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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

"Permit to fly" application

Today, absolutely all paperwork on LN-MAV was completed. All EAA signatures, all attachments... (maintenance report, POH, maintenance program, test flight program etc..) was finalized and sent off to the norwegian CAA. July is vacation month in Norway, so I'm really hoping that they will be able to process my application for Permit to Fly before July sets in..

As I have not flown taildraggers for a while (just the Cessna "Cardinal" lately...), the guys in the LN-SAI team (another L-4J located at Kjeller airport) let me fly for an hour tonight. We went up the Glomma river low level and watched all the campfires along the waterfront. Its a norwegian tradition to be out all night by the fire tonight as it is the longest day of the year. Kjeller airport closes for operation at 22:00 LT, but you could almost fly until midnight on VFR day...

The skills was still there... I was pretty happy with my flying and the landings. I plan to make another flight just before my first testflight, this time with some more airwork with stalls and slow flight.

Waiting for that permit to fly now.......

Friday, June 19, 2015

CAA inspection and first startup!!!

Another great step forward in the "Maverick" project today:

1) Norway CAA inspector carefully inspected all details on the aircraft and paperwork. With only a few minor findings (most of which we already knew) it passed the inspection "with honors".

2) First startup of the engine since it last ran on LN-RAK (also an L-4J) back in 1976.

The Norwegian CAA (like most other CAA's) does not have the best reputation amongst private pilots. But I have to admit that all contact I have had with Norway CAA regarding the LN-MAV project has proven them as professional and extremely helpful! Where else would you experience that a CAA guy called you up because he saw your number on the call log from 2 days ago!!??? And said "what can I do for you?"  I really have to give those guys up in Bodø credit for their positive attitude towards this project. Thanks guys!!

Then we filled her up with AVGAS... and (after correcting a small leak - in a FAA PMA part!!..) we took her out for an attempt to start. It took quite a few turns, but I think the primer pump needed quite some squirts before it startet pumping fuel into the carb. I look like an idiot when the damn thing first started - I had spun the prop so many times that it came as a chock!! :-)

We have to do some fine adjustments to the carb - it seems to run too lean on low RPM. However in 1000 - 1500 RPM it ran like a turbo prop! Considerably less vibration with the Hercules wood propeller than what I was used to with a metal prop. I just could not resist making a first taxi test as well. Brakes works just fine (well, just as good as "normal category" Cub brakes anyway) and steering was no problem.

A real highlight, but as Sander put it: rolling her out for the first time display at Kjeller Airshow was even bigger! Lets just hope that the maiden flight will beat that! Now follows more engine runs as well as high speed taxi tests. Then on monday we will send the application for "Permit to fly" and hope that CAA has not closed down for the summer holiday and that someone can give the approval!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Kjeller Airshow rollout!

For quite a while we have had Kjeller Airshow 31 May as our deadline. We almost made it! At least the plane appeared as ready to fly, though still missing a very few parts here and there.

As a big surprice, my good L-4 friend Bart came up from Germany to help out. Roald Olsen from Fauske came down to paint Martha Vickers on the nose. I must say, even though very busy, those last few days/nights of work was so much fun and rewarding to see the final details falling into place. A big thanks to Sander (as usual!) as well as Roald and Bart. I will never forget this great few days on the final runup towards the "official rollout" at the airshow.

Friday afternoon: Roald and Bart arrives.. Roald starts with his noseart templates after I have sprayed on the oil-spec stencil. BTW, applying some light layer of spray glue when attaching the stencils was a good technique. Bart / Sander continues with all sorts of work, mechanical and stencils, while I cut out the large stencils for the serial number and callsign LN-MAV for the tail. Late night...

Saturday: We all worked like dogs form the morning. Temperatures were too low for paint, had to use the gass heater... There were quite a few visitors at the airport because there was announced an airshow also on saturday, but due to heavy rain and low ceiling, only a few planes flew - off course an L-4 made a spectacular show in those conditions! :-) We decided to work with open hangar doors and I think a lot of people enjoyed watching us put the final touch on the Maverick (or perhaps they just enjoyed roof above their heads in the heavy rain...). Anyway, we set out to finish all our work at 8 PM because then a hangar party was announced at the Tiger Moth hangar. 8:05 we pronounced the aircraft as FINISHED!!!! Then we sat down for a well deserved beer in the Tiger Moth hangar and as we came half way down the first bottle, a P-51 Mustang roared by and flew a "private show" for the few people there. What a rewarding finish!!!

Sunday morning we washed lightly over the surfaces... because some parts were not completely dry due to low temps.. And we rolled out the Maverick and placed her next to a Willies Jeep on the corner of our hangar. A big thanks to Tom Øyvind Hansen for bringing the Willies Jeep and he also came with a gift: a US Army Air Force Navigation folder to carry maps etc. A real vintage looking piece - THANK YOU!! :-)

I will let the picture speak for themselves. We are now basically waiting for a carburator. Then weight and balance and finally all logs to be completed as well as EAA/CAA paperwork. I am hoping for a permit to fly by the end of June.

Thanks Sander, I would never be able to finish this in time and with such a high standard without your help!

Thanks Roald, the specially design on Maverick noseart is really unique. "Maverick" being a unbreaded young cow that cowboys would use their lasso to catch is the theme for the lasso and cowboy-dressed WW2 pinup Martha Vickers. And off course, the origin of "Maverick" reflects the aircraft registration which has been LN-MAV since 1947.

In WW2, an L-4 team consisted of a plane, a Willies jeep, a driver, a chef (!), a mechanic and a pilot.

New assignment coming up soldier!

Mission planning...