Photo & Video Report – 9A-BKS Roaring Again

By me
Photo & video me too (copyrighted)

A couple of years ago when I first started this blog, I made mention of a skydive-configured Cessna 185 Carryall that had been involved in a landing accident awhile back, and had remained confined to the corner of the hangar ever since. The topic of one of my early Plane’s Anatomy posts, this specific, slightly understated ( 😀 ) aircraft had recently been thrust into the local spotlight again, this time when it finally coughed back to life after its long rest.

Overall not a particularly interesting or exciting aircraft by any objective measure – just a regular 185 – 9A-BKS is nevertheless one of the most endeared and endearing aircraft at Lučko; a charismatic fuel-to-noise converter that had at one point or the other served as a jump platform for virtually every skydiver in the area. Quite a loud aircraft, sporting a two-blade transsonic prop, BKS had cut a distinctive high pitched noise that could be heard all the way to the suburbs of Zagreb – some 10 km away – and pretty much represented the main symbol of the airfield.

The noise stopped however at the beginning of 2008, when BKS’ pilot braked a bit too hard on landing, sending the prop tips into the ground. While the aircraft itself had suffered no damage, the propeller was ruined and the engine overstressed by the sudden stop, both necessitating a thorough – and thoroughly expensive – overhaul. These costs, coupled with the operator’s poor financial state (which continues to this day) had dragged repairs through more than four years, until BKS finally fired up on 10 June this year 🙂 .

Naturally, I was ready to immortalize the event with my camera – even though it had meant a whole day of waiting at the airfield on an empty stomach 😀 – and even decided  to shoot a spot of video to capture the moment.

But, “first start” was much overshadowed by the death of one of our most beloved skydivers, who tragically died on a jump at a county fair while we were preparing to light BKS. In view of that, both the following photo and video are dedicated to our dear Jasna 😦 .

Trying to avoid a “Carryall haircut” as I attempt to bring out the raw power and poise of the 185. Ran for the first time since overhaul, the engine had lost most of it characteristic deep roar, sounding for awhile like an 8.5 liter sewing machine. With just a few minutes of operation on the clock when this was taken, the engine still hadn’t fully drawn in oil and lubricated all of its parts – most notably the valves and valve seats – leaving it clanking like it’s falling apart

Video – A Whine and a Screech with a Turbine Cessna 206

By me
All photos (and videos) me too, copyrighted

Any regular readers of this blog may have noticed that my base airfield tends to have quite a lot of skydive aircraft for its size (ignoring for a moment the issue of their airworthiness – or lack thereof :D). However, most of these are members of the Cessna 18X family, and while cheap to operate, they do not have much in the way of carrying capacity for anything but the most basic skydive operations. Historically this had been addressed by temporary leases of larger aircraft (mostly L-410s and An-2s) from neighboring countries, but it has been quite awhile – more than a year in fact – since we’d seen the last of them…

Thankfully, this had changed for the better a couple of weeks ago when Lučko became host to a very interesting Cessna Stationair from Germany – a still-rare Turbine 206 :).

The long, narrow nose and the big three-bladed propeller had instantly hinted of the power hiding under the bonnet... 🙂

Converted to this configuration by Soloy of the US, the Turbine 206 is essentially an older, paid-off and cheap 206 airframe re-engined with a 450 HP Allison 250-C-series turboprop – the same engine, albeit with a different gearbox, that powers the Bell JetRanger helicopter. With 50% more horsepower on tap than the standard Stationair  – not to mention the huge increase in torque – the Turbine 206 is a stellar climber and had quickly become a favorite of every skydive club… that could afford it :D. The example pictured here, owned by Aeroclub Walldorf and registered D-ETHW, had started life out as a stock U206G, before being converted to the Turbine 206 Mk. I standard (based on the Allison 250-C20S) sometime in the early 2000s.

Warming up for the first skydive flight of the day. While its looks are at best questionable, there's no denying its awesome performance: with a full load of skydivers, it had managed to climb to 1500 ft AGL before the second turn of the traffic circuit - and on a 30 Centigrade day at that!

And even though I’m well familiar with the distinctive start-up sound of the 250C – the deep whine, the clicks of the igniters and the rising screech as the compressors spool up – I couldn’t resists taking a few videos as it went about its business… 🙂

Video – Landing At Lido Airfield (LIPV), Venice

By me
Video and photos me too

In a departure from my standard photographic norm, I’ve decided to try my hand at a “video report” and post a short clip (my first YouTube submission too :D) from an international flight I’d flown about a week or so ago. Having abandoned all attempts at completing my CPL time build in Zagreb’s increasingly horrendous weather, I soon retreated back to Portorož, Slovenia for the weekend, intent on nailing those four remaining hours while I still had my hand in with the local aircraft. While there, and looking for a creative way of burning two hours’ worth of Avgas, I decided I might as well head for Venice, Italy to finally see this fascinating city from the air (and notch up another international destination in my logbook 🙂 ).

Not really spoiled for choice landing-and-handling-tax-wise, my destination for the day was virtually self-selecting: the very interesting Lido Airfield (ICAO: LIPV) located on one of the city’s historic islands :). With a 1000×45 m grass runway, Lido – previously known as San Nicollo – is pretty much in the same class as my base airfield of Lučko, and is as such a popular and comparatively cheap destination for pilots flying into the city.

The only way to fully experience the architectural madness that is Venice is from the air :). Flying over the southern reaches of the city at 3,000 ft by grace of the fantastic air traffic controllers at Tessera airport (LIPZ), itself visible near the upper right hand corner of the shot. Also sorry for all the reflections... after several days of persistent rain the air was clean, the plane was clean, the windows were clean and the sun was out in force, all making for a technically challenging photo. Further complicating things is that I snapped this photo without proper aim, since I was holding the 1.5 kg camera at arm's length from the pilot seat (and hoping the settings I'd preselected worked) 🙂

And while my visit would amount to just 30 minutes on the ground – enough to stretch a bit and tidy up the mass of maps and charts littering the cockpit – it did give me the opportunity to make my first decent landing vid 😀 (however, my video editing skills and equipment are nowhere near their photo equivalents, so the quality does leave a lot to be desired). For a brief walk-through, the video starts at the end of the right-hand downwind leg for runway 05, goes through base (with a few views of Venice) and final, and ends when the uneven grass runway dislodges the camera from my makeshift stand on top of the panel :D…