Morning Glory Cloud

Morning Glory Cloud
Morning Glory over Massacre Inlet (photo: Diane Davey)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Motor Glider Preparations

The last few days have been very busy getting the motorglider and myself ready to go. Geoff, the owner, ordered a new canopy from Germany a few months ago. The humongous box was delivered to Mike's workshop in Tocumwal several weeks ago and work commenced shortly after. I discovered last week how much work there is in replacing a canopy. To me it looked almost ready to go. Mike and Ingo had cut it down to size (it comes oversized) and got it secured to the frame. This is not a job for the faint of heart - securing the perspex to the frame involves making holes along the edge and putting screws in - every move in the cutting and the fitting can end up over stressing the canopy and cracking the whole thing!

What I got to do last week is carefully clean and sand down all the edges and tape it up to be painted, all without tripping over the stands, bumping into the canopy or doing anything that might create a crack.

Carefully sanding the edge of the canopy

Mike did a fantastic job with the paint around the edge. He aslo did the other nerve-wracking bit - cutting out the windows and fitting the rails for the sliding windows. The shape of the new canopy is a bit different to that of the old canopy so this job is particularly tricky.

We tried it on for size and Ingo and I took it for a fly on Saturday. It was a real pleasure for me to fly with Ingo Renner. This man is a world famous glider pilot with well over 30,000 hours of gliding hours. I believe he is the most experienced glider pilot in the world. He absolutely loves gliding and loves sharing it with others. I'm thrilled that he took the time to fly the Falke with me and shared some of his knowledge with me.

Ingo Renner and I about to go for a fly

I've also been very fortunate to have the opportunity to work alongside Mike Burns, getting the motor glider ready for the trip. Mike is one of the country's most experienced engineers specialising in gliders. He's also a keen glider pilot and an exceptional teacher. I have learned so much from working with Mike - he's taught me what I need to know to do minor repairs and maintenance which could be required on the trip.

There are still a few things to do on the Falke before I go, but not much. My tent, sleeping bag and a few other bits and pieces are already in the glider waiting for me to jump in and go. The camera batteries are charged and the memory cards plentiful. I can tell you that flying it last Saturday with that new canopy was just like flying an open cockpit - but without the wind. I should have some great photos to share with you all!

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