Due to unexpected insurance problem we decided to delay the departure till January 6th 2012.
We hope to resolve the problem shortly.
INSURANCE HOLD THE WORLD FLIGHT DOWN
Although we managed to get a very expensive "World Wide third party liability" coverage for the aircraft with the help from our main Insurance company Zavarovalnica Triglav, they surprised us just minutes before the flight and refuse to cover hull insurance. It was like a cold water shower in the middle of winter.
At the moment we do not have any other solution so GreenLight WorldFlight is forced into a stan-by mode.
Finally the aircraft is ready for high altitude tests. Many things are unknown about such flights and they need to be thought of before take off. Would oxygen cannula be enough or will a face mask need to be used? Will souch a small aircraft with short wings get enough lift up there? Is the engine strong enough?
But doubts quickly disappear and after 45 minutes on the way down I was confident that aircraft is capable of climbing up to 9000 metres. At FL 280 it still climbs at 700 feet/m climb, but suddenly it lost RPM, so I decided to abort further climb as also oxygen saturation in my blood dropped well below 80%. Anyway future tests should get us closer to optimal engine performance.
A day after the high altitude test, there was a press conference happened at Pipistrel's Vizionarna. It was a big success. All the important sponsors joined us and introduced the project to a large journalist audience. It looks that this flight could be interesting for all the different kinds of media.
NEW SPONSORS AND PARTNERS JOINED GreenLight WorldFlight
PETROL - Energy for life, leading energy company in Slovenia, is the principal strategic supplier of oil and other energy products to the Slovenian market. The principal development direction of the Petrol Group is the introduction of new energy activities, in particular the sale of gas, heat and electricity, but in the long run also renewable energy sources.
Slovenian Tourist Board (STB) is a major national tourist organization for: - planning and performing the promotion of our country as a tourist destination, - linking the existing products and programmes of national importance and advancing the progress of new ones, - establishment of the integral tourist information infastructure, - executing research and development work.
Their mission is to ensure that all the airports users are provided with flight services and other commercial services that are safe, punctual and of high quality, and to attend to the development of the airport in line with carriers and passengers demands, the types of traffic and the requirements of the European Union.
ANTARCTIC - FROZEN DREAM LAND
We had hard hungry times what left me in special relation to polar regions. Antarctic was always my top priority but sadly or luckily had never realized. So here we are to try this time. Although this frozen continent is nobody's land and we can go there without documents it is very complicated to organize private flight. The biggest problem is fuel which has to be shipped in advance. And only one or two companies can help you with this issue. Luckily Argentina has one of the most experienced Antarctic scientist-glaciologist Pedro (Peter) Skvarca, Slovene who spent many seasons working on Antarctic glaciers. Years ago he first warned the world about quick melting of huge Larsen Ice Shelfs which was one of the earliest indications of global warming. He was also experienced climber with many epic ascents in Patagonia. Over the last years we became very good friends as he live my Antarctic dreams and I live his flying dreams. In past months he did enormous work helping me find fuel solution and finally he succeeded. In Punta Arenas - Chile he met with Andrej Pivcevic, owner of DAP who promised fuel delivery to King George Island in Palmer peninsula. He also discussed detailes with legendary Antarctic explorer Alejo Contreras Staeding. Great!
Thank you guys.
MORE WEIGHT BRINGS MUCH MORE TROUBLES
Every small detail is cumulated, nothing is subtracted so weighing is usually big surprise. We were really happy when Elvis brought idea to install Lithium Ferrous Batteries, which are 4 times lighter than normal ones. And after Mr Steve Johnson from Aerovoltz decided to sponsor us with their state of art products, same batteries become even lighter and more powerfull. We save as much as 6 kg only on accumulated energy.
The GLWF flight is not going to be secret mission, on board of the Virus-SW is small spay named Spider S3 which will report every couple of minutes position, speed, altitude, and direction of flight via Iridium Satellite system to Spidertrack home base in New Zealand and back to our website. Mr Luke McCarthy from Sidertrack confirmed they will support us with free data traffic for the full flight. That is great. And it works, we have already did test flights just yesterday.
GreenLight WorldFlight - FIRST FLIGHT
It happened yesterday late afternoon. After final adjustment, all day engine ground run Tine (Pipistrel's test pilot) took off in the turbulent air. Beautifull sound thanks to Rotax turbo and MT propeler accompanied steep climb. Tine was pleased with aircraft behavior although he couldn't check all edge performances due to turbulent air.
Although Pipistrel guys are working hard on Virus-SW115 (official name), manj obstacles still keep the wheels on the ground. We got extremely good support from CAA Slovenia regarding registration and mr. Gorazd Habjan is doing his best to expedite complicated paperwork. Yes, we need aircraft papers soooon if possible two monts ago, but that is where we are, so looking for the best from what we have now. Some overflight permissions require many months of frustrated work and here FSI Flight Service International helps us out.
And now also weather issue. Very strong local wind (burja) is blowing hard for several days and is not going to stop for another several days. If you don't know "burja" you don't believe how ugly could be.
But engine is running smooth, quiet, way better than her weaker sisters 912 and 912S.
So keep fingers crossed to send all the problems to history... ON TIME.
FINALLY INSTRUMENTS GET SOME COLOUR
Every day is busy day. Most of them very depressing because the line of unsolved problems runs to infinity. But from time to time the sun comes also over the GreenLight WorldFlight project.KIA Slovenia has joined our group of supporters, as they found similarity in our story and their company strategy. They are going to advertise also our project what could bring a lot more media exposure. Back at Pipistrel. Most of the problems are solved and hope in one week the wheels ultimately get of the ground. On the way back I stopped in Ljubljana at Aerosol d.o.o. Dr.Grisa Mocnik explained how their system for black carbon detection actually work. We discussed detailes about installation. The aircraft is going to be a bit different of the serial one, so I know that paperwork for registration will make my hair more grey. Fortunately we got a big support from our CAA. Mr. Jazbinsek and mr. Habjan offered reasonable solution and really look forward to get in the air soon.
TIME CONSUMING ELECTRIC WIRING
I had to do some aerial photography in western part of Slovenia, but after work I again set course to Pipistrel. Always hope for the best but reality is a bit under expectation. It is still waiting a lot of work for Pipistrel guys and nobody is able to say nothing about day D. It is always like this. Waiting game till last days when everything drop on the desk and than 24 hours means nothing. Yeah, stressful days are comming... But what shell we do. Finally it is only Around the World Flight so keep calm.