Many hands make light aircraft work
After a long spell of being grounded, the editorial Cub is flying again. It has taken a while to sort out the problems that I discovered last October but I have had lots of advice and help from people in the flying community, securing repairs and spare parts for a very low cost – and any extra delay in getting the aeroplane fixed is down to indolence on my part.
I am not sure we pilots always recognise and appreciate the support we get from friends, flying associations and maintenance people (the latter group charging hourly rates well below those of the garage industry and actually doing a proper engineering job, rather than the car world’s normal run of top-ups and replacing, in lieu of actually servicing or repairing systems).
So I would like to thank skilled welder Paul Sawney, who is based at Wycombe Air Park, for making a beautiful job of letting in new sections to the Cub’s holed starboard exhaust manifold. Years ago, I could hardly believe the rough welds done by a car specialist that got my old VW Beetle through an MOT: Paul’s (and I am going to embarrass him here) are a work of art – and he even resisted when I pressed extra money on him.
It was Alan Turney of Permit aircraft maintenance specialists ATSO Engineering, based at Turweston who pointed me in Paul’s direction. ATSO was not able to rebuild the Cub’s magnetos – which on strip-down proved to have coils that looked like spent fireworks – but Alan did have a dead A-65 engine in his workshop and its owner, fellow Cub pilot Alan Vogel, was kind enough to part with its serviceable magnetos. And when it came to the tricky task of fitting and timing them, Alan Turney made his way to our farm strip to do the job, taking great care in getting it spot-on.
Light Aircraft Association CEO and Pilot contributor Steve Slater also lent his support, just as he did years ago when the Cub’s wings had to come off and be transported to fellow LAA member Arthur Mason’s workshop for re-covering – which reminds me of the time Arthur, then half way through building his Pietenpol Air Camper, loaned the Whitemans the carburettor from his A-65 until we could find a replacement for the dud one on the Cub.
Forgive me if the list of people named here keeps on growing because this is the point: without the LAA and the Permit to Fly system, and all the individuals who put enthusiasm and friendship ahead of income, it would be impossible for me – and many others like me - to operate our own aircraft. There are many aviators and engineers out there in the C of A world who show similar levels of dedication to keeping their friends and customers in the air – light aviation is a small world and its incredible resilience in the face of all manner of challenges is a great reflection of the spirit of the GA community.
So, just for once, I would simply like to thank all those involved, named and anonymous, working on not just my aircraft but all the others, for keeping me – for keeping us – flying.