When them blow, they blow!

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Monday April 16th 2018

Winds! When them winds blow, they blow.

Gary Berdeaux  of Beachflight aviation, once again, went out of his way to assist me in my adventure. Meeting me at Salt Air Aviation, where I returned the car rental, and then taking me to his hanger, where the BZIM was sleeping, at 0730.

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The forecast today was for blue sky’s and wind. A 25 mph head wind in thermic conditions isn’t particularly comfortable. Worse though, the 25 mph headwind would slow my progress, meaning an additional fuel stop en-route.

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Departure from Jack Edwards was first toward Denton, on Dauphin Island. The flight to Dauphin Island was a nice slow flight. A distance of 28 miles traveled, should have taken 28 minutes at the BZIM’s 60mph speed, instead, it took almost 50 minutes!

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Fort Morgan, Alabama

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Offshore, crossing the channel to Dauphin island

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Denton in the centre above the tree line

Jeremiah Denton (4R9) airport, Dauphin Island was built on land reclaimed from the bay.

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Looking right, whilst on finals to Denton, Dauphin Island

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The BZIM at Dauphin Island

I’m told this can give an aircraft carrier departure feeling, but I guess that would be in an aircraft needing a longer departure run and at speeds faster than the BZIM.

After departure from Denton, I was advised by Gary, routing inland would lesson the wind speeds compared to following the coastline. Disappointed, as the plan was to fly low along the Mississippi River, this turned out to be a wise decision.IMG_0695

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For the short period, where a low level section was flown, the air was very turbulent and the view was not as pretty due to the previous days torrential rains. Much nicer was the area from where False River Airport got it’s name.

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Part of False River, now a lake, which once was a part of the meandering Mississippi River.

The flight from Denton to False River (HZR), for refueling, took 4 hours 39 minutes to fly the 211 miles.

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False River (HZR) airport, Louisiana

Having missed “Tora Tora Tora”, a Commemorative Air Force team who recreate the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor team, at SunNFun, due to my early departure, it was nice to see the aircraft at False River (HZR).

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One of the Tora Tora Tora aircraft. I think this one is Tora.
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The BZIM soaking up the sun at False River

A regular gas station, near the entrance to the airport at False River, was trekked to. The airport manager offered a ride to the station, but it wasn’t far and stretching the legs after 4 hours 40 minutes felt good. The FBO has a nice area and feel with free snacks,  coffee and water.

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Next stop, Eunice (LA90) only 60 miles away would allow the BZIM’s tanks to be filled using  Mogas (motor gas). This was done quickly and by 1620, the BZIM was on it’s way to Livingston (00R) 160 miles to the west. Most of this area is densly covered with trees. The area is largely swamp land with a few alligators I am told!

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Trees

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More trees, a river and the BZIM

Although Livingston does not have unleaded fuel at the airport, a local gas station just over one mile away resulted in a late evening walk. Even though no fuel was purchased at Livingston, Dan Burrows allowed access to Burrows Aviation building for the night.

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The BZIM in the setting sun


 

 

We meet again

Arriving at Homestead, 8am Monday 26th Feb, an email was sent to KRL’s New York office, to find out when the BZIM would arrive. Karla quickly replied she would contact the trucking company and get back to me. A few emails later, and I learned the BZIM was still at Port Everglades, the driver not yet having collected the container. With a sense that delivery wouldn’t be soon, a decision was made to drive to the FAA offices at Miramar, to collect the Special Flight Authorization (SFA). Collection of the SFA was a breeze, having only to wait a few minutes after entering a very secure facility before it was delivered to me in person. Thanks again to all those in the FAA I had contact with.

After collecting the SFA, I returned to Homestead GA Airport arriving just before 1pm, to find the container truck and the BZIM awaiting my return.

Less than 30 minutes later, the BZIM was unloaded and was being unpacked.

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removing the bubble wrap

Roberts Air South

John and Diane Roberts of Roberts Air South could not have been more kind, offering access to their facility, use of tools, storage space, after-hours access and “if I needed anything“, I was just to ask. John insisted, they would not accept anything for this access. They understood I was doing something outwith the norm and were happy to help in my adventure. To both, I am forever thankful. I am equally thankful to fellow trike pilot Mr P. Davies who managed to find space to store the BZIM when I returned to the UK.

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the BZIM’s original color scheme still visible on the fiberglass seating, at the Roberts Air South hanger

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Unpacking was easy in the calm winds and ample space beside the Roberts Air South hanger

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Florida afternoon heavy rain showers provided a welcome cooling off during this sweaty, exhausting effort, in 30’C temps

Eventually the wing is built and attached to the Trike. The Rotax 912 was started for the first time in almost 2 months. Immediately the battery charge light went red and the voltage display reads 12v, and is dropping. Checking battery connections and electrical connections, and things appear normal, but still the low voltage. A very faint, brief spark could be heard as some wiring was moved behind the panel. This is quickly traced to the 15amp car fuse holder. Here blackened contact points, at the fuse could be seen. A dirty/loose sparking contact, was causing the low voltage indication. Cleaning the fuse and closing up the contacts, returned the voltage indicator bulb green, with 13.8V on the display.

Next the MGL iEfis Discovery lite instrument was powered on. Drat, the engine monitoring indications were not working. The engine monitoring unit (RDAC XF) was located at the rear. Locating and removing this, to inspect all the connections is not a simple task. Eventually I could see it was being powered correctly, as was the compass, but neither had LED’s blinking indicating data transfer. It was at this point I decided to check the data lines at the iEFIS, behind the panel, near the area with the previous fuse problem had occurred. Sure enough, one data connection wire had been pulled out.

Eventually one hour after first powering on the Rotax 912, everything was working as it should. By now it was getting dark, so the first flight was delayed until the next day.

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the BZIM parked for the night