Units of measure
I have been amused by the correspondence on Imperial versus Metric measurements. When I was going through RAF flying training in the late sixties, runways were measured in feet. There were still WWII pilots on my first squadron who had used yards and cheerfully admitted to having to mentally divide by three to get a feel for the runway dimension. We young bloods smiled and thought ‘Oh dear’. Shortly afterwards runways became defined in metres and I have spent all the intervening years mentally
multiplying by three! I suspect that we are all more conditioned by our original education than we might think. Huw Baumgartner, Bridell I don’t think Mr Emms needs such a shooting down as he has a valid point about reading Pilot for pleasure. I usually read mine in bed.
I can convert lb to kg etc in my head but things like wing loading and power loading are different. After many years I had just got my head around what was high or low for a particular type when you changed to metric. I once asked Mr Whiteman at the LAA rally why he couldn’t put both metric and imperial and was told there just wasn’t the space. Then I see in the LAA magazine that they do it, even with three different units sometimes, and their box of figures is often smaller than Pilot’s.
It seems to me that you could do the calculation once to save us million readers having to do it a million times. Please! Jan Henslow, Midhurst I was perhaps a bit hard on Mr Emms, especially when it comes to those power loadings, and I take the point about being able to make a ready comparison between types, so maybe we should make an exception to the rule and quote the wing- and power loading in both ‘new and old money’ - Ed
A commendation for Pat Malone. He invariably writes a good page but ‘Aspiring to be average’ (January) really nailed it. Some years ago whilst flying back from St Just to Eggesford with my partner in an Emeraude I entered IMC over Bodmin and nearly became a statistic.
Some 500 hours later, and living and flying my Europa in Portugal, his article perfectly illustrates why I hope I’ve learned and improved as a pilot, exercising humility and always being receptive to putting lessons learnt into practice. If you fly enough you will at some point arrive at a situation that will test you, and whether it’s an accident report or some pointer you pick up in the clubhouse, it may well save your bacon. Treat every flight as a learning one.
I hope Bodmin is still prospering, I miss flying over the reservoir and its grass runways coming into view!
One question for Bob Davy, page 26, I’m a bit lost with his calculation for increased hp vs airspeed. Could he clarify this? Richard Scanlan by email Bob Davy replies: According to aerodynamic boys it’s original speed multiplied by the cube root of new hp/ original hp – in this case 162 x cube root of 385/285 (which is approximately 1.1) = 178kt
While my wife Caroline and I were on a flight from Troyes to Cannes in late September in our Robin DR401 the oil pressure light flicked from its normal green to amber then quickly to red, which immediately prompted the FADEC warnings lights to flash then turn constant red heralding that we had a major problem. I was working St Yan Info at the time so made a quick call to apprise them of our situation and ask for the nearest airfield to land. The lady controller informed us that we were directly over a small airfield but there would not be anyone there and we would be better to continue to St Yan some 25 miles ahead as they had engineers. As the engine was still running normally and we were at flight level 65 we decided to go for it. The controller kept in constant touch with us all the way in and a normal landing was made after a long fifteen minutes.
On landing, two of St Yan’s engineers took a quick look and informed us they couldn’t help as they did not have any experience of diesel engines. I then rang Casimir Pellissier, the CEO of Robin Aircraft at Darois, for his help. He told me there was a Robin aircraft diesel specialist at Roanne Airfield some 25 miles to the south and he would contact them on our behalf. A few minutes later Christophe Pradelle from Roanne Aero Maintenance rang to say he would borrow an aircraft and be with us within the hour. True to his word, half an hour later he and another engineer arrived in another Robin and he went to work with his laptop downloading the engine data which confirmed the obvious lack of oil pressure as there was oil splattered all over the engine bay. He refilled the engine with oil and ran it whilst checking on his laptop there were no other problems besides the oil leak. After liaising with the engineers at the Robin factory it was decided it was safe for me to follow them back to their workshop at Roanne.
By now it was well past lunchtime and Caroline and I were invited to share their lunch in the works canteen along with the other engineers, Christophe’s wife Christelle, who was responsible for administration, and their delightful eight-yearold son Anthony who, it being a Wednesday, was not at school (no school on Wednesdays in that part of France). It soon became evident to us that this was not just a team, as Christophe kept referring to them, but more a big happy family.
After lunch he and his fellow engineers put all their other work on hold and set to work on G-GORD. After cleaning down the engine of all the oil splattered over it they ran it to discover exactly where the leak was and it was found to be coming from a cracked gasket on the turbocharger oil feed pipe bracket.
By this time it was past six thirty in the evening and, according to Christophe, too late to find a hotel locally and they were not very good anyway, so we were informed we were to spend the night with them. A quick trip to the supermarket on the way home to buy a few food items and of course the obligatory bottles of very good local wine was followed by a superb meal cooked by Christelle and Christophe together. With much swapping of aviation stories and general chat a very convivial evening ensued. The following morning a new gasket was fitted and after many final checks we were given the all clear to continue on to Cannes.
I cannot thank them enough for making what was a major drama to us in the beginning into an event which, whilst serious, became quite an enjoyable experience. And I would like to add my thanks to the lady controller at St Yan for her professionalism and help, and to St Yan and Roanne airports who would not accept any landing fees as it was in their words an ‘emergency divert’. As we flew off from Roanne we felt humbled by the genuine warmth and goodwill shown to us. A very grateful Gordon Bellerby by email