Monday, June 22nd, 2009

Al’s ASW20 Experimental

On Sunday morning (14 June 2009) the appearance of Allen on his quad bike, with the ASW20 in tow, brought members armed with cameras from various parts of the complex to form a procession to the 02 gravel take off point. The previous evening he had said that, if we were interested, he would give us a flying demonstration of the “20”, weather permitting. We had left him in no doubt that we were interested.

While he went through serious preparations the rest of us got in his way taking photos from every angle and admiring his workmanship.

When he began “lighting the wicks” to the 3 jets, photographers dispersed to various locations.

Rolling for takeoff

Rolling for takeoff

It reminded me of film footage one sees of the first flight of any prototype, although this was the 5th time it would fly jet powered. There were two cameramen, one on either side of the runway several hundred metres ahead, David Lawley, with a video camera in his car, immediately behind the glider ready to follow down the runway and when Allen settled himself in the cockpit, and gave brother John the O.K. to level the wings, the remaining members clutching cameras spread themselves at a respectable distance.

Within a few seconds the jets let us know that it was time, and after a few steps Allen had aileron control and John let go of the wingtip. The wind was from the northwest and the “20” climbed up over Brockies. Conditions proved to be gusty and rough so Al. kept the airspeed below 80kts. He was soon cruising around at 1,000ft on one engine and, as planned, did a low level pass but at moderate speed because of the turbulence. On the climb out he fired up the other two jets with impressive effect, then positioned himself for runway 02 grass, and shut down and retracted the engines for a perfect touchdown.

Jet fly-by

Jet fly-by

Allen can be very pleased with the results of the hours that he has put into this project. The power unit looks like a factory fit and is a tribute to his workmanship. The rest of us are very envious.

More jet-20 photos in the club photo album.

Graham Francis

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