lift for the MOT.

However, further investigation shows that, once again, I have failed to empty the crank breather catch-tank!! So that was the first thing to do.

Having sorted the catch tank, and since I did have a new O-ring for the CAS, it seemed desirable to tackle that drip.

Not a difficult job, in fact. Removal of the CAS was pretty simple, once I’d figured the coil pack needed to come off as well.

Putting it the CAS back was no so easy — the problem of getting the drive dogs aligned proved to be another of those awkward tasks that just needs repeated attempts, extensive cursing, and a final bit of luck.

Anyway, now it’s done, and hopefully the garage floor will remain clear for a while.  😉

Shock! Horror! The Five Fails MOT

Trotted off cheerfully to Paul Sheard Autos on Friday morning to get The Five its annual certificate of health, expecting to exchange a few pleasantries with Paul and be home in no time. (Well, in truth, “being home in no time” is more of a hope than an expectation, but then I never saw a garage yet that could complete things in the expected/promised time — I think it’s just a fact of life!)

Anyway, we sat down in the new saleroom/waiting area with a cup of tea and settle down to wait. After a bit I had a stroll round outside, checking the cars currently on offer, but saw nothing to tempt me. Returning inside, I notice the car was up on the lift, so thought I’d take the opportunity for a comfortable look around underneath. Oh dear!!

First off, Paul was not impressed with my sump-drain valve that I fitted at the last service: it protrudes below the subframe and could perhaps be in danger of getting fouled, with the result (according to Paul) that it would rip the sump out. I think he’s right — that’ll be coming off next service.

More worryingly, there was a lot of oil splashed about. I had noted marks on the garage floor, but had put it down to being hydraulic fluid that I spilled when fitting the new clutch slave cylinder; but this was definitely oil. And looking up through the engine bay, you could clearly see a drip on the bottom of the Cam Angle Sensor. I had a feeling I was losing some oil there, but hadn’t thought it was a serious leak.

Returned to the waiting area somewhat dischuffed. But worse was to come

After a while Paul appeared to report the MOT was FAILED — no handbrake on the left side!!

Not a good day 😦

Once home, it didn’t take long to establish the problem was a seized left-rear handbrake cable. Spent a difficult hour or so removing the cable, then ordered a replacement from Autolink through their ebay shop, with best-possible delivery, and settled down to drown my sorrows with the usual Friday evening bottle of plonk.

The replacement cable arrived Saturday morning — well done Autolink — but the day was so perishing cold, I decided to put of the job of installing till after the weekend.

Monday morning it was a fairly straightforward job to install the new cable (once the inboard end was connected, that is — proved to be a real pig, trying to get the inner connected to the compensator). A call to Paul Sheard resulted in “bring it in this afternoon”, so after lunch I tootled back to Congleton, taking an alternative route via Warmingham and Elworth (had some business on the north side fo Crewe).

Ten minutes after arriving, I had my certificate in my hand and a smile on my face.

Just need to fix that oil leak now!

Autumn Break 2011

Just a quick reprise of the Annual Visit To Dorset (created retrospectively in April 2012, when I stumbled across the notes I made at the time but apparently never blogged) …

Wednesday 19th October
To poole via the scenic route, having stocked up at Chatwins

Thursday 20th
Topher at hospital (for rather personal reasons that we won’t go into!)
We mooched round Chrischurch and then to Hengisbury Head with butties for lunch

Friday 21st
G&S as usual

Saturday 22nd
By boat across Poole harbour and up river to Wareham; sandwiches and chips for lunch
Curry for tea – Red Fort in Wimborne: not great

By the river at Wareham

Sunday 23rd
Church in the morning
Walked by the river and around Wimborne

Monday 24th
Beach hut; bacon butties for lunch and a walk on the beach; rather cold

Cold and windy at the beach hut

Tuesday 25th
Home by the direct eastern route