G-UFOX - Some Like It Hot
Time has moved on, and we have just completed the 400 hour airframe service. These aren't just time to go through the checklist and do all the little jobs that need doing, but also a good opportunity for the syndicate members to get together. All is going well and we have over 470 hours on the engine, so clearly we are doing proper engine warm-up before going flying.
After all this time we still love the EuroFOX and are very pleased with her. They are getting a lot more 'common' now - where once we were a rarity and we visited airfield where they hadn't seen one before, we come across them much more frequently - all good.
If I were to raise one small criticism of the EuroFOX, it would be that the cabin heater isn't (wasn't) as good as it could be. It works by air being pushed through a aperture in the front of the cowling, and through a duct around the exhaust silencer and then through to the cabin. The problem is that the airflow is too fast for it to get heated on its way through. On a cold day, when you pull the throttle fro a deadside descent, you get an icy blast up the trouser leg. The control lever operates a divertor flap - so you can't even just have it partially open as you still get the same airflow rate, just some of it is ejected outside instead of inside the cabin.
The obvious solution is to reduce the airflow and to do this we need to restrict the front aperture. After a little experimentation, I printed (yep - got a new toy - a 3D printer) a tapered bung that fits into the air intake. There is a 17mm hole up the middle for the airflow. The taper stops it creeping back into the hole too far and a screw bears onto a deformable flap to clamp the bung in the hole to prevent it rotating or falling out.
Not an official mod, but it seems to work really well.
Like every other UK pilot, we have been frustrated by the weather so far this year. We have already had to abandon one trip to France.
We do have a big adventure planned for the summer - arranged by Roger (EuroFOX UK) we are taking some 27 aircraft including 23 EuroFOX's are being taken home to visit the factory in Nitra, Slovakia. The plan is travel in small loose formations of 4 or 5 aircraft. The factory will be laying on a barbecue for us. Of course the unfortunate thing is that there are four of us in the syndicate who would all like to go, but only two seats in the plane. Luckily the other two have managed to get a ride in a couple of the other EuroFOX's. Really looking forward to the trip and hope the the weather actually allows it to happen.
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