Monday, 1 August 2022

Heron Turboprop

Turboprops were, for a long time, like blue moons in light aircraft, you rarely saw one. 

Things are changing and there are more and more coming onto the market. To date this offering from Heron Turbines, in Greece, is the best fit for a Twister, if you can live with the 40 litres per hour fuel burn...

Weight is just 40kg dry, Power is 130shp - not sure what height that power is rated to but the service ceiling of the engine is 28,000 ft and finally the price. At Oshkosh they are offering a show price of just $35,000 USD (£28,700). This is around a third of the price of the Turbotech from France (see blog post from September 2021). Turbotech's price has gone up and is now around 90k Euros when I last checked.

Read more here:

and here:

Monday, 9 May 2022


In February I flew over to West Wales to visit UL Power UK's (Metal Seagulls) new hangar and get a service and annual inspection done.

I had for some reason thought that my compressions were down and so ordered 3 new cylinder heads to replace the same as I did previously with cylinder number 3 when it's exhaust valve/seat was leaking.

As it turns out I needn't have worried as a compression test (when warm) revealed that the compressions were all good - virtually the same as they were at 200 hrs.

So I did the service myself and Jonathan Porter of UL Power UK did the annual inspection.

There were strong winds aloft as we had a series of storms during February, this made for a slow trip over but a rapid one home with a ground speed of 171 knots at 7,650ft.

Passing Talybont Reservoir - which we walked to in July 21 from our rented
canal boat nearby.

Pendine Sands. Location of the World Land Speed record in the 1920's.

At Metal Seagulls, UK UL Power agents. First things first a compression test
while the engine is still warm.

The results, which are virtually identical to that at 200 hrs. All is well.

Hooning back at great speed. 171 knots!

New battery

 I finally decided to take the plunge and buy a Lithium battery.

The best and safest choice is an EarthX, which is built to aviation standards and has good self protection.

The model to go for is the ETX900. It has the required amp hours in case of Alternator failure with the UL engine the battery is then the only thing providing a spark to the engine (through the coils), so it must have a decent capacity to enable you to get back on the ground in 20 mins or so before the voltage drops too low.

The price is a bit eye watering but the weight savings are great. Roughly £100 per kg saved! The old battery was 7kg and the new one is just 2.2kg.

Just as well I changed my battery as the old one was weeping. See pics below.

The old battery was the one I bought in Toronto, Canada in July of 2017 so it has served me well and was due for replacement anyway.

I noticed that the new battery holds its' charge much better when the engine is at idle - when coming back into the circuit and setting up for landing.

The dimensions were only slightly different in one axis to the old battery so I took up the space with blue foam.

Old battery - located under the baggage tray in a special recess I made.

Weeping from the old battery, just as well I changed it.

New battery in place with the blue foam as spacers so it doesn't move about
with the cover on.

Friday, 6 May 2022

Sunday, 22 August 2021

National Champion in Aerobatics

 I'm very proud to report that I won the National Aerobatics Championships (Sportsman Class) in G-FUUN.

This was especially hard considering the other aircraft I was up against. One Designs, Extras, etc.

Also it turns out that my average winning score was the highest of any competition they have held which puts another layer on the satisfaction cake.

Happy days.

Sunday, 15 August 2021

Krishna Article in Oz newsletter

I thought I would share this article about Krishna's Twister build as there are some important points he makes in the Q and A.

It's also always nice to see another Twister being built!

Monday, 28 June 2021

Another Twister for Sale 

A cheap Twister for sale in Italy at just 35,000 Euros.

Built by Termikas and with just 25 hours on the engine and airframe.

Video of an early engine run with a view of the instrument panel in this video:

Monday, 14 June 2021

A nice flight

After having flown very little hours over the winter due to bad weather and the lockdown it was nice to complete a longish flight yesterday.

Down to the south coast to see the parked up Cruise ships. Then past the very busy beaches of Bournemouth and around the Isle of Wight.

Heading back up home I managed to get a zone transit through London City.

Finally landing at my mates strip at Gravely after 2.8 hours for a well earned cup of coffee and a chat. Then followed a short air to air formation with him in his new RV8 to take some photos of it for him.

All in all a great day out.


Pete Wells' airstrip

Corfe Castle

Diamond Light Source - Research Facility


Bournemouth Pier

Brighton's BA Eye 360

Cruise ships moored up near Weymouth

Norwegian Bliss, complete with Go Kart racing track on the top deck!

The Needles, Isle of Wight

London City Airport

Parked up at Gravely

James in his new toy

Saturday, 12 June 2021

Article from 2004

I've read this article before but it was a poor quality photocopy.

I managed to get hold of a brand new copy of the magazine from 2004 and scanned the article in high res in colour.

I had to chuckle at James Hallam's claim of 500 hours build time. That was before he had built his of course. I wonder how long it actually took him?

A good read none the less with history from Mike Friend and a Sales pitch from James Hallam.

Click on each image for a larger version to read.

Saturday, 12 December 2020

Trans Atlantic Twister talk

I gave a talk on Zoom for a Strut group (LAA enthusiasts) a few weeks ago.

The talk details the trip I took in 2017 to Oshkosh and back via a slideshow of images.

Click on the link below to listen to the talk

Saturday, 26 September 2020

Turbine Twister?

I have already written about the French company Turbotech. Specifically referring to their previous product offering (still on offer BTW) of the gas turbine gen set with recirculation - which improves fuel economy.

They now have a new product.

A gas turbine with direct drive to a prop. Which is of course a turboprop, but with a difference. With the same recirculation unit on the rear of the turbine the same 30% fuel efficiency is claimed as per the gen-set version.

Not only that but the Turboprop version boasts 90kW of power (that's 120.692 hp for you dinosaurs).

It also uses the electric starter motor to provide a short term boost of 10kW to take total power to 100kW (134.1hp).

I thought this would be great in the Twister.

The diameter of the unit works well but the length would mean it would be much too long to fit in a current cowling and indeed would put the C of G too far forward.

Anyway I haven't even mentioned the price yet...

See below response for the price which has one too many zeros in it to be a viable alternative to a piston engine. (125k Euros).

Oh well, dreams are free right?