Thursday, May 08, 2008

Excitement in Kalbarri

The Rolfy show rolled into Kalbarri at 1am, I parked in a nice beach carpark by the red rocks and went to sleep. By 9am it was already in the mid 20's and I was driven out of my bed as the caravan started to heat up. I drove straight to where the airstrip used to be and decided to set up on a vacant block that seemed out of the way. At the time it was NIL wind so I was planning to use the longest direction. By the time I got the harness setup and started it was blowing 6knots accross my strip. In my mind I rehersed the glider trying to turn into wind and me taking off successfully despite the crosswind. I made a mental note of the position of the many stakes sticking out of the ground and also planned to avoid them on T/O and landing.
I need to re-do the fuel system again, air is getting into the system at full throttle and this is bad. I had to abort the first 2 take-offs after the engine faltered during the run. The second time I didn't bother to walk back to the sensible starting point and just went from halfway down the useable space, I justified it at the time with the arguament that there were less stakes to avoid now.  It was a pretty good crosswind T/O but after the initial second of panic it was all relief as I cleared my caravan by about a foot. The slow circling climb to 3000ft was OK but I could tell I was nearly 1000rpm down on a properly tuned motor. From 3000ft I had plenty of landing options, just a long walk if I ended up being  forced to land elsewhere by engine problems so I headed towards the town and started to take photos. First my camera battery died so I missed alot of the shots I wanted. Then the engine started coughing and spluttering and it was only by constantly pumping the throttle I could keep it at about 5000RPM and maintain enough height to make it back to my car, it seemed to know when it had hung in  there long enough and died as I turned downwind on my standard-ish circuit....  A final recollection of the intended landing path between the stakes and a nice uneventfull crosswind landing. The 12knots on the ground made the landing easy but it took me ages to groundhandle the wing and climb out and detach everything with the gustly breeze. Based on yesterdays speeds I have another 10hrs of driving and I should make Exmouth around midnight tonight. Fun in the Sun, here I come!

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