February 2020

In this month’s edition:

  • Down on the Farm #21: January 2020 – Tony Palmer
  • A4A Conspicuity Survey Results Published
  • All Party Parliamentary Group on GA back in business
  • Obituary: Paul Penn-Sayers – Don Lord
  • North – Don Lord
  • Jetmen!

Down on the farm #21: January 2020

Klemm L25C G-ACXE

The engine now has 7 cylinders attached. The last was the slowest because you can steal bits from the other cylinders as you go but when you get to the last one you have to either get new old bits or repair the parts that you have. We had to Helicoil many threads in the castings, which meant we ended up with lots of sets of different sizes which we brought from the internet, be warned some are not usable!! A Helicoil was a British patent where if you have a damaged thread in say an aluminium cylinder head, you drill it out bigger and then cut a thread with a special tap (the same TPI as the damaged thread) and then wind in a stainless steel coil which has the same thread dimensions on the inside of the coil as the damaged thread.

Engine being married up to the redesigned engine mount

One of the things that stopped us fitting the last cylinder was that we had a damaged de-compression plate (the Pobjoy Cataract used a lower compression ratio than the other engines in the range). We asked Phil Trangmar to have a go at welding it up but it was not practical so we had to make a new one from scratch. See pics.

De-compression plate being sized and chamfered

De-compression plate completed

We have now turned our attention to the carburettor which we have 3 different types. We have decided to go with the middle of the range due to the latest E type being slightly damaged, we put them in an ultra-sonic bath for a while and then stripped them down completely, examined the parts and will now rebuild the D type. The cork float will have to be coated in epoxy resin to resist the latest fuel additives.

Inlet duct in flat pack mode

We were missing an air inlet duct so we looked at photos of others on flying planes, produced a 3D model, printed off views full size and pasted it onto the steel plate, cut around the lines and welded it up. See pic. above.

Tony Palmer

A4A Conspicuity Survey Results Published

The aviation pressure group, Airspace For All (A4A) was active at the LAA Rally back in the summer.  They surveyed the conspicuity capabilities of all aircraft attending (i.e. ADS-B, Mode-A/C/S, PA, etc.).  The report recently published makes for interesting reading.  Download it here: airspace4all.org/reports/ec-data-collection-at-laa-rally-2019/

All Party Parliamentary Group on GA back in business

Post the election, the All Party Parliamentary Group on GA (APPG-GA) has reformed.  The new chair is Mark Pritchard, Conservative MP for The Wrekin.  If he is a pilot, then he keeps quiet about it; it’s not mentioned on his official web page or Wikipedia entry.  As a member of the Government, the previous high-profile chair, Grant Shapps is excluded from the Group.   The Lord Kirkhope Inquiry into Airspace Change was commissioned by the previous instantiation of the APPG-GA and is influencing legislation currently going through Parliament.  Lets hope that the new Group is as assertive.

Here is APPG-GA Co-Chair Byron Davies speaking in the debate on the Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill. Parliament TV House of Lords debate

Obituary: Paul Penn-Sayers

I first got to know Paul in 1985 I had just sold my Tiger Moth and was renting aircraft from various people.  I bought a French RA 14 in Scotland which got as far as Lancaster and then crashed on a hillside. One of my great friends and keen strut member Maurice White agreed to loan me his Emeraude so that I could go to the Dutch rally in 1985.  Paul heard about this and asked to come as passenger.  Next thing I went to Old Sarum to meet Ron Souch who was selling A Putzer Elster B which I agreed to buy, Paul heard about this and agreed to go 50/50.

We flew that until Paul wanted to sell it which we did in December 86, Paul then imported two aircraft from USA one being Vagabond ALGA which we shared until June 87 when my Currie Wot became flyable.  Paul then imported two more aircraft one being Vagabond AMYL.

I flew that if I needed a two seater.  When I sold my Wot in Oct 95 I bought the Vagabond ALGA which he had sold some years before. During all this time I had worked with Paul on many of his projects, he was a very clever maker of model aircraft up to 8/10ths Spitfire and a copy of Pat Holmes Fournier RF 4 AVWZ.

He also made copper and brass traction engines that worked on their own steam, they were about 3ft long and sold for over £5,000, he also did a lot of work for film and TV including the Cornetto for the famous commercial in Venice, he did many aircraft restoration and repairs some of which I worked on.

He moved to Gers in northern France in 2002 where he bought a derelict water mill which he was still working on when he stopped work mid summer 2019.  He went into hospital in early November and died on December14th.

Recent news came from his partner for some time Patricia who some will remember being Office Manager for the PFA at Shoreham.

His sister Pauline put an obituary in the Times on 17th Jan.

He died from lung problems probably caused by years of sandpapering wood and fibre glass, paint spraying, and using glue containing formaldehyde.

The last I heard of AMYL in the 90s was that the fuselage was in a container on Hayling Island on land belonging to old strut member Pat Emney.

Don Lord


Reading an article about the movement of the earth’s core and the magnetic north [ ozy.com/around-the-world/why-the-north-pole-is-moving-faster-than-ever ], it came out with this statement. “The speed has increased in recent years with magnetic north heading rapidly in the direction of Siberia.  This year it passed within 390 kilometers or 3 degrees of the geographic north pole and has crossed the Greenwich Meridian for the first time”

Not a lot of people know this.

Don Lord


And finally… if you haven’t already seen this video prepare to be impressed. Jetman pilots Vince Reffet and Fred Fugen flying through Tianmen Mountain.



February strut meeting 5th February 2020  we will have Philip Skidmore of our Border Force giving us a talk.  Please come and support your Strut, learn and then ask any questions that will have come out of the talk and any that you might have now.  [TP]

Regular meetings are in the Lounge Bar, The Swiss Cottage, Shoreham, 7:30pm.

For the latest list of events, go to the Events page on the Strut website.

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