gapilot vans RV7 quick build kit

My Great Lakes Restoration Site
My new project is a Great Lakes 2T-1A-2, I purchased it in Phoenix Arizona G-GLII

My Vans RV7 Build Site
My Vans RV7 build site, click for history and build diary

My Aircraft Specification
Vans RV7
Top Speed - 210mph
Cruise - 200mph
Take off Distance - 275ft
Landing Distance - 350ft
Rate of Climb - 2'200fpm
Ceiling 23'000ft
Fuel Range - 775sm (950sm max echonomy cruise)
Fuel Capacity - 42 US Gal
Fuel Consumption 10 US Gal/hr.
Engine - Superior IO-360 (180hp)
Propeller - Hertzell Constant Speed,
Dynon D100 EFIS, AF-2500,

Great Lakes 2T-1A-2
Never exceed - 153mph
Cruise - 120mph
Climb (sea level) - (IO-360)76.5mph
Rate of Climb (sea level) - 1150 ft/min
Service Ceiling - 17'000ft
Stall Speed - 56mph
Load Factor - +5.4 / -4.0G
Fuel Range - 3.8hr / 300miles
Fuel Capacity - 27.4 US Gal
Fuel Consumption 3.5-18.5 US Gal/hr
Gross Weight - 1800lb
Empty Weight(approx) - 1233lb
Max Baggage - 40lb
Engine - Lycoming AEIO-360
Propeller - Hertzell Constant Speed

Cessna FRA150L
Never exceed - 193mph/168kts
Cruise - 110mph
Range - 348-704 NM
Fuel Capacity - 26 US Gal / 98L
Climb (sea level) - (O-240)846fpm
Rate of Climb (sea level) - 846 ft/min
Take-off Ground Run - 174m
Take-off Ground Run clear 50ft - 316m
Landing Run - 136m
Land Clear 50ft - 328m
Service Ceiling - 14'000ft
Stall Speed - 45mph (clean)
Stall Speed - 35mph (40% flap)
Load Factor - +6G/-3G
Fuel Range - 3.8hr / 300miles
Fuel Capacity - 27.4 US Gal
Fuel Consumption 3.5-18.5 US Gal/hr
Gross Weight - 750kg
Empty Weight(approx) - 1233lb
Max Baggage - 54kg/120lb
Engine - RollsRoyce Continental O-240-A(130HP)
Propeller - Fixed Pitch McCauley 1A135/BRM7150

My Hours at the end of 2011
Total hours: 686.6
T.Flights: 741
T.Hours P1: 611.6
T.Hours Vans RV7: 232.5
T.Hours Great Lakes: 24.4
T.Hours Cessna 150/152: 342.0
T.Hours Cessna 162: 7.8

Hours this year: 63.0
This year Great Lakes: 24.4
This year RV7: 31.7
Flights this year: 90
My Flying 2011.
Welcome to my flying 2011 page.This year has been made up of many firsts. With my Great Lakes bi-plane close to completion I knew it would be a year to remember - as long as the weather played ball.
The year has been dominated by my Great Lakes project. It's now at the end of a four year restoration and moved to the hangar in March. With first flight made on 27th May. I have still been flying my Vans RV7 and after Lee-on-solent re-opened to the public I made my first flight there in April.

Great Lakes on trailer to hangar
Great Lakes moves to airfield
As planned I moved my Great Lakes to the airfield in March. It only required the wings to be fitted. With the help of David and James the wing fitting was quickly completed. The new overhauled prop arrived and was fitted along with all the control surfaces. I was quickly ready for inspection for my permit to fly. The only problem was the gascolator and this was quickly fixed and permit application made. After inspection the many inspection panels had to be fitted and felt like one of the longest jobs!
Francis from the LAA (Light Aircraft Association) visited & issued my permit to test, and I was straight onto Bob Cole my test pilot.
First time a series two Great Lakes takes to air in UK
First Flight
I called upon Bob Cole from Thruxton to test fly my Great Lakes. The first test flight was 27th May and after landing Bob declared it a pleasure to fly and commented the wings were really well rigged. The test flying continued and as the Great Lakes is fully aerobatic it was fully test spun. No problems came up with the test phase and the permit application was quickly made to the LAA at Turweston.
Tim first flight into Thruxton
My first flight in Great Lakes
After some training with Bob, I found myself on 19th June sitting at the end of the runway at Bourne Park on my own. My first flight was to be from Bourne Park to Thruxton as I was moving it to my hanger at there. I departed and after a short flight I landed on the grass at Thruxton to be greeted by my wife and David Graham in his Great Lakes. I was pleasantly suprised how I felt handling my new aircraft - my first open cockpit bi-plane as pilot (and even passenger!), it is very different from my RV7.The landing was great and after fuel, congratulations from my wife and David, I performed a few circuits at Thruxton and felt so comfortable I took my first passenger - James - for a flight to Popham!
Popham Airfield
Popham has a dog-leg approach to its 26/08 runways, and I found myself wondering why I had decided to try and visit Popham so soon with a new aircraft. I was still getting use to the approach of a bi-plane with reduced (well no) visibility on final, Bob had suggested a curved approach which is what I had just been doing at Thruxton - I found them slightly tricky as I would sometimes finish the curve just short of the runway and loose visibilty just when I didn't want to. However, here I am at Popham almost 45 degree dog leg approach straight for the numbers and I can see the runway perfectly all the way to final. As I arrived at the numbers I turned, flared and the GREAT under carriage just sucked up Pophams rough (sorry it is rough and bumpy) runway without so much of a slight hop or jump. I had thought I could always throw the visit to Popham as I was so new to the aircraft and return to Thruxton. Well now the Great Lakes is my preferred aircraft to my RV7 for visiting Popham. Plus the locals love to photograph it!!
Flying Great lakes 2T-1A-2

Two Great Lakes
This is the first time two Great Lakes have been together in the UK. In the foreground is David Grahams plans built Great Lakes - he spent 10 years building it by hand from a set of plans. In the background is my Factory built 2T-1A-2 I call it the series two. As it's from the second production phase built between 1972 and 1979. A friend of ours Robert owns an early 1928 model (series one) - Great Lakes first went out of production in 1930 - and one day we hope to have all three types together. Which will also be a first, although since January (2011) Waco purchased the production rights and a series three may soon appear. Will this make the Great Lakes the longest production aircraft in the world?
Currently in the UK Robert has the only flying Series one, there is another crashed series one. David has the only plans built, there are no other currently under construction, and I have the only series two.
Jo & Great lakes
Jo's first flight
After numerous flights in my great Lakes to Wycombe, White Waltham, Compton Abbas and many to Popham I even made the quick hop to RAF Boscombe Down - the home of the Empire Test Pilots School. It was time now for Jo, my wife to come for a flight. Jo enjoys flying in My Vans RV7 but said she was not so keen in the idea of open cockpit, she had said she was not bothered about flying in the Great Lakes. However after four years restoration and seeing it complete she decided she had to have a go, and really enjoyed herself - and since made a number of filghts.... most on very sunny warm days!!
Another James.... I have a few friends called James! James who is also a pilot came for a flight in August. He flies an Avid (small high wing aircraft) and had not been in an open cockpit before. So it was quite a difference sitting up front in my Great Lakes, and it was about this time that I realised I had to do something about it. I had been giving my passengers a David Clark (headset) helmet (as seen in the picture). This was getting hit by the prop wash, and creating loads of noise so they could not hear properly and were buffeted around a lot. I also had a military visor helmet that was also generating noise. So I have since switched to cloth helmets with David Clark noise cancelling headsets. After the flight in the Great Lakes we took my RV7 out and James decided he liked enclosed cockpits far more. I am also sure he would like me to point out that the wet patch on his flight suit was from me dropping it in some water before the flight and not him pissing himself at my flying!!
Cambrai Aircraft Covers
LAA Sywell Rally...
I always look forward to the LAA rally, especially with my Great Lakes and to meet up with friends. I arrived on Friday when it was a bit quieter, and stayed all weekend with my Great lakes on the Cambrai Aircraft Covers stand. Michael from Cambrai has become a great friend, and his covers are outstanding. He came over measured up my Great Lakes then sent me my cover - fitted perfect first time.
After finally managing to get our diarys to match Duncan came for a flight in my RV and also a flight in the Great Lakes. He really enjoyed it and I have to say I got a real kick out of how much he loved it. He's a great bloke to take flying and the whole day was an absolute pleasure.
Sunny Day
After lots of local flying, mostly due to medocure weather October arrives with a really nice weekend so I seize the chance for a nice flight with Jo and we head off to Perranporth in Cornwall with the RV. It's a quick aircraft and we do Thruxton to Perranport in 1.4 hours. The return trip is only 1 hour 6 minutes which didn't break our first trip of one hour dead. A lovley walk to the beach via the costal path with a great day on the beach. This is what makes flying so much fun.
Hook Airstrip
My home airfield
I keep my aircraft at Thruxton but live in the village of Hook, where there is a small grass strip. I would base there but the strip is prone to water logging in winter and isn't really what I need for the RV. I have never flown in with my RV, so now I had my Great Lakes and I know it's good on soft and bumpy ground from my Popham experience I made a vist to Hook at the beginning of September.
Great Lakes 2T-1A-2
After a year of mixed weather I found myself one October weekend flying back from Popham in perfect blue skies. Now it's time for some aerobatics in my Great Lakes. Just four loops, then some inverted flight, rolls and some spinning.
My Great Lakes is fully aerobatic with a fully inverted oil and fuel system, so normal aerobatic manuvers like loops, rolls, spinning are approved along with fully inverted flight, inverted spinning and outside loops!

I have put a video of my Great Lakes at the bottom of this page - it has music so may be blocked in some countries.
Cessna C162
Cessna 162
Ford Mustang convertable & New Cessna Skycatcher - welcome to America! October and a great friend in America has purchased a New Cessna 162. So after a lot of phone calls and paperwork to get my old paper FAA licence converted to a new plastic one. I head out to the US to have a go in it - I am very lucky to have friends like this.
First I needed to visit a local FAA office to get my licence validated, another friend in Florida - Dave - offered to help me out. We flew from Witham airfield to Airglades to replace my old paper FAA licence and validate it to a new plastic one with the DPE. Airglades is located almost mid Florida and for me had an interesting history. It used to be called Riddle field and was the home of the British Flying Training School No.5 in WWII. Here they trained RAF pilots on Stearman and Harvards.
Tim Cessna 162
I was now all fixed up with licence and Dave needed to collect another aircraft so we departed Airglades to Venice, just south of Tampa, where I dropped off Dave to pick up another aircraft. After lunch we departed Venice to North Palm Beach – now on the other side of the state! I had been to North Palm Beach a few years ago when Jo and I hired an aircraft and flew to Key West. Dave dropped off his aircraft and we then headed back to Witham. A great days flying and 4.5 hours in my logbook of sunny Florida. In the next few day I managed another 2.5 hrs of local flying including a night flight to West Plam Beach. USA flying is just great.
Cessna C162
With the help of a few friends...
Some aerobatics in my Great Lakes
This video is from a number of aerobatic flights, I filmed to see how I was doing.
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