The Continuing Saga Of Acquiring And Rebuilding A Classic Microlight
Part 1 (some time in 1999)
It all started with an ad in AFORS, own a bit of microlighting history it said , “Rotec Rally complete and a Tiger Cub partly restored without engine”. Tiger Cub! memories of a magazine back in the eighties, pictures of a tiny bright red biplane. I had bought the mag and read the little not very informative article. Of course there was no prospect of my ever being able to fly, that is for people much wealthier than me. But the name stuck, Tiger Cub!
This one was at North Coats airfield near Grimsby a long drive from Essex but we set of on a mild January day changing from lowering clouds, showers to bright and sunny and back again we arrived at the airfield mid afternoon it looks almost deserted apart from a couple of cheerful guys fixing a tank on a roof in the drizzling rain. they direct us though a door into a little canteen where a lass behind the counter fixes us up with a cuppa and nips out to let Mike know that we have arrived.
Mike turns out to be a pleasant bloke with a soft New Zealand accent who shows us through a hanger to a little pile of bits in a corner recognisable as one very small wing and a mixture of assorted control surfaces we then move on to a little workshop area, in there are the other three little wings newly fabric covered and brightly painted in red white & blue with the name “Cloud Dancer” in nicely scrolled writing, another corner of another workshop area revealed a tubular structure recognisable as the front end of a fuselage, a centre section, two wheels and a mixture of assorted tubes.
Further along the hangar wall looking as if it belonged to a large model was the rest of the fuselage the fuel tank was located in the back of a Rans that was being built. The paper work non existent not even a logbook, hopeless, trouble was I liked it. After a careful 5sec think I put in an offer.
Back home I spent a restless night with thoughts of a vaguely aeroplane shaped pile of assorted tubes, I knew this made no kind of sense at all. After hearing nothing for 2 wks maybe I was going to have to be sensible after all. So like an idiot I rang to confirm this. The phone was answered by a breathless sounding Mike just home fresh from the committee meeting where they had accepted my offer.
O God, not only have I got to get it back somehow I’ve got to build a workshop, I’d better stop dreaming and get practical, practical!
Right first thing, find out what I can about the Tiger Cub and this one in particular, e mail the BMAA.
Very quick reply from none other that the CTO Guy Gratton seeming to exude enthusiasm, info about the godfather system and about SP’s history even including an offer to test fly her himself. Maybe I haven’t been such a fool after all ( udgement reserved ).
The next Saturday, the forecast looking good we hired a van, rang Mike and prepared lots of ropes and packing materials. As the day dawned I woke to a foul head cold and so set off feeling like I had been kicked in the head with streaming nose and eyes. Never mind Joan will be able to drive back when I’m knackered. Arriving after a fairly easy journey feeling lousy, set ourselves up with a cuppa and start to sort the bits ready for loading.
After making a heap near the van of all the assorted bits from the corners where they had been growing cobwebs Joan nipped into the back of the van to sort out the padding.
On hearing a gasp I turned from where I had been fiddling with the heap I saw Joan tripping head first out of rear of the van and hitting the ground with a horrible thump. She was shocked, sore & bruised with smashed glasses but otherwise OK. The guys from the club were great and sorted her out with a cuppa and somewhere quiet and warm to sit as soon as it was established she was OK just dazed, shocked and sore. I finished the loading and we drove home both feeling sorry for ourselves.