G-ATCJ

 

 

Pete Diffey's Magnificent Minor is shown in flight above.  Read his story about this aircraft below......(Editors clarifications in italics for non-UK or non-aviation readers)

"G_ATCJ was built by Dick Sharpehouse between 1965 and 1972, when it first flew.  It was pretty well a hangar queen from then until I purchased it in April 1999, doing just 98 hours in 27 years - just about enough to do the annual inspection.

I liked it after reading the Bob Lowe book on building your own plane - in it he said " I have never heard of anyone hurting them self in a Luton" - that's for me I thought !!

It appears to have been well looked after throughout its life, and the structure was in very good condition - excepting that the fabric was very delicate.

I purchased it with zero hours tail-dragger experience, and learnt to fly 'CJ from studying numerous copies of Pilot (magazine), eventually got in and did a couple of taxies and then pulled the stick back and did a circuit. Over the next two and a half years I did 65 hours, including a snowy runway flight in Jan 2001, hypothermia suddenly had real meaning.

In November 2001 I had a "bit of a prang", carb icing stopped the engine at 2000 feet over Beds (Bedfordshire), and a planned Practice Forced Landing (PFL) turned into the real thing. I had planned to make the PFL into a micro light strip , but seeing water of the near end of the strip, I decided it would be safer to land in a big field.

The field was soft, and a wheel dug in and I ended upside down hanging from the straps. Apart from losing a wheel, bending a strut and breaking the prop, no major damage - no hurts to self - phew.  After climbing out and answering the questions from surprised onlookers, I managed to dismantle CJ and get it back to home base. I immediately decided it was time to do a complete re-fabric over the winter. The covering is now nearing completion, and I expect to get it in the spray shop late next week (April 2002). The undercarriage repairs are complete and a new prop is on order.

All the fabric work has been done in the lounge diner, with wife watching Corry (Coronation Street, UK TV show) whilst lying on the sofa under the wing.

Hopefully it will be flying again in time for the PFA (Popular Flying Association 2002 Rally).

So here is the anorak stuff........

Engine VW 1600
Prop Chris Lodge 54x32
Radio none
Starter none ( now that would have been useful!! )
Brakes yep
tail wheel steering
colour orangy-red wings will be silver
weight hum - close to limit
limitations inverted flight only allowed in mud"