... I Learned About Flying... (Part 3)

by Peter Hunter

how I learned about flying

' say again'

  ' Anno domini' answered the doctor, 'say again' was my reply. I had not heard him clearly, ' anno domini' he repeated ' advancing age - it happens to all of us, you wouldn't like the alternative.'

   'I'm not partial to being deaf either'

   'I will arrange for the hospital to call you for you to have a hearing test. The National Health hearing aids are just as good as the private one - and it will save you thousands - they are just a little larger, That's all'

   But I knew that although age undoubtedly contributed to my loss of hearing - it was the flying that had done most of the damage

    not just any old flying not just thirty years of piloting light aircraft - but the years I had spent racing my little Falco two seat machine not just flying it but racing it

    hours and hours each year for several years. Not behind a Lycoming running sedately at 2450 or 2500 revolutions per minute. Not at the 2700 rpm 'red-line' speed - the maximum permissible according to the manufacturer's handbook - but at 3000 revolutions - developing more power than he unit was designed for

    more power hence more speed

    and more wins.

   The trick was to adjust a little screw of the unit that governed the action of the variable pitch propeller allowing the engine to over rev. it promoter more wear to the engine but we would do virtually anything to win

     the downside the downside was the noise.

    At the best of times the Falco was a noisy little beast although nominally producing only one hundred and sixty horsepower - poor soundproofing did little to help. The main problem was the exhaust system. Apart from its lack of a silencer, common on more recent light aircraft - the system consisted o a short stub exhaust, one per cylinder as well as producing a loud sexy exhaust note the thrust from the four rearwards pointing stubs, apparently added five knots of airspeed

     not to be sneezed at

   My Falco was noisy enough in the cruise but at full bore at three thousand revs and something well in excess of two hundred miles per hour near the ground

    it became a banshee howl - unbearable without wearing a good noise defending headset. We are all wise in retrospect and I should have worn ear plugs under my expensive David Clarks

    but the noise added to the excitement and the adrenalin which was the main point of the sport. My other hobby of clay pigeon and driven pheasant shooting did nothing to help but it is too late to benefit from my lesson

    'What was that you said? Say again'

  Peter Hunter 2013

from Peter Hunter's too many miles

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